- Hello there, James Mayer, branch manager from the Huffman Mayer Paolo Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. Earning season for the third quarter is officially underway. For the first week of October, 21 companies that are part of the S&P 500 had reported earnings. According to FactSet, of those 21 companies, 71% cited supply chain disruptions as a drag on current or future earning and 67% cited labor costs and shortages. Despite the blow to earnings, the S&P 500's earnings per share are expected to rise by an average of 27.6% versus last year's third quarter.

- Hi, I'm Phil Anderson, Investment Officer with Wells Fargo Advisors. In the early months of the COVID-19 recovery, real hourly earnings for US workers rose dramatically as employers offered raises as an incentive to keep workers on the job. Over the last six months though, earnings growth has fallen behind inflation, meaning that workers' buying power has dropped versus last year. According to the conference board, consumer confidence is often seen as one of the best gauges of the US economy's future direction. Since consumers make up close to 70% of aggregate spending in our country, consumer confidence bounced along at four, maybe five for most of 2020 before recovering in this year's first quarter. This basically coincided with the decrease in COVID-19 cases and that increase in real wages.

- That enthusiasm has waned somewhat in the late summer and early fall as consumers have seen shortages affect the availability and price of many products. And inflation has clawed back some of the wage gains made in late 2020 and early 2021. The most recent reading of 109.3 of consumer confidence is certainly weaker, although well above the historical average of about 100 and recent loans seen during much of last year. We always want to talked. Please call the office to schedule an appointment or a Zoom. As always, stay safe, stay happy, stay healthy, and hopefully we will see you very soon.