The Independent Market Observer

Progress on Medical Front, But Economic Data Remains Soft

January 21, 2021

For the first time in quite a while, the big picture is positive. On the medical front, the post-Christmas/New Year travel surge has faded, testing has resumed at scale, and the positive test rates have dropped back down. The trends are now positive and likely to remain that way.

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How to Think About Politics and Investments

January 20, 2021

It seems appropriate today to consider how we think about politics when we look at our investments. With one administration ending and another starting, politics has obviously consumed much of everyone’s thoughts in the past weeks and months. With the outcome of the election, many are worried—and many are excited. With a new set of policies and priorities, we can reasonably expect the economy to change and the markets to react. Given the emotions that politics evokes, how do we think about politics as we make our investment decisions?

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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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Economy Hit Hard in Recent Weeks

January 7, 2021

As expected, we saw a pullback in many coronavirus indicators over the Christmas holidays. But also as expected, the data has bounced back, indicating that the drop was due to slower reporting rather than an actual decline in cases. Looking forward, we still have another couple of weeks where infections due to holiday travel will show up in the data, and there are signs that is starting to occur. The next two weeks are likely to show continued case growth. While some sections of the country are showing improvements, we are not through this wave yet.

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Washington Turns (Very Light) Blue

January 6, 2021

Today should be the day we see Washington start to turn blue. With the Congress meeting to count the inaugural votes and with the Georgia Senate runoff likely to show both seats won by Democrats, all three arms of government will be under control of the Democratic Party come the inauguration.

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Looking Back at the Markets in December 2020 and Ahead to January 2021

January 5, 2021

At the start of a new year, it makes sense to look back and see where we were, before looking ahead to where we are going. This year, doing this is especially important, given the significant changes we saw in December. But we start January in a very different place—a place with better news, better prospects, and lower risks.

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