Big in Business: Janet Yellen faces Congress
Janet Yellen begins today the first of two days of testimony before the new Congress, where she will likely be asked to defend the Fed's interest rate policy and the central bank's record on banking regulation. She'll be coy concerning the next rate hike, but offer a full-throated defense of Dodd-Frank. Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Economics also predicts Yellen will "gently suggest" that fiscal stimulus is not needed, an argument sure to warm the hearts of budget hawks.
Wilbur Ross doesn't divest: The billionaire, incoming Commerce Secretary has declined to divest himself of interest in 11 different companies, though he is selling his ownership in 80 more, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ownership stakes he is retaining however, have already prompted conflict-of-interest accusations. For instance, Ross will retain ownership of shipping concerns, even though the Commerce Secretary has broad powers over issues like international trade, which greatly affect industry profits.
S&P 500 cracks $20 trillion: The overall value of the S&P 500 grew to more than $20 trillion for the first time ever Monday — driven by a combination monetary stimulus, a stable recovery, optimism about the American economy, and solid corporate profits. Investors, however, should use the occasion to question whether the market has gotten ahead of itself, given the many risks—like the threat of trade wars—loom over the global economy.