• Federal Reserve points to interest rate hike coming in March. With inflation well above 2% and a strong labor market, the Committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate. In addition, the committee noted the central bank’s monthly bond-buying will proceed at just $30 billion in February. Read more here.

  • Chips are in dangerously low supply. Semiconductor inventories at manufacturers that need the chips fell to a handful of days last year, and respondents to a recent Department of Commerce survey don’t see shortages going away in the next six months. Manufacturers had a median semiconductor inventory of five days in 2021, down from 40 days in 2019. Read more here.

  • Toshiba and Samsung plants resume operations sending positive signals on chip production. The decisions will go some way to alleviate the current global shortage of semiconductors, but most industry players expect supply difficulties to last throughout 2022. A top executive of Germany-based Infineon said this week that he expects the last of the issues to be resolved in 2023.

  • Mortgage refinance demand plunges 13% as interest rates climb toward two-year high. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) increased to 3.72% from 3.64%. Refinance applications fell 13% for the week and were 53% lower year over year. Mortgage applications to purchase a home dropped just 2% for the week and were 11% lower than a year ago. Read more here.

  • New-home sales surge higher as supply shrinks. It increased almost 12% to an annual rate of 811,000 in December, the government said Wednesday. The surge in sales reinforced the report on new-home construction released earlier this month, suggesting that home builders have a captive audience of buyers eager to scoop up their properties. Read more here.


  • Mark Zuckerberg’s botched cryptocurrency project is reportedly for sale. The Diem Association, which oversees the development of the Diem digital currency, is considering a sale of its assets. Diem is reportedly in talks now with investment bankers about the next steps, including how to sell its intellectual property, in an effort to capture whatever value is left.

  • Meta Platforms is building an AI supercomputer—poised to become the world’s fastest of its kind, Meta claims. Dubbed the AI Research SuperCluster, the system’s processing power is on par with the world’s fifth-fastest supercomputer, but by July, Meta plans to increase its GPUs from 6,080 to 16,000. The company’s metaverse focus goes hand in hand with its new project since RSC has been designed for a slew of future-focused tasks.

  • Walmart Inc.’s financial-technology venture agreed to buy two small companies and rebrand itself in a step toward providing an app that enables customers to save, borrow and receive money. The moves signal an acceleration in Walmart’s plans to shake up the banking world by offering tech-driven financial services to its 1.6 million U.S. employees and more than 100 million weekly shoppers. The venture, Hazel, will acquire fintech platforms Even and ONE and will operate under the ONE brand name.

  • Bentley to invest $3.4 billion to exclusively offer EVs by 2030. The investment will include significant upgrades to Bentley's historic plant manufacturing campus in England. Bentley's first all-electric vehicle is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2025. Bentley will lean on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in its transition to all-electric and plans to exclusively offer electrified models by 2026. Read more here.

  • 7-Eleven owner faces investor calls to split up. Frustrated investors want 7-Elevens parent company Seven & i to split off some of its businesses. What they want to see is basically the company to focus on its growth area. Now, three of the company’s biggest shareholders, including the US hedge fund Third Point, are considering bringing proposals for restructuring. Source(4:06)
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