Let’s talk inflation…

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for any significant amount of time, you know that red-hot inflation has been a key focal point for investors, and for central bankers.

When the latest consumer price index was released earlier this month it indicated the highest growth in more than a decade. And the producer price index also set a new record increase. 

But what does all of that mean, exactly? Financial expert Tim Melvin breaks it all down in a new interview, and it is definitely worth the watch. 

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What do the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting say?

Investors were having a difficult time swallowing the information from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes, out yesterday afternoon. Each of the major benchmarks suffered losses at closing yesterday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 tied at a 1.1% loss. The Nasdaq fell 0.9%. 

So… what did the meeting minutes reveal, exactly?

Apparently, the Federal Reserve could begin reigning in its massive bond-buying program before year’s end. 

“Looking ahead, most participants noted that, provided that the economy were to evolve broadly as they anticipated, they judged that it could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year,” the document read. 

Many experts said they believe the central bank will announce its tapering plan as early as September.

Apparently, bankers are happy with reaching its inflation goal, but believe there is still more work to do on a different front before they could even think about raising rates, which comes after tapering goes into effect.

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Top market headlines to pay attention to this morning

Futures tied to each of the three major benchmarks were down this morning, even after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 set new records yesterday. The S&P, in particular, celebrated a milestone of climbing more than 100% since its pandemic low. 

This morning, investors were awaiting retail sales data. Home Depot and Walmart posted their latest quarterly earnings, and both major companies saw shares fall in the premarket as a result. 

Meanwhile, the US is slated to recommend the vaccine booster shot for Americans eight months after they became fully vaccinated. 

And finally, the Kabul International Airport resumed flights this morning after a chaotic day yesterday.

According to Dominic Raab, who is the U.K. foreign secretary: “The situation is stabilizing but obviously we are monitoring it very carefully. I do think that the airport is more stable today than it was yesterday, and we need to make sure that we consolidate that in the days ahead.” 

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What are the top things that will impact the market this week?

Investors were banking on stocks tied to an economic recovery last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 enjoying new highs and the Nasdaq Composite remaining relatively muted. In the week ahead, traders will be concerned about a retail sales report, released on Tuesday, and minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, for some guidance on when the central bank will begin tapering. 

“I do think there will be a resurgence of the relation trade,” said one analyst. “I do think you can buy some of the cheap cyclicals.” 

Also this week, Walmart, Home Depot, Macy’s, and Target are among the major companies slated to report their latest earnings.

What else should you have on your radar for the week ahead?

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Why consumer sentiment is falling to a pandemic-era low

Consumer sentiment is falling fast, a University of Michigan report shows. That index shed 13% from July’s 81.2 reading to land at 70.2 in early August. 

That number reflects a new pandemic-era low, and it is the dourest outlook since 2011. The data also fell well below economist expectations for the month. 

According to a chief economist at the university, Richard Curtin, the Sentiment Index has only recorded such dramatic dips six other times, and each of those instances was “connected to sudden negative changes in the economy.” 

“Consumers have correctly reasoned that the economy’s performance will be diminished over the next several months,” Curtin said. “But the extraordinary surge in negative economic assessments also reflects an emotional response, mainly from dashed hopes that the pandemic would soon end.” 

What does he believe will happen next? Should we be worried?

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What are the top market headlines this morning?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 enjoyed fresh records again yesterday, bringing both benchmarks up for the week so far. The Nasdaq Composite, on the other hand, is down 0.1% for the week, even after logging gains yesterday. 

Futures rose slightly, indicating a positive open this morning. 

Meanwhile, Disney reported sunny quarterly earnings, boosting premarket trading this morning over 5%. 

And the Food and Drug Administration has officially offered its stamp of approval for a booster shot targeted at Americans whose immune systems are compromised. 

What other headlines should you be aware of this morning, that have potential to impact the market?

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What are the top market headlines this morning?

Stock futures were relatively muted this morning after both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 set fresh records yesterday. Investors were digesting yesterday’s consumer price index report, and anticipating the release of today’s wholesale prices data out today. 

The Labor Department will release the latest look at jobless claims this morning. A strong read on this front, coupled with a better-than-expected PPI report, could motivate the Federal Reserve to begin tapering talks sooner than expected. 

“I say give [Federal Reserve Chairman] Jay Powell the benefit of the doubt,” said Jim Cramer of CNBC. “He’s been right as rain since the pandemic started. His critics have been dead wrong for ages. Powell’s been adamant that we need to wait and see what happens with the Delta variant before he starts raising rates or even tapering.”

What else should you have on your radar this morning?

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The number of job openings surge above 10 million for the first time

Yesterday, the Labor Department reported a whopping 10 million job openings in June, a figure that represents a new record. That is one million more payrolls than economists had expected. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hospitality sector led the way, with over 1.6 million job openings. Health care came next with 1.5 million available spots. 

“Labor demand keeps getting stronger,” said Nick Bunker, who is the director of research at Indeed Hiring Lab. “This is the third straight month of record-breaking job openings. The quits rate is also close to its all-time high, which was set just two months ago in April. This wave of demand will eventually recede, but job seekers should ride it until then.” 

This news came on the heels of a promising July jobs report, which went out last week. 

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These are the top things to watch in the market this week

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 saw new records at closing. Those benchmarks increased 0.8% and 0.9%, respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite increased 1.1%.

In the week ahead, investors will be focused on a suite of inflation reports with an eye for how they might impact the Fed’s easy monetary policy. Last week, the July jobs report reflected a sturdy gain of 943,000 new payrolls. That information, coupled with this week’s inflation data, could provide insight into when the central bank will begin easing up on its bond-buying program. 

“I think the keys for the next week are going to be both [the consumer price index] and [the producer price index],” said Michael Arone, of State Street Global Advisors. “We get some inflation data for consumers and for businesses. Those will be closely watched. Jobless claims as well.”

Earnings season winds down this week, with far fewer companies reporting in the coming days. Wendy’s and eBay report on Wednesday, while Walt Disney and Airbnb share on Thursday.

What else is on the economic calendar in the week ahead?

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Why landlords are taking the Biden administration to court right now

A group of landlords and real estate companies believe that the newest eviction moratorium spells trouble for “mom-and-pop” housing providers, which make up about half of the industry’s operators. 

So the Alabama and Georgia Association of Realtors is taking the Biden administration to court in an effort to curb the eviction pause, which now lasts through October 3

The group filed their lawsuit late yesterday, claiming that the CDC has overstepped their power once again.

If the housing professionals are successful, about 3.6 million Americans could be kicked out of their homes. If they aren’t, those small operators face their own bevy of financial hardships. 

“Without rental income, they cannot pay their own bills or maintain their properties,” officials said. 

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