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The Week Ahead: Not fear and greed, but surge and optimism

By Tom Hudson, Miami Herald on

Published in Business News

Companies are developing potential COVID-19 vaccines at a remarkable pace. And investors are among those cheering the hopeful results and lightning-fast research. Progress toward a vaccine or vaccines in the near future has been enough to counteract the here and now reality of a national spike of infections.

Fear and greed have been replaced by surge and optimism.

As Americans prepare for a pandemic Thanksgiving, many parts of the country are returning to lockdowns and restrictions that were first used in the spring to slow the spread of the virus. In the beginning of the pandemic, these economic constraints were used as a blunt instrument that caused lasting damage still today. More than 700,000 Americans are filing for unemployment benefits each week for the first time. Over 6 million keep filing week after week.

Minnesota is closing gyms. Chicago bars can't serve drinks inside. There's a limit on retail customers in stores in Washington and Los Angeles County. Schools in New York City and Kentucky have returned to all online classes. Movie theaters and bowling alleys in Oregon have closed. These are just some of the limitations returning across the nation as areas hope to keep their hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID patients. But the surge has not spiked stock prices.

Instead, vaccine hope has helped push stock indices close to record highs.

The stock market hasn't become immune to encouraging vaccine news, but it has come to expect it. How will investors handle any hiccups in the process toward approving, manufacturing, distributing and the public's acceptance of a vaccine remains uncertain.

 

In the week ahead, it will be telling how tolerant the market is of COVID as case counts climb, hospitalizations increase, and restrictions return.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts "The Sunshine Economy" on WLRN-FM in Miami, where he is the vice president of news. He is the former co-anchor and managing editor of "Nightly Business Report" on public television. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.

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