Here’s what you need to know from last week.
Markets Remain Strong
S&P 500 recorded its sixth positive week out of the past seven, but it’s gain was small, and it underperformed the Dow for the second week in a row. The NASDAQ rose slightly, eclipsing its record high set the previous week. The S&P 500 on Wednesday closed within a tenth of a percentage point of its record high set six months earlier, but the index couldn’t quite climb above its prior peak of 3,386 points. At Friday’s close, it remained about 0.4% below the record.
U.S. retail sales rose 1.2% in July, marking the third consecutive monthly gain, as shopping surpassed pre pandemic levels. In the labor market, 963,000 unemployment claims were filed in the latest weekly count, ending a string of 20 consecutive weeks in which claims topped 1 million.
Democratic congressional leaders and the Trump administration concluded negotiations without agreement on an additional pandemic relief package. They rejected overtures to return to the table, and both the House and the Senate were scheduled to be out of session through the rest of August. As the week ended, U.S. and Chinese officials opened a new round of trade talks in the wake of rising tensions that have put investors on edge.
Election Season Could Present Opportunities
The election season is officially underway with Biden choosing a running mate. Market predictions will flow regularly on TV between now and the election with people saying the markets will soar or crash depending on the results. The truth is the presidential election has very little impact on the long-term growth of the stock market. For example, the market was up 27% during the Carter administration. Markets will likely experience volatility over the next two months, drops in the market should be considered buying opportunities not reasons to sell.
We often hear that we live in unprecedented times but many of the issues we fret over today are not new. These issues just lay dormant for a period and resurface. To illustrate I picked 5 Time Magazine covers that reflect issues we face today (president v press, capitalism v socialism, rising medical costs, police practices, and the US Postal Service in crisis). All of the covers you will see below are at least 40 years old.