What caught my eye this week.
Most people have given up on a V-shaped recovery. The concept of a U-shaped one is positively passé.
As for the Swoosh – please!
Nope, the latest red hot letter to explain the state we’re in comes with the K-shaped recovery.
As Barry Ritholz rather reluctantly explained this week:
If you were to describe the 11th letter in the English alphabet to someone who has never seen it, you would note that it is distinguished by a bold vertical line, from the midpoint of which begins two rightward traversing lines, one slanting 45 degrees upward from the horizontal, and the other 45 degrees downward.
This description of the economy fairly captures the two separate paths of the recovery.
The line heading upward symbolizes those parts of the economy that have benefited from pandemic […]
The line heading downward symbolizes, well, pretty much everyone else.
Here’s an illustration from the US Chamber of Commerce:
Does it apply to us, too?
Many Monevator readers are richer than they were in January. We’ve retained our jobs, spent less due to being locked-in, and may also have seen our US-heavy portfolios rise, especially if we’ve some bonds and gold, too.
At the same time, other Britons caught in the wrong place when the music stopped – particularly those who fell outside of the safety nets, such as directors of the wrong limited companies – have been hit hard.
Ritholz sees the K-recovery as a continuation of wider trends:
Over the past four decades, the U.S. has become a nation that has seen the benefits of economic growth, productivity and innovation accruing to fewer and fewer people.
Once a nation of ‘Haves’ and ‘Have Nots’, we are now a nation of ‘Haves’, ‘Have Nots’, and Have Much More’.
The last category has left the first two in the dust.
Here’s an example of the K-shaped recovery applied to the US workforce by The Washington Post, cited by econlife:
OK Computer (says no)
Here in the UK I’d say we’ve only seen the ghost of a K-shaped recovery so far.
Government support and the generous furlough scheme curbed – or at least delayed – the lived impact of the UK’s brutal GDP collapse.
While we have plenty of rich individuals who are doing alright, sector wise we don’t have a vast tech industry that can benefit from the upper leg of the K. At the same time, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme may have helped the K’s lower leg look kinkier for the hospitality sector.
Not wildly convincing.
Ultimately the letter K will probably prove about as useful as the letters that preceded it in predicting what will happen next.
Which, to my mind, is not very useful at all!
The ISA Allowance: What it is and how to use it [Deep dive!] – Monevator
From the archive-ator: Am I saving enough for retirement? – Monevator
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Minimum age for UK personal pension to rise to 57 by 2028 – Guardian
US unemployment rate falls back below 10% on rehiring spree – BBC
Coffee, ketchup and Nike Air Max: it’s the Covid consumer economy – Reuters
Hedge fund billionaire Ackman says US government should fund equity pensions from birth – MarketWatch
UK house prices hit record high after easing of lockdown – Guardian
Products and services
Virgin’s new 90% mortgage deal offers hope to first-time buyers – Which
Monzo to bring in some fees for cash withdrawals – Guardian
Pret to offer coffee on a monthly subscription – BBC
NS&I rate cut expected, following £8bn into premium bonds – ThisIsMoney
Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade
Homes for sale (or to rent) in converted pubs [Gallery] – Guardian
Comment and opinion
Merryn S-W: Sunak must avoid the rabbit hole of huge tax rises [Search result] – FT
By any other name [On pseudo-alternative assets] – Demonetized
How much is enough? – A Wealth of Common Sense
If the 60/40 keeps working then democracy has failed – Bloomberg via MSN Money
The Texas Hedge: Don’t currency hedge your equity portfolio – Finumus
Debtors’ prison – Humble Dollar
Why do poor people stay poor? – Of Dollars and Data
Naughty corner: Active antics
Follow the earnings… – Novel Investor
…how dare you, Sir! – The Reformed Broker
Warren Buffett buys stakes in five Japanese trading firms – ThisIsMoney
Commodity investment trusts are all the rage – IT Investor
The different shades of active management – Valididea
“I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m passing in Seth Klarman” – Institutional Investor
Why UK coronavirus deaths are falling even as cases rise [Free to read] – FT
Slow burn likely until vaccines available [Deep, US-centric] – Morningstar
A Covid-19 reunion: The joy of seeing parents again – Next Avenue
Kindle book bargains
How Innovation Works by Matt Ridley – £0.99 on Kindle
The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory by Stephanie Kelton – £0.99 on Kindle
How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis – £0.99 on Kindle
Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal and Redemption by Ben Mezrich – £0.99 on Kindle
Off our beat
Making time – Humble Dollar
Massive mystery holes appear in Siberian tundra – CNN
Bitcoin miner is scoring 700% profits selling energy to grid – Bloomberg
The oysters that knew what time it was – Wired
Take ownership of your future self – Harvard Business Review
“Poker isn’t just about calibrating the strength of your beliefs. It’s also about becoming comfortable with the fact that there’s no such thing as a sure thing – ever. You will never have all the information you want, and you will have to act all the same. Leave your certainty at the door.”
– Maria Konnikova, The Biggest Bluff
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