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Global oil demand in 2014 will be higher than previously forecast, after consumption in the U.S. rebounded to its strongest level in five years, the International Energy Agency said.

IEA Boosts 2014 Global Oil Demand Forecast on U.S. Recovery – Bloomberg

Nearly 25 years after peaking in 1989 the Nikkei 225 has rediscovered its mojo in a big way. Though it still needs to more than double to get back to its former glory, the index is up 43% for 2013 and nearly 80% over the last two years.

Now Is the Time to Ride the Japanese Stimulus Bubble | Breakout – Yahoo Finance

Spain’s government bonds rose for a fourth day, pushing five-year note yields to the lowest since 2005, as investors purchased the securities before the end of the year amid signs the country’s economy is strengthening.

Spanish Yields Drop to 8-Year Low as Economic Outlook Improves – Bloomberg

Amidst write downs, commodity price drops and lower revenues, gold, silver and copper were the hardest hit metals this year and will continue to struggle in 2014, reveals the latest report published Monday by PwC.

Metals Outlook for 2014: PwC

At least one class of American workers is having a much harder time today than a decade ago, than during the Great Depression and than a century ago: servants. The reason for this, surprisingly enough, is outsourcing. Let me explain.

Is service work today worse than being a household servant? | Al Jazeera America

The growing cries that we’ve reached sentiment or valuation extreme worthy of past tops, or a bubble at its bursting point, seems a bit premature

Liz Ann Sonders: Market Snapshot – Business Insider

The company’s market share rose to 12 percent in October, quadrupling from 3 percent in the previous month, helped by strong sales of the iPhone 5S

Apple’s smartphone market share quadruples in China

While both buybacks and dividends are discretionary spending that a corporation can taper or cut off at any time, repurchases are like casual dating compared to the commitment of ponying up a dividend that comes with the expectation it will continue (and grow).

Value Screen: High Payouts, Low Valuation

Though few have noticed, the federal bureaucracy has already started to shrink. Since mid-2011, federal employment, excluding the postal service, has dropped by 112,000, or about 5.1%. That’s mostly on account of hiring freezes or attrition polices at many agencies.

An Unintended Legacy of Obamacare: Shrinking Government in 2014 | The Exchange – Yahoo Finance

This has been a stunning year, not only in terms of gains for U.S. stocks and the smoothness with which they occurred, but also in terms of market disconnects which are historically abnormal. There are only two other times in history where stocks have acted like they have this year. That alone should give you pause.

Reflecting on being right and being wrong in 2013 – MarketWatch

Stanley Fischer is reportedly slated to be nominated the Fed vice chair, and it’s impossible to think of anyone more qualified for the gig (for any central banking gig, really).

Stanley Fisher’s views on monetary policy | FT Alphaville

But in fact the fed funds rate — the rate at which banks borrow reserves — is around 8 or 9 basis points these days. The reason has to do with who lends the fed funds. It’s not banks: Banks can get 25 basis points, so why settle for 8? A New York Fed blog post last week explains that something like 75 percent of fed funds lending comes from the Federal Home Loan Banks, which aren’t eligible for interest on excess reserves and so have to lend their excess cash in the fed funds market

The Fed Doesn’t Really Trust the Banks Either – Bloomberg

If the first paper is right and the bulk of the issue is offshoring, then everyone can breathe a little easier, as Noah writes. The US can’t again send a big chunk of its supply-chain jobs to China, where productivity-adjusted wages are gaining on those of the US. All that’s left is to wait for the currency adjustment and trade rebalancing to run its course

Technology vs globalisation as cause of the declining labour share | FT Alphaville

While consistency has its charms, the requirement of annual dividend increases over a 25-year period has an interesting consequence: There are no technology companies in the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats.

Anti-Elitism: Beating The Dividend Aristocrats

Presented with no comment (because, quite frankly, none is needed…)

Nope, No Bubbles Anywhere | Zero Hedge

Bank of America has advised clients to take out default insurance against Chinese debt, warning that monetary tightening by China’s central bank risks setting off a bout of serious credit stress in 2014.

Bank of America advises China default contracts to hedge debt storm – Telegraph

So in raw numerical terms, rising inequality has done more than the slump to depress middle-class incomes.

Inequality As A Defining Challenge –