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Our Updates & Insights for the Week (11/13/2020) Thumbnail

Our Updates & Insights for the Week (11/13/2020)

What To Expect From a Biden Presidency

From tax brackets to estate taxes, President-elect Joe Biden has proposed many changes that could affect you. The transition from a Trump presidency to a Biden presidency could have significant implications on many aspects of our lives – including tax policy, where a repeal of many of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s provisions might be on the table. Here are some of the Biden tax proposals Congress could weigh in on.

Key Moves for Open Enrollment Season

Every year, the descent of autumn brings us leaves changing color, pumpkin spice invading the grocery shelves, and open enrollment offered by your HR department. While many employees just check the same boxes on the enrollment form each year, there are a few areas worth spending a little time on, especially at a point when COVID-19 has disrupted so many of our lives. Here are a few key areas to review during open enrollment to make sure that your benefits planning is in tune with your financial plan at this stage of your life.

Market Highlights

Vaccine News: Pfizer and BioNTech said this week that their vaccine proved to be more than 90% effective in the first 94 subjects who were infected by the coronavirus and developed at least one symptom. This is significantly better than the 50% efficacy threshold the FDA has established for approval and could also help offset some of the herd immunity concerns. The firms also noted that no serious safety issues have arisen thus far and that they remain on track to ask the FDA for emergency use authorization by the end of the month. This comes at an opportune moment, as cases and hospitalizations in the US continue to rise. When the news came out on Monday bookings, entertainment, airlines, casino/cruise lines, & hotel stocks all rallied significantly.

COVID Update: The US continues to hit new records, with Thursday's new-case growth exceeding 150,000 and daily hospitalizations reaching 67,000. There are now nearly 13,000 Covid patients in the ICU, the highest level since May 2nd. Public-health officials are increasingly pointing to smaller, less cautious indoor gatherings rather than large events as key issue. With the US outbreak at most widespread and intense since the spring, there is a lot of focus on rising pattern of state and local mitigation efforts. School districts nationwide are split on their closing plans, while many states are issuing new restrictions on bars, restaurants, and gyms.

Thursday Economic Data: Weekly Initial Claims were 709,000 (vs. 740,000 Briefing.com consensus); Weekly Continuing Claims came in at 6.8 Million. The labor market continues to improve into winter, albeit at a slowing pace. Unemployment is still historically elevated, but with a health solution more and more likely by 2021, perhaps not for much longer. Elsewhere in economic data, October CPI (consumer price index) figures missed consensus estimates to the downside. No sign of runaway inflation yet.

Good News

As the dangerous Hurricane Delta closed in on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Ricardo Pimentel opened his home — to about 300 dogs. Ricardo started a shelter (Tierra De Animales) 20 miles southwest of Cancun nearly a decade ago. As Hurricane Delta drew closer, it became clear that the animals couldn't stay outside, so Ricardo opened his home to 300 dogs, dozens of cats, chicks, bunnies, a hedgehog and even a flock of sheep.

In the largest clinical trial of its kind, researchers have shown that combining sound and electrical stimulation to the tongue can significantly reduce tinnitus, commonly described as “ringing in the ears.” They also found that therapeutic effects can be sustained for up to 12 months post-treatment. The findings could potentially help millions of people since tinnitus affects about 10 to 15 percent of the population worldwide.

As concerts are postponed, sporting events are canceled, schools are closed and tourist hot spots are shut down, experts recommend that even those who show no sign of illness stay home during this time of global pandemic.  Although remaining inside is a good way to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus, and is an important measure to help "flatten the curve" of daily cases that put pressure on our health care system, it could lead to a lesser evil: boredom and stir craziness. What's there to do while stuck indoors? We've compiled 100 suggestions to help make your time in quarantin as interesting – and perhaps even as productive – as possible.

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