All it took was a little debt ceiling optimism and stocks took off like a Polaris missile yesterday. They’re giving back some gains in the early going today along with crude oil, gold, and silver. Treasuries are lower as well, while the dollar is higher.
On the news front...
Remember how I said yesterday that Wall Street is obsessing over the debt ceiling? Well, sometimes it’s an unhealthy obsession that causes stocks to plunge. Then sometimes it’s a “healthy” obsession that causes the S&P 500 to skyrocket. Comments from President Biden ahead of a trip to Japan for economic talks ignited optimism about avoiding default, and the rest is history. At least, until the next round of bad headlines!
On the housing front, mortgage rates have been creeping up again. The average 30-year fixed rate hit 6.57% in the most recent week, helping push purchase and refinance applications lower, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. At the same time, the supply of homes available for purchase remains extremely low. March inventory was down roughly 50% from customary springtime levels in the pre-pandemic days.
First came the optimism about what generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) could mean for the technology sector and society as a whole. Then came the worries about how AI could contribute to “deepfake” production and fuel societal dysfunction.
Now, select entrepreneurs are fighting back by creating tools and technologies to spot deepfakes created with the help of AI tech. The idea is to give readers, watchers, and viewers a way to identify whether digital photographs, text, or videos are authentic...or fake.
Finally, the future of the social media app TikTok remains in flux. Montana became the first US state to attempt to ban the platform, which is owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd. The ban will face intense legal challenges, and the language in the legislation leaves a lot of open questions. But it comes as the federal government is also looking to push TikTok out of the US market amid data security worries.