Inauguration behind us, vaccinations ahead
Weekly Bond Commentary
With last week shortened by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, economic data was sparse and not of the type that tends to move markets. Bond yields churned and stock prices rose before easing a little lower.
The biggest news was the inauguration of the Biden administration, of course. With that safely behind us, markets turned their focus to the slow vaccination pace and concern about different coronavirus strains rearing their heads. Few of us actually have the medical training or understanding to be able to make sense of all this, so the path of least resistance tends to be inertia, which tends to mean staying put. We have all been through this now for nearly a year, so small twists and turns in the path of the recovery should not deter us from the goal of widespread vaccination and return to some sense of normalcy.
What became clearer recently is that the road may be a little longer and bumpier than we had hoped a few weeks ago. Case in point is that initial jobless claims remain high, with 900,000 Americans filing for unemployment in the week ended Jan. 16. On the positive side, reports last week show that the housing market is perking up again, with starts, permits and existing home sales all increasing.