Despite news of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate, stocks were mixed amid investor anxiety over an increase in new infections and economic lockdowns.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.73%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 0.77%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.22% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 1.42%.1,2,3
The announcement of another potential COVID-19 vaccine ignited strong gains to begin the week. But, like the week that preceded it, the gains sparked by the vaccine news were eroded in the following days as worries over the economic impact of new infections moved to the fore.
The market has been grappling with conflicting narratives. One is the optimistic view that, with COVID-19 vaccines apparently near at-hand, the return to economic normalcy grows ever closer. That hopeful outlook has been offset by anxiety over new infections, rising hospitalizations, and some local and state lockdowns.
These crosscurrents kept stocks range bound for the week, with the technology sector and small and mid-size stocks lending support to the overall market.
Powell Sounds a Warning
In a speech last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases could hamper economic activity in the upcoming months. He expressed concern that consumer spending may trend lower despite efforts to control the spread of infections.4
Powell once again voiced his support for additional fiscal stimulus to assist small businesses, state and local governments, and the unemployed. He also said that even after full economic recovery, some businesses and workers may wrestle with an economic landscape altered by the coronavirus.
This Week: Key Economic Data
Tuesday: Consumer Confidence.
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Jobless Claims, Consumer Sentiment, New Home Sales.
Source: Econoday, November 20, 2020
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Tuesday: Best Buy (BBY), Medtronic (MDT), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Dell Technologies (DELL), VMware (VMW), Analog Devices (ADI)
Friday: Deere & Company (DE)
Source: Zacks, November 20, 2020
“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”
– Jim Davis
Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Tax-related identity theft is when someone uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return. They can use information like your Social Security number and other personal details.
Here are some tips to protect yourself:
Today’s identity criminals are getting more creative, but you can protect yourself by taking these important steps. Always be careful of who you give your information to.
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS5
Wake Up With This Morning Breathing Exercise
We’re back at it with one last breathing exercise for stress management! This one is perfect to do first thing in the morning to help relieve muscle stiffness and clear your breathing passages.
From a standing position, bend forward at the waist, slightly bend your knees, and let your arms hang loosely toward the floor. As you inhale slowly and deeply, slowly roll up to a standing position, lifting your head last. Hold your breath for a few seconds in this standing position, then exhale slowly as you bend back down from the waist. Repeat as needed.
Tip adapted from University of Michigan Medical School6
What five letters (with no letters used more than once) can be arranged in three ways to make three separate words - the first with one syllable, the second with two syllables, the third with three syllables?
Last week’s 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? Answer: Neither. Roosters don't lay eggs.
Bull Moose at Fishercap Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana.
Footnotes and Sources
1. The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2020
2. The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2020
3. The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2020
4. CNN.com, November 17, 2020
5. IRS.gov, March 4, 2020
6. Uofmhealth.org, November 20, 2020
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Weekly Market Insights: New Infections Increase Anxiety
November 17, 2020