Your Weekly Blip 4/12/21

Your Weekly Blip 4/12/21

Stocks closed off a bit today with the Dow down 54 points to 33,745. Over the past week the Dow gained 4.9% to an all-time high as a broad rally came on the heels of positive comments from the Federal Reserve. Earnings reports for the 1st quarter begin to trickle in this week and positive anticipation regarding the results is lending upside support to stocks. Both IBD and BTS market indicators remain positive.
The Economy
As the economy returns to normal companies are restarting cash dividends or increasing current payouts at an ever increasing pace. Investor’s Business Daily or IBD reported that dollars paid out in the first quarter of 2021 jumped by the largest amount in nearly 10 years and are on pace to pay $15 billion more than this time last year. IBD noted that 120 companies boosted their dividends this quarter compared to 91 in the prior quarter and dividend increases are averaging 11.1% up from 9.8%.
Fed Chair Powell has been talking about the state of the economy and the message is one of cautious optimism. While addressing concerns over inflation, which is being seen in rising prices for commodities and materials like lumber, steel and pork bellies (aka bacon), Powell repeated his view that price increases are resulting from supply chain bottlenecks which should eventually be resolved. He feels that GDP growth this year could top 6% as the economy reopens and prospects for job creation are good. In a separate news item, the Labor Department released its latest PPI numbers showing that producer prices jumped 1% in March which is the largest gain in over 9 years.
Items of Interest
The Scouts are back to meeting in person and at the first in person meeting last week had 35 scouts in attendance. Our intrepid Scoutmaster Patrick has done wonders keeping the troop moving during the pandemic. All throughout the lockdown attendance on Zoom meetings averaged 43 scouts per session and breakout rooms allowed scouts to work on rank advancement and merit badges. Leadership development however suffered due to a lack of face to face interaction but we are slowly getting back on track with several hikes and big trips planned for this summer.
The deadline for having a long term care plan in place and avoiding the state tax on wages has been pushed back to November 1st from July 15th which give people more time to explore options on how to opt out of the tax. Call us if you want more information about this issue.