Macro Briefing: 3 January 2024

* Top Hamas leader killed in Beirut, raising fears of wider war in Middle East
* Maersk halts Red Sea shipping after Houthi militant attack
* US national debt rises to record $34 trillion
* US corporate profit growth set to accelerate in 2024, analysts predict
* Global manufacturing sector continued to contract modestly in December
* US construction spending rose for 11th straight month in November
* US manufacturing output remained weak in December via PMI survey data:

US stock market pulls back, trading just below record high set in Jan. 2022, reviving debate about whether equities are in a trading range or a new bull market. “Considering the powerful rally that stocks stateside have had from a low since October 27, it should come as no surprise that traders and investors needed to take the opportunity to assess a move from the October low through last Friday,” advise strategists led by John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist and managing director at Oppenheimer. “It’s not uncommon for markets to pause to digest a bull run of the magnitude experienced in the fourth quarter just ended,” they wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday (Jan. 2).

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