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The number of mortgage originations reached a record high in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.Credit…Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

According to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, US families are taking advantage of historically low interest rates by refinancing or buying their homes.

The volume of new mortgages reached a record high in the fourth quarter of 2020, surpassing the record set in 2003, excluding inflation, the New York Fed said in its latest household debt report and accompanying blog post. This boom in the mid-2000s has since been accused of pushing households heavily into debt and contributing to the pain of the 2007 housing crisis. But Fed researchers have noted that today’s rise looks different.

This time around, both lenders and borrowers seem to be more cautious, with households with impeccable financial histories borrowing or refinancing the most. More than 70 percent of revenues in the fourth quarter of 2020 came from borrowers with credit ratings above 760, the researchers noted.

Although the two mortgage bulges are similar in size, their composition is quite different, they write. It is also difficult to properly compare performance over time, as rising property prices mean that growth cannot be compared with apples.

Nevertheless, the trend has undoubtedly strengthened this year and reached a high level, the article said.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of mortgages used to buy a home rose sharply, with first-time buyers and ordinary people borrowing at similar rates. Researchers note that even new borrowers appear more financially stable today than in the mid-2000s, when the housing boom began.

Refinancing has also been accelerated. This also applies to refinancing with cash withdrawals, where borrowers top up their home loan and contribute some of their own money with their own money.

In 2020, this practice increased sharply, with borrowers withdrawing $188 billion in equity during the year, up from just $119 billion the year before, although the amount of refinancing through withdrawals is still much lower than in 2003-2006 and most was done in small tranches.

At least half of the transferees borrowed extra money just to cover the cost of taking out a new mortgage, they said.

According to Fed researchers, the data generally paints a picture of a booming mortgage market, but with different – and apparently more stable – underlying characteristics than those that led to the 2007 bankruptcy.

News Corp, publisher of The Wall Street Journal and The Australian, has long been a critic of Google.Credit…Lucas Jackson/Reuters

News Corp said Wednesday that Google has agreed to pay a substantial sum to publish the newspaper publisher’s news content, marking a breakthrough in a dispute that dates back to the search engine’s early days.

The three-year global agreement comes as Australia prepares to pass landmark legislation requiring internet platforms to pay for information. Google has made deals with other media companies in recent days to ensure that the information remains on its services, but News Corp, which has long been critical of the search giant and is the publisher of The Wall Street Journal and The Australian, has stood firm.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has sharply criticised the fact that news organisations are not fairly compensated for content that helps generate advertising revenue for Google.

According to Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, the deal will have a positive impact on journalism around the world. The exact financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to News Corp, the deal also includes the development of a subscription platform, the sharing of advertising revenue from Google’s technology services and an investment in video journalism by Google’s subsidiary, YouTube.

Don Harrison, president of Google Global Partnerships, said the company has been investing in supporting news organizations for years. We hope to announce an even larger partnership soon, he said.

Senator Elizabeth Warren asked a question about the trading practices of Robinhood, a stock trading platform…Andrew Harnick/Associated Press

Robinhood answered a long list of questions from Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, about its business practices and what went wrong in the midst of the so-called stock mania itself. DealBook’s newsletter was first published Wednesday, with 195 pages of responses from dealers.

The Q&A suggests that Ms. Warren is likely to focus on the work of the Senate Banking Commission, of which she is a member, which reviews high-tech companies and lobbies for securities regulation. In addition, the back-and-forth serves as a preview of the issues to be expected at Thursday’s House hearing on the lunatic market, which will also be attended by Vlad Tenyev, Robinhood’s executive director.

The letter to Ms. Warren de Robinhood reiterates the company’s earlier comments about capital restrictions that forced it to stop trading certain stocks in the context of a trading frenzy for GameStop, AMC and other stocks.

Robinhood’s answers left some questions unanswered about its relationship with market maker Citadel Securities. Under pressure from Ms. Warren, Robinhood stated that it did not share customer order data with firms such as Citadel Securities, although it did not say what was included in those orders. Asked about the amount of its profits with Citadel Securities and other financial firms, Robinhood invoked the disclosure of contractual payments in the order flow. Kenneth C. Griffin, director of the Citadel hedge fund, will also testify Thursday at a House hearing.

Robinhood also responded to Ms. Warren’s questions about its use of binding arbitration agreements, which can deprive a user of the right to pursue legal action. Robinhood, which said it was willing to reconsider its use of arbitration, noted that only one of its 2020 cases resulted in a final award of $0.

Robinhood promised to democratize trading, but hid information about its prerogative to change the rules by canceling transactions without notice – and the inability of customers to file a lawsuit if they think they’ve been scammed – behind dozens of pages of legalized documents, Warren said. It could prompt the Securities and Exchange Commission to ban forced arbitrage practices, investigate the relationship between Robinhood and Citadel Securities, consider raising capital requirements for brokerage firms and clarify its rules on market manipulation.

I will continue to urge regulators to use all of their regulatory tools to ensure that our markets operate fairly, particularly for the benefit of retail investors, Ms Warren said.

Carlyle Group’s diversity efforts are part of an integrated approach to building better companies, Carlyle CEO Lee Cusong said, Credit…Evan Agostini/Invision via Associated Press.

Private equity firm Carlyle Group plans to announce Wednesday a $4.1 billion line of credit for its portfolio companies that ties the price of debt to the diversity of the company’s board of directors, DealBook reported.

Carlisle did not disclose the interest rates on the loans. To help companies increase the diversity of their hires, it will draw on its database of executives and those of partners such as Catalyst and the Hispanic Association of Business Managers.

The three-year facility, which the company says is the largest of its kind in the United States, is part of a comprehensive approach to improving business, said CEO Carlisle Kewsong Lee.

Efforts to use private equity instruments to support diversity initiatives are part of a broader trend of so-called environmental, social and governance investments shifting from equity markets to private equity. Sustainability bond issuance reached a record $732 billion in 2020, up 26% from the previous year.

This credit line is in line with Carlisle’s goal of achieving at least 30% diversity on the boards of its portfolio companies by next year. Nearly 90 percent of companies currently meet the 2016 target of having at least one board member who is a woman or an ethnic minority for U.S. companies or one board member who is a woman for companies outside the United States.

The company says this effort is good for business: In a study of its portfolio companies, Carlyle found that companies with two or more different directors saw a 12% increase in annual revenue compared to companies with fewer different directors.

Carlisle has arranged more than $6 billion in financing related to E.S.G. goals, including loans for Logoplaste, a packaging company related to emissions reduction, Jeanologia, a jeans manufacturer related to water conservation, and Flender, a transmission manufacturer focused on renewable energy. The company estimates that it has saved more than $15 million as a result of these agreements.

Retail and warehousing seem to be showing the strongest growth, perhaps due to the rise of e-commerce.Credit…Benjamin Norman for the New York Times.

The coronavirus crisis may have triggered something that could not have happened in a decade of economic growth: This caused a boom in American entrepreneurship.

The persistent problem with the pre-pandemic economy was the decline in business creation over the course of a decade. Despite the remarkable success achieved in Silicon Valley, the number of American startups is steadily declining.

But in a study released Wednesday, researchers at the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that Americans opened 4.4 million businesses last year, up 24 percent from the previous year. This is by far the largest increase in history.

The 2020 boom contrasts with the last recession, which saw a decline in startup activity, in part because the financial crisis made it harder for potential entrepreneurs to obtain financing. This also distinguishes the United States from other rich countries, where start-up activity has generally declined or increased only slightly over the past year. One likely factor is the trillions of dollars in government support for U.S. households and businesses, far more than was available in previous recessions or in other countries.

This is the first recession in 50 years in which the money supply is larger than before the crisis, said Simeon Dzhankov, one of the report’s authors.

Retail and warehousing appear to be showing the strongest growth, perhaps due to the growth of electronic commerce during the pandemic. There has also been a significant increase in the number of start-ups in the health sector.

The report, which is based on data from the Census Bureau, defines entrepreneurship very broadly, encompassing everything from part-time self-employed individuals to ambitious technology billionaires. Some businesses may just be side projects of people stuck at home during a lockdown.

But the smaller subset of startups that the Census Bureau says will be able to grow will also increase by 15.5%. If even a small fraction of them do well, it could boost employment and productivity in the years ahead, Junkow said.

That’s enough for some to make a breakthrough.

Dallas businesses continued to clean up after this week’s storm, even with a push broom. Natural gas futures fell on Wednesday after rising sharply on Tuesday. linked to the Nitashia Johnson credit for the New York Times.

Inflation expectations in U.S. financial markets are at their highest levels in several years as investors expect a large government spending program to drive up prices amid easy-money policies. This has led to a sharp sell-off in US government bonds in recent days as some investors bet that the Fed may tighten monetary policy sooner than expected. Inflation also reduces the value of bonds over time.

But the dumping of the bonds stopped on Wednesday. The 10-year yield was 1.31%, the highest level in a year. A day earlier, interest rates had risen 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point, the largest one-day increase since March. The 10th. In February it was 1.12%.

Apparently too fast – wrote analysts at ING Bank in a note on the development of bond yields.

They also stress that the Fed should increasingly provide assurances that it will not seek to impose aggressive monetary tightening in the face of accelerating inflation.

The central bank will release the minutes of its January meeting later on Wednesday.

The Biden administration, which is implementing a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, and the Federal Reserve are distancing themselves from the fear of runaway inflation that has plagued some economists since the 1970s, according to a report by Jim Tankersley and Jeanne Smialek.

After years of gloomy inflation forecasts that failed to materialize, fiscal and monetary policymakers in Washington have decided that the risk of overheating the economy is much smaller than the risk of underheating, they write.

The 10-year equilibrium interest rate, a measure of market inflation, was 2.24%, the highest since 2014.

Bond yields rose across Europe, reversing earlier declines. The yield on UK 10-year bonds rose slightly to 0.62%. According to previous data, the year-on-year inflation rate rose in January.

Shares

  • On Wall Street, markets opened lower as investors searched for government bonds. The S&P 500 was trading slightly lower at the start of trading on Wednesday.
  • The European Stoxx 600 fell 0.4%, led by consumer and financial stocks.

Goods

  • Natural gas futures for March delivery fell 2.4%, reversing some of Tuesday’s gains, when the price rose more than 7% due to winter storms in the southern and central states that boosted demand and caused production outages.
  • Oil prices continued to rise. Futures contracts in the U.S. West Texas Intermediate sample rose 0.8 percent to $60.53 a barrel. This week, the price rose above $60 a barrel for the first time in 13 months. A winter storm last weekend also reduced oil production as wells and refineries in Texas shut down due to low temperatures.

Some Americans expecting incentive payments may need to receive them as tax credits on their 2020 tax returns. related to the credit Eric Gay/Presse Associée

The IRS indicates that your premium payment has been mailed, but there is still a chance that you will need to claim the money on your tax return.

The IRS said Tuesday that the payments, including the last check for $600 and the previous check for $1,200, had been issued. Most claimants should have already received their payments, although about 13 million payments were diverted last month and should have been.

However, if you believe you are missing some or all of your payment, you can still get it back through the credit when you file your 2020 tax return. The recapture credit can be found on line 30 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR for 2020.

You may very well be entitled to a larger check than you would have received if your financial situation or status has changed in the past year: The reactivation credit was based on information related to fiscal year 2020, while the final incentive payment was based on information related to fiscal year 2019. (During the initial stimulus audit, the IRS stated that the refund could be used for 2018 if 2019 had not been filed or processed.)

The quickest way to pay back the credit is to file your tax return electronically – and if you make $72,000 or less, you can do so for free with the I.R.S. Free File program.

Since last April, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have made more than 160 million payments to taxpayers totaling more than $270 billion. In the latest phase, which began in early January, the I.R.S. has made more than 147 million payments totaling more than $142 billion.

Ford’s exhibit at the 2019 Frankfurt International Motor Show. Ford plans to spend $1 billion to overhaul its main European plant in Cologne to produce electric cars.Credit…Ronald Wittek/EPA, via Shutterstock

Ford Motor is the latest automaker to accelerate the move to electric vehicles. On Wednesday, he announced that his European division will soon begin phasing out fossil fuel vehicles. By 2026, the company will offer only electric and plug-in hybrid models, and by 2030, all passenger cars will be battery-only.

The plan is part of an effort to keep profits stable in Europe, where Ford has been battling for several years, and to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards in the European Union.

We’re going electric, Stuart Rowley, president of Ford Europe, said at a press conference.

Ford and other automakers are bringing electric cars to market faster in Europe than in the United States. Last year, the European Union began imposing fines on automakers that fail to comply with carbon emission limits to force them to sell more electric cars.

Ford is a relatively small player in Europe, with a 5% share of the passenger car market, but the company plans to spend $1 billion to modernize its main European plant in Cologne to produce electric cars. The first new model is expected to go into production in 2023, Ford said, and will use electric car technology developed by Volkswagen.

Ford has begun selling its battery-powered Mach-E Mustang in Europe and will begin delivering the models to European customers in the coming weeks.

By 2024 all vans and trucks produced by Ford Europe will be electric or plug-in hybrid, and two years later the entire range of vehicles will be electric or plug-in hybrid.

However, Ford will continue to sell gasoline and diesel powered commercial vehicles in Europe in the coming years. According to the company, by 2030, two-thirds of commercial vehicles sold in Europe will be powered by batteries.

There will always be demand for conventional electric cars, Rowley said.

Last month, General Motors said it plans to produce only electric cars by 2035, but G.M. has all but pulled out of Europe. In 2017, the company sold its Opel division to France’s Peugeot SA. Peugeot has recently merged with Fiat Chrysler and is now known as Stellantis.

Jaguar Land Rover announced Monday that by 2030, all of Jaguar’s luxury cars and 60 percent of Land Rover’s luxury SUVs will be powered exclusively by batteries.

Learn how to spot fakes like this. related to Kendrick Brinson credit for The New York Times.

The gold standard of masks was the N95, with its ultra-tight fit. There is also a KN95 model from China that also offers a high level of filtration, but a slightly looser installation.

But a year after the pandemic, it’s still too crazy to buy a heavy and legitimate medical mask online.

Counterfeiters have flooded the market with fake N95 and KN95, even on reliable sites like Amazon.

Brian X Chen recently spent a few hours comparing masks online and learned how to spot fake mask offers and avoid fake reviews.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has summaries of N95 and KN95 masks tested by the agency, indicating make, model number and filtering efficiency. Discover the trade-offs between the two types of masks.
  • Watch out for the Amazon. Saoud Khalifah, founder of FakeSpot, a company that offers tools to detect fake ads and online announcements, said the third-party vendor likely took control of the product ad and sold counterfeit products to make quick money. It’s like the Wild West, he says. You think it’s real, and suddenly you feel sick.
  • Instead, order from a recognized source that can provide proof of authenticity – some manufacturers list the steps to follow to authenticate the mask. Sometimes it is possible to order directly from the manufacturer, but often large quantities must be purchased to keep costs down.

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