Thursday, December 18, 2014

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | U.S. jobless claims fall 6,000 to 289,000 in mid-December
The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 289,000 in the seven days ended Dec. 13, keeping initial jobless claims at a low level typically associated with strong hiring.
Market Watch | Google is now bigger than Mother Russia’s entire market
Americans hardly had time to savor the schadenfreude of Vladimir Putin’s financial Chernobyl before North Korea managed to flip the script on the evil Yankee imperialists, it appears.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Trade Will Lead to Freedom
President Obama’s announcement that he wants to restore diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba immediately brings up the U.S. trade embargo of that country. Mr. Obama and the new Republican Congress now have a historic opportunity to lift the embargo.

Health Care

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | Time to Start Prepping ObamaCare Reforms
The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments in King v. Burwell next year poses an enormous danger to ObamaCare, but it also presents an urgent challenge to the law’s opponents. The outcome might result in many thousands of residents in more than half the states being unable to afford health insurance. The next Congress must be ready to respond with a consumer-oriented health reform. That means preparing now.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Wall Street Journal | Fed Sets Stage for Rate Hikes in 2015
The Federal Reserve took a delicate step toward raising short-term interest rates in 2015, but at the same time exposed its skittishness about signaling a historic move away from easy-money policies in place since the global financial crisis.

Employment

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Jobless claims still signal strong U.S. hiring
The number of people who applied for new unemployment benefits in mid-December remained below 300,000, a level typically associated with strong hiring.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

General Economics

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | U.S. consumer prices post biggest drop in six years
U.S. consumer prices fell in November by the largest amount in six years, a bonanza stemming from plunging oil prices that also boosted inflation-adjusted worker pay. The consumer price index declined by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in November, the largest drop since December 2008.

Econ Comments & Analysis                                                                                            
Wall Street Journal | U.S. Economics Team Has Deep Bench in Handling Russia Crises
With Russia’s economy on the brink of collapse, the White House, Treasury Department, and Federal Reserve have a number of senior officials with deep experience to draw from, having worked closely during the Clinton administration to deal with Russia’s 1998 default.

Blogs                                                                                                                             
Wall Street Journal | Oil’s Plunge Is Pushing Mortgage Rates Down
Low oil prices may offer a hidden gift to consumers beyond the gas pump: They could also indirectly support lower mortgage rates.

Monetary

News                                                                                                                             
Market Watch | Now it’s the Fed’s turn to pour grease on the market fire
Traders have spent much of 2014 kvetching about a lack of volatility in the market. Well, kvetch no more. After a November snooze that saw major indexes barely budge for weeks on end, markets have suddenly become as volatile as a blotto Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah.
Market Watch | Low-rate pledge may stay in Fed statement
Despite widespread reports to the contrary, the Federal Reserve might retain its policy-statement pledge to the market that it will wait a “considerable time” before hiking interest rates.