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Friday, February 02, 2018

The spread between longer-dated U.S. Treasury yields and short-dated ones contracted to the slimmest in over a decade on Wednesday as the government favored selling more short-dated debt than longer-dated issues to finance the projected rise in its budget deficit. The yield curve also flattened as the Federal Reserve bolstered the notion it would raise key borrowing costs at least three times in 2018 on an expected pickup in inflation. "We are big advocates of the flattener trade," said Mark Lindbloom, portfolio manager at Western Asset Management Co. in Pasadena, California with $442 billion in assets. The yield curve has further room to flatten longer term with intermittent bouts of steepening, Lindbloom said. Month-end purchases of longer-dated Treasuries was another factor that flattened the yield curve as investors reallocated money into bonds from stocks after the S&P 500 index recorded its best month since March 2016. read more


Thursday, February 01, 2018

The ink was barely dry on the $1.5 trillion tax cut Congress passed last month when President Donald Trump began crowing about its successes. Last week, he bragged at both the American Farm Bureau's annual convention and a Cabinet meeting about companies that had already paid their workers bonuses because of it. "Nobody thought about it," he said last Wednesday. "We just knew a lot of good things were going to happen." Congressional Republicans have taken their own victory laps. Last Thursday, just minutes after Wal-Mart announced it was raising its hourly wage from $10 to $11, Speaker Paul Ryan's office blasted out a press release promoting the news; House Republicans launched a website, titled "Tax Reform Works," tracking new wage hikes and investments. read more


The top Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate told the state's Supreme Court on Wednesday that he is refusing to follow a court order asking lawmakers to turn over data to help correct a gerrymandered congressional map. The letter from Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati was the latest move Republicans have made to slow down the process of redrawing the congressional map, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled was in violation of the state constitution earlier this month. The court is giving lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) until Feb. 15 to come up with a new map. If they can't agree on one by then, the court has appointed a special master to get one in place so that the state's scheduled election primaries can run smoothly. To help the special master draw a map, the court asked lawmakers to provide data on Pennsylvania municipalities and precincts by noon on Wednesday. read more


The Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday that the deadline for raising the federal debt ceiling will fall in the first half of March, moving up the estimated date because of the revenue lost from the Republican-passed tax cuts. Previously, the budget office had projected that the debt ceiling would become binding in late March or early April. But because the new withholding tables for the lower tax rates are being phased in, the Treasury can expect "roughly $10 billion to $15 billion per month less," the CBO said. The agency provides budgetary and economic analysis to Congress. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress late Tuesday that he could move around accounts long enough to pay bills through February and called on lawmakers to quickly raise the debt limit. read more


Monday, January 29, 2018

BREAKING: Andrew McCabe has stepped down effective today as FBI deputy director, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell @ NBC News


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