NO JOB GROWTH? NO PROBLEM

The estimated loss of 140K jobs in December interrupted a streak of consecutive monthly gains that started back in May. The market had a muted response and finished the day (January 8th) up about 0.6%. At first, the reaction was a bit surprising, but it makes sense upon closer analysis. Almost all the loss was concentrated in one sub-sector- Leisure and Hospitality. As the accompanying chart shows, the employment report breaks the number of jobs gained or lost down by sector and sub-sector. The first breakout is Private vs. Government.…

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INVESTMENT COMMENTARY – FOURTH QUARTER, 2020

Resilient Market, Tempering Future Expectations Resilient. That would be our response if asked to characterize 2020 U.S. equity market performance in a single word. The list of challenges markets overcame as prices moved to record levels is well known: the global pandemic, restrictive lockdowns, oil price wars, election uncertainty, etc. Investors experienced a full market cycle, which normally spans a 3 to 5-year period, in an incredibly short amount of time. The markets notched record highs in the start of the year before enduring a bear market decline over a…

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WOMEN AND RETIREMENT – UNDERSTANDING MYTHS THAT CAN SABOTAGE YOUR FINANCIAL HEALTH

Women tend to be more financially vulnerable in retirement than men. The combination of women earning less over their lifetimes, saving less for retirement, living longer than men, and having a higher probability of needing nursing home care leads to greater financial insecurity and poverty for women in their older years. Over the course of her work life, a woman with a college degree earns on average $1.32 Million, vs $2.19 Million for a college-educated man. Women cycle in and out of the workforce over their lifetimes as they respond…

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COMPANIES ARE BEATING EARNINGS ESTIMATES – SHOULD WE CARE?

Below is a review of Eagle Ridge’s Investment Committee discussion Despite the COVID-19 environment in which we are all living, many large US companies have greatly exceeded quarterly earnings expectations. Several of our holdings beat analyst estimates by wide margins, including core portfolio positions Alphabet (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), O’Reilly (ORLY) and Stryker (SYK). We focus on the long-term and never get too caught up in a company’s quarterly estimates. At our weekly Investment Committee meeting, we took the time to review this trend and discussed what, if anything, we could…

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THE IMPACT OF THE RETAIL TRADER

The “Retail Trader” has become a story in 2020 with analysts trying to understand their exact impact on the market, and if he or she is the reason behind the elevated volatility and current relatively high valuation. The story originated with online brokers going to $0 commissions in the fall of 2019 and intensified this year, as the pandemic kept people at home with limited outlets for excess energy. The volume of retail trades increased from 137 billion in the 1st quarter to 264 billion in the 2nd quarter -…

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