Aug 29, 2022
The Weekly Scan August 29, 2022
Find out what’s happening in the world of business this week
Welcome to the Weekly Scan. Here’s what we’re following for the week of August 29, 2022. Plus, our Certified Financial Planner™ Lauren Anastasio gives advice on how to respond to the news.
Lauren’s take on the markets: Stocks took a dive on Friday following a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Investors were anxiously awaiting Powell’s statement at the central bank’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Many were hoping for updated guidance on the Fed’s plan to raise rates.
Mr. Powell emphasized that plans to continue aggressively raising interest rates in order to get inflation under control have not changed. Markets retreated as hopes of a softer approach were dashed. While some on Wall Street reacted negatively to this news and the end of an abnormally low-interest-rate environment, many others are optimistic about the changes.
Forgive and forget. President Biden announced a student loan forgiveness plan last week that is expected to provide aid to millions of people. Individuals with federal student debt can get up to $10,000 in forgiveness if they earn under $125,000 annually. Married couples making less than $250,000 can also qualify. Those who received Pell Grants can get up to $20,000 in forgiveness if they fall within the income requirements. The current pause on student loan payments—which was slated to end August 31, 2022—will also be extended through December 31, 2022.
- Lauren’s take: If you have federal student loan debt, you can use this time to make a greater impact on your growing net worth. Instead of making voluntary payments on 0% loans, consider allocating that money to higher interest rate debts or growing your savings and investments.
Biking uphill. Peloton has had a rough run recently, with shares down 88% year-over-year last Wednesday. The dip is likely a reaction to the fitness equipment company posting $1.2 billion in losses during its most recent quarter. For the year ending June 30, 2022, Peloton lost $2.8 billion. Demand for Peloton’s bikes and treadmill has fallen significantly after a surge in demand during the height of the pandemic, when people couldn’t go to the gym. The number of subscribers to the company’s fitness classes has also stagnated, after quadrupling in 2020.
- Lauren’s take: Demand for high-end in-home exercise equipment may be down since the days of lockdown, but staying healthy and prioritizing wellness is as popular as ever. The wellness and fitness industries could still see growth as people return to in-person, low-cost gyms and update their athleisure wardrobe.
Got the plug. Amazon finalized a deal with hydrogen cell fuel provider Plug Power, which will supply almost 11,000 tons of green hydrogen for Amazon’s operations by 2025. That will reportedly be enough energy to power 30,000 forklifts or 800 long-haul trucks. Hydrogen is considered a green source of energy since burning it doesn’t result in greenhouse gas emissions. Still, synthesizing hydrogen, which is necessary to the process, requires energy. Amazon promised to spend $2.1 billion on Plug Power products over seven years as part of the deal, while Plug gave Amazon a warrant to purchase up to 16 million shares of the company, at an exercise price of $22.9841 for the first 9 million shares.
- Lauren’s take: This is just one of what will likely be many deals for clean energy companies resulting from the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act earlier this month. Renewable energy companies are expected to contribute greatly to the growth of the sector over the next few years.
Everything must go. With excess inventory and not enough demand, retailers are cutting prices to entice customers. Kohl’s said that it had 48% more inventory than it did a year earlier and that it plans to be more “aggressive” about clearing out the extra items with promotions. Macy’s has 7% more inventory than it did the year before, while Nordstrom has 10% more. Consumer spending on retail has reportedly dipped as inflation continues to put pressure on people trying to make ends meet.
- Lauren’s take: It may seem like inflation is blamed for most financial hardships these days, but in the case of retailers with too much inventory on their hands it may actually be true. Americans are still spending, but as their dollars are worth less, they’re buying less, and still spending the same amount at the register. If inflation has been crushing your budget, keep an eye on these deals and promotions to see if you can offset some costs for your anticipated spending.