The road to recovery is slow and bumpy.
Last week, we learned that economic growth slowed in the third quarter as a new wave of COVID-19 surged across the United States, reported The Bureau of Economic Analysis. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, increased by 2 percent annualized in the third quarter.
Consumer spending dropped sharply during the period. The change may reflect the limited availability of goods due to supply-chain issues, a reluctance to pay higher prices, or a drop in disposable personal income. Jeff Cox of CNBC reported:
“Spending for goods tumbled 9.2%, spurred by a 26.2% plunge in expenditures on longer-lasting goods like appliances and autos, while services spending increased 7.9%, a reduction from the 11.5% pace in [the second quarter]. The downshift came amid a 0.7% decline in disposable personal income, which fell 25.7% in [the second quarter] amid the end of government stimulus payments. The personal saving rate declined to 8.9% from 10.5%.”
Despite slower economic growth and lower consumer spending, many companies remained highly profitable during the third quarter. At the end of last week, John Butters of FactSet reported:
“At this point in time, more S&P 500 companies are beating EPS [earnings-per-share, which is a measure company profits] estimates for the third quarter than average, and beating EPS estimates by a wider margin than average…The index is now reporting the third-highest (year-over-year) growth in earnings since [second quarter] 2010. Analysts also expect earnings growth of more than 20% for the fourth quarter and earnings growth of more than 40% for the full year.”
It appears that public companies remain adaptable and resilient despite the ongoing challenges created by the pandemic.
Last week, the three major U.S. stock indices finished the week at record highs, according to Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. The Treasury yield curve flattened as yields on longer-term U.S. Treasuries also moved lower.
Are you ready for the November holidays? November is chock full of holidays. Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Dia De Los Muertos, Diwali, Hanukkah, and Giving Tuesday are widely celebrated, and there are a significant number of less widely celebrated holidays on the calendar, too. These include:
- World Vegan Day: Celebrating the vegan lifestyle (November 1).
- National Sandwich Day: Celebrating all sandwiches, from peanut butter and jelly to BLTs (November 3).
- National Stress Awareness Day: It’s a day to begin to identify, manage, and lower stress in your personal and professional lives (November 3).
- World Tsunami Awareness Day: Within a decade, almost half of the world's population will live in coastal areas that are vulnerable to tsunamis. The United Nations reports that having plans and policies in place can help manage the effects (November 5).
- National Redhead Day: Celebrate all of the red-headed people in your life (November 5).
- World Freedom Day: Commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe (November 9).
- Marine Corps Birthday: Celebrating the men and women who serve in the U.S. Marines (November 10).
- World Kindness Day: Promoting the idea that kindness and compassion has the power to build and unite us (November 13).
- National Absurdity Day: Celebrate the ridiculous, unreasonable, and crazy in everyday life and throughout history (November 20).
Here are two things you can talk about on National Absurdity Day: (1) Tulips were once more valuable than gold; and (2) There are almost 100 holidays in November.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.”
—Bertrand Russell, mathematician