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'Spending Diet' to Follow Holiday Binge?

The Big Thaw: New York Digs out from Blizzard (NY Post) "The snow may have stopped falling, but the mess continues. A day after the big blizzard socked the city with over 20 inches of snow, both Kennedy and Newark airports are set to reopen at 6 p.m., officials said. Kennedy Airport was closed at 8 p.m. Sunday after thousands of flights had been canceled throughout the day. Newark closed just after 10 p.m. LaGuardia Airport, the smallest of the three major New York City airports, remained closed indefinitely. Hundreds of people were stuck this morning at the three airports."

AIG Secures Private Financing (Wall Street Journal) AIG announced today that is has secured $4.3 billion in financing from commercial banks. The funds will replace money lent by the New York Fed, as AIG prepares t repay its government loans. AIG traded at a 52 week high, flirting with the $60 per share mark in afternoon trading. "The government-controlled insurer said it has established $3 billion in new bank credit facilities, split between a 364-day line and a three-year facility, under which banks have agreed to make loans to AIG. In addition, AIG's property and casualty insurance subsidiary, Chartis Inc., entered into a one-year, $1.3 billion letter of credit facility. The new funding is being provided by 36 banks and will be available to AIG once the company pays down and terminates its secured credit facility from the New York Fed, which was established when the government bailed out the insurer in September 2008. "

Profit Taking in China after Rate Hike by Central Bank (Financial Times) "Year-end profit-taking was the dominant theme in holiday thinned stock markets as China’s decision to raise interest rates last Saturday injected a note of caution into a rally that has taken US and European equities to levels not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. The People’s Bank of China raised its one-year lending and deposit rates by 25 basis points to to 5.81 per cent and 2.75 per cent respectively, the second increase in just over two months, in a bid to rein in accelerating inflation."

'Spending Diet' to Follow Holiday Binge? (CNBC via Reuters) "As U.S. retailers get ready to box up their Christmas decorations after a better-than-expected holiday season, many shoppers plan to join them by putting their wallets back in storage. Consumers hit stores in droves this year and are feeling better about their prospects. But they still confront bleak job prospects and still are trying to pay down their hefty debt loads. That sets the stage for a 'spending diet' come January, which could weigh on U.S. economic growth, since consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy. If gasoline prices—back above $3 a gallon this week even before crude oil hit two-year year highs—continue to rise in 2011, the spending squeeze could be even steeper."

"Treasury Two-Year Yields Near Six-Month High After Government Sale of Debt" (Bloomberg) "Treasury two-year note yields were near a six-month high after the government sold $35 billion of the securities in the first of three note offerings this week totaling $99 billion. Shorter-term debt also dropped before a report tomorrow forecast to show consumer confidence rose this month and after China raised borrowing costs to contain inflation. A winter storm blanketing New York City with 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow slowed trading, investors said."

Wall Street