The Weekly Update – Financial and economic news for the week ending 8/21/2020

Congratulations! You’ve lived through the shortest bear market ever.

 “Measured from the benchmark’s previous record high on Feb. 19 to its trough on March 23, the pandemic-induced bear market lasted a mere 33 days, compared to the median age of 302 days of 20 bear markets going back to the 1920s, according to Yardeni Research data.”

Reuters, August 18, 2020

Here’s what happened last week:

  1. Setting a new record…The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index hit a record high last week. Its strong performance was largely due to the performance of a single stock.

Barron’s, August 22, 2020 

  1. What’s ahead? Leading economic indicators suggest what may be ahead for the economy. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) turned sluggish in July. The Senior Director of Economic Research commented, “Despite the recent gains in the LEI, which remain fairly broad-based, the initial post-pandemic recovery appears to be losing steam. The LEI suggests that the pace of economic growth will weaken substantially during the final months of 2020.”

The Conference Board, August 20, 2020 

  1. Jobless claims were up. The number of people filing new unemployment claims rose above one million again during the week ending August 15. In total about 15 million people, or 10.2% of the workforce, were unemployed.

Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims, August 20, 2020 

  1. Job postings were down. The number of job openings posted by employers is down more than 20.3% year-over-year, through August 14, reported Indeed. It was the first drop in job posting since April. Together, the increase in unemployment clams and the downturn in job openings suggest the recovery is losing steam.

Indeed Hiring Lab, August 18, 2020 

  1. Remote work and real estate. Workers are embracing the work-from-home opportunity and moving to less expensive and more appealing neighborhoods. In some areas, home prices have moved significantly higher. The change is having an impact on large, expensive-to-live-in cities where populations thinning and rents are declining.

Axios News, August 18, 2020 

  1. Dollar in decline…The dominance of the United States dollar as the world’s reserve currency may be near an end. “Its greatest threat is not the appeal of the euro or yuan, but America’s flagging commitment to the alliances and institutions that fostered peace and globalization for more than 70 years.”

The Economist, August 8, 2020 

  1. And the survey says…In June 2020, 53% of Americans surveyed were earning one-half or less of their pre-coronavirus income, and 31% had lost their entire income.

FlexJobs and Prudential Survey, August 7, 2020 

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