On Thursday, U.S. investors may find themselves giving thanks for the bull market.
Year-to-date, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite have all gained more than 20 percent with dividends reinvested. The MSCI World Index also is up 20 percent year-to-date.
Bond markets have rallied, too. U.S. government bond yields have dropped since January, and prices have risen. Not all asset classes have packed an oomph, but investors are feeling optimistic, reported Michael Mackenzie of the Financial Times.
Ben Levisohn of Barron’s expressed some skepticism about the current level of optimism.
“If you believe the current narrative, everything is right with the world. By cutting interest rates three times, the Federal Reserve has averted a recession. And with the U.S. and China slowly making progress on a trade deal, capital spending could revive and boost the economy. And right on time, the S&P 500 index hit a new all-time high, seemingly confirming this rosy narrative…Strangely, market sentiment appears to be getting better even as the economic data appear to be getting worse.”
He’s not wrong. Economic data suggest U.S. and Chinese economies have begun to experience negative effects related to the two-year-old trade war. Reuters reported economic growth in China has slowed to a 30-year low. Growth in the United States has slowed, too.
While many remain optimistic about progress in resolving the U.S.-China trade dispute, Barron’s Nicholas Jasinski spoke with the chief investment officer of an international wealth management firm, who commented, “Our view of U.S. and China is that it’s a competition that’s going to go on for a generation economically, diplomatically, militarily.”
Last week, major U.S. indices finished lower on concerns about trade talk progress.
Happy Thanksgiving! We’re thankful for you.
Why Do Presidents Pardon Turkeys?
A turkey may not be on the Great Seal of the United States, as Ben Franklin would have preferred, but the bird has a surprisingly robust history at the White House.
From the 1870s until 1913, turkeys were provided to the White House for holiday meals primarily by Rhode Island poultry producer Horace Vose. After his death, it was a free for all. The White House Historical Association wrote,
“By 1914, the opportunity to give a turkey to a President was open to everyone, and poultry gifts were frequently touched with patriotism, partisanship, and glee. In 1921, an American Legion post furnished bunting for the crate of a gobbler en route from Mississippi to Washington, while a Harding Girls Club in Chicago outfitted a turkey as a flying ace, complete with goggles. First Lady Grace Coolidge accepted a turkey from a Vermont Girl Scout in 1925. The turkey gifts had become established as a national symbol of good cheer.”
The first time a turkey was granted clemency was in 1863. President Abraham Lincoln instructed the White House staff to spare a bird which had become a favorite of his son, reported the Constitution Daily.
Some say President Truman pardoned a turkey or two, but the Truman Library does not agree.
Records indicate it was 1963 before another President spared a turkey destined for the White House kitchen. While both President Lincoln and President John F. Kennedy showed mercy, neither officially pardoned their birds. President Ronald Reagan joked about a pardon, but the first official Presidential turkey pardon was issued by President George H.W. Bush in 1989.
So, why do Presidents pardon turkeys? We’re not really sure. We know where pardoned turkeys go, though.
For many years, like Super-Bowl-winning quarterbacks, they went to amusement parks in Florida and California. The turkeys helped lead Thanksgiving Day Parades. More recently, “…the spared turkeys are sent to an enclosure at Virginia Tech called ‘Gobbler’s Rest’… where they get to frolic with other free turkeys,” reported The Independent.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There's another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity.”
-- Bill Gates, Business magnate and philanthropist