Macro Economic Overview – September 2020

U.S. equity indices rebounded in August to pre-pandemic levels that were last reached in early March of this year. The dramatic recovery in equity valuations came about very quickly and unexpected by numerous market analysts and economists. The Federal Reserve is expected to leave short-term rates near zero for up to five years in order to allow inflation to expand …

Rates Rose Slightly In August – Fixed Income Update

Rates rose slightly in mid-August, following a weaker than expected auction for U.S. government bonds. The yield on the 10-year treasury rose from 0.55 in early August to 0.71 in mid-August, representing nearly a 30% jump within two weeks. The rapid rise in rates also lifted mortgage rates and other consumer lending rates, which had already fallen substantially since late …

Equity Markets Driven Higher In August – Domestic Market Overview

The recovery of U.S. stocks from the depths of the market turmoil in March, when the pandemic became official, has been unprecedented. Equity values returned to where they were before the pandemic in August. The rebound in equity indices has been one of the strongest in nearly 90 years, propelling indices to new highs this past month. Technology stocks continued …

Pandemic Driven Spending May Not Be Consistent – Pandemic Effects

Spending soared in May to a record 8.2%, reported by the Commerce Department, accompanied by an increase in personal income which rose 10.5% in April. Many analysts and economists believe that spending among U.S. consumers following the onset of the stimulus payments may be misleading, with any increase in spending merely temporary, as the benefits of the payments fade. Income …

Less Choices Are Here To Stay – Consumer Behavior

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, American consumer choices have changed in the realm of diet, food preparation, and lifestyle habits. The transition into at-home cooking as a means of financial saving and risk reduction has expanded through American society and is projected to leave both short-term and long-term effects on consumer choices. In addition to consumer impact, retailers are …

Inflation Even Higher For Those Over 62 – Retirement Planning

Data compiled by the government via the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) maintains a separate tally of inflation for people over 62. The rarely heard of index, known as the CPI-E, is a variation of the traditionally recognized CPI (Consumer Price Index), but with an emphasis on goods and services mostly used by those over 62 years of age. This …

Government Data Collection Hindered By The Pandemic

Among the many disruptions caused by the pandemic, government data collection has been hindered considerably. Various agencies and departments of the federal government have relied on personal collection of data for decades as a reliable and validated process of gathering data. Numerous economic indicators and indices are vital for economists and government officials to decipher what the economic condition of …

COVID Is Making It Difficult For The IRS To Audit & Collect Taxes Owed

As the pandemic has taken a toll on income for individual businesses, companies, and families across the country, it has also taken a toll on U.S. government income. The IRS releases a disclosure annually of the sources of income collected from taxes. Part of the revenue generated by the IRS is the enforcement of tax collections primarily via audits. The …

Resilient Equity Market Advances In July – Domestic Equities Update

Equities advanced in July, led by the technology sector, which has remained resilient since the onset of the pandemic. The dollar’s tumble in July benefited large U.S. multinationals, whose products and services became more competitive while their earnings are primarily driven in the overseas market. The rebound in stocks from the lows of March, when the COVID-19 pandemic became official, …

Mysterious Seeds Appear In U.S. Mailboxes – Federal Safeguards

Officials from over 27 states, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are urging people across the country to be aware of packages containing seeds from China. The seeds appear to have been mailed directly from China in white pouches displaying Chinese lettering and the words “China Post”. Various state agricultural departments have also reported the packages marked …

30 Year Mortgage Rates Drop to Record Lows – Fixed Income Overview

Continued low rates drove mortgage rates to their lowest levels ever, pushing the average 30- year fixed conforming rate to 2.99% in July as reported by Freddie Mac. Historic low mortgage rates are a buffer for the housing market, where continued high unemployment is expected to hinder loan approvals. U.S. government bond yields fell across all maturities in July, with …

Shortage Of Coins Makes For No Change – Currency Dynamic

A reduction in the use of cash may have escalated a shortage of coins throughout the country. Retail stores and grocery stores across the country are experiencing a shortage of coins that has resulted from fewer coins being exchanged and spent since the onset of the pandemic. In order to stimulate coin circulation, the U.S. Mint is asking Americans to …

FDA Recalls Toxic Sanitizers – Consumer Awareness

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) updated the list of toxic hand sanitizers as further FDA investigations and research have continued. As of late July, the FDA has established a seventy-five product list, a significant increase from the previous nine product list from late June. Given the demands set forth by the Coronavirus pandemic, the FDA claims investigations will persist as …

Gold Hits New High On Tensions – Commodity Update

Gold prices reached their highest level in July since 2011, eclipsing $1,897 an ounce. Nervousness surrounding the global pandemic, as well as geopolitical concerns between the U.S. and China, have steered buyers towards the precious metal, driving prices higher. The ultra-low interest rate environment has also made gold more appealing even though it offers no income, yet is still used …

Your Mobile Phone Tells The Fed About The Economy – Government Research

In an effort to determine what economic impact the pandemic has had and is having on the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve gathered geolocation data from mobile devices and compiled an index measuring activity of the public and consumers nationwide. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas created the Dallas Fed Mobility & Engagement Index whose measures represent activity throughout the …

Coffee Drinkers Consuming Less Cups Of Coffee – Consumer Socialization

With the adoption of many work-from-home practices, global coffee consumption has seen a major decline since the onset of the pandemic. With the closing of many dine-in restaurants and coffee shops, the demand for coffee has not been sustained by at-home consumption. The U.S. Department of Agriculture conceives the coffee consumption trajectory to continue declining through the fall of 2020, …

FDA Recall List of Sanitizers

FDA List Of Recalled Sanitizers / JULY 2020 Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70% BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear KLAR AND DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer (labeled with Greenbrier International) MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer BLUMEN …

Macro Economic Overview – July 2020

Concern has elevated regarding the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections following a surge in cases across the country. Markets, however, continued to shrug off dismal economic data amid pandemic worries, as a sporadic easing of restrictions targeting businesses came about. The second quarter, which ended June 30th, saw a rebound in all eleven sectors of the S&P …

Fed Main Street Loan Program – Stimulus Program Overview

In addition to the stimulus loan programs brought about by the CAREs Act, the Federal Reserve has introduced its own stimulus program known as the Main Street Loan Program. The program is designed to help credit flow to small and medium sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of COVID-19, and are recovering from, or adapting …

Tapping 401k & Retirement Plan Assets During The Crisis – Retirement Planning

Provisions initiated by the CAREs Act, allows for the withdrawal of retirement plan assets with waived penalties and minimized tax liabilities. During the current tax year, retirement account owners will be able to withdraw funds from 401k plans, tax deferred plans, and IRAs without any penalties. Loan limitations on company sponsored 401k plans will also be relaxed, allowing employees to …