The term “microaggression” was coined in 1970 to name relatively slight, subtle, and often unintentional offenses that cause harm (Pierce, 1970). Since then, a substantial body of research on microaggressions has demonstrated their prevalence and harmful effects (Boysen, 2012; Solorzan, et. al., 2010; Suárez-Orozco, et. al., 2015; Sue, 2010).
Whether an observer, the target, or the unintentional perpetrator of microaggressions, faculty often don’t know how to respond to them in the moment. We may feel frozen (if the observer) or defensive (if the target or perpetrator). How we respond can shift the communication climate from supportive to defensive, which can have an adverse effect on student learning and comfort (Dallimore, et al, 2005; Souza, et al, 2010).
Despite the feelings of paralysis or reactivity that tend to emerge in response to microaggressions in the classroom, certain practices can be implemented to increase the likelihood of maintaining a supportive climate. The following communication framework is offered as one of many possible response strategies to help faculty feel better equipped to effectively respond when a microaggression occurs.
I developed this framework (first introduced in Chueng, Ganote, & Souza, 2016) as an interactive response one could take to a microaggression by a student in the classroom. The acronym and steps below provide a guide on how to take ACTION rather than feeling frozen when faced with a microaggression.
Ask clarifying questions to assist with understanding intentions.
“I want to make sure that I understand what you were saying. Were you saying that…?”
Come from curiosity not judgment.
Listen actively and openly to their response.
If they disagree with your paraphrase and clarify a different meaning, you could end the conversation. If you suspect they are trying to “cover their tracks,” you may consider making a statement about the initial comment to encourage learning.
“I’m glad to hear I misunderstood you, because, as you know, such comments can be…”
If they agree with your paraphrase, explore their intent behind making the comment.
“Can you tell me what you were you hoping to communicate with that comment?”
“Can you please help me understand what you meant by that?”
Tell what you observed as problematic in a factual manner.
“I noticed that . . .”
Impact exploration: ask for, and/or state, the potential impact of such a statement or action on others.
“What do you think people think when they hear that type of comment?”
“As you know, everything speaks. What message do you think such a comment sends?”
“What impact do you think that comment could have on …”
Own your own thoughts and feelings around the impact.
“When I hear your comment I think/feel…”
“Many people might take that comment to mean…”
“In my experience, that comment can perpetuate negative stereotypes and assumptions about… I would like to think that is not your intent.”
Next steps: Request appropriate action be taken.
“Our class is a learning community, and such comments make it difficult for us to focus on learning because people feel offended. So I am going to ask you to refrain from stating your thoughts in that manner in the future. Can you do that please?”
“I encourage you to revisit your view on X as we discuss these issues more in class.”
“I’dappreciate it if you’d consider using a different term because it is inconsistent with our course agreement regarding X…”
When practiced, the ACTION framework can be a tool that is quickly retrieved out of your mental toolbox to organize your thoughts and unpack the microaggression in a way that addresses the situation and cools down tension.
When students make comments that are microaggressive in the classroom, doing nothing is a damaging option (Souza, Vizenor, Sherlip, & Raser, 2016). Instead, we can engage thoughtfully and purposively in strategies that maintain a positive climate that is conducive to learning and models the skills needed in responding to microaggressions in any context (Souza, 2016).
Maybe you’re talking with your spouse. Or friend. Or brother. Or colleague. Whoever it is, you know that no matter how carefully you say something, the words won’t get through. They’re just so damn defensive.
You want to scream stuff like, “It’s not a personal attack!” or “I’m just trying to have a conversation!” Mostly, you want to ask, “Can you just stop being so defensive?”
Here’s the thing: No, they probably can’t. It’s right there in the word. They’re defending. “It implies there’s a threat,” says Ellen Hendriksen, clinical psychologist and author of How to Be Yourself. It could be you, but just as likely your words are triggering something deep-seated.
Once their fears are ignited, all focus is danger related. It’s hard for the defensive person to get out of that mode. And saying something like, “Don’t get so defensive,” is about as effective as saying “Relax” to someone panicking.
So what can you do when talking to someone who always gets defensive? Turn up your empathy and turn down your assumptions, because you’re most likely going into the interaction hot. You’re bracing for that person to feel threatened and that ends up threatening you.
“Then we have two reptilian brains talking to each other,” says Laura Silberstein-Tirch, licensed psychologist and author of How to Be Nice to Yourself. That means both of you are down to three options: fight, flight or freeze. “It’s a limited repertoire.”
You want to open that up. You can open that up. It means going in with a different attitude, almost a blank slate, where what’s happened in the past doesn’t matter, and instead of continuing to pull on a rope, and trying to “win” the discussion, you drop it. As Silberstein-Tirch says.“Our hands are free, and we have the freedom to choose how to respond.”
How To Break Through Someone’s Defenses
There’s no one thing to say to talk to a defensive person, but it’s like any successful communication. Hendriksen says to stay in the first person – “you” ups the threat level – and focus on specific acts rather than making things eternal character traits. Example: “That presentation wasn’t at your usual level” is taken better than “You’re not really good at public speaking, are you?” You can also pepper in ways to make any criticism a show of confidence, with something like, “I’m saying this because I know you can handle it and because you’re really smart.”
“Turn it into faith in them,” Hendriken says. But nothing is magic. Defensive people can turn the most benign comment into an attack, and there’s also something called sensitization. It’s like when hot coffee burns your tongue. Everything else, no matter how cool, will set it off, says Hendriksen. Your words, regardless of how thoughtful, can do that.
In those times, acknowledge the reality. It could be, “This might not be the right time. When would be better?” Or be even more direct with, “It seems what I’m saying isn’t working. How would you approach this problem?” In either of these scenarios, you’re out of the struggle, and giving responsibility to the other person to provide some insight and help with the solution.
“It allows them to show their cards a little more,” Silberstein-Tirch says.
Consider saying, “I notice when we talk about your mother, things go off. What can we do about it?” Here, you’re not talking about the issue, but talking about talking about the issue, and that one step removed makes it easier for the other person to engage. Rather than bumping heads, you’re now teaming up on the problem, which in couples therapy is called unified detachment, Hendriksen says.
But what also helps is to come into the conversation clean, like it’s the first time. You stay away from lines like, “I know you’re gonna get defensive,” a preface that has never caused someone to exhale. Instead, you want what Silberstein-Tirch calls “beginner’s brain.”
It means being present for the conversation that’s about to happen. It’s impossible to do this every time, but if you can foresee a difficult interaction, deep breathing can help slow you down. So can noticing three things you see, hear, and feel, in that order. “It grounds you in the here and now,” she says.
It all sounds doable and probably helpful, but also like a bit much, especially for someone else’s triggers. Really, it’s not your problem.
Maybe so, and if you had to run through these options all the time with a person, it would be too much. But if it only happens occasionally with someone you care about or need to keep working with, then it might be more beneficial to swallow some ego and take into account what matters the most in the long-term. “It’s the difference between being right or being effective,” Hendriksen says. “Do you choose being right or the relationship?”
“Abnormal Psychology”(PDF). Pearson International Schools.Barlow D (2012). Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach. Belmont, CA, USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. ISBN978-1-111-34362-0.Bridges JW (1930). “What is abnormal psychology?”.SStanghellini G (June 2013).
Your parents may have taught you that “no” is a complete sentence, but actually saying it — or setting a boundary in general — can be tricky. Sometimes, you feel uncomfortable setting the boundary; sometimes, the other person hates it and has a strong reaction. But the fact remains that in your romantic relationships, at work, in your family, and in friendships, you’re going to have to set some boundaries one way or another.
Boundaries are a way to value yourself, and they don’t have to be scary. Or at least, that’s what our guest today, Nedra Glover Tawwab, writes about in her new book, Set Boundaries, Find Peace. Nedra is a therapist, bestselling author, and relationship expert. We talk about what boundaries are, why they’re so important, and I get some strategies for setting and keeping boundaries even when other people in my life don’t seem to want me to.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. As always, there’s much more in the full podcast, so listen and follow Vox Conversations on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
I want to start with a question that you use to open your book, which is basically, what even is a boundary?
Nedra Glover Tawwab
Boundaries are statements that make you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. Sometimes it is behaviors that make you feel safe and comfortable. A woman asked me today on Instagram: “How can I set boundaries with my drinking socially?” So that is a behavior. How do you drink less socially?
Sometimes it can be my mother-in-law keeps popping up at my house and you may need to say something to your mother-in-law. So it works in both ways.
Before writing this book, and for many years, I thought of boundaries as saying no or cutting people off. I have learned that it’s a lot of gray areas. It’s all of these situations that we feel very uncomfortable about in our relationship, it is bigger than “no,” it is bigger than just cutting people off.
Boundaries preserve relationships. Cutting someone off is like the ultimate boundary, right? There are 1,000 other boundaries we can set before cutting people off.
Right. Sometimes people think that it’s, as we say in Portuguese, oito oitenta — all or nothing.
But, in fact, there is a lot of flexibility. There’s a lot of space that you can give both yourself and the other person when you’re putting in a boundary. One experience that I’ve had is that if the other person has fewer boundaries or doesn’t really live their life with a lot of boundaries in a particular area, there is resentment.
Nedra Glover Tawwab
Yeah, I think in general, we feel best when people do as we do. You don’t answer emails on vacation. It’s now problematic because it is different from what I choose to do. So it’s really important to acknowledge that boundaries are preferences. It’s not a rule. It’s not a fact. It is just what we choose to do.
I choose not to work after 7:00 pm. It is a preference for me because this is what makes me feel comfortable. There are tons of people who love working in the evenings. It makes them feel fulfilled. Keep doing it, if that’s what you like. I’m saying, I don’t like it. And it’s okay for me to think differently about this thing. And it doesn’t mean that I’m lazy because I’m not doing things like you. It doesn’t mean that I’m inefficient. It just means that my time is my time.
One thing that I want to go back to that you said is that boundaries are statements or behaviors that make you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships. I would love to know the range of some of those things. What’s a small one and what’s a big one that’s not cutting someone off completely?
Nedra Glover Tawwab
I think a small one is something we did at the beginning of this conversation: making sure we’re appropriately pronouncing each other’s names.
That’s a really small one that can get really annoying, right? If someone’s mispronouncing your name or mislabeling you, sometimes people might be using the wrong pronoun.
It’s never too late to set a boundary. I think we really program ourselves to think like, oh, it’s too late. The moment has passed. You’ve let this person do this thing for six months. You might as well let them do it forever. But now I am recognizing that this is an issue for me.
What are some of the larger boundaries that you have guided people on in your work?
Nedra Glover Tawwab
One significant thing that I’ve helped with a ton is helping clients become adults in their relationship with their parents. That is a really big one because it is a struggle to get people to accept that they want to spend holidays differently. They want to maybe not do that yearly family vacation anymore.
They may not want to talk to their parents every single day. There are so many different things that we continue to do just because we’ve been doing them, but they have always bothered us. Like, I don’t want to go over to uncle so-and-so’s house.
Family relationships have been a huge part of the boundaries work that I’ve done. With couples, it has been communicating what your needs are, communicating what you like and what you don’t like because if you are agreeing to spend even this moment, this week with a person, you need to be very clear about what is bothering you. We’re hoping that our partners sort of figure it out. We’re hoping that there is some signal that they receive, that we are secretly bothered by something, and they don’t typically get it.
It’s a lot of gray areas. It’s all of these situations that we feel very uncomfortable about in our relationship. It is bigger than “no,” it is bigger than just cutting people off.
We get our needs met by communicating them. And that can be really hard. There is this huge, huge, huge thing that I see all the time on social media. I saw a girl saying that when people really love you, you don’t have to tell them how to love you. It’s like, what fairy tale was this in?
One of the things that is really hard about boundaries is reckoning with your own feelings around saying it aloud or writing it down. It feels like just the communication of it itself can be its own huge thing.
Nedra Glover Tawwab
Yeah, by unpopular opinion, I do suggest getting it out whichever way you can, in person, by phone, via text or email. Whatever it is, because it is better out than in.
People don’t always respect your boundaries, even if you’re specific. Even if you’ve worked really hard to articulate it. There is sometimes a whole dynamic, where the person loves to get under your skin or enjoys the experience of making you upset or teasing you.
Nedra Glover Tawwab
Yeah. I think when people habitually disrespect our boundaries, we have to try something different. I’m thinking of a relationship with someone who could not keep a secret. A solution that you can manage is to not tell this person anything that’s secret because they’ve demonstrated that they cannot respect that boundary.
So how do we change the way we behave with people who demonstrate that they can’t respect your boundaries? There are times where people say, “You know, I know you told me that you didn’t wanna hear me talk about all the terrible things happening in my relationship anymore …” but that’s a wonderful time for you to jump in and say, “I will not listen.”
One thing that I want to recognize here, though, is that especially when you’re putting up a boundary with someone that you love and that you really care for, you’re changing the way that something’s going. You’re changing a dynamic. You’re trying to get out of a pattern. There is a grief that can come up, and I’ve felt this grief before where that boundaryless relationship was also a symbol of some special closeness, and you’re having to let go of some of that closeness. Can you speak to that a little bit?
Nedra Glover Tawwab
Is it that you’re letting go of the closeness because you have to let go of the relationship, or are you letting go of the idea that this person could respect the boundary?
So there’s a disappointment that you’re dealing with. You know, I think in being in relationships with other people, the unfortunate risk is being hurt and being disappointed by people. No matter how much people love us, in some way big or small they will disappoint us because it’s so unintentional.
Usually when a person isn’t respecting your boundaries, it’s because they can’t. It is really because they just can’t do this thing you’re asking, or at least I feel like they can’t.
You’re right. You do have to grieve the loss of who you thought that person could be for you and reconstruct what’s possible with the person that you actually have. Sometimes we will stay in those relationships. We’ll keep doing the same thing, place in the same boundary over and over. But it’s really on us to change the way in which we engage.
I often hear people say, ”My friend always calls me to complain. Every time we talk, they’re complaining.” And I think, every time you talk, are you picking up the phone every time to be complained to?
And I know that’s a really hard boundary to say, “Instead of talking to this person every day after work, I will talk to them on Tuesdays like that. That is what I can manage without being overwhelmed.”
And it is really hard to think about, oh my gosh, we used to talk every day, and here I am, intentionally stepping back because I’ve set this boundary over and over and this person refuses to listen to me.
Can you speak a little bit to the things that might open up? What do people gain by putting up this boundary?
Nedra Glover Tawwab
A relationship that’s less stressful, a relationship that seems less contentious, a relationship that you receive more joy from. Sometimes we get burnt out with people doing some of the things that we’ve asked them not to do. And then we start to complain and get upset and become anxious about having to engage with them. So stepping back could be the healthiest option.
Sometimes people in general, not specifically me at all, in no way is this about me, might be a little conflict-averse. They don’t want to have a big conversation. They get really scared. And then they bail. How often do you have to have boundary conversation about ghosting?
Nedra Glover Tawwab
Ghosting is an interesting topic because I don’t think people believe that they are the type of person who might be hard to communicate with. But there are some people, when you bring them a boundary, it becomes an abusive situation. Belittling may occur. They may become really defensive. It may just be a really unhealthy interaction.
And there are other situations of ghosting where it’s like, “I really can’t say this to the person. I hope that they just start to get the picture when I stop answering them because I don’t have the words. I don’t feel comfortable.” Ghosting is never an easy decision. It’s not the best solution, but it is a solution.
We can’t control how every relationship ends, and many of our relationships don’t work out.
The friends you had in elementary school, then middle school, then high school, then college or wherever you used to live, a lot of these things, they just sort of fizzle out. There’s this low level of non-harmful ghosting,
How do you talk to your followers who are conflict-averse? Are there any tips to pump yourself up before setting a boundary?
Nedra Glover Tawwab
I would say don’t pump yourself up. When we pump ourselves up, we deflate ourselves later because we think about all of the things that could go wrong. We get into this very spirally way of thinking. We think about very black-and-white outcomes. Practicing beforehand in the mirror and on paper, I think it can really work us up into an anxiety spiral that might not even be useful. The world is very flexible and we cannot add those black-and-white principles. And I think when you are averse to conflict, you are thinking of one outcome and it is very bad. You are thinking about one way of saying something.
It’s really healthy to think about the flexibility, that you can’t control how this person feels and you don’t know how they would feel about you. I would say in most cases, when we set boundaries and relationships, it actually goes well.
They’re not like, oh my gosh, you’re not my friend anymore. It’s not as big as we think. Keep it simple. If you can whittle your thoughts down to one simple sentence, I think it will be easier. Don’t think of it as “having a boundaries conversation” as much as it is just talking to someone and just letting them know.
In the first quarter of 2021, 189 new hedge funds were launched, the highest number since the end of 2017, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, 190 hedge funds were started. Since then, the number of launches has been consistently lower, hitting its lowest in the first quarter of 2020 with a total of 84 launches and 304 liquidations.
“The only ones that did get launched [that quarter] were before March,” Kenneth Heinz, president of HFR, told Institutional Investor.
Heinz attributed the newfound surge in launches to three factors: performance, inflation, and risk aversion. According to a statement, the top decile of hedge funds tracked by HFR gained 126.8 percent in the 12-month period ending in the first quarter of 2021. In this quarter alone, the top decile gained 29.7 percent.
Institutional investors are also looking to hedge against inflation, Heinz said. “As the world emerges from the lockdown, inflation is present, and it will continue to build,” he said. “The different strategies provide great protection from inflation.”
These strategies include equity hedge funds and event-driven funds. As of the first quarter of 2021, the greatest portion of industry assets — 30.42 percent — were invested in equity hedge funds. Event-driven funds came in second with 27.53 percent of total industry assets.
Heinz said these particular strategies are appealing to investors because they provide exposure to some hot “meme” stocks. Plus, as the world emerges from a global quarantine, he said there is a large appetite for strategic activity in mergers and acquisitions — a strong point for event-driven funds.
Since the first quarter of 2020 and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Heinz said investors have left their risk complacency in 2019. Heinz said 2019 was a “super beta year,” prompting inventors to worry less about risk and more about returns.
“I liken 2019 to the easiest year in the world to make money because everything went up,” Heinz said. “But then March reminded investors they had become complacent about risk.”
As they move into the new year and recover from the pandemic, investors have taken more defensive positioning against risks that were overlooked in 2019. As for the future of the hedge fund industry, Heinz said he believes the market has entered a period of expansion.
“Even though the markets have recovered and they’ve gone back to record highs, I think institutions that are allocating are still very much more cognizant of risk than they were prior to the first quarter of 2020,” he said. “I think that’s the reason that you’re seeing more capital inflows and more funds launching.”
As hedge funds generally invest in relatively liquid assets and are generally open-ended, meaning that they allow investors to invest and withdraw capital periodically based on the fund’s net asset value, whereas private-equity funds generally invest in illiquid assets and only return capital after a number of years. However, other than a fund’s regulatory status there are no formal or fixed definitions of fund types, and so there are different views of what can constitute a “hedge fund”.
The first week of earnings season wraps up with major indices closely tracking the bond market in Wall Street’s version of “follow the leader.” Earnings absolutely matter, but right now the Fed’s policies are maybe a bigger influence. In the short-term the Fed is still the girl everyone wants to dance with.
Lately, you can almost guess where stocks are going just by checking the 10-year Treasury yield, which often moves on perceptions of what the Fed might have up its sleeve. The yield bounced back from lows this morning to around 1.32%, and stock indices climbed a bit in pre-market trading. That was a switch from yesterday when yields fell and stocks followed suit. Still, yields are down about six basis points since Monday, and stocks are also facing a losing week.
It’s unclear how long this close tracking of yields might last, but maybe a big flood of earnings due next week could give stocks a chance to act more on fundamental corporate news instead of the back and forth in fixed income. Meanwhile, retail sales for June this morning basically blew Wall Street’s conservative estimates out of the water, and stock indices edged up in pre-market trading after the data.
Headline retail sales rose 0.6% compared with the consensus expectation for a 0.6% decline, and with automobiles stripped out, the report looked even stronger, up 1.3% vs. expectations for 0.3%. Those numbers are incredibly strong and show the difficulty analysts are having in this market. The estimates missed consumer strength by a long shot. However, it’s also possible this is a blip in the data that might get smoothed out with July’s numbers. We’ll have to wait and see.
Caution Flag Keeps Waving
Yesterday continued what feels like a “risk-off” pattern that began taking hold earlier in the week, but this time Tech got caught up in the selling, too. In fact, Tech was the second-worst performing sector of the day behind Energy, which continues to tank on ideas more crude could flow soon thanks to OPEC’s agreement.
We already saw investors embracing fixed income and “defensive” sectors starting Tuesday, and Thursday continued the trend. When your leading sectors are Utilities, Staples, Real Estate, the way they were yesterday, that really suggests the surging bond market’s message to stocks is getting read loudly and clearly.
This week’s decline in rates also isn’t necessarily happy news for Financial companies. That being said, the Financials fared pretty well yesterday, with some of them coming back after an early drop. It was an impressive performance and we’ll see if it can spill over into Friday.
Energy helped fuel the rally earlier this year, but it’s struggling under the weight of falling crude prices. Softness in crude isn’t guaranteed to last—and prices of $70 a barrel aren’t historically cheap—but crude’s inability to consistently hold $75 speaks a lot. Technically, the strength just seems to fade up there. Crude is up slightly this morning but still below $72 a barrel.
All of the FAANGs lost ground yesterday after a nice rally earlier in the week. Another key Tech name, chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA), got taken to the cleaners with a 4.4% decline despite a major analyst price target increase to $900. NVDA has been on an incredible roll most of the year.
This week’s unexpectedly strong June inflation readings might be sending some investors into “flight for safety” mode, though no investment is ever truly “safe.” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sounded dovish in his congressional testimony Wednesday and Thursday, but even Powell admitted he hadn’t expected to see inflation move this much above the Fed’s 2% target.
Keeping things in perspective, consider that the S&P 500 Index (SPX) did power back late Thursday to close well off its lows. That’s often a sign of people “buying the dip,” as the saying goes. Dip-buying has been a feature all year, and with bond yields so low and the money supply so huge, it’s hard to argue that cash on the sidelines won’t keep being injected if stocks decline.
Two popular stocks that data show have been popular with TD Ameritrade clients are Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT), and both of them have regularly benefited from this “dip buying” trend. Neither lost much ground yesterday, so if they start to rise today, consider whether it reflects a broader move where investors come back in after weakness. However, one day is never a trend.
Reopening stocks (the ones tied closely to the economy’s reopening like airlines and restaurants) are doing a bit better in pre-market trading today after getting hit hard yesterday.
In other corporate news today, vaccine stocks climbed after Moderna (MRNA) was added to the S&P 500. BioNTech (BNTX), which is Pfizer’s (PFE) vaccine partner, is also higher. MRNA rose 7% in pre-market trading.
Strap In: Big Earnings Week Ahead
Earnings action dies down a bit here before getting back to full speed next week. Netflix (NFLX), American Express (AXP), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), United Airlines (UAL), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), American Airlines (AAL) and Coca-Cola (KO) are high-profile companies expected to open their books in the week ahead.
It could be interesting to hear from the airlines about how the global reopening is going. Delta (DAL) surprised with an earnings beat this week, but also expressed concerns about high fuel prices. While vaccine rollouts in the U.S. have helped open travel back up, other parts of the globe aren’t faring as well. And worries about the Delta variant of Covid don’t seem to be helping things.
Beyond the numbers that UAL and AAL report next week, the market may be looking for guidance from their executives about the state of global travel as a proxy for economic health. DAL said travel seems to be coming back faster than expected. Will other airlines see it the same way? Earnings are one way to possibly find out.Even with the Delta variant of Covid gaining steam, there’s no doubt that at least in the U.S, the crowds are back for sporting events.
For example, the baseball All-Star Game this week was packed. Big events like that could be good news for KO when it reports earnings. PepsiCo (PEP) already reported a nice quarter. We’ll see if KO can follow up, and whether its executives will say anything about rising producer prices nipping at the heels of consumer products companies.
Confidence Game: The 10-year Treasury yield sank below 1.3% for a while Thursday but popped back to that level by the end of the day. It’s now down sharply from highs earlier this week. Strength in fixed income—yields fall as Treasury prices climb—often suggests lack of confidence in economic growth.
Why are people apparently hesitant at this juncture? It could be as simple as a lack of catalysts with the market now at record highs. Yes, bank earnings were mostly strong, but Financial stocks were already one of the best sectors year-to-date, so good earnings might have become an excuse for some investors to take profit. Also, with earnings expectations so high in general, it takes a really big beat for a company to impress.
Covid Conundrum: Anyone watching the news lately probably sees numerous reports about how the Delta variant of Covid has taken off in the U.S. and case counts are up across almost every state. While the human toll of this virus surge is certainly nothing to dismiss, for the market it seems like a bit of an afterthought, at least so far. It could be because so many of the new cases are in less populated parts of the country, which can make it seem like a faraway issue for those of us in big cities. Or it could be because so many of us are vaccinated and feel like we have some protection.
But the other factor is numbers-related. When you hear reports on the news about Covid cases rising 50%, consider what that means. To use a baseball analogy, if a hitter raises his batting average from .050 to .100, he’s still not going to get into the lineup regularly because his average is just too low. Covid cases sank to incredibly light levels in June down near 11,000 a day, which means a 50% rise isn’t really too huge in terms of raw numbers and is less than 10% of the peaks from last winter. We’ll be keeping an eye on Covid, especially as overseas economies continue to be on lockdowns and variants could cause more problems even here. But at least for now, the market doesn’t seem too concerned.
Dull Roar: Most jobs that put you regularly on live television in front of millions of viewers require you to be entertaining. One exception to that rule is the position held by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. It’s actually his job to be uninteresting, and he’s arguably very good at it. His testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday was another example, with the Fed chair staying collected even as senators from both sides of the aisle gave him their opinions on what the Fed should or shouldn’t do. The closely monitored 10-year Treasury yield stayed anchored near 1.33% as he spoke.
Even if Powell keeps up the dovishness, you can’t rule out Treasury yields perhaps starting to rise in coming months if inflation readings continue hot and investors start to lose faith in the Fed making the right call at the right time. Eventually people might start to demand higher premiums for taking on the risk of buying bonds. The Fed itself, however, could have something to say about that.
It’s been sopping up so much of the paper lately that market demand doesn’t give you the same kind of impact it might have once had. That’s an argument for bond prices continuing to show firmness and yields to stay under pressure, as we’ve seen the last few months. Powell, for his part, showed no signs of being in a hurry yesterday to lift any of the stimulus.
TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.
I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.
Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. The term “retailer” is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of many individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele. Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products.
Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.
Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store’s overall market positioning. Once the strategic retail plan is in place, retailers devise the retail mix which includes product, price, place, promotion, personnel, and presentation.
In the digital age, an increasing number of retailers are seeking to reach broader markets by selling through multiple channels, including both bricks and mortar and online retailing. Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services. Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.
Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types of and in many different contexts – from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment – protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation. Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order