House moving ahead with stopgap spending bill | Sessions orders new look at Uranium One deal Getty Images House Speaker Paul Ryan plans to bring a short-term government funding bill to the House floor Thursday. House Speaker Paul Ryan and his top lieutenants plan to bring a short-term government funding bill to the House floor Thursday, in hopes of averting a shutdown at the end of the week.
As Politico reports, Republican leaders are betting their conference doesn’t want to trample on its tax victory by shutting down federal agencies. If the House passes the funding patch Thursday, the Senate will move on it as quickly as possible, GOP aides told Politico. The plan would fund the government through Jan. 19.
Freedom Caucus chairman: no shutdown: The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, meanwhile, told CNN Thursday morning negotiations were still ongoing but sounded optimistic.
“All of those viewers that are looking and talking about a shutdown right now really need to be assured..Read More →

U.S. life expectancy has declined again because of opioids Drug-overdose deaths drove a decline in U.S. life expectancy in 2016 for the second year in a row—the first consecutive-year fall since the early 1960s.
Deaths from drug overdoses surged 21% to more than 63,600 in 2016, spurred by widespread black-market availability of deadly synthetic opioids including fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those deaths were the main factor causing life expectancy for Americans born in 2016 to fall to 78.6 years, from 78.7 and 78.9 in the two previous years, CDC officials said.
The last time the U.S. experienced a back-to-back fall in life expectancy, in 1962 and 1963, a bad flu season was to blame, Bob Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, said in an interview. The previous consecutive-year decline was in 1925-26, which was likely due to infectious disease, he said.
An expanded version of this report appear..Read More →

Philly Fed index shows accelerating factory momentum in December The numbers: The Philadelphia Fed’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey jumped to a reading of 26.2 in December from 22.7, beating the consensus forecast of a slight downtick to 21.8.
What happened: Factory conditions in the mid-Atlantic are improving. In an index like this one, any reading over zero signals improvement, so December’s reading shows acceleration.
The new orders gauge of the index surged to 29.8 from 21.4, a positive signal about future activity. Shipments also rose. While survey respondents “continued to report increases in employment,” according to the release, two measures showed slower rates of growth: the gauge of the number of employees slipped to 18.1 from 22.6, and the workweek index hit 10.6, down from 13.7.
The big picture: An improving overseas economy is stoking demand for American businesses, and sentiment has been boosted by the promise of a tax cut. The New York Fed’s Empire State index..Read More →

Gold drifts near 2-week high as stocks churn, dollar slips Gold prices slipped but still churned near a two-week high Thursday, reflecting a pause for stocks and the dollar as markets looked past a new U.S. tax bill.
Financial markets around the globe largely put up a muted response on Thursday to the passage a day earlier of U.S. tax cuts with potential benefits to company bottom lines. The long-anticipated tax change was mostly priced in.
A flurry of economic data lies ahead Thursday, including revised GDP figures, jobless claims and regional growth snapshots, all are reports that could fill in some forecasting gaps as markets look ahead to an expected string of gold-negative interest-rate hikes next year.
Ahead of the data, February gold GCG8, -0.03% the most active contract on Comex, fell $1, or less than 0.1%, to $1,268.70 an ounce. Breaking with futures, the SPDR Gold Trust GLD, +0.27% was up modestly premarket after hitting its lowest level since early September earlier thi..Read More →