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(ZeroHedgeThe Chinese New Year begins today, and the year of the dog will cede its place to the pig, a zodiac sign that is supposed to attract luck and success.

Chinese New Year is one of the largest holidays for travel. During the New Year, hundreds of millions of people take planes, trains, and automobiles to celebrate the event with their friends and families.

This year, more than 400 million people celebrating Chinese New Year are expected to travel, including nearly 7 million abroad mainly in Thailand, Japan and Indonesia, according to Ctrip estimates.

-- BKX has been consolidating near the Master Cycle high since January 25. The Cycles Model suggests a decline to develop through late February.  However, the next Master Cycle low may not be due until late March.

(Bloomberg) Major U.S. banks shaved about $21 billion from their tax bills last year -- almost double the IRS’s annual budget -- as the industry benefited more than many others from the Republican tax overhaul.

By year-end, most of the nation’s largest lenders met or exceeded their initial predictions for tax savings. On average, the banks saw their effective tax rates fall below 19 percent from the roughly 28 percent they paid in 2016. And while the breaks set off a gusher of payouts to shareholders, firms cut thousands of jobs and saw their lending growth slow.

The tally is based on a review of financial results and commentary from the 23 U.S. banks the Federal Reserve deems most important to the nation’s economy in annual stress tests. Banks stood to benefit more from lower tax rates because their effective rates were typically higher than those paid by non-financial companies. In other words, their bills had more room to fall. They’re also among the first industries to post annual results.

(ZeroHedge)  In a report that elicited chuckles from some corners of Wall Street, the Washington Post reported late Monday that President Trump planned to nominate Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass - who, in addition to serving as the chief economist at Bear Stearns as the investment bank spiraled into bankruptcy, also worked in the Reagan and Bush the elder administrations - to be the next president of the World Bank.

Due to a decades-old agreement with European nations, Washington picks the head of the World Bank while Europe chooses the head of the IMF. Since 1944, the World Bank's 12-member board has never refused to confirm Washington's pick, meaning that Malpass's confirmation is virtually assured - barring an unforeseen and unprecedented break with unprecedented.

One "person close to Malpass," told WaPo that he would seek to be a "constructive" World Bank president, though he declined to comment on Malpass's agenda beyond saying he would seek to protect US interests and raise incomes in developing nations.

(ZeroHedge) The latest alarm signal that the US economy is on collision course with a recession came after today's release of the latest Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) by the Federal Reserve, which was conducted for bank lending activity during the fourth quarter of last year, and which reported a double whammy of tightening lending standards and terms for commercial and industrial loans on one hand, and weaker demand for those loans on the other. Even more concerning is that banks also reported weaker demand for both commercial and residential real estate loans, echoing the softer housing data in recent months.

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