The Beginning of the New Roaring ’20s

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Back in December, I wrote about the potential beginning of a new age of wealth and productivity growth this decade.

Specifically, I asked, “Is this the beginning of the ‘Roaring 2020s’?

The idea of the “Roaring 2020s” started to percolate during COVID-19 as many market observers and economists speculated that the post-pandemic era would bring a slew of innovations, a productivity boom and a strong bull market.

Of course, the analogy was to the roaring 1920s. That was another decade when new technologies like automobiles, radio, airplanes, refrigeration and television drove productivity, stock prices and wealth creation higher at a pace not seen since the Industrial Revolution.

My verdict in December was that new technologies – from artificial intelligence (AI) to gene therapies to cloud computing and several others – were lining up, productivity was rising rapidly by historical standards and stocks were headed higher. So, I concluded, yes, a new “Roaring ’20s” decade was starting.

Almost six months later, it’s time to check in on that prediction. Do the next six years of this decade still hold that promise?

Well, those new technologies I mentioned continue to proliferate.

AI, in particular, is spreading across U.S. industries, and it promises to make businesses more efficient and profitable – and their shareholders wealthier.

FactSet, which tracks everything about corporate earnings, found that 179 of the S&P 500 companies mentioned “AI” in their most recent earnings calls.

It seems that companies far beyond the “Magnificent Seven” tech behemoths are talking about the power and potential for AI in their businesses.

Chart: Growing Talk of Artificial Intelligence

But that’s not all…

Productivity is soaring, too.

Chart: Labor Productivity Is Soaring

You can see that after stagnating and dropping during the pandemic, labor productivity is now climbing at a very healthy pace.

And remember that in the long run, productivity growth is the single most important driver of higher living standards.

But also keep in mind that while major technological innovations eventually benefit everyone in a society – think of how railroads, the assembly line and the internet lifted our overall standard of living – the gains in the very beginning are often very uneven.

Consider Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and Bill Gates and the enormous wealth they accumulated from those technologies.

And of course, the stock market has continued to rise since I wrote that article back in December. The S&P 500 Index is up 10.8% year to date, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is up 13.3%. If stocks continue to rise at this pace, we could have a 2024 market that compares favorably with some of the best years ever in U.S. history.

That means that right now is the time to get involved as an investor.

As I wrote back in December, “Investing in tomorrow’s technologies today is the best way to ensure you’re on the winning side of that timeline.”

If you didn’t invest in the so-called Magnificent Seven back in December or earlier, don’t fret. There will be plenty of companies that will benefit enormously from AI and other technologies.

So don’t wait. Make sure you own these stocks before they soar.

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