September 2, 2020—Last week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve announced changes to its Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy. That official statement, first adopted in 2012 and only modified slightly in years since, is an important guidepost for markets, as it formally establishes how the Fed interprets the mandate given by Congress.
August 31, 2020 — Citing a debilitating health condition, Shinzo Abe has resigned as Japan’s Prime Minister (PM) after eight years in office, and with one year remaining before the next general election. His resignation becomes effective once his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the dominant political party in Japan, selects a successor. During his eight years in office, PM Abe’s government had pursued policies that promoted corporate earnings growth and shareholder returns.
August 19, 2020—After a historically volatile first half, the S&P 500 is back in positive territory, up roughly 5% for the year, but gains have been far from equally distributed. The top five companies by market cap, or FAAMG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google), are up 48%,1 while the bottom 495 have yet to break even.