Weekly Market Commentary

September 21, 2020

 

The Markets

Investors weren’t happy with central banks last week.

After the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed the economy is recovering more quickly than anticipated:

“With the reopening of many businesses and factories and fewer people withdrawing from social interactions, household spending looks to have recovered about three-quarters of its earlier decline…The recovery has progressed more quickly than generally expected, and forecasts from participants for economic growth this year have been revised up since our June Summary of Economic Projections. Even so, overall activity remains well below its level before the pandemic and the path ahead remains highly uncertain…We remain committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy in this challenging time.”

In the face of uncertainty, markets are likely to remain volatile.

 

It’s Ig Nobel Time. If you feel you have nerd interests this is for you.

On September 17, the 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony was broadcast online. Here’s a fun fact: The 1995 Ig Nobel Ceremony was one of the first events videocast on the Internet.

The Ig Nobel Prizes “celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative – and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.” The ceremony is organized by the magazine, Annals of Improbable Research, and is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students and the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association.

This year’s winning research explored ideas that make people laugh and think. The winning research included:

  • Arachnophobic Entomologists: When Two More Legs Makes a Big Difference, “for collecting evidence that many entomologists (scientists who study insects) are afraid of spiders, which are not insects.”
  • A Chinese alligator in heliox: formant frequencies in a crocodilian, “for inducing a female Chinese alligator to bellow in an airtight chamber filled with helium-enriched air.”
  • Eyebrows cue grandiose narcissism, “for devising a method to identify narcissists by examining their eyebrows.”
  • Misophonia: Diagnostic Criteria for a New Psychiatric Disorder, “for diagnosing a long-unrecognized medical condition: Misophonia, the distress at hearing other people make chewing sounds.”

Anyone can learn more about why the researchers were exploring these ideas. Alternatively, 24/7 Ig Nobel lectures are available during which the winners explain their topics twice. First, they are asked to deliver complete technical descriptions in 24 seconds. Then, they try to offer clear summaries that anyone can understand in just seven words.

 

Focus On The Positive

“If you would like to know the value of money, try to borrow some.”

–Benjamin Franklin

 

Best regards,

Bill Spalding