Sunday, December 20, 2020

Stock Buybacks Increase As Reported Earnings Jump

S&P Dow Jones Indices' recent report on buyback activity for the third quarter shows buyback activity increasing to $101.79 billion from $88.66 billion in the second quarter. With the economy mostly reopening, at least through Q3 2020, companies reported an improvement in 'as reported earnings,' increasing to $273.2 billion versus $98.5 billion for the first quarter. As the red line in the below chart shows though, buybacks remain far below the fourth quarter 2018 peak of $222.98 billion.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Too Many Individuals On The Sidelines

In the blog post I wrote about a year ago commenting on the October 2019 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) I noted the employment market was extremely strong and there were not enough workers to fill job openings. At that time the unemployed workers per job opening ratio was .81. In other words there were more job openings than unemployed. Fast forward one year later to the October 2020 JOLT survey released last week, that ratio now stands at 1.66. Too many potential workers are now out of the labor force.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Small Business Optimism Ticks Lower

The NFIB's November Small Business Optimism Index declined 2.6 points to 101.4. As NFIB notes in their report the Index level is at a historically high level with the 47-year average reading equaling 98. Below are a few key findings in the report:

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Broadening Equity Market Participation

It seems a broad range of equity indices are hitting new all time highs every day and some investors question whether this can continue. The S&P 500 Index closed at an all time high Friday, December 6, bringing its year to date return to 14.5% on a price only basis. In earlier posts I discussed the roller coaster ride of the market as it traversed the coronavirus shutdown and reopening. The S&P 500 Index fell 33.9% from February to March and has bounced higher by 65.3% from the March 23 low. And since the election in early November, the S&P 500 Index is up 12.5% with only one of the five weeks down a fractional .76%.