The Uptick: Financial Analysis for Week Ending Sept. 25
Photo by Matej Kastelic via Shutterstock
I am embarrassed to admit that I typically don’t examine my Amex statement carefully enough, much to my husband’s chagrin. I assume the headline number is “about right”. This week, however, when I performed the cursory scan, something jumped out at me: a $9.99 recurring charge from Kindle. Since I witness my family mostly reading physical books, I decided to pose a Kindle usage question to see if this unlimited download charge was, in fact, warranted. I learned that back in 2016, we downloaded a copy of the insatiable thriller Captain Underpants and ever since then we have been paying $9.99/month for access to this book. Yes, over four years, Captain Underpants cost $480. Special shoutout to Amazon for honoring a partial credit for this unfortunate and careless oversight.
The September Effect
According to the “Stock Trader’s Almanac,“ historically, September is the worst performing month for the three major indexes. This market trend is often referred to as the “September Effect.” September 2020 appears to be no different.
September actually started at record highs, with the Nasdaq closing on September 2 at 12,056.44, and the S&P closing that same date at 3579.25. Today these two indexes are down 9% and 8%, respectively, from recent peaks reached just 23 days ago. The Dow is down more than 5% over this period.
Investors focused on several factors this week, including:
- Coronavirus Relief Package: Investors are keenly watching Congress for signs of progress in the stalled talks regarding another round of stimulus. This week, we saw a new, albeit scaled-back effort from House Democrats; regardless of the top line amount, any additional stimulus would be seen as a positive for the markets – great for the American people and great for small businesses. Still, many questions linger regarding whether a bill can actually get passed before the chamber breaks for the campaign season – which it is scheduled to do next week.
- Initial Jobless Claims: Applications for U.S. employment benefits were up slightly – hovering at roughly four times pre-pandemic levels. The number of first time filers for the week ending September 19 was 870,000.
- Vaccine Trials: There are four vaccine candidates now in Phase 3 trials in the U.S. Johnson & Johnson announced the start of its Phase 3 trial this week, joining AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. All eyes are on the data to show if a vaccine is safe and effective.
One overarching factor to focus on – the upcoming election. Expect more market volatility in the week to come, especially with the first Presidential debate on Tuesday.
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