Precious metals gave back modest overnight gains early this morning, in the wake of a report that small business optimism in the US rose to an all-time high in January. Markets reversed later with spot gold and spot silver rebounding to near daily highs.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses reported this morning that small business optimism in January rose to 106.9 from 104.9 in December, reaching an all-time high. The buoyant sentiment came from positive feelings regarding the Trump Administration’s tax cuts and deregulation, even if their businesses would not see a large effect from the policies.
The largest concern among those small businesses polled was finding enough qualified workers to fill empty positions, and the rising costs of attracting the right people.
Belying this optimism was this morning;s Johnson Redbook retail sales report. Sales for the week ending February 10th rose at a 2.8% rate, year over year. This was -0.2% lower than the previous week, and marked the third straight week of declines.
Treasury yields are backing off recent highs today, with the yield on the 10-year note trading at 2.5%. Yields yesterday hit a four-year high of 2.89%.
Wall St. Attempts To Hang On
Stocks opened lower this morning, endangering their two-day rally. The Dow opened 160 points in the red, but has managed to trim that loss to 40 points. The S&P 500 is oscillating between 10 and 15 points in negative territory, while the Nasdaq has managed a late-morning break into the green.
Trump Budget Faces Resistance in Congress
The Trump Administration has sent its proposed budget to Capitol Hill. it calls for nearly doubling the national deficit, setting up a battle with fiscal conservatives in both houses of Congress. The proposed budget also reneges of Trump’s campaign promise not to cut Medicare for the elderly, while greatly increasing money for the military. This ensures opposition from Democrats, and Republicans from districts with a large elderly population.
The budget proposal also calls for $23 billion to be spent on border security, most of which will be spent on beginning the wall at the Mexican border. It also calls for the hiring of 2,000 additional immigration agents.
Washington Terror Attack Targets Trump Jr.
An envelope filled with white powder was mailed to President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, yesterday. Trump’s wife, Vanessa, opened the envelope. She was rushed to the hospital. Authorities later declared the powder harmless, but the perpetrator will still be charged under domestic terrorism statutes if caught.
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