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  • Fed staffers say life insurers have leveraged up and are vulnerable to risks from the corporate sector

    A new research paper from Federal Reserve staffers finds U.S. life insurers have taken on the risks in private debt largely ceded by banks after the 2008 financial crisis. These insurers, who are sparsely regulated at the federal level, have deployed "complex on- and off-balance sheet arrangements" to deploy "vast amounts of annuity capital" investing in private debt, according to the paper. "Within ten years, the U.S. life insurance industry has grown into one of the largest private...

  • Chip-related ETFs jump to records as Nvidia's stock soars on analyst's upgrade

    Exchange-traded funds that track the semiconductor sector were surging to all-time highs Wednesday afternoon after Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), one of the biggest holdings in many semiconductor funds, surged 5.4%. The biggest such fund, iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF, which tracks the PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index, was up 2.6%, with Nvidia (NVDA) representing the top holding of the fund at 8.1%, according to FactSet data. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH), meanwhile, was rising 2.5%, trading at a...

  • Here's why investors are shrugging off coronavirus earnings warnings

    "Earnings don't move the overall market, it's the Federal Reserve Board... focus on the central banks, and focus on the movement of liquidity... most people in the market are looking for earnings and conventional measures. It's liquidity that moves markets. " That was famed investor Stanley Druckenmiller, speaking in 2015 about the most important lessons he'd learned throughout his career.

  • Compared With Boeing, Even Airbus's Year Looks Smooth

    The old Oscar Wilde dictum is that "there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." Unless, of course, you are competing in a duopoly with Boeing (BA). On Thursday, European plane maker Airbus reported a net loss for 2019. That was mostly due to a EUR3.6 billion provision to cover the settlement of corruption probes by U.S., U.K. and French authorities earlier this year.

  • More employees are filing retaliation charges -- here's what every whistleblower should know

    Reporting your boss for being a bully or a bad manager does not qualify as a protected activity under the law, experts say. Sometimes, revenge is a dish served at work. Retaliation charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continued their upward climb last year, with the 39,110 charges making up 53.8% of all charges filed with the EEOC in fiscal year 2019, according to data published last month.

  • Home permits soar to highest level in 13 years in January, even as new construction dips slightly

    'Mortgage rates should remain low for some time,' says Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. The numbers: Builders started construction on new homes in the U.S. at a pace of 1.57 million in January, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. This represented a 3.6% decrease from a revised 1.63 million in December, but was 21.4% higher than a year ago.

  • U.S. wholesale prices surge in January, but it's probably a false alarm

    Producer-price index has risen a 2.1% in the past year. The numbers: The wholesale cost of U.S. goods and services posted the sharpest increase in January in 15 months, but most of the uptick appeared to reflect temporary price swings instead of an underlying increase in inflation. The producer-price index jumped 0.5% last month, marking the largest gain since the fall of 2018. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.2% advance.

  • Here's the segment of the economy that may benefit from fears of coronavirus, analysts say

    Housing has long been known as making up 15% of the economy but its importance may be more fundamental than that. As the COVID-19 spreads and the patient count and death toll grow, economists are slashing their once-rosy expectations for global growth in 2020.. But amid the anxiety, there's one bright spot in the U.S. that is likely to be immune from the virus fallout.

  • It's Michael Milken's World. The Rest of Us Just Live in It.

    If it weren't for Michael Milken, who was pardoned Tuesday by President Donald Trump, it is unlikely there would be a Donald Trump, as we know him. It is also unlikely there would be a Michael Bloomberg, as we know him. More important, without Milken--or someone like him--the financialization of the global economy wouldn't have happened.

  • Housing starts dip 3.6% in January, but permits hit 13-year high

    Construction on new homes slipped 3.6% in January, but permits rose to a nearly 13- year high in a sign that builders plan to pick up the pace in the spring. New housing starts slipped as expected last month after a surprising surge at the end of 2019 that pushed housing starts to a 13- year high. Housing starts fell to an annual pace of 1.57 million, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

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