Stocks are showing a slight decline this morning … and some analysts are claiming surprise, as retail sales were quite a bit higher than expectations. But why the long face Wilbur? It could be that much of the consumer glee was stimulus driven … and there is quite a bit of uncertainty around future payments.
You just have to wonder about this … and some are starting to … for is there no limit to such government support? There was talk a while ago of “universal income” … where every adult citizen would receive a set amount of money on a regular basis. I absolutely hate this idea … unless, of course, I happen to be listed as one of the passengers on the gravy train. In that case, I’ll be quite tempted to change my mind.
I don’t mean to disparage the thought of stimulus. I just get confused as I don’t know what happens when it ends. Inertia is the concept where an object continues to move at the same speed unless acted upon by an external force. My fear is that now that this is in motion, stopping stimulus cold turkey might act like an external force on consumer spending … like, um, hitting a brick wall.
Okay, I’m off my soapbox.
Odds are that if you are reading this, you are home … while a year ago you would have been at your office. You might want to get used to this … as the view of a World Economic Forum panel is that this might continue long after the pandemic is behind us.
I also included an article today which claims Ikea is attempting to design longer-lasting furniture. Yes, that’s right. The thought is for them to finally design some furniture that lasts forever … which is about how long it has taken me to put some of their items together.
On a final note, I will share a bit of anger today … as I received an email from the post office yesterday telling me the new Bill Gates book: “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” was delivered to my mailbox. Well … not only was this not in my box, but mixed in the mail I did receive was a letter addressed to someone two blocks away … that, obviously, had to do with a college scholarship … which looked quite important. It is bad enough that it now takes as long as 10 days to receive first class mail … but the situation appears as if it getting worse.
So last night my plan for reading material changed and I picked up a book on poems with writing so terrible that I was convinced some of the authors intended to kill the readers.
But I knew many of these anonymous writers would never be identified.
After all, I am dealing with prose.
Have a great day,
Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
cell: (856) 625-7915
… As of 10:51 AM today …
Quick Look at the News
Retail sales jumped in January … and economists are citing stimulus checks for the boost. Will more be coming? Curious shoppers want to know (CNBC)https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/17/us-retail-sales-january-2021.html
One of the things people might be buying are little items to spruce up their home offices. Why? Some think they might work from home for a while … like … forever (Inc)https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/is-office-dead-forever-studies-suggest-working-from-home-is-way-of-future.html
… but the interest thought there is that your office … home office … can be anywhere you have internet connection … so why not move to a nicer location? (USAToday)https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2021/02/17/unemployment-coronavirus-cities-lose-jobs-suburbs-gain-during-covid/6760123002/
… even so … you had better hurry if looking at real estate. Not because of the price, but if you are financing rates are rising … and that will put quite a dent in your monthly payment (CNBC)https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/17/mortgage-demand-falls-further-as-rates-rise-.html
During your last Zoom call, did you have issues with the connection? With so many devices using your wifi, your internet speed could be suffering. Here is how to check the speed (CNET)https://www.cnet.com/how-to/check-my-internet-speed-one-easy-way-to-tell-if-your-connections-as-slow-as-it-feels/
One problem with some companies is they refuse to change along with changing times. Ford, not wanting to get surprised, has plans to go all-electric in Europe … and pretty soon (BBC)https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56084500
… and another company, Ikea, is also catering to the whims and wishes of its customers … as the firm wants to upgrade its furniture … make it last … and change its image (HuffPost)https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ikea-plan-cheap-furniture-last-climate-footprint_n_6021a3a3c5b6173dd2f8b30b