The following economic awareness entry is based on short-term events and therefore should not be taken as information towards making investment decisions, which are of a long-term nature. It is only meant to provide clarity regarding current economic events, as there is often a large degree of incorrect information dispersed through the media or other sources.
PODCAST OF THE WEEK
Economic Awareness: Passage of Infrastructure Boosts Stocks
Looking past inflation figures and Delta variant trends, stocks last week found a way to climb higher and set fresh record highs in the process.
Stocks moved higher amid relatively light trading last week. After initially retreating under the weight of Delta variant updates, stocks grinded higher, catalyzed by the Senate’s passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill.
Two themes emerged last week. The first was that inflation assumed a less threatening profile. The most recent Consumer Price Index report showed some moderation in consumer price increases, while investors appeared to interpret a hotter-than-expected Producer Price Index report as the peak in this inflation cycle.
Also worth noting were comments by multiple Federal Reserve Bank regional presidents suggesting that the time for tapering (i.e., ending the Fed’s bond purchases) was nearing, with one intimating that tapering could start as early as October.4
Consumer prices climbed at their fastest rate since August 2008, rising 5.4% year-over-year. But this elevated rate was expected by most economists. The core inflation rate (excludes the more volatile food and energy prices) came in 4.3% higher, substantially lower than anticipated. This deceleration in core inflation was largely attributed to a slowdown in price increases in used cars and apparel.5
More unsettling was the following day’s Producer Price Index (PPI). The PPI, which can be an indicator of future consumer prices, came in at the highest rate since tracking began, surging 7.8%.6
This Week: Key Economic Data
Tuesday: Retail Sales. Industrial Production.
Wednesday: Housing Starts. FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) Minutes.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Index of Leading Economic Indicators.
Source: Econoday, August 13, 2021
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Tuesday: Walmart, Inc. (WMT), The Home Depot, Inc. (HD), Agilent Technologies, Inc. (A), Roblox Corporation (RBLX).
Wednesday: Nvidia Corporation (NVDA), Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), Target Corporation (TGT), Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW).
Thursday: Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST), The Estee Lauder Companies, Inc. (EL).
Friday: Deere & Company (DE).
Source: Zacks, August 13, 2021
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Protect Your Tax Data
Protecting your data is very important in today's digital age. The IRS shared the "security six" guidelines that tax pros should follow to protect taxpayer data, but these principles are good for everyone to practice.
Anti-virus software: This software scans computer files for malicious software, or malware, on the device. Anti-virus vendors find new issues and update malware daily. Always install the latest updates of the software on your computer.
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov7
Tips for Eating Less Salt
Sodium isn't all bad for our bodies, but too much can increase blood pressure and cause stress on the heart and blood vessels. Because of this, it's important to monitor your sodium intake and be aware of how much sodium is in the foods you're eating.
If you want to tackle cutting back on sodium, choose unprocessed or minimally-processed foods. Prepared foods are generally high in added sodium when compared to fresh options. Cut back on sources of high sodium, such as pepperoni pizza, white bread, processed cheese, deli meat and hot dogs, and other red meat and processed foods. Instead, eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains which are all lower in sodium.
Tip adapted from Harvard Medical School8
What three positive numbers give the same answer when multiplied or added together?
Last week’s riddle: What has exactly three feet, but not a single toe? Answer: A Yardstick.
Havasupai Falls before sunset, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona.
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2021
4. The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2021
5. CNBC, August 11, 2021
6. Reuters, August 12, 2021
7. IRS.gov, September 20, 2020
8. Health.harvard.edu, October 28, 2019
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August 16, 2021: Economic Awareness & Lifestyle Living
August 17, 2021