Markets were resilient. Investors have had a lot to process – geopolitics, inflation, and consumer sentiment. But investors were reassured when earnings season kicked off with reports showing major banks posted stronger-than-expected profits during the third quarter. Here’s a brief look at what’s happened recently:
- Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, and Israel declared war. The human toll has been high and continues to increase. The conflict is something that will be closely watched.
- U.S. inflation proved persistent. In September, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed prices rose 3.7 percent year-over-year. When volatile food and energy prices were excluded, inflation was 4.1 percent year-over-year. Inflation has fallen a long way from its June 2022 peak of 8.9 percent, but the decline has stalled, and inflation remains well above the Federal Reserve’s two percent target.
- Consumers are less optimistic. Inflation is affecting the finances of individuals and businesses, according to the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers Director. However, long-run expected business conditions are little changed, suggesting that consumers believe the current worsening in economic conditions will not persist.
- U.S. budget negotiations remained stalled. Congress has about a month left to negotiate and pass the appropriations bills necessary to fund the U.S. government for fiscal 2024. However, the House of Representatives currently cannot proceed without an elected Speaker of the House. On November 17, stop-gap funding measures end.
- Banks did well in the third quarter and earnings season got off to a good start. Major U.S. banks were the first to report, and some saw profits rise significantly in the third quarter. One large bank reported its profit was 35 percent higher, year-over-year.
Where in the World Do People Sleep Well?
Scientists have been studying how to slow aging and extend longevity. One factor that can affect your lifespan is how well you sleep. According to a new study, there are five hallmarks of a good sleeper.
- Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night,
- Have little difficulty falling asleep,
- Stay asleep through the night on most nights,
- Feel well-rested after waking up most mornings, and
- Don’t rely on sleeping pills.
People who are good sleepers tend to have longer life expectancy, reported the American College of Cardiology. Men who sleep well live 4.7 years longer, on average, and women who sleep well gain 2.4 years, on average.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Scientists have discovered that some people are naturally short sleepers. They can get far less sleep, often four to six hours a night, without suffering any negative effects. So far, research has identified three genes that allow people to sleep less without experiencing physical or cognitive costs, reported Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.
Where you live may affect the quality of your sleep, too, according to a National University in Singapore study. It found that the least successful sleepers are in Asia, where people tend to snooze for less than 6.5 hours a night during the week. The most successful sleepers are in Ireland, New Zealand, Slovakia, and the Netherlands. In general, people in countries with high-quality sleep averaged seven hours on weeknights. People in the United States weren’t far behind, slumbering for 6.9 hours, on average, from Monday through Friday.
Focus – Think About It
If you want better sleep and less stress, reduce or stop watching the cable news shows from 6-11 p.m. each night. This will make a major difference.