On stagnation in Italy, GE’s dividend, the weak yuan, and a rudderless Germany

I want to start today's daily with the markets and the real economy before I branch out into more political economy including Germany.
European economic numbers
And since I mentioned Germany, let me start there. A slew of economic data came out in Europe this morning on GDP, retail sales, employment and inflation. The composite picture is one of a still healthy economy, with inflation, if anything, slightly higher than desired. To me this means that the ECB will continue to signal a wind down of stimulus.

In Germany, we got unemployment in line with expectations but the CPI running ahead of expectations at 2.5%. 2.3% was expected. Elsewhere, Spanish CPI inflation came in bang on expectations at 2.3% as well. Again showing that inflation above the 2% is alive and well in the eurozone. Euro...

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