THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
News of a COVID-19 vaccine ignited a rally in economically sensitive stocks and a broad retreat in technology companies last week, though enthusiasm was tempered by reports of rising new infections and fresh lockdowns.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 4.08%, while the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 2.16%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.55% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, jumped 4.01%.1,2,3
Reports of an effective COVID-19 vaccine sent stocks soaring on Monday as the end to economic uncertainty appeared to be in sight. Stocks that had been pummeled by economic lockdowns surged on the news, while the stay-at-home stocks suffered steep declines. Bond yields and oil prices both moved higher on expectations of increased economic activity.
Market enthusiasm evaporated in the days that followed, however, as higher COVID-19 infections, new lockdowns, and low expectations for a new fiscal stimulus package dampened the optimism brought on by the pending vaccine.
Stocks closed the week on a higher note, with cyclical stocks adding to their gains and technology companies shaving part of their losses.
Clouds Over Chinese Capitalism?
The market was caught by surprise last week when Chinese regulatory authorities issued draft guidelines to address concerns over abusive monopolistic practices. Shares in some of the biggest Chinese technology companies dropped on the news. This follows the prior week's suspension of a listing of a large initial public offering for one of the country's leading fintech companies.
It's difficult to say whether Chinese regulators are acting on concerns that western nations have with the dominance of Big Tech companies, or if they are attempting to rein in the power and influence of privately owned corporations. An answer may not be clear anytime soon, but investors will be watching.
BY THE NUMBER$
BAD, BUT NOT THAT BAD - The 3/27/20 CARES Act included $139 billion of relief for the 50 US states. From 2/29/20 to 8/31/20, the tax revenue collected by all US states is down $30 billion over the same 6-month period from a year earlier. When the CARES Act was being debated in Congress, US governors requested financial support of $500 billion from lawmakers (source: National Governors Association).
MORE NOVACANE PLEASE - Americans are projected to spend 38% less at the dentist in 2020 than they did in 2019 (source: American Dental Association).
TIME TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR? - Total health care spending in the USA in 2020 is forecasted to be 3.3% to as much as 8.8% less than what had been projected for 2020 before the pandemic began (source: Willis Towers Watson). 4
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: Retail Sales.
Wednesday: Housing Starts.
Thursday: Existing Home Sales, Jobless Claims, Index of Leading Economic Indicators.
Source: Econoday, November 13, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Monday: Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN), JD.com, Inc. (JD).
Tuesday: Walmart (WMT), The Home Depot (HD).
Wednesday: Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), Target Corp. (TGT), Lowe's Companies (LOW), The TJX Companies (TJX).
Thursday: Workday, Inc. (WDAY), Ross Stores (ROST), Intuit (INTU), Netease, Inc. (NTES).
Source: Zacks, November 13, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.
THE WEEKLY RIDDLE
A rooster sits atop a farmhouse. Its roof is unequally pitched. One half slopes down at an angle of 60º, and the other half at 70º. If the rooster lays an egg right on the peak of the roof, on which side is the egg more likely to fall?
LAST WEEK'S RIDDLE: Two-and-a-half artists spend two-and-a-half hours painting two-and-a-half models on two-and-a-half canvases. How many artists would be necessary to paint 24 models on 24 canvases in 20 hours?
ANSWER: This would only require three artists. 24 artists can paint 24 models in 2.5 hours. Since the time available has increased by eight (20 = 8 * 2.5), then you can reduce the number of artists by the same amount (3 = 24 / 8).