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10 Things You Should Know This Week

Week of 5/19/24


Mom, the meme stocks are memeing again! – "Roaring Kitty," the handle for Keith Gill, the man who kicked off the GameStop frenzy in 2021, posted a message on X for the first time in nearly three years. This sent shares of GameStop soaring 74.4% on 5/12, the day of his post. Movie-theater chain AMC, another meme stock, also soared 78.4% on the same day. (Source: CNBC)


And I thought I had a spending problem – With Treasuries offering yields above 4%, the US government paid out double the previous decade’s average in interest payments to bondholders for the full year 2023. In March 2024 alone, the Treasury Department paid $89 billion in interest—about $2 million a minute. (Source: Bloomberg)


Didn't know you had it in you – Corporate earnings have surpassed expectations for the first quarter’s earnings season. Earnings-per-share (EPS) have grown at a rate of 5.4% year-over-year, the highest growth in about two years. Nearly 80% of S&P 500 Index companies reported a positive EPS surprise for the quarter. (Source: FactSet)


You're very far away down there – Of the top-500 US stocks by market cap, valuations between the top-10 stocks vs. the bottom-490 stocks have widened to a three-decade record. The top 10 had a price/earnings ratio of 33.6 while the bottom 490 had a ratio of 22.6. The gap ranks in the top decile going back to 1990. (As of 4/30/23. Source: Compustat, Calculations: Hartford Equity Risk Model)


Positively chuffed – Britain's economy grew by the most in nearly three years in the first quarter of 2024, ending the shallow recession it entered in the second half of last year and delivering a boost to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ahead of an election. (Source: Reuters)


What is “pop culture,” Alex? – "Jeopardy!" is getting a new pop-culture spin-off on Amazon Prime Video. Set up like the classic answer-and-question gameplay, the new show’s format will focus on today's music, film, TV, sports, and more. Previous spin-offs of the classic game show include Rock and Roll Jeopardy! and Sports Jeopardy!, though this is the first version created solely for streaming. (Source: Variety)


Mind the (trade) gap – In an effort to support domestic manufacturing, the Biden administration announced a new set of tariffs on electric vehicles, semiconductors, solar equipment, batteries, and medical supplies imported from China. The tariff on EVs will quadruple, while the rate on solar cells and computer chips will double. (Source: AP News)


A day late and a billion bucks short – Boeing and SpaceX were both awarded contracts in 2014 to produce spacecrafts that can deliver supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX has successfully launched 11 crewed missions with its Dragon vessel since 2020, but Boeing's crewed Starliner has faced setback after setback and is now $1.5 billion over its $4.2 billion contract budget. (Source: Space.com)


Baby bust – The fertility rate in high-income nations began dropping below the "replacement level" in the 1970s, but now the rate is dropping in developing countries, too. Demographers worry that the world's population could reverse course and begin shrinking within a few decades, peaking at 9.5 billion in 2061. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)


Peak girl-dad move – Hall of Fame rapper Flavor Flav has pledged financial support for the US women’s water polo team to help send the defending champions to the Paris Olympics this summer. The team has won three consecutive Olympic titles, yet, like most Olympians, must rely on outside financial support despite their victories. (Source: USA Today)


Past performance does not guarantee future results. Indices are unmanaged and not available for direct investment.  

Earnings-per-share is the projected growth rate in earnings per share for the next five years. 

S&P 500 Index is a market capitalization-weighted price index composed of 500 widely held common stocks.

The price-to-earnings ratio measures a company’s share price relative to its earnings-per-share and helps assess the relative value of a company’s stock.


Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. 

Hartford Funds may or may not be invested in the companies referenced herein; however, no particular endorsement of any product or service is being made.

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