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The Best of What They Said and I Read Week Ending 12/7/2020

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.  I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice

  

Barron’s – December 4, 2020 – Stocks Hit New Highs as Reopening Euphoria Rages On.  Can It Last?    – Avi Salzma

  • “…all four major stock indexes rose to record highs on Friday, the first time that’s happened since November 2018. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1% during the week, to 30,218.26. The S&P 500 index gained 1.7%, to 3699.12, and the Nasdaq Composite increased 2.1%, to 12,464.23. The small-cap Russell 2000 advanced 2%, to 1,892.45.  Even Bitcoin got in on the action, hitting a new all-time high of $19,920 on Tuesday.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, but the drop was caused by more people dropping out of the workforce entirely. And the jobs report showed that a key sign of holiday enthusiasm—the hiring of thousands of workers to help with the holiday retail rush—simply didn’t happen this year. Some of those workers—but clearly not enough—are helping with online shopping duties, filling warehouses around the country or driving vans from house to house.
  • Covid-19 rates are spiking throughout the country, depressing economic activity. Vaccines may be approved as soon as this month, but they won’t be widely distributed until well into 2021.  So why the optimism? Investors expect Congress will step in to cover part of the gap, passing a stimulus bill before Christmas break. That could tide the economy over and provide a lifeline to workers who are about to lose their unemployment benefits. Congress is considering a bill that could cost $900 billion, although Republicans and Democrats were still at odds about support for cities and states and liability protections for businesses.  The worse the economy gets, the more likely they will come to a deal, some analysts predicted.  “Under the circumstances, it is hard to be a seller of any risk asset as long as there is a good possibility of getting a deal done,” wrote Mizuho Securities analyst Robert Yawger. “You could actually make the argument that bad news is actually now good news because it increases the probability of getting a deal done.”

 

The Wall Street Journal – December 3, 2020 – Forced to Retire? It Might Not Be as Bad as You Fear – Glenn Ruffenach

  • “…In a recent column about adult children caring for aging parents, you glossed over geriatric-care managers and how they can help both generations. Please tell your readers about this important resource.  Happy to do so.”
  • “As the name implies, a geriatric-care manager, also known as an “aging life care manager,” helps older adults and their families navigate the elder-care maze. An aging parent, for instance, who needs assistance with medical care, housing, legal issues, finances, transportation and related needs could benefit from a geriatric-care manager.  Equally important, such individuals act as eyes and ears for adult children who might live at a distance from an older relative.” 
  • “To that end, “I frequently performed cognitive tests that identified problems, even when family members and/or a primary-care doctor hadn’t yet seen it,” says Molly Moore, a registered nurse in Florida and former geriatric-care manager. “I also was involved in evaluating whether clients could drive safely and, if necessary, negotiating how and when to give up their car keys.  “Frequently family members disagree on how ‘bad’ a situation is,” Ms. Moore adds. “Having an objective professional, trained to evaluate and make recommendations, is vital.”   To learn more, start with the Aging Life Care Association (aginglifecare.org). Eldercare Locator (eldercare.acl.gov), part of the Administration on Aging, also can connect you to services for older adults and their families.”

 

U.S. Global Investors – December 4, 2020 – Frank Holmes

  • “…As bitcoin rises to new all-time highs and gold loses steam, the debate between the two assets intensifies. More and more investors are calling for bitcoin as the new haven asset to replace gold. “Gold was really the safe asset of the past world and baby boomer generation. Now it’s being replaced by automated assets like bitcoin,” said Jean-Marc Bonnefous, a former commodities hedge fund manager, in a Bloomberg interview. Gold-backed funds have dropped 93 tons of the metal since November 6, while the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust has doubled in dollar terms since the start of August.”
  • “Gold had its biggest monthly slide in four years, down more than 5% in November. The metal has lost steam as a COVID-19 vaccine nears global approval, which is sparking hopes of an economic recovery. Bullion tends to perform well during periods of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. The question is whether investors will keep buying gold even when the economic situation improves.  Just like gold, silver has lost love for investors. Silver ETFs had their biggest weekly outflow since 2011 in the week ended November 27.”
  • “…The best performing commodity for the week was lumber, up 7.23%. Despite tariff duties being cut by 50% on Canadian lumber, housing demand is still booming. Copper rallied to a seven-year high as strong global PMI data and China’s growing demand for the metal gave hope to investors of an economic recovery. The red metal is often viewed as a bellwether of the larger economy. Copper is up more than 75% from March lows. Iron futures hit a record in Singapore on Friday on the heels of copper’s gains and China’s massive demand for steel. The metal surged above $130 a ton on weaker supply from Australia and growing orders from China.”

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