THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
The failure to reach an agreement on a new fiscal stimulus bill soured investor sentiment and sent stocks modestly lower for the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.95%, while the Standard & Poor's 500 lost 0.53%. The Nasdaq Composite index slipped 1.06% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, declined 0.44%. 1,2,3
Markets Disappointed with Stimulus Impasse
Stock prices ebbed and flowed all week, pulled by the gravity of fiscal stimulus talks in Washington, D.C. As investors saw improving prospects for a new fiscal stimulus bill, stocks rose. As prospects dimmed, stocks turned lower.
Hopes for striking a deal were raised late in the week as comments from a key negotiator suggested that a deal might be getting closer to fruition. The week ended, however, without an agreement, cementing a disappointing week of performance.
Market sentiment was further weighed down by the continued rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe, though anxieties were tempered by the belief that a full economic lockdown was unlikely.
New Jobless Claims Fall
Markets have been focused on weekly initial jobless claims as an important input into the state of economic recovery. After weeks of 800,000+ new jobless claims, last week's report reflected an improving labor market, as new jobless claims rose by 787,000, below consensus estimates of 875,000, while continuing jobless claims fell by more than one million.4
The report wasn't entirely positive, however, as more than 500,000 individuals were added to the emergency assistance program that extends unemployment benefits to those who have run out of state unemployment benefits. 5
BY THE NUMBER$
DOUBLE IN THIRTY YEARS - It would take $1,961 in September 2020 to have the same purchasing power as $1,000 in September 1990 (source: CPI Inflation Calculator, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
WOOD - The price of lumber increased nearly 50% from 4/30/20 to 8/31/20, the largest 4-month increase ever in the cost of lumber based upon data maintained since 1949 (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
NOT ALL INCOME - The maximum taxable wage base subject to the social security payroll tax will be $142,800 in calendar year 2021. An estimated 82.5% of earnings of all US workers will be subject to the social security payroll tax next year, a levy that is 6.2% for employees and 6.2% for employers (source: 2020 Trustees Report).6
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Monday: New Home Sales.
Tuesday: Durable Goods Orders. Consumer Confidence.
Thursday: Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Jobless Claims.
Friday: Consumer Sentiment.
Source: Econoday, October 23, 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: Twilio, Inc (TWLO).
Tuesday: Microsoft (MSFT), Pfizer (PFE), Caterpillar (CAT), Merck (MRK), Eli Lilly (LLY), 3M Company (MMM), Corning Inc. (GLW).
Wednesday: General Electric (GE), The Boeing Corporation (BA), Ford Motor Company (F), Visa (V), Mastercard (MA), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Blackstone Group (BX), Amgen (AMGN), United Parcel Services (UPS), EBay (EBAY), Norfolk Southern (NSC).
Thursday: Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), Alphabet, Inc. (GOOGL), Southern Company Airlines (SO), Shopify (SHOP), Comcast Corporation (CMCSA), AnheuserBusch InBev (BUD).
Friday: Abbvie (ABBV), Chevron (CVX), Charter Communications (CHTR).
Source: Zacks, October 23, 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
Three light switches are in the "off" position. Each connects to a light bulb in an adjoining room that you cannot see into. You can freely switch the light bulbs on and off, but you can only go into the adjoining room once to check on the state of the bulbs. Is it possible to tell which switch controls which bulb?
LAST WEEK'S RIDDLE: What should the last entry be in the following sequence of numbers: 9|18, 8|46, 7|94, 6|63, 5|52, 4|__?
ANSWER: Each sequence represents the square root of a number with digits reversed (9 is the square root of 81, 8 is the square root of 64, and so on). So the missing number is 61 (4 is the square root of 16).