The Independent Market Observer

Monday Update (on Tuesday): Pandemic Slows Economic Recovery

January 19, 2021

Last week was packed with economic updates, with the reports showing mixed results. Disappointing initial unemployment claims and retail sales reports contrasted with a better-than-expected industrial production release. This week will be another busy one for updates, with a focus on housing data and the weekly initial jobless claims report.

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The Biden Stimulus Plan

January 15, 2021

The economic news has continued to soften in recent days. December saw layoffs go up and the number of jobs decline, and, this morning, the retail sales numbers dropped. Consumer confidence has gone down. Clearly, the economic headwinds from the pandemic are getting worse.

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Financial Markets Hold Gains on Vaccine and Stimulus News

January 14, 2021

As expected, we saw infections due to holiday travel showing up in the data over the past week, with case counts rising to new highs. But by week’s end, there were signs that case growth was peaking as the holiday travel effects started to fade. We could now be approaching the peak, although the events in Washington on January 6 are now presenting a risk of another wave of travel-induced infections. We should know in the next week or so if that is the case.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: January 2021

January 13, 2021

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!!

Markets continued to rally into the end of the year, with strong December results wrapping up a solid year for equities. The S&P 500 gained 3.17 percent during the month as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.41 percent and the Nasdaq Composite rose by 5.71 percent. Despite the strong returns in December to cap off the year, markets still face very real risks.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: January 2021

January 12, 2021

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

The economy showed further signs of slowing growth in December, with the third wave of the pandemic causing shutdowns that have hit employment. Job creation turned negative for the first time since April, as rising restrictions at the state and local level put increased stress on the labor market. The underlying data showed some signs for optimism, however, as all of the damage came from the leisure and hospitality sector, while other sectors showed surprising strength. Consumer confidence also fell during the month, but business confidence remained surprisingly resilient.

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Monday Update: Business Confidence Rises Unexpectedly

January 11, 2021

Last week saw a number of important economic data releases, with December’s business confidence and employment reports garnering the most attention. Business confidence unexpectedly improved during the month, although the economy suffered from a net loss of jobs for the first time since April. This week will be packed with updates, with a focus on December’s inflation and retail sales reports, as well as the first look at consumer confidence in January.

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Coronavirus Update: January 8, 2021 [Video]

January 8, 2021

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, holiday travel effects have kept infection growth at high levels, and positive results also moved to new highs. Still, we should see vaccinations ramp up by the end of the month, and we could approach herd immunity as soon as June.

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