economic performance

'The housing market is set for a sustained softening': New-home construction falters, even as builders secure more permits

‘The housing market is set for a sustained softening’: New-home construction falters, even as builders secure more permits

The numbers: U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.64 million in January, representing a roughly 4% decrease from the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday. Compared with January 2021, however, housing starts were up nearly 1%. Permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual …

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Emboldened by a hot property market, sellers push real-estate agents to lower commission fees

Emboldened by a hot property market, sellers push real-estate agents to lower commission fees

It’s a seller’s market. And that might be bad news for real-estate agents who represent home buyers. A new report from real-estate brokerage company Redfin RDFN, +0.43% shows that buyers’ agent fees changing have dropped considerably. The average commission rate for these agents was 2.63% of the sales price of a home as of the …

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Slow start, bigger finish: Here's the latest thinking about Fed's rate-hike path after strong January jobs report

Slow start, bigger finish: Here’s the latest thinking about Fed’s rate-hike path after strong January jobs report

All week, economists had talked themselves into expecting a weak January jobs. So they were startled by the across-the-board strength of the report, with almost 500,000 jobs added, solid wage gains, and increase in the crucial measure of workers who are participating in the labor market. Read: Job gains in January were triple economists’ estimates …

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Inflation will hurt both stocks and bonds, so you need to rethink how you'll hedge risks

Inflation will hurt both stocks and bonds, so you need to rethink how you’ll hedge risks

NEW YORK (Project Syndicate)—Rising inflation in the United States and around the world is forcing investors to assess the likely effects on both “risky” assets (generally stocks) and “safe” assets (such as U.S. Treasury bonds). The traditional investment advice is to allocate wealth according to the 60/40 rule: 60% of one’s portfolio should be in higher-return but more …

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Biden's in a race against time to get his presidency on track after his first year in office

Biden’s in a race against time to get his presidency on track after his first year in office

You know things are bad for President Biden when liberal columnists criticize him, and when the administration itself complains about media coverage and the polls. Presidents love polls when the numbers are good, but when they’re not, they’re either “fake,” as Donald Trump complained, or the methodology is faulty, as Biden staffers say now. When presidents — …

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U.S. jobless claims jump to highest level since mid-November

U.S. jobless claims jump to highest level since mid-November

The numbers: Initial jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 230,000 in the week ended Jan. 8, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.  It’s the highest level since mid-November. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would slip to 200,000. Key details: The number of people already collecting jobless benefits plunged by 194,000 …

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'Frankly, I'm surprised by how little yields moved' since Fed minutes, with the jobs report looming

‘Frankly, I’m surprised by how little yields moved’ since Fed minutes, with the jobs report looming

In a somewhat sedate next-day reaction to the Federal Reserve’s December meeting minutes, bond traders took in the notion of a more aggressive Federal Reserve prepared to swiftly abandon easy policy. The rather ho-hum response could be seen in Thursday’s modest Treasury selloff, which sent yields up by only a handful of basis points or …

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