The initial rollout of an approved coronavirus vaccine helped boost markets last week, though a failure to reach an agreement on a stimulus plan by week’s end closed the week on a down note. The stimulus plan appears to have been resolved during weekend negotiations and a vote is set for as early as today. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was +0.5%, the S&P 500 Index was +1.3%, and the NASDAQ 100 Index was +3.0%.
Initial unemployment claims during the week of December 12th increased to 885,000 versus 862,000 the previous week. Continuing claims for the week of December were 5.508 million versus 5.781 million the week prior. Tightening restrictions on businesses due to a resurgence of COVID-19 in some areas of the country may be having an impact on employment.
Despite the coronavirus vaccine rollout in multiple countries, worry about a renewed strain of the virus in the United Kingdom has prompted several countries to ban flights from the U.K. These travel restrictions are likely to slow economic recovery as well as disrupt holiday plans.
In our Dissecting Headlines section, we look at the shopping and shipping crunch time heading into the Christmas holiday.
Financial Market Update
Dissecting Headlines: Christmas Crunch Time
The increase in online shopping for the Christmas holiday also requires an increase in shipping for the season. The increase in ecommerce sales is likely to push an estimated three billion packages though the U.S. shipping network, an increase of 36%. Both retailers and shippers have been adapting to the increase in ecommerce demand over the course of the year as the COVID lockdowns drove the need to increase capacity.
The extended offerings from retailers online also stretched the start of the shopping period in advance of the traditional Black Friday start. A majority of consumers reported starting their shopping earlier this year.
If you haven’t finished your shopping, there are scarce days remaining and express shipping rates will increase the overall cost of the gifts. If you’re really behind then there is always the option of heading to the mall.
Want a printable version of this report? Click here: NovaPoint December 21, 2020
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