Cooler heads prevailed in Shanghai yesterday as investors largely ignored some sobering news about economic growth, and delivered a small bump to Shanghai’s markets. The SCI rose 1% to close at 2,004.95 points, with banks and health care-related companies leading the way. Let’s just hope cooler heads also prevail in both Washington and Beijing. President Obama’s pick to lead the Treasury, tax-dodging-scandal-embroiled Timothy Geithner wrote to Congress that the President believes China is manipulating its currency. He stopped short of claiming it was intentionally done to gain a trade advantage, and thus avoided setting off official diplomatic recriminations. Still, we don’t expect Beijing to be very happy about any such manipulation talk. It’s going to be a good show. Have you got your popcorn ready? Finally it appears that US insurer MassMutual Financial Group is planning on buying a 19.9% stake in Beijing-based Yingda Taihe Life Insurance for US$100 million. MassMutual’s being coy about the rumors, saying that they’re “actively looking for opportunities” in China. We can fault them for the uninspired corporate doublespeak (bane to journalists across this globe), but we can’t fault their logic given that insurance premiums in China rose by 39% last year.