Monday morning briefing: GameStop starts a controversy

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced U.S. gross domestic product expanded 4.0%, annualized, over the fourth quarter of 2020. This was the second consecutive quarterly expansion after falling in the second quarter. But the news was not all good. Growth in consumer spending slowed in the fourth quarter, which was concerning for economists who were expecting consumer spending to be a key driver of the recovery.

Economic/industry news

U.S. Federal Reserve Board holds target range steady at 0.00% to 0.25%: Federal Reserve leaves interest rates and asset purchases unchanged, sees growth slowing

The U.S. economy shrinks over 2020: U.S. economy shrank 3.5% in 2020

Canada’s economy expands more than expected in November: Statistics Canada says economy grew 0.7% in November

The changing portfolio: Traditional portfolios won’t cut it anymore, endowments and foundations say

Reasons for optimism in 2021: What’s ahead for the markets in 2021?

Calling on companies to reduce climate-risk exposure: BlackRock raises the temperature on climate risk

Reasons for hope

Positive results from Novavax’s phase-three trials: Novavax says COVID vaccine is more than 89% effective

Many Americans are saving more and spending less: Pandemic has led to better financial habits, KeyBank finds

Bringing people good news stories: Winnipeg woman focused on spreading good news during pandemic

Adapting your business

Choosing the right successor can help your company last well into the future: Choosing a successor: 5 lessons learned in our own succession planning process

The benefits of using an advisor: 12 reasons investors need living, breathing advisors

Bringing together scale and voice: How to create massive awareness and meaningful connection

Chart of the week: GameStop starts a controversy

It was a wild ride for many retail stocks last week, particularly GameStop Corp., which was at the centre of a battle between retail day traders and institutional short-sellers.

A Reddit chat room for day traders initiated interest in GameStop, and these day traders began taking long positions in the company. A subsequent rally pushed the market capitalization of GameStop to the top half of all companies listed on the S&P 500 Index. The rally also forced many short sellers to exit their positions with substantial losses. Trading platforms, like Robinhood and others, temporarily halted trading in GameStop, which raised the ire of some U.S. government officials. Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

A look at the top-performing hedge funds last year: These are the world’s top-performing hedge funds of 2020 

SPAC’s are wasting no time finding companies: SPAC glut powers exit spree for PE- and VC-backed companies

Helping advisors build ESG portfolios: Fidelity introduces tech to help advisors offer ESG strategies

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: January 26 edition

News and notes (Canada)

CI purchases another large RIA: CI Financial buying $23B Chicago RIA

Fidelity launches new ETFs: Fidelity launches balanced ETFs

Charitable giving dropped in 2020: More than a quarter of charities received no donations last year, RBC says

Rental vacancies increased last year: CMHC: Rental vacancies, prices edged up as COVID-19 spread across Canada

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