A recap of the past week in 3 short headlines
1. Investors Thankful for the Dow
Investors had plenty to be thankful for this past week, with the Dow crossing 30,000 points for the first time on Tuesday before receding to just above 29,900 points. This past week, the Dow Jones was up 2.21%, the S&P 500 was up 2.27%, and the NASDAQ was up 2.96%. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 both closed at records. Along with the market’s rise, there has been an accompanying decline in fear and uncertainty on the part of investors. The VIX, which is what many investors regard as “Wall Street’s fear gauge,” dropped to levels not seen since February. It indicates that investors are feeling more optimistic about the future. With political tensions easing and positive vaccine news, hopeful investors finally have a narrative of stability and growth in 2021 to believe in going into the final month of the year.
2. COVID Update
Hospitals are getting closer to breaking with the rise in coronavirus cases. There have been 4 million new cases in November, averaging to 1 million new cases a week. The total number of COVID cases has crossed 13 million with over 260,000 deaths. There are now about 62.5 million cases worldwide and close to 1.5 million deaths. All this comes after vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca were shown to be extremely effective.
However, AstraZeneca’s vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford, was shown to have had a mistake in its reported results in regards to the effectiveness of each dosage amount. AstraZeneca tested out two types of vaccine dosages for its trials — a full two-dose regimen and a half-dose followed by a full dose. That half-dose followed by a full dose was mistakenly done in place of two full doses. The interesting thing is that it actually doesn’t matter since both types of dosages were extremely effective, and AstraZeneca is just testing that their mistake dosage, when done intentionally, still produces the same results. This may extend the approval time needed for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, but it still remains effective in protecting against COVID.
Additionally, city and state governments continue locking down. Many predict that those measures would not have helped on Thanksgiving night, as many families got together to celebrate the holiday. It would not be surprising if we see a larger rise in cases as a result of Thanksgiving dinners.
3. Roaring 20s Part 2?
100 years ago, a period of economic prosperity blossomed in much of the Western world driven by the recovery from the devastation of WWI. We’ve noticed quite a few similarities between what happened in the 1920s and what some are saying have been happening now. Here are a few of the similarities we’re looking at: medical breakthroughs, innovation in transportation, a return to normalcy in the political sphere, growing international financing, and growing wealth inequalities. Elon Musk today is what Henry Ford was back then. The COVID vaccine today mirrors the breakthrough of penicillin. Warren G. Harding’s message was about returning to normalcy after a chaotic 4 years from 1914-1918. We certainly are hearing a similar message from Joe Biden. Wealth inequality also increased during the 1920s, a trend that today’s economy seems to mirror as well.
It’s interesting how history has repeated itself in such similar ways. It would be beyond the scope of this newsletter to analyze in-depth the similarities between the 1920s and what we seem to be heading for in this upcoming decade. However, I encourage you to explore more deeply the similarities and differences between the 1920s and what some say we will enter in the 2020s. I’m absolutely sure you will find it fascinating.