The Independent Market Observer

Looking Back at the Markets in January and Ahead to February 2021

February 9, 2021

January was a month of transition. Markets took a break, with small gains or declines. The presidential inauguration handed the reins from the Trump administration to the Biden administration. Winter finally arrived, at least here in Massachusetts. And with the start of mass vaccinations, we began the transition to get past the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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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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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Is Reddit Breaking the Market?

January 28, 2021

Another day, another crisis. On top of the bubble worries and the market pullback yesterday, the headlines are saying we now have a mob of retail traders coming for the market itself. By trading up several stocks well beyond what the professionals think they are worth, the headlines scream that the retail investors are beating Wall Street and that the market is somehow broken. I don’t think so.

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Is the Stock Market in a Bubble?

January 27, 2021

There has been a lot of talk about whether the stock market is in a bubble. As usual, there are distinguished professionals on both sides of the debate, armed with convincing statistics and arguments. So, what is the average investor to do? We do what we usually do: try to understand the facts of the situation. Let’s start by asking ourselves what a bubble is, as this is the unavoidable first step in deciding whether we are in one.

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2020’s Remarkable Value Rally

January 26, 2021

Today's post is from Peter Essele, vice president of investment management and research.

As we turn the page on 2020 (thankfully!), market practitioners are starting to release outlook pieces and portfolio positioning recommendations for the year ahead. The recent strong performance of value, when compared with growth, has many investors wondering whether it makes sense to consider an overweight to this seemingly forgotten asset class, which has benefited greatly from the recent vaccine rally.

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