Weekly Market Commentary

March 15, 2021

 

Investors Had A lot To Be Upbeat About Last Week!

 

The Markets

Investors had a lot to be enthusiastic about last week.

Major stock indices in the United States soared, finishing the week higher and setting new records along the way. There was plenty of good news to fuel investor optimism:

  • The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was signed into law. The plan provides $1,400 payments to most Americans. It also delivers child-tax credits, health-insurance subsidies, and extends unemployment benefits into September. Funds also were made available for schools, states, and vaccination efforts, as well as tax relief for people receiving unemployment benefits.
  • The spread of the coronavirus appears to be slowing. The 7-day average number of cases in the United States dropped 11.2 percent week-to-week, reported the Centers for Disease Control. More than 20 percent of Americans have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than 10 percent have been fully vaccinated. As circumstances have improved, a number of states have begun easing lockdown restrictions.
  • Inflation remained low in February. For the 12 months through February 2021, the Consumer Price Index rose 1.7 percent, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week. That’s well below the Federal Reserve’s usual target of 2 percent. However, food and energy prices increased significantly more than the index average.

There is some concern that COVID-19 continues to mutate, and it remains to be seen whether vaccines will prove effective against new strains. Let’s hope for the best!

The one-year numbers in the performance table below are noteworthy and reflect the strong recovery of U.S. stocks from last year’s coronavirus downturn to the present day.

Big plans for the moon. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 set forth principles making space – including the moon and celestial bodies – the province of all mankind. It confirmed the exploration and use of outer space should benefit all people. Here are a few of the plans various nations have for the moon:

  • International Lunar Research Station. Last week, China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding. The nations plan to build a base on the moon. “…the base will be self-sufficient enough to work without constant resupply from Earth. It will exist either on the lunar surface, in orbit, or both. And it will be a launching point for basic science, exploration, and “utilization” of the moon’s resources, as well as a proof-of-concept for the technologies required to sustain human life so far from Earth,” reported LiveScience.
  • Lunar fish farming. The European Space Agency has plans for a Moon Village where settlers may be able to “boldly farm fish where no one has farmed fish before,” reported Hakai Magazine. Researchers at the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea have found that European sea bass and meagre (stone bass) are strong candidates because their eggs can withstand the brutal shaking that accompanies the launch of space vehicles.
  • Solar-powered Lunar Ark. The movie Titan A.E. may have inspired researchers at the University of Arizona. They’ve proposed building a modern-day ark to hold “cryogenically frozen reproductive cells from 6.7 million species on our planet Turn it into a storage locker of sorts for the most precious data on Earth: our own reproductive cells.

The moon isn’t the only part of space nations on Earth plan to explore more fully. The United Arab Emirates put a scientific satellite into orbit around Mars in February, according to The Washington Post. The new space race is here.

Focus On The Positive

“I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.” –Elon Musk, Entrepreneur and businessman