The Independent Market Observer

Monday Update: Business Confidence Remains Strong

February 8, 2021

Last week was packed with updates, with a focus on January’s business confidence and employment reports. Confidence held up well to start the year, and we saw an encouraging return to job growth in January. This week will be relatively quiet, with only a few major reports set to be released. The highlights will be the January consumer inflation report and the first look consumer sentiment in February.

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Coronavirus Update: February 5, 2021 [Video]

February 5, 2021

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, new daily infection rates and hospitalizations were down, and we saw improvement in positive testing rates. Although the threat of a more contagious variant of the virus remains, substantial progress on vaccinations should help offset that risk.

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Economic Damage Starting to Moderate

February 4, 2021

For the second week in a row, the big picture continues to be very positive. On the medical front, all three major data series—new cases, positive testing rates, and hospitalizations—have continued to trend down, while vaccinations continue to scale up. If current trends continue, we are through the worst of the pandemic and should see continued improvement.

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Ahoy, Inflation Ahead?

February 3, 2021

Recently, I have been getting a number of questions about inflation. Is it coming? How bad will it be? And, of course, what should I do about it? It has been interesting, because inflation has been largely off the radar for some years—it simply has not been a problem. What has been driving the concern now seems to be worries about the effects of the federal stimulus programs, which many think will drive more inflation. But I don’t think so. To show why, let’s go back to history.

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Market Thoughts for February 2021 [Video]

February 2, 2021

Most developed markets were down slightly in January, including the Dow and S&P 500 in the U.S., as well as developed markets abroad. Despite the month's weak numbers, markets remain near all-time highs. On the economic front, layoffs were high and retail spending dropped. But with federal stimulus payments, consumer confidence has begun to recover, boosting higher-frequency spending data.

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Monday Update: Economic Recovery Continued in Fourth Quarter

February 1, 2021

Last week saw a number of important economic updates, with the first look at fourth-quarter GDP growth serving as a highlight. The economy grew at an annualized rate of 4 percent during the quarter, which represents a continued economic recovery to end 2020. This week will also be packed with updates, with a focus on January’s business confidence and employment reports.

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Is the Worst of the Economic Damage Behind Us?

January 29, 2021

For the moment at least, the big picture continues to be positive. On the medical front, all three major data series—new cases, positive testing rates, and hospitalizations—have continued to trend down, while vaccinations continue to scale up. If current trends continue, we are through the worst of the pandemic and should see continued improvement.

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