Weekly Market Commentary

February 1, 2021

The Markets

Turning the corner into 2021.

I would like to make you aware of a movie if you are interested in the topic of social media influence. There is a movie on Netflix that is called The Social Dilemma that has a wealth of informative insights on how certain programs are designed and used by the large social media companies.

They say people watching the same event often see different things. That seems to have been the case last week when share prices of a few companies experienced tremendous volatility.

While the social-media-driven trading spectacle was fascinating, it overshadowed other substantive news that may affect more companies over a longer period of time:

  • The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged near zero. Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated rates will remain low until jobs have recovered.
  • The economy continued to grow during the fourth quarter of 2020. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced, increased from the third to the fourth quarter of 2020. The pace of growth slowed significantly from the third quarter as the coronavirus continued to interfere with economic activity.
  • Company earnings in the fourth quarter were better-than-expected. On Friday, John Butters of FactSet wrote, “Overall, 37 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported actual results for Q4 2020 to date. Of these companies, 82 percent have reported actual EPS [earnings-per-share] above estimates…”

What’s New? In January, the Merriam Webster Dictionary added 520 words to its pages. The additions include new words that have found their way into common use, as well as expanded definitions for words that were already well-established. Here is a sampling of the new entries:

  • Hygge: A cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable
  • Pod: A small group of people who interact closely while minimizing outside contact to avoid exposure to a contagious disease
  • Hard pass: A firm refusal or rejection
  • Cancel culture: The practice of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and applying social pressure
  • Crowdfunding: Obtaining needed funding by asking a large number of people, usually members of an online community, for contributions
  • Gig worker: A person who works temporary jobs as an independent contractor or freelancer
  • Second gentleman: The husband or male partner of a vice president or second in command of a country or jurisdiction

As new words become common or expand their meanings, other words become obsolete. What are some words that explained the world when you were younger and have fallen out of use? Britches, floppy disk, icebox, and yuppie come to mind.

Focus On The Positive

As we battle all of 2020 and still are dealing with covid these words fit well in our times:

It does not matter how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get up. -Vince Lombardi