Major movement has occurred for the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Agenda. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure portion of the bill was signed into law in November and the social spending part of the bill, which will involve many tax changes, was recently passed by the House and is awaiting approval in the Senate. The social spending bill has far-reaching implications for people in all tax brackets, and it’s important to review the changes with a qualified professional in order to fully understand how your financial plan will be impacted. We’ve put together an outline of the biggest tax changes to […]
Concerns about the Omicron variant raised the risk of additional lockdowns and contributed to a decline of more than 2% in the S&P 500 on the day after Thanksgiving. The COVID-19 variant, first detected in South Africa, triggered travel restrictions in the U.S. and Europe.
U.S. retail sales surprised economists, rising 1.7% in October (Figure 1). Rising prices contributed 1% to the growth, and increased purchases generated the remaining 0.7%. Both the top-line and after-inflation rates were higher than pre-pandemic levels. Supply chain risks may have prompted consumers to kick off Christmas shopping early at internet retailers and stores selling electronics and appliances. Those two segments contributed to the strong results.
An inflation surprise created a challenge for investors. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.9% last month. The monthly increase was the largest reached in 2021, and the yearly increase of 6.2% was the largest since 1990, when the Gulf War contributed to a surge in oil prices (Figure 1).
After a couple weak monthly reports, U.S. employment roared back in October. The U.S. created 531,000 new jobs, beating expectations for 412,500. August and September were both revised higher by more than 100,000 jobs. Private payroll increased 604,000 while government payrolls shrank 73,000. Unemployment dipped from 4.8% to 4.6%.
U.S. GDP grew at an annualized pace of just 2% last quarter, a marked slowdown from last quarter’s 6.7% (Figure 1). Contracted auto production sliced around 2% off growth, and concerns over the Delta variant slowed demand and the return of workers to the labor force. Third quarter growth disappointed many. Final estimates were for 2.8%, and those had been much higher earlier in the quarter.
Thirty percent of the S&P 500 will report third quarter earnings this week. Based on earnings already in and analyst expectations, earnings are expected to grow 32.7% compared to last year as corporations continue to bounce back from a COVID-led earnings decline.
Three economic data points released last week indicated the economy continues to rebound despite lingering challenges from the Delta variant. Job openings, which lag other measures by one month, fell to 10.4 million. Declines in demand for leisure and hospitality jobs pulled the openings back from July’s all-time high. Workers are showing increased confidence as a record 4 million people quit their jobs.
There’s a scene in the TV show Friends where Rachel gets her very first paycheck as a waitress at Central Perk. “Who is FICA and why is he getting all my money?” she poses to the gang. Some people age 65 and older might have a similar sentiment when they get their Social Security check and see a chunk missing that’s gone to IRMAA. “Who is IRMAA and why is she getting some of my money?” you might ask. IRMAA is your income-related monthly adjustment amount, which you pay on top of both your Medicare Part B (medical coverage) and Part D […]
Equity markets struggled in September as interest rates, inflation concerns, and developments in China all weighed on stock market averages. The S&P 500 surrendered 4.7% as large-cap growth companies led the market lower. Large-cap growth has been the top performing style box since the beginning of the second quarter. Key Points for the Week Equity markets wrapped up the worst month of the year. Interest rates, inflation concerns, and developments in China all weighed on equities in September. August core PCE rose 0.3%, but the rate of increases continues to moderate. Energy and food are still driving headline inflation figures. […]