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The Latest from Our Blog

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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When Is Bad News Good News? Take A look At Last Week.

Major stock indices in the United States hit all-time highs on Friday, despite a lackluster employment report and a surge in COVID-19 cases, reported Lewis Krauskopf of Reuters. During the week, we saw: The slowest jobs growth since the economic recovery began. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 245,000 jobs were created in November. “…a key sign of holiday enthusiasm – the hiring of thousands of workers to help with the holiday retail rush – simply didn’t happen this year. Some of those workers – but clearly not enough – are helping with online shopping duties, filling warehouses around the country, or driving vans from house to house,” reported Avi Salzman of Barron’s. New unemployment claims remain steady. More than one million people a week are filing first time jobless claims, reported Dion Rabouin of Axios. On November 14, more than 20 million Americans were receiving unemployment assistance.

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Last Week, Vaccine Optimism Immunized Investors Against Signs Of Economic Weakness.

In previous commentaries we’ve written about narrative economics, which holds that popular stories may affect individual and collective economic behavior. Last week, diverse narratives had the potential to influence consumer and investor behavior, but not all did. You may have read that: Coronavirus anxiety is high. “Figures from recent days suggest infections may have fallen off from record highs in some states. But no one is cheering in the emergency wards. Health workers fear that Thanksgiving gatherings will prove to be super-spreader moments… Meanwhile many college students have just gone home for the year… [A medical professional said], ‘It is like slow-motion horror. We’re just standing there and being run over,’” reported The Economist.

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The Markets

The U.S. economy is like a semi-trailer truck. No one likes being stuck behind a semi at a stoplight because big trucks don’t go from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds. Neither does the U.S. economy. When the pandemic brought our economy to a near virtual standstill early in 2020, the U.S. government and Federal Reserve (Fed) took extraordinary measures to help the economy get going again: Congress passed the CARES Act stimulus, which gave Americans and American businesses badly-needed fuel to support economic recovery. Businesses were able to stay open and people had money to spend. That’s important because consumer spending accounts for almost 70 percent of U.S. economic growth. The Federal Reserve paved the road and gave it a downward slope by creating a supportive interest rate environment and implementing special lending facilities intended to support businesses, as well as state and local governments. Some programs were funded by the CARES Act.

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