First 2011 Business Headlines Mostly Merry

Facebook, the popular social networking site, has raised $500 million from Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor in a deal that values the company at $50 billion.

China’s manufacturing activity eased slightly in December, although it remained in expansion mode, according to a survey of the country’s purchasing managers.

In response, Asian stock markets were higher on the first trading day of 2011, with investor confidence boosted by signs that China’s efforts at keeping a lid on inflation may be working.

Singapore’s economy returned to growth in the fourth-quarter as strength in manufacturing helped offset weakness in the construction sector.

The dollar began the New Year on a stronger note against other major currencies in Asia Monday as investors bought the greenback to position for an expected strong reading in US economic data due later in the day.

Loan refinance rates are declining again with Citibank, Chase and Bank of America all lowering their mortgage rates.

And on Monday, we are likely to see a moderately healthy headline number for the ISM Manufacturing Index for December as the new orders index remains on a recent rebound, posting at 56.6 in November, indicating solid month-to-month growth and a sector that continues to lead a recovery that is now 20 months old.

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