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Gold mining companies are on the list of industries wary of spending in this economy.

The big picture: The trade war has dented CEO confidence and many companies are holding off on capital expenditures and large investments, but gold mining companies have typically splurged when prices of the precious metal have risen.

What's happening: Gold prices rose to a 2-week high on Monday, as the awful manufacturing and growth numbers from the eurozone urged investors to buy safe-haven assets, and the commodity is again rising toward an all-time high. But gold mining companies are being cautious. WSJ's Alistair MacDonald writes...

  • "Gold miners say they aren’t planning the same sort of megaprojects and acquisition sprees that characterized the last ramp up in prices in the years ahead of 2011. Instead, wary of volatile prices, they plan to pay down debt and return money to shareholders."
  • "Many companies, including the world’s largest gold miner, Newmont Goldcorp Corp., say they will only approve new projects if they can make money with gold at $1,200, about 20% below where the metal currently trades."
  • "Gold prices also have spent the majority of the eight years since 2011’s bust trading above that level, underscoring how conservative companies have become."

Go deeper: Central banks want more gold, fewer dollars

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.