A Note from Cokie: Last year brought many challenges, but it’s shaping up to be a good one for investors, which is a good reminder for us going forward.

In fact, heading into 2021, investors must remember the highs and lows of 2020 and realize they could be in for some surprises and challenges. I believe caution is the best way to view 2021 because there will be more for us to face.

But, that said, the Covid-19 vaccine is now being distributed, which brings good news for the country and the markets. Interest rates remain low and the Federal Reserve is indicating that they will stay this way for the foreseeable future.

So, what do you want to keep your eyes on during this first quarter: our robust economy and the current stimulus package. Will these offer the relief needed by most Americans?

If you are a small business owner and need financial advice, please schedule a free “peace of mind” consultation with me. Or if you are having difficulty when you look at your portfolio, schedule a free 15-minute consult and checkup!

Knowledge is powerful! Let me help you understand what is on tap for this coming year and how to navigate through it! The following is a weekly update from Wealth Enhancement & Preservation.

The Week on Wall Street Shrugging off COVID-19 infections and the disruption at the Capitol on January 6, stocks powered higher to kick off a new year of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.61%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 increased by 1.83%.

The Nasdaq Composite index, which led throughout 2020, picked up 2.43%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 1.45%.[1][2][3]

Fireworks to Start the New Year Stocks got off to an inauspicious start amid the stuttering pace of vaccine distribution and concern that the economic recovery might take longer than anticipated. Uncertainty over the looming Senate runoff election in Georgia added to the broad retreat that marked the first day of 2021 trading. 

From there markets turned higher, aided by firming oil prices with subsequent support provided by the Georgia Senate election results, which lifted hopes of additional fiscal stimulus. Stocks managed through political unrest mid-week, with banks, economically sensitive stocks, and technology shares leading the way. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose above 1% for the first time since March as investors fled bonds in anticipation of new federal borrowing.[4] Stocks touched all-time highs on the final trading day, capping a strong week of performance.[5] 

Employment Picture The U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, confirming fears of economic slowdown brought on by a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. Not surprisingly, it was restaurants and bars that saw the greatest job losses, with the larger hospitality sector accounting for nearly all the job losses last month. Meanwhile, November job creation was revised upward, from 245,000 to 336,000.[6] To help put the pandemic in perspective, December’s job report capped the worst year for job losses since the tracking began in 1939. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%.[7] 

Tuesday: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).
Wednesday:  Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims.
Friday: Retail Sales, Consumer Sentiment, Industrial Production. 
Source: Econoday, January 8, 2021The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. 

Tuesday: KB Home (KBH)
Thursday: Blackrock (BLK)
Friday: JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), PNC Financial (PNC) 
Source: Zacks, January 8, 2021 Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

[1] The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
[2] The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
[3] The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
[4] The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2021
[5] CNBC, January 8, 2021
[6] The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
[7] The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021