- The Reserve Bank of Australia frequently seeks feedback on the health of the economy. It might want to call the debt counselors soon. Homeowners, consumers and property investors around Australia are making more calls to financial helplines as three warning signs back up the spike in demand: mortgage arrears are creeping up, lenders’ bad debt provisions have increased and personal insolvencies are near an all-time high. “Its steadily out of control -- I don’t know of too many financial counseling services where demand doesn’t exceed supply,” said Fiona Guthrie, chief executive officer of Financial Counselling Australia, who says the biggest increase in calls is from people suffering mortgage stress. “There are more people who have got mortgages that they can’t afford to pay.”
- German industrial production unexpectedly fell in December as the timing of Christmas holidays damped manufacturing and construction. Output, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, dropped 3 percent from November, when it advanced a revised 0.5 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said on Tuesday. The volatile indicator’s worst reading since early 2009 compares with a median estimate for a 0.3 percent increase in a Bloomberg survey. Production was down 0.7 percent from a year earlier.
European stocks advanced as the FTSE 250 Index of midcaps jumped to record close and real estate companies gained. Property companies were buoyed as bonds rallied across Europe and lifted shares that are bought as proxies for fixed income. The effect hurt banking shares, which retreated for a second day along with German debt yields, amid simmering worries over Europe’s political risks, and after BNP Paribas’s results missed estimates. The U.K.’s FTSE 250 climbed 1 percent to an all-time high. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed 0.3 percent higher, with the property sector gaining 1.7 percent.
- Bond Bear Market Is Still on Hold as Four Indicators Flash Green.
- Illinois’s failure to resolve the nearly two-year political impasse over the budget could trigger further cuts to its bond rating, which is already the lowest among U.S. states, S&P Global Ratings said. The report from the company comes as lawmakers weigh measures that would raise taxes, cut pension costs and borrow to cover a backlog of unpaid bills. The bi-partisan plan, put together by the leaders of the Senate, could stop the state’s rating from slipping further, though any upgrade wouldn’t happen during the next two years, S&P said.
- Nuclear power providers, battered by low prices and competition from cheap natural gas, say they can help President Donald Trump fulfill a campaign promise to put more people to work.
Wall Street Journal:
- GOP Plan to Overhaul Tax Code Gets Held Up at the Border. Linchpin of potential legislation is a concept known as ‘border adjustment,’ which is splitting the business world into competing camps.
- Mexico Is Key Cog in GM’s(GM) Profit Machine. A move to tax imports would wipe out a significant share of auto maker’s North America margins.
- Big Investors Cut Back on Commercial Property as Bull Market Loses Steam. Lofty prices, recent rise in interest rates among reasons for investors’ caution.
- Houses are the least affordable they've been in seven years: Here's why. (video)
- Here's where the big tech companies are taking us in 2017.
- Don't give up on the Trump trade yet, analyst says; 5 stocks that will rally on tax plan.
- Paul Ryan says Obamacare replacement bill will be completed this year.
- "There's A Global Riot Against Psuedo-Experts" Nassim Taleb Exclaims "This Is Not About Fascism".
- US Economic Confidence Surges To Highest Level Ever Recorded By Gallup. (graph)
- Trump: We're Going To Take It To The Supreme Court. (video)
- 55% Of Europeans Agree With Trump: "Muslim Immigration Should Be Banned".
- Fed's Kashkari Says "Stock Prices Appear Somewhat Elevated", Explains "What Might Be Wrong". (graph)
- Job Openings Disappoint As Americans Quitting Their Jobs Tumble. (graph)
- Bild Asks "Is Germany Tired Of Merkel?"
- Trump Slams "Haters", Says "I Don't Know Putin", Lashes Out At Obama Deal With "#1 In Terror" Iran.
- French Economic Uncertainty Surges To All-Time Highs. (graph)
- Iran's Ayatollah Vows Retaliation, Says Trump Exposes "Real Face" Of American Moral Corruption.