Joe Biden pledged yesterday to give all of us another $1,400 in direct payments and, in a shocking change of policy from the previous administration, pledged real money to pay for vaccines and TESTING to start getting the virus under control. As crazy as that sounds – we need it very badly with 2M Global Deaths and 91M Global Cases and over 20% of each coming from America, which is already on fire.
As I'm sure Benjamin Franklin must have said so I'll make up the quote: "Money fixes everything and, if that doesn't work, print more money." Trump's Covid Incompetence has now killed more Americans than Hitler did on purpose in World War II (405,000) so we can't get that guy out the door soon enough but Biden is getting hit by a very big wave with more daily infections and more daily deaths than ever before and it's likely to get worse before it gets better.
Speaking of worse, December Retail Sales were down 0.7% from November and, shockingly, on-line sales were down more than 5% – this is BAD! So $1,400 per person is a good start and there's a $400 weekly unemployment supplement through September
“We have to act and we have to act now,” Mr. Biden said. Biden made both a moral and an economic pitch, arguing that it was essential to use the government’s borrowing power to support struggling families and arguing that the resulting consumer spending would spur growth. “Even our debt situation will be more stable, not less stable, if we seize this moment with vision and purpose,” he said.
In a poverty-fighting move long sought by many Democrats, the child tax credit would rise from $2,000 to $3,000 for this year under Mr. Biden’s plan, with an additional $600 for children under 6 years old and new rules that would let the poorest households get the full benefit. The plan also includes money to help households with the costs of rent and child care, plus a desperately needed $350 billion for state and local governments.
Excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, Retail Spending fell by 2.1% during the month so, as we expected, Christmas was cancelled and we are going to get some horrific reports from the Retail Sector in this upcoming earnings period. Since Retail Sales are 60% of our GDP – I'd be concerned!
We're still finishing up our Portfolio Reviews (see yesterday's Report) and I'd pay special attention to our hedges, which will hopefully get us through an adjustment in case anyone finally notices that, whether it's Biden's or Trump's – a $30Tn deficit is nothing to laugh about and it's very likely Biden will look to impose new taxes, which will hurt Corporate Profits and Corporate Profits are already being squeezed by rising input costs and an inablity to pass along price increases – possibly because they just laid off the people who they are trying to sell to (1M new unemployed last week).
Our Index Hedges are doing well again (you're welcome!) from the lines we set up on Wednesday morning and you can see a more in-depth discussion of our Futures shorting strategy from Wednesday's Live Trading Webinar.
Meanwhile, it's Friday and we're all gettting another $1,400 so why worry about anything? The markets are closed on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King so it's a long weekend to contemplate the nature of Finance and how much the things we hold are truly worth – in and outside of our portfolios.
Have a great weekend,