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On Our Minds

October Investment Update

After declining in September, the equity market is now celebrating the economic recovery from the COVID virus and solid growth in U.S. corporate earnings. The S&P 500 Index is now up 22% for the year and is poised to move higher as economic growth is only hindered by distribution bottlenecks in imported and manufactured goods. The goods inventory scarcity is likely to be temporary, and it should take four to six months to normalize the distribution from ships to ports, trucks, trains and stores. The decline in inventories has caused price hikes in goods and services, yet consumers have registered higher confidence levels, are consuming and traveling more, and are returning to work. Job availability remains high, yet some Americans are choosing retirement, self-employment or part-time work rather than a return to the office.

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Market Update for Third Quarter 2021

The S&P 500 Index is consolidating as Washington policymakers postpone important decisions on the budget ceiling and the infrastructure bills. The S&P 500 Index has grown this year as earnings and growth have supported valuations, but now, as fiscal and monetary policies change, we are seeing investor concerns. With fiscal policy, there are many supportive benefits of spending $500 billion on actual bridge and road infrastructure. However, the massive $3.5-trillion “human” infrastructure package is concerning due to higher taxes and escalating inflation. This plan is likely to be debated and downsized before passage – if at all.

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