A new year, another vaccine, more stimulus, and a familiar — if frustrating — reminder of the pandemic economy greets investors this week.
Don’t be lulled into thinking the dawn of 2021 brings about a sea change for the investment markets.
The markets already are pricing in business expectations months ahead of the calendar.
More than the usual new year’s ambition and aspiration rests on 2021 thanks to the pandemic.
A 15% rally in the S&P 500 for 2020 belies the underlying economic reality this year will have to reckon with.
A reminder of that will be Friday morning with the final monthly jobs report of 2020.
It will be a measure of how much work remains in the year ahead for the economy.
Millions of jobs have not returned from the pandemic-induced panic of the spring.
Tens of thousands of workers have dropped out of actively seeking work. And the number of people going without work for at least six months is at a seven year high.
There may be fewer COVID-19 economic restrictions now even as cases skyrocket, but consumers remain weary and companies are cautious.
Stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and forgivable payroll loans are useful economic medicines. The vaccines will help slowly anchor confidence even as distribution efforts are uneven and inequitable.
The stock market already expects these efforts. Any hiccup, delay or decrease would be a disappointment for investors, and devastating for those families and firms counting on them.
After a spasm of rehiring, American companies have been tapering their appetite to bring workers back. Nothing in December appreciably changed. Like all of us, the job market hopes to shake out of its quarantined rut soon.
Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts “The Sunshine Economy” on WLRN-FM in Miami, where he is the vice president of news. He is the former co-anchor and managing editor of “Nightly Business Report” on public television. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.