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Biden Says Lockdowns Aren’t Necessary (For Now), Black Friday Sales are Weaker Due to Early Promotions & Jack Dorsey Resignation

S&P 500 gains over 1.5% as Biden says lockdowns are not needed (for now…)

U.S. Markets bounced back during Monday’s trading session after the Omicron fueled losses on Friday.  After ending last week with the biggest daily losses since October 2020, which saw the Dow fall by over 900 points, stocks were back with a 310 point gain on the Dow Jones, good for a 0.90% gain.  The tech-heavy NASDAQ was up by 2.02% and the S&P 500 rallied by 1.56%.

The relief rally in the market comes as traders ponder the appropriate reaction to Omicron, the newest and potentially most transmittable Covid-19 variant to date. 

💡Words from president Biden
During a press conference on Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that “If people are vaccinated and wear their masks, there’s no need for lockdowns,” Biden also followed this up by stating that there will be no new travel restrictions introduced at this point in time.

As expected, travel related stocks reacted positively to this news with the Dow Jones U.S. Travel & Tourism Index gaining 1.36% by mid-day.  Oil prices also surged with WTI gaining $2.71 per barrel to trade above $70 after last week’s Omicron driven selloff.  Brent also gained $2 per barrel as the global benchmarks were up 3.92 and 2.7% respectively in mid-day trading.

Online Black Friday sales drop, and physical crowds remain weak

2021 saw the first annual decrease in Black Friday sales made online and bargain hunters rang up just over $8.9bn is purchases compared to $9bn in 2020.  The small dip has been attributed to some promotions starting as early as October this year.

Physical shoppers increased by almost 50% compared to 2020, but we’re still 28% lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

One bright spot appears to be the relatively strong availability of products despite recent supply chain problems and predictions of shortages for the holiday season. 

💡 Predictions with a new variant on the table
While it appears new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are down, a variant surge could potentially sidetrack the current trajectory of spending. Kleinhenz said strong household fundamentals provide optimism amid the uncertainty. Income is growing from wage compensation, and household wealth has reached another record high. These together support strong spending this holiday season.

As Holiday-Season shopping continues retail analysts will be waiting to see if supplies remain available through the end of 2021.

European shares also rose as fears of Omicron ebbed for at least a while European shares also recovered from last week’s carnage.  At the end of trading the FTSE was up 0.94% to 7,109.95, with the DAX advancing by 0.16% and CAC gaining 0.54%.

Jack Dorsey to step down from Twitter

$TWTR announced that Paraq Agrawal would be replacing founder Jack Dorsey as CEO.  Agrawal was most recently the company’s CTO and an internal replacement having been with Twitter since 2011.  The company he takes over has gown in both size and importance during the past decade, now employing over 5,500 people compared to less than a 1,000 when he started.

$TWTR was down 1.63% to $46.21 on the news.

“Too many people spend money they earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”

– Will Rogers 

Eliman Dambell

Senior Market Analyst


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