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European Central Bank in Spotlight

International investors are the most bullish they've been on the U.S. markets in more than five years according to Bloomberg. The poll says 54% of subscribers say the US will be among the markets offering the best returns over the next year. That's a five-point jump from the previous poll in November and the highest rating for any country since the survey began in October 2009.

Groundbreaking for US single-family homes rose in December to the highest level in more than 6-1/2 years and permits surged. Single-family housing starts, the largest part of the market, jumped 7.2% to an annual pace of 728,000-units - the highest level since March 2008. (Reuters)

Where did that gas savings go? Consumers increased their gas consumption by 6%, but even with that 2-gallon-per-month increase, the cost savings were real, $18 per month. That $18 did not go to  savings. Cardlytics' data showed overall spending was up 2.3%, with a 5.3% increase just in retail and restaurants. Consumers spent more in total even after spending all of their gas savings. The $18 in gas savings was more than offset by a $45 jump in all other spending. (CNBC)

Melvin Gordon, CEO of Tootsie Roll Industries recently died at age 95. He ran the company, with a $1.2 billion market cap, for 53 years. The company's other brands include DOTS, Charms, Junior Mints, Sugar Daddy and Charleston Chew. (AP)
 

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