December 15, 2016— The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve unanimously voted to raise its target for the federal funds rate on December 14 from a range of 0.25%–0.5% to a range of 0.5%–0.75%. The decision was not a surprise to markets, as the market for fed funds futures had priced in a 100% chance of a hike, up from just a 50% chance in September.
December 14, 2016— U.S. retail sales slowed down for the month of November, but are still on track to add to growth in the fourth quarter. November retail sales increased 0.1% in November from the month prior. This was a more muted increase than the market expectations of a 0.3% increase. Excluding autos and parts purchases, the gain was 0.2%. Importantly, the monthly retail sales change from September to October of this year was revised down from a colossal 0.8% to a still strong 0.6%.
December 12, 2016—The incoming Trump administration is planning to propose a reduction in corporate tax rates in an effort to stimulate U.S. economic growth. We believe that much of the “Trump Rally” since the election can be attributed to his proposed policies which include a likely combination of lower corporate tax rates and infrastructure spending.One item on the tax agenda is a temporary reduction of the corporate tax rate (from 35% to 10%) to U.S.