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Reproduced from the Conference Board; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans are putting more of their money into the stock market and putting less of it into savings accounts. They're also spending less on things like housing or basic goods and services, a new survey from the Conference Board finds.

What's happening: The survey shows a decrease in spending by consumers on all categories, with the exception of home improvements and decorating from the second quarter to the fourth quarter.

  • No data were available for the third quarter.

Between the lines: The survey also found that spending on housing costs fell to a record low of 18% in Q4, down 3.5 percentage points from Q2, thanks largely to "plummeting rental rates in city centers, rent abatements and cuts, temporary rent and mortgage non-payments, and historically low mortgage rates."

  • Along with housing savings, total spending on essential goods and services, such as food and beverage at home, routine transportation, education and medical fell 4.1 percentage points in Q4 compared to Q2.
  • Consumers shifted their money largely to discretionary products like electronics and apparel. and of course the stock market.

The big picture: The Conference Board's U.S. Consumer Dynamics Report found that "pandemic-related forces—including more time at home, reduced opportunities to spend, and enhanced fiscal support from the government—continue to be the chief factors shaping consumer behavior in the United States."

Keep it 💯: "The booms and busts of a few unlikely ‘meme stocks’ have grabbed recent headlines, but the rise of individual investors tells a broader story about spending habits during COVID-19," said Denise Dahlhoff, senior researcher at the Conference Board.

  • "Trends like low interest rates and declining debt concerns—alongside below-normal spending on vacations and out-of-home entertainment due to pandemic restrictions—have left a portion of Americans with more disposable income and fewer ways to spend it. Stocks, which continue to yield strong returns, have become an increasingly attractive option for these consumers."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Feb 9, 2021 - Economy & Business

Stimulus, the yield curve and reopening hopes help small-cap stocks boom

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Despite the incredibly weak job market investors are betting the U.S. economy will continue to strengthen and are pouring money into small-cap stocks.

What's happening: Small companies' stocks have lagged their large counterparts for years as bigger has meant better on Wall Street. But over the past six months, that trend has reversed and investors are playing small ball.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 mins ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.