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The Morning View: February 17, 2021

Announced this morning, Retail Sales for January increased 5.3%, much higher than the 1.1% expected.  Non-store Retailers, Electronics & Appliance stores, and Furniture & Appliance stores were especially strong, all increasing more than 10% in January, while Health & Personal Care stores were flat. In addition, there was a rebound in Food Services and Drinking Places which were up 6.9% in the month.  The Control Group, which excludes sales for food, autos, building materials, and gas stations, increased 6.0% in January, also much higher than expected.  Overall, a strong rebound from the negative readings the previous month; however, part of the strength may be related to recently passed fiscal stimulus and could prove temporary.  Increased activity in the months ahead will be key to a lasting economic recovery, as vaccine distribution continues giving people confidence to return to pre-pandemic activities.  In all, bond yields are little changed this morning with the US 10-year treasury bond above 1.3% for the first time since February 2020 and equity futures are slightly lower as we head into the market open.

This material is intended to be for informational purposes only and is intended for current or prospective clients of Argent Trust Company. This information is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, and its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice, and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Forward-looking assumptions are Argent Trust Company’s current estimates or expectations of future events or future results based on proprietary research and should not be construed as an estimate or promise of results that a portfolio may achieve. Actual results could differ materially from the results indicated by this information. Investments can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.