The Power of Positive Thought

Post On: December 15, 2021

Posted In: Market Update

The S&P 500 Index recorded its best weekly gain since February, as fears seemed to abate about the new Omicron variant of the Coronavirus. Most of the benchmarks moved near their record highs, and the S&P MidCap 400 Index reached a new peak on Friday. Information technology stocks drove much of the rally, with solid gains in Apple pushing the market capitalization of the world’s most highly valued public company near $3 trillion. Shares of financial firms and utilities lagged, but still recorded gains.

 

Trading started out on a strong note after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical advisor, said in an interview over the previous weekend that there did not appear to be “a great deal of severity” in the new Omicron variant. Later in the week, Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that U.S. cases of the disease appeared to be “mild,” although she repeated the need to wait for further evidence. Investors also received word that early studies by Pfizer and its European partner, BioNTech, showed that a booster shot of their vaccine was effective against the Omicron variant. Like an audience at a Tony Robbins workshop, the market took these preliminary reports extremely enthusiastically and used the rest of the week to be the “best version of (it)self.”

 

Coronavirus sound bites weren’t the only good news, of course. Markets also seemed to react favorably to the week’s economic news. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that 184,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits the previous week—the lowest number since 1969. The number of open jobs in the U.S. also rose much more than expected to a record 11 million, with most of the gains coming in accommodation and food services.

 

The multi-decade strength in the labor market, however, was reflected in multi-decade high levels of inflation, with the November consumer price index rising 6.8% on a year-over-year basis—the biggest jump since 1982. Although rising energy costs deserve part of the blame, price increases were broad-based—the core rate, excluding food and energy, rose 4.9%—suggesting wage pressures are accompanying supply chain issues. Both increases were roughly in line with expectations.

 

Polling still suggests that consumers more concerned about inflation than they are encouraged by their job prospects, but some evidence suggests that this balance might be shifting. The December IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, reported Tuesday, bounced off a six-year low in November and rose the most in a year. That said, the index remains slightly in negative territory.

 

Despite looming headwinds, the market loves a reason to celebrate—and celebrate it did. These psychological aspects of the market are what keep even the best guessing. After all the research and analysis is in place, the market reminds us, more often than not, to heed the words of Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” We are excited to see how strong the market’s “will to win” plays out down the stretch!

 

Any opinions expressed in this forum are not the opinion or view of American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (APFS) or American Portfolios Advisors, Inc.(APA) and have not been reviewed by the firm for completeness or accuracy. These opinions are subject to change at any time without notice. Any comments or postings are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial instruments. Readers should conduct their own review and exercise judgment prior to investing. Investments are not guaranteed, involve risk and may result in a loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investments are not suitable for all types of investors. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purposes of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each tax payer should seek tax, legal or accounting advice from a tax professional based on his/her individual circumstances.
This material is for informational purposes only. Neither APFS nor its Representatives provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal or accounting professional before making any decisions. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable and are subject to change without notification. The information presented is provided for informational purposes only and not to be construed as a recommendation or solicitation. Investors must make their own determination as to the appropriateness of an investment or strategy based on their specific investment objectives, financial status and risk tolerance. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Investments involve risk and the possible loss of principal.

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