Afternoon Coffee: Trade Deficit Grows in December, Unemployment Hits 8-Year Low

The U.S. trade deficit increased $1.1 billion in December to $43.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported today. Exports in December were down by $0.5 billion compared to November, while imports rose $0.6 billion during the month.

The U.S. unemployment rate was down slightly to 4.9% in January, compared to 5% in December. It was a modest improvement, but it is the first time the unemployment rate reached below 5% since early 2008.

The mall operator who earlier this week announced Amazon’s was supposedly planning to open hundreds of physical bookstores, is now distancing himself from the comments, The Wall Street Journal reported. General Growth Properties Inc. said their CEO Sandeep Mathrani’s statements were “not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.”

Statoil has cut about $13 billion from its 2016 capital spending plan. The Norwegian energy company also reported a 44% fourth-quarter drop in earnings.

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