It seems economists in the United States may be consulting their own “Magic 8-Ball” to figure out why the American economy isn’t stronger. You may remember the Magic 8-Ball from your childhood, featuring an oversized billiard ball with a window in it. That window contained a die with incredibly vague answers to potential questions: “Chances are good” is an example of one answer. Well, when economists were asked the question of why the U.S. economy isn’t doing any better, their 8-Ball told them: “blame the U.S. income gap.” Sure, stocks are still chugging along, but economists claim that to the rich go the market spoils, leaving middle-class America — and low-income America — grasping at straws. Because these affluent homes spend a lower percentage of their funds than low-income and middle-class people, the American economy isn’t benefiting as much as it should. A possible solution is to “spend more” money. But the situation leaves investors unsure how to read these economic tea leaves and partly explains the market’s recent retreat.
With stock markets across the globe down over the past five trading days, this year's Santa Claus rally is taking its time, choosing to await the outcome of this week's Fed meeting. Over the past five days, the S&P 500 was down 1.20% and NASDAQ dropped 0.91%. Global stock markets also continued to belie my expectations of a December rally, and the MCSI Emerging Markets Index was down 2.76% The big gainers in your Alpha Investor Letter portfolio included Visa Inc. (V), which so
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