The Capital Spectator
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Shares of American companies rebounded last week, forging into record territory before edging back by the close of the trading week on Friday, Dec. 18. When then dust cleared, US stocks led most of the world’s major asset classes, which posted solid gains, based on a set of exchange traded funds. The outlier: a fractional loss for US investment-grade bonds.
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* Congressional leaders reach deal $900 billion Covid-19 aid package
* House and Senate will vote today on Covid-19 relief bill
* UK isolated in Europe after reporting highly infectious new strain of the virus
* Cyberattack on the US government is much worse than initially fearred
* 2020 has been a year of whipsawed economic forecasts
* US Leading Economic Index continued rebounding in November:
Brad Klontz, et al.
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
When it comes to our relationship with money, we are in the Stone Age. Despite the relentless barrage of information and warnings from financial experts, the average American is in terrible financial shape. It turns out that human beings are just not wired to do the right things around money—such as saving and not overspending.
Latin America’s Winning Streak Continues: Stocks in Latin America extended their bull run for a seventh straight week through today’s close (Dec. 18). The iShares Latin America 40 (ILF) added 2.5% in this week’s session. Although the fund pulled back on Friday, the selling still leaves ILF close to a 10-month high.
China’s stock market is posting the strongest gain among the world’s main equity regions in 2020 as the year’s final trading sessions come into view, based on a set of publicly traded proxies through yesterday’s close (Dec. 17).
* Second coronavirus vaccine moves closer to approval in US
* Congress still haggling over coronavirus stimulus as gov’t shutdown nears
* Google facing three major antitrust lawsuits
* US set to add dozens of Chinese firms to a trade blacklist
* Deflation deepens in Japan as consumer prices fall at fastest rate in a decade
* Philly Fed Mfg Index continues to reflect solid growth in December
* US housing starts rose in November–third monthly gain
* US jobless claims continue to rise, reaching highest level in over 3 months:
Vaccines are arriving and victory over the coronavirus at some point in 2021 now looks plausible in the US. But the winter months come first and the path ahead looks worrisome.
* Congress still negotiating a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill
* US reports record Covid-19 deaths (3600-plus) for December 16
* French president tests positive for Covid-19
* Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine expected to receive FDA approval
* Fed leaves rates unchanged and commits to more bond purchases
* Fed lifts US economic growth forecast for 2021
* US retail sales fell more than expected in November
* Eurozone consumer prices fall for fourth straight month
* Bitcoin rises above $23,000 as Wall Street embraces the cryptocurrency
* Home builder confidence slips in December after reaching record high
* US economic expansion slowed in December via PMI survey data
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to reaffirm its ultra-dovish monetary policy in today’s FOMC meeting and the futures market continues to price the odds of a rate hike at 0% deep into 2021. But real-world conditions in government bond trading are hinting, if only on the margins, that a post zero-forever world may not be forever after all.
* GOP Senate Majority Leader McConnell publicly acknowledges Joe Biden’s victory
* Economists expect decline in today’s November report on US retail spending
* Congress still negotiating details for Covid-19 relief package
* Eurozone economy “close to stabilizing” via PMI survey data for December
* German economy reflects “ongoing resilience” in December PMI data
* Japan’s economy continues to contract in December, PMI data shows
* UK economy growing slightly via December PMI survey data
* Will the Fed change its bond-buying program in today’s policy meeting?
* NY Fed Mfg Index in Dec continues to post moderate growth
* US industrial output growth slowed in November, rising 0.4%:
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