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Expand chart
Data; Morning Consult; Chart: Axios Visuals

Consumer sentiment has increased consistently since the passage and signing of the latest coronavirus relief bill, new surveys show.

Driving the news: Morning Consult's Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 1.51 points from the prior week to 87.74.

Watch this space: "The second coronavirus relief package, which President Donald Trump signed into law on Dec. 27, had a more immediate positive impact on consumer confidence than the CARES Act in March 2020, even though the $600 stimulus checks are roughly half the size of what was included in the first aid bill," Morning Consult economist John Leer noted in an email.

  • "One reason for the more immediate impact is that the Treasury Department deposited and sent stimulus checks much faster this time because the agency already had the relevant eligibility and delivery information, meaning consumers can see the money in their bank accounts sooner."

Another confidence reading, the Economic Sentiment Index from data provider CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies continued its upward trend, rising to 48.3, the third straight positive reading.

Details: Confidence in the job market rose the most of all the survey's individual indicators, increasing by 2.7 points to 41.1, and has risen 6.3 points over the past four readings.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

Economic growth is slowly returning

Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's index of real-time data indicators shows the reversal of the economy's progress in late December and early January, but it moved upwards again last week.

Driving the news: Central bankers said the index's rise for the week of Jan. 9 was due to increases in tax withholding, fuel sales and rail traffic, which countered disappointing numbers for initial unemployment insurance claims and a decrease in electricity output.

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.