Richard Drew / AP

China's holdings fall to lowest levels since 2010

The latest evidence that China is working hard to drive up the value of its currency is new data showing that the PRC sold $66 billion in U.S. Treasuries in November.

Selling of dollar-denominated assets drives up the value of China's renminbi relative to the dollar, and also encourages Chinese citizens to keep their wealth in the country.

Why it matters: Countries like China don't buy American debt to exert control over the U.S., as politicians like to claim, but to manage their domestic economies. As China continues to try to rebalance its economy away from exports to consumer spending, expect its holdings to continue to fall.

Stock analysts are trading positive coverage for access

So says the Wall Street Journal, which published a front-page expose on the relationship between securities firms' research departments and the companies they cover.

In 2003, regulators reached a $1.4 billion settlement with Wall Street firms, after it was revealed that analysts were giving positive coverage to companies in exchange for investment banking deals.

The new game in town is leveraging "buy" ratings to secure face-to-face meetings for securities firms' clients with corporate executives. These meetings are a valuable means for investors to better understand the equities they are buying, and so they are loyal to brokers who can lend this access.

CSX's big day

The biggest winner in trading Thursday was railroad shipping firm CSX, which skyrocketed more than 23% after news of activist interest in the company, led by railroad executive Hunter Harrison.

Why it matters: CSX isn't the poster child of an underperforming company that needs an outside investor to shake it up — the stock is up more than 620% since 2003. Investors jumped on the stock due to the belief that Harrison would agitate for CSX to merge with one of its rivals.

Like other major industries in America, freight rail has seen tremendous consolidation over the past 30 years. A regulatory and public relations battle over whether the country should tolerate further consolidation and higher prices in freight rail will be just a preview of similar debates in other industries.

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Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 20,014,574 — Total deaths: 734,755 — Total recoveries — 12,222,744Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 5,089,416 — Total deaths: 163,425 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Trump admin: Jimmy Lai's arrest marks Beijing's "latest violation" on Hong Kong

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong in June. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement Monday night the Trump administration is "deeply troubled" by the arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai on suspicion of "collusion with foreign powers."

Why it matters: The arrest Monday of the most prominent person under the new national security law that gives Beijing more powers over the former British colony comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.

A big hiring pledge from New York CEOs

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Leaders of more than two dozen of the New York City area's largest employers — including JPMorgan Chase, Ernst & Young, IBM, McKinsey & Company and Accenture — aim to hire 100,000 low-income residents and people of color by 2030 and will help prep them for tech jobs.

Why it matters: As the city's economy has boomed, many New Yorkers have been left behind — particularly during the pandemic. The hiring initiative marks an unusual pact among firms, some of them competitors, to address systemic unemployment.