The first full week of 2021 was anything but boring!
A tightly contested Senate race, chaos in Washington, hiccups in the COVID vaccine rollout, and fluctuating markets made for a busy week. Here are three noteworthy events from the past week that we are keeping an eye on:
1.) COVID Vaccine News – To date, around 6 million Americans have received the first dose of the COVID vaccine. There are currently two primary vaccines in broad circulation (Pfizer, Moderna), with more on the way. Additionally, vaccination “Mega Sites” are beginning to open across the country, which have the capability to treat thousands of people per day. It is estimated that daily vaccination rates should reach 500K to 1M people in the near future. This bodes well for “re-opening” efforts and would have a particularly positive impact in the retail world and in travel and leisure sectors.
2.) Senate Race/ Political Conflict – On Wednesday, there were two major political developments. First, in the Georgia Senate runoff, both Democratic candidates were declared victorious. This gives the Democratic Party control of both the White House and the Senate. The “Blue Sweep” of Congress, along with a Biden Presidency, opens the door for tax changes, both on the corporate and individual level. It also opens the door for an increase in the COVID aid, specifically the proposed $2,000/person amount approved by the House.
On the same day, protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol building, in an attempt to halt the electoral count. Congressman were evacuated, but ultimately reconvened to finalize a Biden victory in the presidential race. Although the electoral process was eventually completed, the violence and rioting were a sad indication of the fractured state of our political climate. Surprisingly, the markets did not respond adversely to the Wednesday’s events. A democratic sweep and a crisis at the Capitol should have seemingly sent the stock market spiraling, but the markets have remained strong, perhaps on the anticipation of the positive impact of the vaccine and the potential for additional fiscal stimulus.
3.) Jobs Report – The December Jobs Report was released on Friday, indicating a net jobs loss of 150,000 amongst Americans. This marks the first month since April that there was a net loss, leaving current unemployment at 6.7%. This number was somewhat expected, as the recent surge in COVID cases has caused many temporary shutdowns again. However, as the vaccine continues to reach a broader audience, leisure and hospitality employment should surge, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Investment advice offered through Strauss Financial Group, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.
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