The economy is booming and companies are expecting robust growth in the second half of 2021 and 2022. Travel is starting to rebound and cities are coming back to life. Stimulus has left consumers with a tremendous amount of liquidity and we are spending. Institutional investors are increasingly concerned about inflationary pressures.
Succinct Summary: Vaccinations are happening around the US and the world. It’s been a little slower than hoped but that may be because of the logistical challenges of administering vaccines at long-term care facilities. We are on the cusp of mass dissemination, and there should be enough capacity to make sure that the population is vaccinated quickly. We’ve lost a year of our lives to COVID but the finish line is (hopefully) in sight. Vaccination should unleash a huge amount of pent up demand. Banks, which started to report this week, have showed that credit performance metrics have been better than anyone dreamed possible in March of 2020. They’re releasing reserves and preparing to return capital to shareholders. Tech spend is also booming.
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Succinct Summary: The modern economy has never experienced economic carnage on the scale of COVID19. US GDP is forecast to fall by 30-40% while unemployment is likely to rise to 20-30%. What matters though, is how long it lasts. A 30% rate of decline in production for a quarter is different from a 30% decline for a whole year. As public attention seems to turn from the virus to the economy, debate is on whether we will see a V-shaped recovery or not. There are lots of reasons why we are unlikely to see such a rapid recovery but there are also glimmers of economic hope. Still, the path of the economy seems to pale in comparison to the importance of the path of humanity.
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Succinct Summary: 2020 begins with a surge of optimism. The consumer continues to be a bright spot for the economy and business sentiment seems to be turning a corner. Fundamentals are strong and the cherry on top is that interest rates remain low. Capital markets love this environment.