Macro Briefing: 28 January 2021

* Biden pauses oil drilling on federal lands amid focus on climate change
* China issues new warning on Taiwan via increasingly belligerent tone
* Sec. of State Antony Blinken criticizes Russia’s treatment of Alexei Navalny
* Biden administration reviewing US weapons sales to Gulf Arab states
* US Q4 growth expected at 4%-plus annual pace in today’s Q4 GDP report
* Wave of US store closures in 2021 due to Covid-19, research group predicts
* Can vaccines eliminate coronavirus? Maybe not
* Fed leaves rates near zero, says economic growth has slowed
* US core capital goods orders rose for eighth straight month in December:

Making Sense Of Diverging Real And Nominal Treasury Yields

The US Treasury market is confused, or so it appears. While nominal yields have been rebounding recently, real (inflation-adjusted) rates keep falling, plumbing deeper into the sub-zero realm. One of these trends will eventually break and fall in line with the other. Which one will cry “uncle” first? The answer probably resides with how the incoming inflation data shakes out in the months ahead.

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Macro Briefing: 27 January 2021

* Senate vote suggests Trump won’t be convicted in impeachment trial
* Surge in household savings point to strong economic recovery this year
* Pfizer is developing booster shot to protect against coronavirus variants
* Biden raises election meddling in call to Russia’s Putin
* Fed expected to maintain its aggressive stimulus at today’s FOMC meeting
* US Consumer Confidence Index rose modestly in January
* German consumer confidence weakens amid new coronavirus restrictions
* Mid-Atlantic manufacturing growth slows in January
* US home prices rose 9.5% year-over-year in November–highest pace in 7 years:

US Economic Rebound Set To Persist In Thursday’s Q4 GDP Report

The government’s initial estimate of fourth quarter economic activity is expected to confirm that the healing continues following last year’s dramatic coronavirus-triggered recession. Although this week’s data will reflect a sharp deceleration in growth from the unusually high increase in Q3, Thursday’s release (Jan. 28) from the Bureau of Economic Analysis is on track to deliver upbeat news.

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Macro Briefing: 26 January 2021

* Janet Yellen confirmed by Senate as Treasury Secretary
* House formally delivers Trump impeachment charge to Senate
* Biden to announce ban on new oil and gas drilling on federal lands
* Minnesota confirms case of more contagious coronavirus variant from Brazil
* Xi’s speech at World Economic Forum highlights US-China challenges
* China says it will conduct military exercises South China Sea this week
* Biden faces challenging balancing act in first call to Russia’s Putin
* Wall Street isn’t worried about sharp rise in federal debt–for now
* Market volatility in 2020 was no threat to index funds, study finds
* Will Fed’s Powell avoid past QE mistakes in the last year of his term?
* US economic growth trend strengthened slightly in December:

Macro Briefing: 25 January 2021

* House prepares to send Trump impeachment charge to Senate
* Biden to impose new int’l travel restrictions to fight new Covid variants
* China provocatively flies warplanes close to Taiwan over the weekend
* China overtook US as top destination for new foreign direct investment in 2020
* Widespread protests in Russia are encouraged by West, Moscow claims
* Mexico’s president contracts the coronavirus, reports mild symptoms
* German business sentiment continues to roll over after 2020 bounce
* US Composite PMI (GDP proxy) reflects solid growth in January:

Book Bits: 23 January 2021

Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots
James Suzman
Review via The New Yorker
In “Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots” (Penguin Press), the South African anthropologist James Suzman, a specialist on the Khoisan peoples, disputes the economic definition of “work.” One culture’s work is another’s leisure; one people’s needs are, to another people, mere wants. Suzman proposes, instead, to define “work” as “purposefully expending energy or effort on a task to achieve a goal or end,” a definition so committed to its universality as to risk becoming meaningless. He insists that the key word here is “purposeful”: to act purposefully is to understand cause and effect. Among the traits that distinguish Homo sapiens from other primates, Suzman argues, is this capacity, which—because of humans’ harnessing of, for instance, fire—makes possible a different relationship to provisioning.

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The ETF Portfolio Strategist: 22 Jan 2021

In this issue:

  • Global stock markets rebound, led by Asia ex-Japan shares
  • Portfolio strategy benchmarks rally
  • Managed risk strategies struggle

The bull market revives: Equity markets around the world closed higher this week. Last week’s stumble inspired a new round of worries, but a lot can change in a week. For now, the bulls show no signs that they’re ready to throw in the towel on the post-coronavirus-crash recovery.

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