Happy Halloween! It’s the perfect pandemic holiday, where the strangers coming to your door are already wearing masks, and they look adorable doing it!
This is also the last weekend of voting before the election ends on Tuesday, November 3. Please vote and take some measure of comfort from this piece about your investments in election season. No matter who wins, the effects on the stock market may not be as good or as bad as you think it will be. (New York Times)
Important benefits for everyone this year, courtesy of the CARES ACT:
- Give $300 in cash or check to a qualified charity and deduct it all from your income – no other requirements.
- Get a free Covid-19 test. The CARES act requires all group plans to provide free Covid testing to subscribers. Even if you have a high deductible health plan, you can get tested at no cost and no deductible, assuming it is deemed medically appropriate.
Markets & economic news
GDP growth: This year has seen historic losses followed by historic government stimulus, and then historic gains. Remember that all the numbers related to GDP are annualized, so a change in the quarter is multiplied by 4. In a nutshell, GDP recovered quite a bit:
Meanwhile, markets are not responding positively because they are forward looking. That means even though some tech company earnings reports were strong, the worsening pandemic and expiration of the stimulus has cast a dark shadow on the market. A perfect storm of investor worries led to S&P 500 index declines for three straight days, as Covid-19 cases rose in the U.S. and Europe and hopes faded for new stimulus before voting ends on November 3. The benchmark has slipped more than 7% from its record closing level in early September, and its gains since January 1 now stand around 0.5%. This just takes us back to where we were at times in August and September, so not a big surprise. (Wall Street Journal)
American households increased spending 1.4% in September for the fifth straight month. Remaining pandemic aid helped boost incomes by 0.9%. (Wall Street Journal)
Worst week yet for Covid-19 cases: New cases reached a record 90k on Thursday, the equivalent of more than one new case every second. Half of all U.S. counties saw new cases peak during the past month, a broader range of areas than we saw affected early on. Covid hospitalizations are increasing as well, starting a third wave of very elevated hospital usage due to the virus.
Self-care while we get through this election period:
- Lighthearted movies for the weekend: “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, French film “The Intouchables,” and “Yes Man” with Jim Carey are all suggestions for unwinding this weekend with a smile. (Brightside)
- Relaxing paint-by-numbers for adults is a great way to practice the meditation of a methodical task, with an aesthetically pleasing payoff. (Mashable)
Wishing you and your families a safe and enjoyable week, and we’ll see you on the other side of the election!