One year ago this week, the stock markets were at new highs and investors were brimming with confidence. The virus was a footnote in the news relegated to affecting China and a handful of individuals in the U.S. Within a month, stocks were down over thirty percent and uncertainty was rampant. What a difference a year makes. If anything, the last year has shown how flexible, innovative, and resilient we are. Two vaccines are approved for use and JNJ’s one-dose vaccine is on the precipice of being approved and distributed. We just need to hang in there a little longer… Reuters
As the House of Representatives laid plans to approve a stimulus bill soon, other policymakers were also in the news. CNBC In a Congressional hearing this week, Jerome Powell reiterated his support for accommodative policy and focusing on maximum employment. Some lawmakers pressed him about inflation concerns and he pushed back that he had no concerns at this time, and it may take three years to get inflation to 2%. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is, and he has not changed his stance or position on fully supporting the economy. Bloomberg
Meanwhile, Janet Yellen had one of her first wide-ranging interviews. The Treasury Secretary voiced support for creating jobs and lowering unemployment to levels before the pandemic. She also felt the size of the national debt was manageable, some favorable taxes enjoyed by hedge funds and large estates should be reviewed, that financial institutions should monitor risks from climate change and that Bitcoin was highly speculative. NYT CNBC
Prepare yourselves to hear from Jerome Powell and Janet Yellen in the coming years. They are both central to government solutions and support in combatting the economic effects of the pandemic. Both are on the same page and have been very clear that they will be accommodative in supporting the economy and that too much support is better than too little.
Virus/Vaccine Quick Hits:
- An expert believes 55% of Americans have immunity and herd immunity will arrive by April: WSJ
- Virus cases have dropped dramatically in nursing homes due to vaccinations: AXIOS
- Vaccine manufacturers say supplies should start to ramp up: UPI CNBC
- Neanderthal genes may be responsible if you don’t show symptoms from the virus: CNN
- Hospitalizations are increasing of children suffering aftereffects of having the virus: AXIOS
- Investors left this company for dead, then COVID-19 brought it back to life: WSJ
Climate Change Plan: Bill Gates has put forth a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. He feels solar energy, electric cars, and planting trees will not solve the problem and proposes investment in new nuclear energy and transforming intensive carbon-emitting industries such as steel, concrete, and agriculture. He is trying to rally billionaires and venture capitalists to fund innovation. Despite the massive challenge, his book has been described as optimistic. The Economist WSJ Amazon
Quick Hits for the Week:
- The 2020 economic contraction was Britain’s worst in 300 years: WSJ
- The cost of solar has dropped 89% in 10 years and investing in renewable energy may now be cheaper than carbon energy: Fast Company
- Scotland is making a push to provide Universal Basic Income to all citizens: Independent
- Croatia is recruiting remote digital workers to live there: CNN
- National politics is not working, but science is working: David Brooks - NYT
- One day soon, wearable stickers on your skin may help with early detection of heart disease and COVID: SciTechDaily
Is Two Hours Outdoors the New 10,000 Steps? Scientific research is piling up that spending time in nature is critical for health and increases longevity. The Japanese practice “forest bathing” which has been linked to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones, depression, fatigue, and anxiety. Spending time in the forest has also been shown to lower inflammation which is linked to many chronic diseases. Three to five hours a week seems to be optimum. I don’t think I can say I’m forest bathing with a straight face, but I do enjoy a walk in the woods. WSJ
Quote: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill
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