Can you feel the holiday cheer spreading across Main Street? I know I can practically hear the sleigh bells ringing! Wall Street is also in better spirits. Following President Trump’s tweet this morning that the U.S. and China are moving closer to inking a trade deal, the S&P 500, Dow, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 rallied to new highs.
Now, I know that some investors see me as a “perma-bull,” and while I do consider myself to be a “half-cup full” kind of guy, the truth of the matter is that recent U.S. economic numbers are giving us a lot to be cheerful about. And I always follow the numbers.
The reality is that the U.S. economy is booming, and that strength comes on the back of consumer spending, which supports about 70% of the U.S. economy. And consumers seem more than happy to open their wallets right now.
Take Black Friday, for example. Consumers spent a stunning $7.4 billion online – a new Black Friday record. According to Adobe Analytics, that’s the second-largest online shopping day ever. Plus, the average order value per customer also soared to new levels. Coming in at $168 per order, it increased almost 6% year-over-year. Interestingly, this past Black Friday was also a new record for mobile sales, which brought in $2.9 billion.
On Thanksgiving, consumers spent $4.2 billion. So when you tally it all up, consumers spent $11.6 billion in just two days!
So, what about Cyber Monday, you ask? Well, this online shopping day also broke records – bringing in $9.4 billion. Not only did this beat Black Friday, but it also topped the $4.2 billion Amazon (AMZN) scored during Amazon Prime Day last year.
Overall, holiday shopping should be a big year for 2019. Forecasts are for a 14% year-over-year increase to $143.8 billion, compared to the $126 billion in 2018.
Not to sound too much like a broken record (pun intended!), but clearly this holiday shopping season was one for the record books!
More Positive Economic Data
But it’s not just the recent holiday shopping numbers that have me excited. Just last week, the Commerce Department announced that the trade deficit in October contracted 7.6% to $47.2 billion, down from a revised $51.1 billion in September. That’s the lowest trade deficit in 16 months and significantly lower than economists’ consensus estimate for $48.5 billion. Imports declined 1.7% to $254.3 billion in October, while exports slipped 0.2% to $207.1 billion. Specifically, Chinese imports dropped 5.1% to $35.3 billion in October, so there is no doubt that the tariffs are hindering China’s imports to the U.S.
The trade deficit is also shrinking because the U.S. is now the largest crude oil exporter in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia in June. Overall, a shrinking trade deficit boosts GDP growth-and that’s great news for the U.S. economy and stock market.
In addition, the U.S. jobs market continues to improve. The Labor Department reported last Friday that 266,000 jobs were created in November, which topped economists’ projections for 187,000 jobs. That was the largest monthly payroll increase since January. The end of the General Motors (GM) strike helped the U.S. economy add 41,000 auto manufacturing jobs in November and boosted the overall payroll figure.
The September and October payroll figures were also revised up by a cumulative 41,000. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5% in November, down from 3.6% in October. Unemployment is now sitting at the lowest level in 50 years.
Now, the strong data doesn’t just mean great things for the U.S. economy, it also means great things for the stock market. It’s why I’m so bullish on 2020. So, I partnered with my friend and InvestorPlace colleague Matt McCall, who is equally as excited about the New Year, to create the Power Portfolio 2020. We don’t want you to do “average” next year, we want you to bring in extraordinary returns.
So, the Power Portfolio 2020 is our exclusive guide for positioning your portfolio to take advantage of all next year will have to offer investors. We’ve honed in on 9 stocks we expect to crush the market and released all the names on Tuesday. And already one stock is up about 6%!