The Week on Wall Street
Stocks marched higher last week on an improving outlook for the passage of a fiscal stimulus package.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.03%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 tacked on 1.67%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 2.12% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 0.78%.
A Record Week for Stocks
After opening the week with moderate losses amid rising COVID-19 infections, stocks turned higher as investor sentiment was buoyed by the resumption of fiscal stimulus negotiations. As lawmakers discussed various proposals, stocks managed to grind higher.
A better-than-expected jobless claims report on Thursday added fuel to the market rally, but the gains evaporated in late-day trading following news by a major pharmaceutical company that it would be slowing its rollout of the vaccine due to logistical challenges.
A disappointing jobs report on Friday did not keep investors from bidding stocks higher as the week came to a close, sending the Dow Jones Industrials, S&P 500, and the NASDAQ Composite indices to record high closes.
The Start of Holiday Shopping
The start of the holiday shopping season provides important insight into the state of the economy and overall consumer confidence. In response to the pandemic, consumers avoided in-store visits over the Thanksgiving weekend. This translated into a 22.4% decline in spending from last year’s levels.
However, spending prior to the Thanksgiving-to-Sunday period surged 65.7% from a year earlier, thanks to large retailers introducing Black Friday-like deals as early as mid-October.
Of course, the pandemic has led to an acceleration in shopping online. Cyber Monday sales jumped 15.1% over last year’s levels as consumers spent almost $11 billion, making it the largest U.S. online shopping day ever.
THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Wednesday: Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).
Thursday: Consumer Price Index (CPI), Jobless Claims.
Friday: Consumer Sentiment.
THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Monday: Coupa Software (COUP)
Tuesday: Autozone (AZO), Mongodb, Inc. (MDB), Chewy, Inc. (CHWY)
Wednesday: Campbell Soup Company (CPB), Slack Technologies (WORK)
Thursday: Lululemon Athletica, Inc. (LULU), Adobe, Inc. (ADBE), Broadcom (AVGO), Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST)
“It is wonderful what we can do if we are always doing.”
– George Washington
Recipe of the Week
Holiday Crinkle Cookies
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups flower
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- Mix together the cocoa, granulated sugar, and vegetable oil.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time. Slowly stir in the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir in the cocoa mixture and combine.
- Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. This helps get the crinkles in the cookies.
- Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat each cookie ball in confectioner’s sugar and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Paying Employment Taxes? Make Sure You’re Using the Correct Form
Mentally Practice Saying “Do” not “Don’t”
Tip adapted from John F. Murray
Have a Healthier Holiday
- Choose your splurges. Enjoy things you can only have once a year and save your stomach for those.
- Don’t skip meals. If you do, you might be even hungrier later and overeat.
- Don’t feel guilty. This is probably the most important wellness tip this season. If you do overindulge, don’t beat yourself up over it. Try to do better next time and just focus on having a relaxing holiday!
Beautiful Eco-Friendly Wreaths
- Use natural materials that will biodegrade after the holiday season is over. Clematis twigs or branches are good to use as a base due to their flexibility, but any branches that have some natural movement to them will work. Form a circular shape with the branches, securing with twine or string so it holds its shape.
- Gather natural materials to decorate. Leaves, flowers, fruits, and evergreen plants make lovely eco-friendly additions to your wreath.
- Bunch your decorative materials together in groups of 3-5 so that they are roughly the same height. Secure each bunch with string or twine to the wreath until no bare spots are left.
- Trim any excess material, and hang your wreath.