Vaccine Euphoria Has Markets in the Green With Much Unclear

The markets today, Wednesday, look promising as major indicators in both North America and Europe are in the green, suggesting a continued, though slowed, rally.

Notwithstanding the euphoria of the recent Pfizer announcement, some analysts suggested caution since the actual availability of the vaccine is still months away. “Although great news, it’s just a plan and we need to see some practical things around it, like how (the vaccine) is going to roll out, (and) who’s going to get it,” said. J.J. Kinahan, Chief Market Strategist at TD Ameritrade, according to a Reuters report.

Also, still unclear is whether and to what extent the Pfizer announcement of its vaccine will affect the urgency of a fresh stimulus bill when the Biden administration takes office. That, in turn, has implications for the economy, the markets and individual investors.

In yet another clue about the effect of the pandemic on company earnings, the Walt Disney Corporation reports its fourth quarter results tomorrow. The company may include an update on its parks division and the re-structuring of its media division

Also tomorrow, the controversial data analytics firm Palantir Technologies Inc. is expected to report third-quarter results which are also the first quarter since their initial public offering in September. Most institutions rating Palantir have assigned it a ‘Hold’ although Morgan Stanley and Jefferies Group LL.C have assigned it a ‘Buy’.

In a market surprise yesterday, the United States Federal Aviation Administration could soon approve the Boeing 737 MAX, according to a Reuters report. The news that the FAA could remove its grounding of the 737 MAX drove Boeing shares yesterday to close at $188.69 up from its opening price of 182.80. During the day it risen as high as $193.35.

Meanwhile, markets and analysts continue contemplating the implications of Joe Biden’s win over incumbent President Donald Trump. It’s not a surprising question, since the Biden administration’s policies and decisions will affect both the U. S. economy and the global economy for years to come. Their impact on individuals’ finances at the day-to-day level will affect their investment and retirement decisions. The pandemic rages on, with almost incalculable economic damage including massive unemployment. Proposed tax hikes will have to be clarified, health care changes need to be settled and if the Republicans retain control of the Senate that will affect legislation, which in turn will affect the markets, investors, and (possibly) retirement strategies.

Also unclear is the potential net impact on investments under a Biden administration. Still, the key for long-term investors is to remain invested, no matter which political party is in office, according to Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab in a Bloomberg Wealth interview.

Disclosure: I do not own shares in any company mentioned in this column.

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