Editor’s Pick

Weekly mortgage application volume drops 11% as rates spike and Texas power outages hurt demand

Total mortgage application volume fell 11.4% compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.08% from 2.98% last week.
The severe winter weather caused a more than a 40% drop in purchase and refinance applications in Texas last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

Here’s what to expect from Thursday’s GameStop hearing with Robinhood, Citadel and Reddit CEOs

The leaders of Robinhood, Melvin Capital, Reddit and Citadel will testify to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee testimony on Thursday.
Lawmakers will get their chance to grill the executives, as well as the Reddit trading star known as Roaring Kitty, about last month’s GameStop trading turmoil.
The hearing’s topics are expected to include Citadel’s relationship with Robinhood and Melvin Capital, why brokerages shut down trading and how to protect retail investors.

Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan calls for stimulus checks, unemployment support and more

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled the details of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package.
The proposal, titled the American Rescue Plan, includes familiar stimulus measures with the goal of sustaining families and firms until vaccines are widely distributed.
The current plan is the first of two major spending initiatives Biden will seek in the first few months of his presidency.

China gives conditional approval to Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine

The vaccine is the first one approved for general use in China.
The vaccine is an inactivated, two-dose vaccine from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of state-owned conglomerate Sinopharm.
The company announced Wednesday that preliminary data from last-stage trials had shown it to be 79.3% effective.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon says 90% of small businesses have exhausted PPP funds

Goldman has recently surveyed participants of its 10,000 Small Businesses program, a decade-long effort that gives entrepreneurs access to training and capital, Solomon told CNBC.
Small business owners have laid off workers and stopped taking salaries to stay afloat, Solomon said.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett also urged lawmakers to agree on a fresh round of support for small businesses. Buffett, who is co-chair of the Goldman program’s advisory council, has been involved with the small business group since its inaugural class.