Are we taking the first steps towards a post-pandemic world?
May 24 2021 - Team Stockal
In many ways, things couldn’t possibly be better for equities. With the Biden Government infusing trillions of dollars in packages to recover from the pandemic hit economy, the markets are bound to benefit from this boost in the near future.
However, for the week, the markets are still riding a rocky road. Investors made short lived appearances at tech-stock shoppings, but soon started a sell off towards the end of the week. Value stocks in financial and energy sectors were still strong as the week ended, as investors favoured economically sensitive companies poised to benefit from the continuing economic rebound.
Good news in a report released last Friday about the economy showing a record manufacturing activity last month held the S&P 500 afloat, preventing it from falling any further.
For the week, S&P 500 (GSPC), and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) lost 0.43% and 0.51% respectively, while the Nasdaq (IXIC) made muted gains of 0.31%.
Tech Stocks climb as jobless claims fall
The data revealed that 444,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended May 15 – the lowest level since the pandemic hit in mid-March 2020.
The data comes on the heels of the news that at least 22 states, including Oklahoma, announced they will stop processing pandemic-related benefits starting from mid-June to mid-July.
Markets are likely to be volatile until additional economic data provides a clearer picture. People are still apprehensive about what the economy will look like in the short term.
Though jobless claims are on a downward trend, April’s job gain of 266,000 fell far short of the one million that economists had forecast, fueling concerns about the recovery. There is also concern that enhanced federal unemployment payments might be discouraging people from seeking work.
Investors are slurping up Oatly stock in the oat-milk company’s Nasdaq debut. The Swedish oat-milk maker Oatly Group AB’s stock climbed 19% in its trading debut on Thursday, a welcome sign for the IPO market.
Wow! No Cow! Oatly’s Barista Edition Oatmilk quickly became the preferred alt-milk because of its ability to deliver the mouthfeel and foamability that talented coffee artisans associate with milk when making beverages such as cappuccinos and lattes.
Oatly boasts of having ‘fans’ and not just consumers, attracting the backing of famous investors including Oprah Winfrey and Natalie Portman, as well as private-equity behemoth Blackstone Group Inc.
Sustainability is at the core of Oatly’s business and is actionable in their products. On average, a liter of Oatly product consumed in place of cow’s milk results in around 80% less greenhouse gas emissions, 79% less land usage and 60% less energy consumption. This equation is their primary mechanism for impact, and bodes well for customers looking for plant-based, environmentally-friendly traditional dairy alternatives.
The company also smartly engineered its demand by entering the U.S. market through high-end coffee shops before going to retail.
Retail stock bags gains as offline shoppers surge
Target Corp. (TGT) reported robust sales and a jump in store visits during the spring, as Covid-related restrictions eased and people returned to shopping at physical stores. There is a notable uptick in apparel purchases, with Target posting a rise of more than 60% in apparel sales alone.
The strong results posted Wednesday followed similar reports earlier this week from other national chains, including Home Depot Inc. (HD) and Macy’s Inc. (M)
Target’s gains suggest changes in buying behavior as more people venture out, return to work or host social events. Also, worker shortages affecting many retailers and restaurants aren’t being felt at Target because of wage investments and other worker benefits announced by Target, including an increase in pay for hourly workers to at least $15 an hour last year. The jump in store visits is an encouraging nod to how the economy may be recovering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
What Else is Hot?
- SPAC is back: SPACs are powering the U.S.’s global lead in IPOs
- Green energy gets more Greenback: Green finance lines up trillions behind global energy transition
- Virgin Galactic (SPCE) rockets: Virgin Galactic soared this week ahead of its next test flight
- Cryptocurrency Doges another bullet: Dogecoin jumped 15% after another cryptic tweet from Elon Musk.