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The Latest from Our Blog

Investors Were Rocked By Economic Data Showing The Economy Hit The Brakes Hard In December.

Last week, major U.S. stock indices decelerated as investors gaped at the economic damage caused by the rising number of coronavirus cases around the world. There have been more than two million COVID-19 deaths globally, with more than 390,000 deaths in the United States. The spread has resulted in new lockdowns and restrictions and has hurt the economic recovery. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s reported: “This past week – with the market looking ahead to the inauguration and what might be in store following the Capitol riots and Donald Trump’s second impeachment – was a terrible one for economic data. Whether it was small-business confidence, consumer inflation, or just about anything else, the numbers painted a picture of an economy that was slowing more rapidly than expected. Initial jobless claims, which spiked to their highest level since August, and retail sales, which fell 0.7 percent, were particularly frightening.”

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The Markets Take It In Stride

The event at the United States Capitol building had a resounding impact around the world, but it didn’t deter global stock markets. Last week, investors weighed the violent disruption of America’s 2020 presidential election process against the outcome of the Senate runoff in Georgia and decided the latter was more significant. Financial Times reported the Democratic party’s win in Georgia improves the possibility of additional government relief spending in 2021: “In turn, this renews the momentum behind trends within equity and bond markets that have been unfolding in recent months. These include rising long-term interest rates and inflation expectations that reflect hopes of an accelerating economy later this year.”

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Last Week Was The Cherry On Top Of A Turbulent Year For Investors.

After the $900 billion fiscal stimulus bill was signed on Sunday, major U.S. stock indices moved higher. The Washington Post reported, “The S&P 500-stock index, the most widely watched gauge, is finishing the year up more than 16 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 7.25 percent and 43.6 percent, respectively. The Dow and S&P 500 finished at record levels despite the public health and economic crises.”

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U.S. Stock Markets Remained Calm As A Fresh Chapter Opened In The Coronavirus Stimulus Saga Last Week.

Congress managed to cobble together a new stimulus package that was acceptable to both sides and pass it. The proposed package included money to help states distribute vaccines, an unemployment benefits extension, $600 checks for eligible Americans, aid for airlines, and other provisions, reported Mike Calia of CNBC. “…fiscal support is seen as critical to keep the economic recovery from faltering as coronavirus cases rise and cities consider new shutdowns. Consumer spending has flagged, and labor market gains have begun to stall. While the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits declined last week, it still remains elevated compared with pre-COVID levels,” reported Colby Smith and Eric Platt of Financial Times.

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The Market Waits For Stimulus Talks To Conclude

Congress is at $900 billion, will they hear $1.4 trillion, $1.4 trillion, governments at $900 billion, who’ll go $1.4 trillion, $1.4 trillion… The stimulus auction continued last week. Early on Sunday, The New York Times reported, “Lawmakers are on the brink of agreement on a $900 billion compromise relief bill after breaking through an impasse late Saturday night, with votes on final legislation expected to unfold as early as Sunday afternoon and very likely just hours before the government is set to run out of funding.” Among other items, policymakers’ plan to deliver new stimulus and fund the government is expected to include.

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When It Comes To Beverages, Frothy Can Be Delicious.

In what may be the least inspiring description of fizzy drinks ever written, a group of food engineers explained, “Aeration in beverages, which is manifested as foam or bubbles, increases the sensory preference among consumers.” Stock markets can fizz up, too. Share prices bubble, enthusiastic investors invest, and prices go even higher. In a frothy market, share prices often rise above estimates of underlying value. The terms that describe this financial market phenomenon include irrational exuberance, animal spirits, and overconfidence. Last week, there was speculation about whether some parts of the U.S. stock market have gotten frothy. Eric Platt, David Carnevali, and Michael Mackenzie of Financial Times wrote about an initial public offering (IPO) of stock by a hospitality company. They reported:

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