Weekly Inspiration – “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
So much has happened to us over the past couple of years that it can be hard to keep this Stephen Covey quote at the forefront of your mind. And it is true that much has happened to us…so no argument there.
The circumstance of the past couple of years has caused most of us to become inwardly focused. We’ve stayed out of the offices and out of group dynamics…Zoom meeting proficiency has never been higher! And yet, even that attempt to stay connected has led to more inward focus. It’s nice to see everyone on a zoom meeting, but it’s not really a connection. How many of us are reading email, or checking our phones during those meetings? If we’re honest, it’s the majority of us.
While zoom and conference calls have been helpful in keeping tasks moving forward, we’ve not seen them be very helpful when it comes to networking. A connection online by definition can only be so deep. And why is networking important?
Two big reasons. One, networking is where culture is built, tested and enhanced. And we all know that culture eats strategy for breakfast. And everyone contributes to culture.
And two, your network is your brand. Branding is traditionally thought of as logos, colors, images, websites…and all of that is true. But your network is where that brand comes alive and has meaning. You’ve no doubt felt the impact of your brand on your client network. The same applies to your professional network. And over the past 2 years, how much professional network maintenance have you done? It’s time, if you’re comfortable, to think about conferences again.
Conferences have always had ancillary benefits in addition to the content…it’s those white spaces on the agenda where connections are made, and culture is enhanced. And it’s those no agenda meetings that often yield the most benefit. Coffee with colleagues is a big start on that maintenance. Coming all the way back may be hard, and things that are hard are often made easier in groups. A little work on the professional network can go a long way to enhancing your brand, your practice, and our shared culture.
An improving inflation outlook buoyed investors’ spirits last week, helping lift stocks to solid gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 2.92%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 3.26%. The Nasdaq Composite index added 3.08% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 2.39%.1,2,3
Lower Inflation Spurs Buying
Stock prices surged mid-week when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a better-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) number, with buying momentum building throughout the trading session.
Gains were significant across the board, with technology and small-cap companies leading the market higher. The mid-week rally sent the S&P 500 to its highest level since May and the Nasdaq to its highest level since April. Bond yields fell on expectations that the Fed's pressure to hike rates further might ease. After pausing on Thursday, stocks again ripped higher on Friday, aided, in part, by a report indicating improving consumer sentiment.4
The Consumer Price Index in July was softer than expected, with prices unchanged from the previous month thanks to a 4.6% decline in energy prices and a 7.7% drop in gasoline.4
Despite the encouraging results, the CPI report still evidenced upward price pressure. The year-over-year inflation rate remained at 8.5%, while the core CPI (excluding food and energy) came in at 5.9%. Among the index components seeing substantial price increases were food (+10.9% from 12 months ago) and shelter (+5.7%). Producer prices fell 0.5% in July, suggesting that future consumer price increases may continue to moderate.5,6
This Week: Key Economic Data
Tuesday: Industrial Production. Housing Starts.
Wednesday: Retail Sales. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Minutes.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Existing Home Sales. Index of Leading Economic Indicators.
Source: Econoday, August 12, 2022
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Tuesday: Walmart, Inc. (WMT), The Home Depot, Inc. (HD).
Wednesday: Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), Target Corporation (TGT), Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW), The TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX).
Thursday: Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT), NetEase, Inc. (NTES).
Friday: Deere & Company (DE).
Source: Zacks, August 12, 2022
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2022
3. The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2022
4. CNBC, August 10, 2022
5. CNBC, August 10, 2022
6. CNBC, August 11, 2022
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Berthel Insights 08-15-2022
August 15, 2022