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The Year in Review: 2020 was an unprecedented year and The Transcript covered the economy throughout all of its twists and turns. Even though China was battling Covid in 2019, no one really knew what was in store for all of us in 2020. Technology, capital markets, and housing were three industries that boomed. While the stimulus was integral, the economic hero of 2020 was the US consumer. Optimism is high that 2021 will be a more normal year.

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The Transcript

Succinct Summary: Capital markets are ending 2020 with a bang thanks in part to last week’s hot IPOs.  Business leaders are feeling confident about 2021 and expect next year’s earnings to exceed 2019’s.  Consumer spending is similarly strong.  Even the housing market is stronger than in ’05.  It’s a K shaped recovery for some industries but a vaccine should unleash pent up demand and high unemployment means that interest rates will stay low for longer. Readers should keep an eye on growing supply chain bottlenecks.  This could be a source of some inflationary pressure.

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The Transcript

Succinct Summary: This has been the most difficult crisis that the US has faced since most people can remember.  An economic recovery is underway but the pace of job growth may be slowing.  Companies in the hardest-hit industries are asking for more stimulus.

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The Transcript

Succinct Summary: The economy has improved a lot since the bottom, and headline economic activity is nearing a full recovery.  However, the recovery has not been shared equally.  There have been a small number of big economic winners and a much larger number of economic losers from COVID.  This will help keep the government pushing for more stimulus for a long time.  In the past, this stimulus has tended to help the winners even more.

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The Transcript

Succinct Summary: This has been an incredibly difficult operating environment but we’re all learning to live in a world with Covid.  Economic activity is much better than anyone expected and government officials are pushing for even more stimulus.  The Fed expects to keep interest rates at zero until 2023.

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The Transcript

Succinct Summary: The economy was rebounding in May and June, but the recovery seems to have stalled out as infections have rebounded.  CEO commentary was particularly negative last week.  Business leaders are rapidly losing confidence and do not see a V-shaped recovery materializing.  There’s a sense that government stimulus appears to be the only thing propping up the economy and it’s creating distortions in unemployment and financial markets.  Still (perhaps because of this stimulus) the hot housing market suggests that consumers may not actually be in such bad shape after all–just spending on different things.

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The Transcript

Succinct Summary: This week was the height of earnings season and it was a little surreal to see the magnitude of revenue declines in some industries. These declines weren’t surprising though and many companies said that there were signs of recent stabilization. However, markets have pinned hopes on a V shaped recovery. If we don’t get a V there could be a second wave of volatility. The most concerning data point from this week is that China and Italy are experiencing U shaped recoveries.

Editor’s Request: This weekly newsletter is made possible by donations from our readers. If you like what you are reading, click here to donate (Our suggested donation: $10 per month). Help us keep The Transcript going.

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