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President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package includes proposals likely to be opposed by many Republicans, which may lead to drawn-out talks before an agreement is reached. While many of the elements in the plan could pass the Senate with a simple 50-50 partisan split, some such as state aid and money for health care will likely need 60 votes in the chamber. The timing of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump could add another road block to a swift agreement on new stimulus. 

JPMorgan Chase has released almost $3bn it had reserved for loan losses at the height of the pandemic, contributing to a 42 per cent surge in net income for the biggest US bank in the final three months of 2020 versus a year earlier.  The bank reported record profits of $12.1bn.  JP Morgan’s fourth-quarter revenue of $29.2bn was up 3 per cent year on year.  


The furious pace of IPOs and SPACs is showing no sign of letting up anytime soon as management teams and big name investors take advantage of the easy money sloshing around in financial markets. Case in point: Affirm, a company that helps consumers finance online purchases, finished its trading debut up 98% on Wednesday, giving a nice shot in the arm for Shopify, which holds about 20M shares through warrants. Petco went public for the third time on Thursday, soaring 63% and valuing the retailer at more than $6B.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

President-elect Joe Biden will tonight unveil a Covid-19 stimulus package that could be as big as $2 trillion. The plan will include direct payments of $2,000, extending unemployment benefits, money for state and local government and tax credits, according to congressional officials. While Biden has said that he is seeking the support of Republican lawmakers in passing the package, Democrat control of all three branches of the legislature means he does not require it to pass his plans.  

Intel is bidding farewell to CEO Robert Swan, who has been at the helm for two years, as the semiconductor pioneer faces pressure from activist investor Daniel Loeb. He'll be replaced in mid-February by Patrick Gelsinger, a former chip designer and 30-year Intel veteran who has led software maker VMware since 2012. News of the shakeup sent Intel shares up 7%.  Then overnight, rival manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor announced strong earnings, and plans to spend as much as a staggering $28 billion to expand manufacturing and solidify its tech dominance.  These divergent trajectories just might be one of the most important trends in the world today.


First-time claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 965,000 last week amid signs of a slowdown in hiring due to pandemic restrictions, the Labor Department reported this morning.  The total was worse than Wall Street estimates of 800,000 and above the previous week’s total of 784,000.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

Affirm, the consumer lender led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, sold shares well above its expected price range during an initial public offering, in a sign of the continued exuberance for new US listings. The San Francisco-based company raised $1.2bn in the offering after selling shares at $49 a piece, according to two people briefed on the matter, a price level that exceeded its already bumped up range of $41 to $44.  Affirm would have a market capitalisation of $11.9bn at the IPO price.


Analysts are wavering in their convictionthat the dollar will continue to weaken as a more optimistic outlook about the US economy challenges a key driver of the greenback slide. The US currency fell 5 per cent in the final two months of 2020, and many investors and analysts were expecting further declines in 2021. But the past week has brought a 1.2 per cent recovery. Emerging markets currencies that have performed strongly in recent months have also had their march interrupted by the resurgent dollar. The turnround reflects nagging doubts over whether the Federal Reserve will hold the line with its extremely supportive policy given greater hopes for an economic pick-up in the US.


After setting more than a dozen record lows last year, mortgage rates began 2021 on an upward climb, and that lit a fire under borrowers, fearing they might miss the last of the lowest rates. Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan spiked 20% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. That was the highest level since last March. Volume was 93% higher than a year ago.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

With the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury rising almost a quarter of a percent already this year, hitting 1.16% this morning, today's record-matching $38 billion auction of 10-year bonds will be closely watched. The beginning of 2021 has also seen a rapid steepening of the yield curve, as the prospect of a unified Democratic government led investors to reprice expectations for economic stimulus and debt issuance in the wake of the Georgia runoff result. The moves in the Treasury market are raising concerns about the resilience of the market rally, particularly in emerging markets.


The uptick in rates has certainly helped Bank stocks, stuck in the investment doghouse for years, and are now back in favour.  The sector suffered a rough 2020 as coronavirus lockdowns threatened to spark a rush of loan defaults, drawing out a period of marked underperformance since long-term interest rates began to fall in 2018, compressing profit margins. bank indices have outperformed the wider market by more than 25 percentage points since.


Five days ago, Elon Musk, the tech billionaire and avid Twitter user prompted his followers to "use Signal" - the encrypted messaging app that's funded by a nonprofit and is seeing a surge in popularity.  There was some confusion and ignorant retail investors responded to Musk's tweet by pushing up the price of Signal Advance, a small component manufacturer with one full-time employee whose stock trades over the counter and hasn't filed an annual report with the SEC since 2019. Shares were trading at just $0.60 before the big tweet, but quickly climbed to $6.64 over Thursday and Friday. The stock shot up again yesterday to close at $38.70, resulting in a whopping 6,380%advance over the three trading sessions, as well as a market cap of more than $3B.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off today, the big industry event for consumer technology companies that's normally held in Las Vegas. The show is always full of dazzling displays and latest innovations, but it will take place virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The China crackdown seen on Wall Street is extending to the Far East, where Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley said they will delist 500 Hong Kong-listed structured products linked to China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, as well as local indexes including the Hang Seng Index. Last week, the Office of Foreign Assets Control clarified a November order from President Trump that banned Americans from investing in Chinese companies that the U.S. considers to have links with China's military.


Direct payments have provided a financial lifeline to millions of Americans, but for others, they represent an opportunity to boost their savings. That is thanks to the $2.3T CARES Act and the latest $908B stimulus bill, which provided $1200 and $600 to all Americans making under $75,000 - regardless of their employment and financial situation. Securities trading was among the most common uses - across nearly every income bracket - for the government stimulus checks issued in May, according to software and data aggregation company Envestnet. Americans that earned between $35,000 and $75,000 annually traded stocks about 90% more than the week prior to receiving their stimulus check


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

According to the Labor Department the US economy lost 140,00 jobs in December, and economists had predicted it to ad 50,000 jobs. The unemployment rate now stands at 6.7%. The industry that saw the largest losses was the hospitality industry because of the new lockdowns across the country. The U.S. service sector expanded more than anticipated in December, marking a seventh straight month of expansion.


The Institute for Supply Management services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 57.2 for the month following a print of 55.9 in November. The increase came as new orders, supplier deliveries and inventories increased markedly in the service sector in December.


Oregon recreational-marijuana sales surged in 2020, peaking during a difficult summer of protests and lockdowns. The result was a record year of business for the state’s marijuana purveyors, based on data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees marijuana sales. Total marijuana sales in Oregon jumped from $795 million in 2019 to more than $1 billion in 2020, led higher by Multnomah County.

US Stock rallied yesterday led higher by banks of all sizes and scopes rallied as a rise in long-term rates promised to allow financial firms to hike the interest banks can charge on their loans, a key driver of commercial lending profits.


U.S. private employers in December slashed jobs for the first time in six months, suggesting the labor market's recovery from the coronavirus crisis has stalled amid a resurgence in cases nationwide. According to the ADP National Employment Report companies shed 123,000 jobs last month, missing the 88,000-job increase that economists had predicted.


New orders for U.S.-made goods increased more than expected in November and business investment on equipment was solid, pointing to sustained recovery in manufacturing. The Commerce Department said that factory orders rose 1.0% after increasing 1.3% in October.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones

Stocks fell in the first trading session of 2021, as concerns over a post-holiday spike in virus cases compounded with uncertainty over the outcome of the Georgia Senate runoff elections spooked traders.


U.S. manufacturing activity picked up at its briskest pace in more than six years in December, extending a recovery in the factory sector that has spurred the strongest pricing environment for goods producers since 2011 as the coronavirus pandemic upends supply chain networks. U.S. construction spending rose to a record high in November, boosted by a robust housing market amid historically low mortgage rates, which could help blunt some of the hit on the economy from raging COVID infections.


The Commerce Department said that construction spending increased 0.9% to $1.459 trillion, the highest level since the government started tracking the series in 2002.


Flir, the maker of night vision devices, and one of Oregon’s last big tech companies, said they will sell their business to California-based Teledyne Technologies in a deal initially valued at $8 billion in cash and stock. That would represent a 28% premium on Flir’s closing share price last week.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones

The US Stock Market as measured by the S&P 500 Index was 16.26% higher in 2020 a number that nobody thought was possible back in March when the market was down over 30% at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The tech heavy NASDAQ was 43.6% higher its best year since 2009.


This week Wall Street will be  keeping a close eye on Georgia as the state prepares for a Senate runoff election on Tuesday, which could change their  majority in the chamber.


The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time unexpectedly fell last week, marking its second straight decline.  Initial jobless claims declined by 19,000 to 787,000.  Continuing claims, which include those who have received unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks, fell by 103,000 to 5.2 million.  The number of people receiving benefits across all unemployment programs dropped by 800,000 to 19.6 million.


Tesla reported better-than-expected 2020 vehicle deliveries, driven by a steady rise in electric vehicle adoption, but narrowly missed its ambitious full-year goal during a punishing year for the global auto industry.  The company delivered 499,550 vehicles during 2020, above Wall Street estimates but 450 units shy of CEO Elon Musk's target.


Tyler Simones
Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management

President Donald Trump threw Congress a curveball when he expressed unhappinesswith the stimulus package that passed through both legislative chambers on Monday. He demanded payments to individuals be increased to $2,000 from $600, something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed, adding that Democrats were ready to bring it to the House. Trump didn't say he would veto the bill as it currently stands, and he has until Dec. 28 to sign it.


The SEC will allow companies to raise new capital through direct listings, whereby a company floats its shares on a stock exchange, but without hiring banks to underwrite the transaction like in an IPO. Until now, companies have only been allowed to use direct listings to sell existing shares, limiting the process to a small number of cash-rich companies like Palantir which went public in September.


Brexit trade talks are said to be hanging in the balance once again as officials try to wrap up negotiations today, with the U.K. only a week away from leaving the single market. Discussions are still hung up over fishing rights, though the other two issues, a competitive playing field and enforcement of a deal, seem to have been resolved. Meanwhile, France is reopening its borders with the U.K. for truck drivers who test negative for COVID-19 following a two-day shutdown caused by the new coronavirus variant in England. Some U.K. officials are even speculating that France closed its borders to give a taste of what would happen if there was a no-deal Brexit.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

The House and Senate passed the 5,593-page combined year-end spending bill and stimulus package yesterday that amounts to $2.3 trillion in total. Of course, you can rest assured almost none of our elected officials even read much of the bill. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law today. The legislation provides for federal funding for the rest of the fiscal year, supplemental unemployment benefits and $600 stimulus checks for most Americans and their children. Democrat leaders in Congress vowed to make another deficit-spending relief package the top priority in the next term, a policy that would be make easier if they win the two Senate seats up for grabs in the Georgia runoff election.


Apple's Project Titan is not only alive, but plans to produce an electric passenger vehicle with "breakthrough battery technology" and self-driving capabilities by 2024, according to a fresh report from Reuters. The news sent AAPL shares nearly 3% higher in premarket trade after closing up yesterday on the news. Project Titan has been moving in fits and starts since 2014. It first began to design its own vehicle from scratch, but reverted back to a software push at one point and reassessed its goals. It remains unclear who would assemble a possible iCar, but sources have said they expect Apple to rely on a manufacturing partner.


Regulators appear to be getting serious about crypto as the space turns into one of the investing themes of 2020. A day after the Treasury proposed new rules on crypto movement, the SEC is expected to bring a lawsuit against Ripple Inc. by alleging it violated investor protection laws by selling unregistered securities when it sold XRP to investors. Brief rhetorical question for those crypto “investors” out there: why would you ever buy something with a currency you expect to be worth more in the future?


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

Lawmakers from both parties announced Sunday night that they finally reached an agreement on a $900B coronavirus spending package to bolster the U.S. economy. It would be one of the largest economic relief bills in the nation's history, second only to the $2.2T CARES Act passed back in March. The legislation includes $600 in direct payments to individuals and $300 per week of enhanced unemployment benefits, as well as funding for small businesses, vaccine distribution, food assistance, education and child care. It also covers rental relief and extends the nationwide eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021. The House is expected to vote on the bill today, followed by the Senate.


Lockheed Martin is buying rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.4B as the company beefs up its propulsion capabilities amid competition from new entrants like SpaceX and Blue Origin. Speaking of space, Viasat inked an agreement to acquire RigNet in an all-stock transaction that will see the company diversify across a number of important verticals. Meanwhile, private-equity firm Thoma Bravo struck a deal to buy property-management-software provider RealPage for $9.6B, in one of the largest recent leveraged buyouts.


The relief package leaves out two of the most contentious elements in the negotiations: legal protections for businesses from coronavirus lawsuits, which had been sought by the GOP, and direct aid for state and local governments advocated by Democrats. A dispute was additionally resolved over the Fed's emergency lending powers. The central bank wouldn't be able to replicate programs identical to the ones it started at the beginning of the pandemic without Congressional approval, but that wouldn't prevent it from starting other similar programs. The airline industry also received a big lift, winning $15B to reinstate payroll reimbursements that expired two months ago.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose to record highs yesterday, boosted by hope of Washington coming through on additional fiscal aid before the end of 2020.


New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose in mid-December to a nearly four-month high, pointing to rising layoffs and more damage to the economy from a record increase in coronavirus cases.  Initial jobless claims climbed to 885,000 in the seven days ended Dec. 12 from 862,000 in the prior week. It was the second monthly increase in a row.

U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.55 million in November, representing a 1.2% increase from the previous month’s figure. Compared with last year, housing starts were up nearly 13%. The pace of building permits was the highest in 14 years.


Dozens of states filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, alleging that the search giant has an illegal monopoly over the online search market that hurts consumers and advertisers.  The lawsuit, announced by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. by states represented by bipartisan attorneys general. The lawsuit was joined by the attorneys general of 35 states including Oregon.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones.

Stocks at record highs and bond yields not far from their historic lows are telling two different stories, but Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he isn’t worried about the disparity.  In fact, the central bank chief said during a news conference yesterday, the low rates are helping justify the surge in stocks that has gone on largely unabated since the March pandemic lows.  The Fed also affirmed they are unlikely to raise interest rates through at least 2023.  They also said they see the US economy growing by 4.2% in 2021.


U.S. retail sales fell more than expected in November, likely weighed down by raging new Covid infections and decreasing household income, adding to growing signs of a slowdown in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession.  The second straight monthly decline in retail sales could nudge Congress to agree on another fiscal stimulus package.


The first home test for COVID-19 that doesn’t require a prescription will soon be on U.S. store shelves.  U.S. regulators authorized the rapid coronavirus test, which can be done entirely at home. The announcement by the FDA represents another important step in efforts to expand testing options.  This will allow sales in places like drugstores “where a patient can buy it, swab their nose, run the test and find out their results in as little as 20 minutes.  Australian manufacturer Ellume said it expects to produce 3 million tests next.  A company spokesperson said the test will be priced around $30 and be available at pharmacies and for purchase online.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones.

US Stocks had their first down week in 3 week last week as investors are less optimistic about Congress passing another stimulus package before much of the Cares Act expires.

U.S. consumers grew more confident in the economy in late November and early December, with many expecting the economic conditions to improve when the country begins to exit from the coronavirus pandemic.  The University of Michigan said their index of consumer sentiment climbed to 81.4 in the two weeks ended Dec. 9, from 76.9 in November.


Oregon factories eliminated more than 16,000 jobs in the early weeks of the pandemic and there’s little sign those jobs are coming back.  Manufacturing is one of Oregon’s largest economic sectors, employing nearly 200,000 statewide at the start of the year. Employment fell by more than 8% when the pandemic hit last spring and has shown little sign of a rebound.  The hardest hit sectors have been primary metal manufacturing and transportation equipment production, down 24% and 19% respectively.  Oregon allowed factories to continue operating throughout the spring stay-home order and so the manufacturing downturn wasn’t as severe as it was in the hospitality and fitness sectors, for example. But those industries were in steady recovery for most of the year – that hasn’t happened at Oregon’s factories.  Precision Castparts, which supplies large metal components to the aviation industry, is in the process of laying off 40 percent of their workers.

Tyler Simones
Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management

Just when it was starting to look like a deal could be done in Washington, talks between Democrats and Republicans have gotten hung up again on the issues of business liability and state aid. The progress of the past few days where talks between both sides had coalesced around a $900 billion figure sparked optimism that a deal could be agreed in the next week. Now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants lawmakers to proceed with a smaller bill that doesn't include state government aid and business liability protection. Further adding to fiscal woes, the Senate yesterday postponed a vote on a one-week stop-gap bill that would keep the government funded beyond today.  


Airbnb hosts from around the world rang their doorbells on Thursday to celebrate the company's stock market debut, with shares of the home rental business more than doubling on their first day of trade. The stock opened at $146 apiece, which is more than double its elevated $68 IPO price.  The current share price gives Air Bnb a market cap of $100bn on a fully diluted basis.

"There is now a strong possibility that we will have a solution that is more like an Australian relationship with the EU," Boris Johnson said in his first remarks since a crunch meeting in Brussels, suggesting a no-deal Brexit may be in the cards. What does that look like? Canberra largely does business with the EU based on World Trade Organization rules, and has few other arrangements in place, such as cooperation on science and trade in wine. With negotiations between the U.K. and EU still hung up over fishing rights, a competitive playing field and enforcement, some "Plan B" details are surfacing in case an agreement doesn't materialize before a weekend deadline.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

DoorDash had a stellar debut on the public markets yesterday, with shares closing at $189, nearly 86% higher than its IPO price and giving the food delivery service a market value of near $60B. The performance is an indication that investors haven't lost their appetite for fast-growing tech stocks, and is a good sign for Airbnb,  which debuts today on the Nasdaq. The home rental business priced its IPO at $68 per share, above its marketed range of $56-$60, valuing the company at $47B on a fully diluted basis. It comes after Airbnb turned a surprise $219M profit last quarter as people resumed traveling - but to different destinations (rentals surged in rural areas as cities faced lockdowns and extensive coronavirus restrictions).  


Facebook got nailed with two lawsuits yesterday, one from the Federal Trade Commission and another from a group of 46 U.S. states, which both accused the company of abusing its monopoly power in social networking. The FTC suit focused on Facebook's acquisition of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp two years later, describing the deals as a way to stifle competition, while state attorneys general said its actions were a "buy or bury" approach toward its rivals. Is a divestment in the cards? Facebook denied the anti-competive practices, calling it "revisionist history" of two major acquisitions the government had approved several years ago.

This time they're serious about a deadline, or so they say... Meeting after meeting, extension after extension, the U.K. has announced that Sunday will be a "point of finality" for Brexit trade talks if the EU does not "move substantially" in negotiations. It follows a three-hour dinner in Brussels, where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the hope of breaking months of deadlock.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's proposal for a $916 billion pandemic relief package is seen by some as boosting the chances of reaching a deal. It is the first move by the Trump administrationsince Election Day, and comes a week after Democrat leaders in Congress dropped their demands for a multi-trillion dollar package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called it progress but seemed to prefer to concentrate on the bipartisan negotiations already underway. There is a possibility of movement on the latter, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggesting for the first time he would be willing to set aside his demands for business liability protection.  

Shares of DoorDash will begin trading on the NYSE this morning under ticker symbol "DASH" after pricing its IPO at $102 apiece, way above its upwardly revised target range. That would raise $3.37B at a valuation of around $38B (more than double its $16B valuation in June) after benefiting from a surge in demand for food delivery services due to COVID-19 restrictions. A day after DoorDash's debut, Airbnb (ABNB) is set to begin trading, followed by videogame company Roblox (RBLX) and the parent of online retailer Wish, ContextLogic (WISH)


U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads to Brussels this evening for a dinner with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that's being cast as a last chance to unlock stalled Brexit negotiations. If all goes well, the two sides could be back in a room hammering out trade details within days, but if it goes badly, a tumultuous no-deal Brexit may be on the menu in three weeks' time. 


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

US Stocks closed at record high’s last Friday as traders were encouraged that the US economy would get another round of fiscal stimulus from lawmakers.


In the week ahead investors will be watching for news from a meeting the FDA is having where they may give emergency approval in the US for Pfizer’s COVID vaccine.  We also have two high profile IPO’s from Airbnb and Doordash this week.


The large services sector of the U.S. economy mostly brushed off a record surge in coronavirus cases in November, but business leaders expressed greater worries about what lies ahead.  A survey of senior executives at non-manufacturing companies dipped to a six-month low of 55.9% from 56.6% in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management.  Readings above 50% signal that businesses are expanding, but the index has slowed two months in a row and fewer industries are reporting growth.


Mortgage rates fell again to the lowest level on record. But the boost home buyers are seeing from low interest rates has faded.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.71% for the week ending Dec. 3, down a basis point from the week prior. This represents the 14th record low that Freddie Mac has reported in 2020.
Tyler Simones

US Stocks rose slightly yesterday, eking out another record closing high, as traders digested the latest developments surrounding a new round of U.S. fiscal stimulus negotiations.

The U.K. became the first Western nation to grant emergency-use authorization for a Covid-19 vaccine, clearing a shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to be distributed within days.  The two-shot vaccine is also being reviewed by the FDA here in the U.S., where a similar authorization could come later this month and a rollout before the end of the year.
American Airlines is flying its employees, including top executives, and reporters on their Boeing 737 Max planes this week in hopes of boosting confidence in the jetliners that were grounded for 20 months after two crashes that killed 346 people.  The FAA lifted their ban on the planes on Nov. 18, clearing airlines to start flying the jets again.
The Oregon Employment Department estimates that 70,000 Oregonians could lose their unemployment benefits on Dec. 26 when Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and a separate program that offers extended benefits to those that have exhausted their regular unemployment expire.
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones.

US Stocks were higher yesterday with the S&P 500 hitting a new record, as the market’s historic rally extended into December.

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in November with the overall economy notching a seventh consecutive month of growth, but the manufacturing sector growth was slower than expected based on employment contracting.

Shares of the software company Salesforce dropped more than 3% after they announced they will acquire messaging platform Slack for $27.7 billion.  Slack’s shares were higher on the news.  Both companies also reported quarterly earnings that were better than expected. 


Cyber Monday was projected to be the largest online shopping day in U.S. history and it delivered just that— a 15.1% increase over last year coming in at $10.8 billion for the day.  Adobe analyzes shopping data that showed one trillion visits to U.S. retail websites and they calculated that the total season-to date holiday spending, including Cyber Monday, is over the $100 billion threshold. This milestone is usually not reached until mid-December
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones.

US Stocks were lower yesterday but had their best November in 35 years with the S&P 500 rising over 11% and the Small Cap Index having its best month ever.

According to the National Association of Realtors pending sales in the U.S. housing market declined slightly for a second consecutive month in October, signaling buyers may be reaching a limit on what they can afford.  The Pending Home Sales Index, which analyzes home sales based on contract signings, fell 1.1% in October after dipping 2.2% in September.
The Video Communication company Zoom saw their stock fall after the company reported fiscal third-quarter earnings and quarterly guidance that exceeded analysts’ expectations. Investors seemed disappointed that the rate of revenue growth, which has accelerated this year, could moderate.  Zoom saw their revenue grow by 367% in the quarter but investors seemed to be expecting more.

A recent IRS ruling could force many small businesses to pay taxes on government aid meant to help through the pandemic.  On Nov. 18 the IRS said the businesses cannot deduct expenses such as payroll and rent, paid for with money from the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act. 


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones.

Stocks traded in record territory again last week with the S&P 500 and NASDAQ set to finish the month of November up 12%, with the small Cap Russell 2000 index gaining 21% in the month.


Spending online on Black Friday this year surged 22% to hit a new record, as the pandemic pushed more people to shop from the sofa and avoid crowded stores and malls. Traffic at stores on Black Friday fell by 52% compared with last year.  Consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 22% year over year. This makes Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in history in the United States, behind Cyber Monday last year. Today’s Cyber Monday is slated to become the largest digital sales day ever, with spending reaching between $11 billion and $13 billion, which would represent growth of 15% to 35% from a year earlier.

The cost of buying a house rose sharply again last month and by one measure hit a six-year high, a Case-Shiller index showed, signaling that prospective buyers are unlikely to find better deals any time soon.  A measure of home prices in 20 large cities rose at a 6.6% yearly pace in October, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller price index. That’s up from 5.3% in the prior month.  A broader measure by Case-Shiller that covers the entire country showed a similarly large 7% increase in home prices over the past year, marking the fastest 12-month gain since 2014.  Rock-bottom mortgage rates and a flush of people leaving cities during the pandemic for more space in the suburbs has boosted demand at a time when the supply of home for sales is near a historic low. The biggest increases took place in Phoenix, Seattle and San Diego. The smallest were in New York and Dallas.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones.

A disagreement has emerged between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell over whether to preserve emergency lending programs designed to shore up the economy. Mnuchin wrote to the Fed demanding the return of money the government provides the central bank for lending to certain markets. The Fed issued a statement saying the "full suite" of measures needs to be maintained. While Mnuchin said he is merely carrying out the law prescribed by the Cares Act, markets are nervously eyeing signs of disagreement between the top two U.S. economic policymakers.  


Top little, too late? General Motors plans to launch 30 all-electric models worldwide by 2025 at “all price points”, Mary Barra, chief executive, said on Thursday. The company will also increase investment in electric vehicles from $20bn to $27bn over the next five years and accelerate the rollout of existing EV brands, including the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq.  This comes as Tesla’s market cap fast-approaches $500bn as it prepares to enter the s&p500 index next month.


Rising prospects of a Covid-19 vaccine are threatening to kill off the bull market for gold, after an epic two-year rally that pushed the precious metal to a record high in the summer. Gold prices have already fallen about 10 per cent since their August peak above $2,000 a troy ounce, as confidence gradually returned to asset markets. This could be the start of a sustained slide for the metal, after two successful trials for Covid-19 vaccines emerged in November. Some bulls have not given up, pointing to a possible rise in inflation that typically boosts the precious metal. But a recovering global economy dents the appeal of gold, commonly used as a haven in times of turmoil.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Josh Fenili.

Shares of the big box retailer Target are higher after reporting blowout third-quarter earnings. Target reported adjusted earnings of $2.79 per share on revenue of $22.63 billion. Wall Street expected earnings of $1.60 per share. Target’s curbside pickup service grew more than 500% and its home delivery service Shipt was up nearly 280%.


U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in October, suggesting the housing market continues to be sustained by historically low mortgage rates even as the economic recovery shows signs of strain amid a resurgence in new Covid-19 infections.  Housing starts rose 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.530 million units last month.


The FAA has cleared Boeing’s 737 Max to fly passengers again after a nearly two-year ban, a turning point in a protracted crisis for the aircraft giant stemming from two crashes of its top-selling plane that killed 346 people.


More than 3,700 Les Schwab Tire Centers employees in Oregon are due to receive $2,500 checks this month as part of a settlement over a 2017 class-action lawsuit that alleged the chain hadn’t given workers enough time for lunch.  The suit alleged the Schwab employees hadn’t received the full, 30-minute lunch breaks. The Bend-based company continues to maintain that it provides the requisite lunch breaks but agreed to pay $16 million to settle the case anyway.


With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I’m Tyler Simones


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