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I'm Bill Hemmer. I'm Janice Dean. I'm Juan Williams, and this is the Fox News rundown. Friday, August 28th, 20, 20, I'm trying to get jobs numbers in the U.S. are getting slightly better as the stock market shows signs of optimism as long as we continue to progress towards a vaccine before the end of the year.
I think that that's really positive for the economy, and I think that's what the market wants to see.
This is the Fox News rundown. Global pandemic. The stock market has largely seen a v shaped recovery so far as millions of Americans remain unemployed. Many are questioning this disconnect, but experts say there is always some level of this phenomenon. Over the next few minutes, you'll get the latest headlines on the global covid-19 outbreak and hear from Shayna Sissel, the chief investment officer of the Spotlight Asset Group, starting first in the Gaza Strip, where a coronavirus outbreak could have devastating consequences for the nearly two million residents.
There are currently more than one hundred and seventeen active cases after the strip maintains single digit increases for weeks due to current security conditions. Israel has blocked fuel transports into Gaza. Many residents have just three hours of electricity a day since the main power plant in Gaza can't fully operate. Now to Italy, where a surge of new infections is reportedly under control. The country is now reporting more than a thousand new daily cases with outbreaks in resort towns and clubs.
There was an education summit this week as Italian authorities hope to safely reopen schools on September 14th. Finally, in Mexico, where more than 6000 new cases a day are being reported, the homeless crisis in Mexico is deepening, according to reports, as resources go to battling covid-19. Mexico's GDP declined 18 percent over the second quarter as unemployment rises and the crisis continues. Jobs aren't just an issue in Mexico, but across North America and around the world, as financial markets look to see how and when economies will recover.
Well, we're seeing some improvement in the job numbers. We're certainly seeing that the number of new claims has been in decline and we're also seeing that new jobs are being created.
This is Shana Sissel, the chief investment officer of the Spotlight Asset Group. But the troubling number is the number of people that are still on unemployment insurance. So that's the continuing claims number, which remains elevated. But what we're seeing is small signs of improvement. It's going to take quite a bit of time and we're going to have to get through the pandemic before we'll see real improvement in these numbers. But we've certainly seen stability, and that's really the best case scenario we can have right now.
It seems like the stock market has a lot of hope for the future of the country and its ability to rebound. You correctly, last time we talked, predicted a V shaped recovery and that people would be looking forward to getting out and spending money again and jumpstarting the economy. From your perspective now, where are things headed and what do you think the focus needs to be for the US economy in the coming months?
Well, I think we are continuing to head in the right direction. We get some very positive news from Moderna regarding their vaccine yesterday, especially on the highest risk group of people, which is the over 65. And as long as we continue to progress towards a vaccine before the end of the year, I think that that's really positive for the economy. And I think that's what the market wants to see, that continued progress towards treatment and vaccine are really going to be the things that need to happen for us to get through the worst of this pandemic.
But at the same time, you saw stocks sell off because of the announcement from Chairman Powell at the Fed on how they intend to keep rates low for longer and that they're not focusing too much on inflation, but they are focusing more on employment numbers. I think that is a temporary reaction from the market and somewhat surprising because it sort of indicated a change in the way that the Fed was approaching interest rate policy. But overall, I think having an accommodative Fed, having progress towards a vaccine and having improved treatments for the virus are all the things that need to happen to get us through and see a really strong economic recovery a year from now.
I think a lot of Americans are looking at other parts of the world as representative examples of how economies can get up and running again. And as you noted, once a vaccine is developed and widely spread throughout society, it's really going to change the way we interact with the economy and the ability to just get things up and running again. Do you think that at a nationwide level it is appropriate to focus on other countries that are a few months ahead in their pandemic curves to see how things will look in the coming months for the US?
I think that there is some trouble in doing that, especially as it pertains to the countries in Europe and even some of the smaller countries in Asia. These are the countries that have populations that are smaller than some individual states in the. United States and they have different cultural aspects in terms of trust in government mask wearing and the like, but they're also not that far much further ahead of us. We actually experienced the second wave before Europe did. The European countries are now currently seeing rises in cases while we're starting to see our second wave go into decline.
So it is very hard to use other countries for comparison. There's no one is doing exactly the same thing culturally. People react differently to what their governments are telling them to do. And you also have these much smaller populations and much different density of population in those countries. So every situation is different, just like every state has a different experience when it comes to fighting the virus. I wanted to get your take on how the pandemic sort of pushed forward a lot of technological innovations for workplaces, but also pushed forward the way people purchase things in the way that we consume goods from home.
I think one of the big takeaways from this pandemic was that a lot of employers can cut down the workforce that they have in offices. And a lot of companies don't even need an office for what they're doing in large sectors of their company. What is your takeaway on this and what it means for the future of the U.S. workforce?
I've been pretty vocal in my belief that this is going to be a longer term trend accelerated a trend that was already happening. The millennial generation has always wanted that flexibility to travel and to work remotely when they can. I know as a working mother, that is something that I have personally taken advantage of. And sometimes it wasn't always supported, though offered. And I think what you're seeing is that a lot of employers, even large employers, are seeing the benefit of lower cost of real estate leasing in terms of office space, reducing commute times, finding that employees are actually just as efficient or more efficient when working from home.
And on the negative side, more likely to work unorthodox hours to get their work done. And so I do think this is a long term trend. Now, I personally have been doing the buying everything online thing for quite some time. I find myself getting Amazon Prime boxes every day, essentially. So again, that's just an acceleration of a trend that already existed. And that's why when people ask, you know, do you think that many of these stocks that are benefiting from the work from home trend, whether it be Zoome or Slark or Amazon or online retailing, is going is going to end and these stocks are overvalued once the pandemic.
And I disagree. I think this trend will continue. I think people see the value in it. That doesn't mean that I think people won't want to go out shopping. As a matter of fact, I think once we have some lifting of restrictions and we get through this pandemic, you might see people run to go to the shopping malls and run to get out of the house just because they've been inside for so long. But once we kind of get back to some sense of normalcy, I do think a lot of this remote working online retail grocery delivery type of trend will continue in terms of quality of life and being able to better allocate your time to things that are more important and that that is a trend that's long term for sure.
You've been listening to Sheerness. This'll the chief investment officer of the Spotlight Asset Group. We'll be right back.
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A lot of people talk about the concept of a disconnect between the stock market and the economy and jobs numbers. How do you see it and do you feel that there is as much of a disconnect as some people are vocal about?
People are focusing on the disconnect because it's so apparent right now. But there's always been a disconnect between stock prices in real time economic data. The stock market is a leading economic indicator, meaning that when somebody buys a stock today and they're buying it because they think it'll be worth more tomorrow. So they're always focused on what's next in the stock market. So they want to buy something today, whether they want to hold it for a week or a month, a year or three years in the case of.
Long term asset managers, that's their focus, their buying stock today, because they think at the point in time that they want to hold it and it'll be worth more. That means it's always going to be disconnected from the current economic expectations. At the same time, you have the Fed pumping money into the system and this asset reflation trade, which provides a tailwind when you're trying to predict asset prices in the future, because you have to include that in any sort of forecast that you're making in terms of what the stock will be worth.
So the disconnect is historically common. It's how it should be, because it that's the whole concept of time, value of money, which is the basis of which people forecast stock prices. And it's not unusual. It just seems so apparent right now and so uncomfortable right now when you see the stock market hitting new highs while unemployment is at record highs and the economy is continuing to struggle. But earnings have been surprising to the upside. More than 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 reported positive earnings surprises for the second quarter, which means that we reported earnings much higher than what they were expected to report.
And their revenues, 60 percent of the companies in the S&P 500, possibly a little bit more, basing this on numbers from a week or two ago, had revenue surprises, which again means that they reported revenues higher than what the consensus estimates were for them to report. So that is also pushing stock prices higher because companies are doing better than people have expected them to be. All of those things mean the stock market should be and will be ahead of the overall economy.
I always appreciate your insight on these topics. And as I noted before, you were right about what the future look like just two months ago as to where we are now seeing a seesaw. The chief investment officer of the Spotlight Asset Group, Shiina, thank you again for your time.
Thank you. You've been listening to the Fox News rundown and stay up to date by subscribing to this podcast and Fox News podcasts, Dotcom and for up to the minute news, go to Fox News dot com.