The Transcript 08.10.20

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Succinct Summary: Many companies and individuals have been hard hit by the pandemic and are having a tough time. All eyes are on another stimulus package to try to cushion them. Worryingly, cases are rising worldwide even in areas that were thought to have contained the virus. The picture from July and early August is one of a mixed and uneven recovery.

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The Transcript 08.03.20

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Succinct Summary: There were a lot of major data points about the economy last week but the biggest news of all seemed to be just how well tech companies did despite the massive economic dislocation.  In a quarter where GDP fell at a 33% annualized rate, Apple managed to grow revenue by 11%!  Stimulus probably played some role in tech companies’ strong performance, but beyond the stimulus is the fact that COVID has pushed everyone to spend even more time at home and on the internet.  The behavioral shifts appear to be long-lasting too.  20 years after the dot com bubble, the internet is still not done reshaping society.

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The Transcript 07.27.20

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Succinct Summary: The economy was rebounding in May and June, but the recovery seems to have stalled out as infections have rebounded.  CEO commentary was particularly negative last week.  Business leaders are rapidly losing confidence and do not see a V-shaped recovery materializing.  There’s a sense that government stimulus appears to be the only thing propping up the economy and it’s creating distortions in unemployment and financial markets.  Still (perhaps because of this stimulus) the hot housing market suggests that consumers may not actually be in such bad shape after all–just spending on different things.

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The Transcript 07.20.20

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Succinct Summary: The economy rebounded strongly in May and June with some important economic figures, like spending on debit and credit cards, being only down low single digits from last year. But the recovery is starting to stall out as infections rise and now everyone is planning for Covid to last longer than initially expected.  The figures are being distorted by massive government stimulus though.  And it’s not clear what happens when that stimulus runs out even as markets seem to be betting on more stimulus.

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The Transcript 07.13.20

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Succinct Summary: Infections are accelerating in the US and it’s unclear how or if this has affected economic activity.  The economy seems to be continuing to improve.  Yet distressed borrowers are starting to reach the end of their reserves.  Bankruptcies are likely to begin to surge.  Washington is working hard to pass another stimulus bill to prevent this from happening.

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