Market Update - May 2, 2021
Hope all is well. For the second week in a row, the major U.S. stock indexes were little changed overall, as the Dow and NASDAQ were slightly negative and the S&P 500 posted a tiny gain. The lack of sustained movement follows a four-week string of gains that lifted indexes to record highs in mid-April. April was the fifth positive month out of the past six for the S&P 500, which rose more than 5%. The NASDAQ also added about 5% while the Dow rose nearly 3%. All 11 S&P 500 sectors posted positive results in April. I have broken down this week's news using quotes from one of the best television characters of all time, Norm from Cheers.
"Whatcha up to, Norm?"
"My ideal weight if I were eleven feet tall."
The U.S. economy is growing. GDP is nearly back up to its pre-pandemic size after recording its third consecutive quarter of robust growth. GDP grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.4% in the first quarter, which put GDP within 1.0% of its historic peak reached in late 2019.
"What'll you have, Normie?"
"Well, I'm in a gambling mood, Sammy.
I'll take a glass of whatever comes out of that tap."
The Federal Reserve remains as consistent as Norm's order, showing no signs of straying from its accommodative monetary policies in the short term. Fed Chair Jerome Powell attributed a recent rise in inflation to factors that he views as temporary―a statement that eased concerns about a possible Fed policy shift to fight inflation.
“Once the trust goes out of a relationship,
it’s really no fun lying to them anymore.”
President Biden made his joint address to Congress and tried to be honest. He spent equal time making promises and discussing how the rich will pay for them. President Biden pushed for funding to expand broadband, update infrastructure for drinking water and modernize the energy grid as part of a plan he described as the “blue-collar blueprint to build America.” His blueprint comes with a price, 6 trillion dollars (if you count the 2 trillion dollar Covid bill passed earlier this year). He plans to pay for this spending by taxing corporations and individuals making over $400,000. He also intends to tax capital gains above a certain level on death, currently inheritors pay no capital gains on appreciated property when the owner passes.
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