ETF Areas to Gain From the Holiday Shopping Season

The year 2020 has been quite a challenge for market participants as well as business houses, largely due to the coronavirus outbreak. Various sectors had to suffer from a shutdown of business activities and a sudden change in lifestyle and preferences of Americans.

Amid these trying times, the beginning of holiday season (the late October-December period) provides a ray of hope for a lot many industry players and market participants. Moreover, this time of the year is also a very important phase for a large number of companies from the business point of view. The quarter is also marked by some popular retail events like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Christmas, which increase its significance to retailers.

According to Deloitte’s report on holiday spending forecasts, retail sales may see growth of 1-1.5% during the November-January period, per a CNBC article.

Against this backdrop, let’s study some ETFs that are well-positioned to gain from a busy shopping season this year:

Online Retail ETFs to Keep Shining

The pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for the e-commerce industry as people continue to practice social distancing and shopping online for all essentials, especially food items. Thus, at par with the digitization trend, the upcoming U.S. holiday season is expected to see a significant surge in online sales. Going by a Total Retail article, e-commerce sales are anticipated to grow more than 20% this year as there is a surge in first-time online shoppers. Also, according to a report from Statista, the e-commerce space is projected to cross revenues of $2.3 trillion in 2020.

Against this backdrop, let’s look at some ETFs that can benefit from the new shopping trend: Amplify Online Retail ETF IBUY, ProShares Long Online/Short Stores ETF CLIX, ProShares Online Retail ETF (ONLN) and Global X E-commerce ETF (EBIZ) (read: Can ETFs Enjoy Halloween Effect Despite Rising COVID-19 Fear?).

Consumer Discretionary ETFs Popularity to Rise

There has been improvement in consumer spending and confidence after the pandemic-induced record decline in March.As restrictions were being relaxed in the United States, a number of restaurants and retailers started resuming business during the post-lockdown period. Therefore, the reopening of U.S. states brought optimism for players in the consumer discretionary sector and gained investors’ attention. Even during the holiday season, the sector is expected to see a boost in sales and demand as it attracts a major portion of consumer spending. Thus, to make the most of the opportunity, investors can consider The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund XLY, Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF VCR, First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX Fund FXD and Fidelity MSCI Consumer Discretionary Index ETF (FDIS) (see all Consumer Discretionary ETFs).

Digital Payments ETFs to See Increased Demand

Along with increased interest in online shopping, customers are resorting to digital payments to clear their bills. At the same time, merchants and utility providers are increasingly advocating the same. According to Statista, total transaction value in the Digital Payments segment should see 15.3% year-over-year growth rate in 2020 on

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League of Women Voters collecting election signs for alternative energy source

The natural resources committee of the League of Women Voters Orange County is working with Central Florida cities and environmental groups to turn discarded election signs into an alternative energy source.

In partnership with the City of Winter Park, the City of Orlando, Orange County, IDEAS for Us and Eco Strategies Group, the league will collect plastic campaign signs and metal stands Nov. 4-22.

On Nov. 23, the signs will be transported by the City of Orlando to NuCycle Energy in Plant City where they will be transformed into NuCycle’s “Enviro Fuelcubes” which burn cleaner than traditional fossil fuels, according to the company’s website.

From there, the cubes will be used to generate electricity for Cemex, a large cement manufacturer.

“We’ve looked for a way to responsibly dispose of all this plastic for many years,” said Winter Park Commissioner Marty Sullivan in a press release.

Drop-off locations are available in Winter Park and Orlando:

Cady Way Park: 2525 Cady Way in Winter Park

Mead Botanical Garden: 1300 S. Denning Drive in Winter Park

Winter Park Fire Department: 1439 Howell Branch Road in Winter Park

Broadway United Methodist Church: 406 E. Amelia St. in Orlando

First Unitarian Church of Orlando: 1901 E. Robinson St. in Orlando

For more information, contact Kay Hudson, Natural Resources Committee chair of LWVOC, at 407-432-2364 or [email protected]

Find me on Twitter @PConnPie, Instagram @PConnPie or send me an email: [email protected]


©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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Under fire Indian couple say will not take down intimate wedding photos

The couple, Lekshmi and Hrushi Karthik walked the aisle in a small ceremony in September. Photo Courtesy: BBC/AKHIL KARTHIKEYAN

An Indian couple – who drew flak with online trolling after they shared pictures from their intimate wedding shoot on social media – has denied to take down pictures, BBC reported.

The couple, Lekshmi and Hrushi Karthik, who walked the aisle in a small ceremony in September, was bullied by social media users unapologetically after they uploaded pictures of them giggling, hugging, and chasing after each other in a field, wrapped in white silk comforters.

“Ours was an arranged-cum-love marriage,” Lekshmi told BBC, sharing that their idea was to have a post-wedding photoshoot that would be “memorable” to make up for their “subdued marriage ceremony” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Delving into the details about the controversial photoshoot, the couple shared that one of their friends had clicked the pictures after they decided to pose for a “romantic and intimate photoshoot” that could make up for their modest affair that was only attended by approximately 50 guests.

“It was great fun. We laughed through it. We were really excited about it. It was a part of our honeymoon, we were just married and we felt free,” Lakshmi recalled.

Things turned ugly for the newly-wed after they shared their pictures on social media to announce their marriage to the world.

“Trolls described the photos as ugly, vulgar and shameful; some said they were pornographic….[]; some advised them to get a room,” read the publication.

“We received two days of relentless hate,” says Lekshmi. “People said we were showing nudity, they said we were doing it for attention and seeking publicity,” the couple told BBC.

Decrying that most of the criticism was pointed at her, Lekshmi shared: “It was really awful for me. They were harassing me much more than him. They were telling me to act in porn films, I was body shamed.

“The trolls included a lot of women too. They found my earlier photos where I was wearing no makeup and began comparing, saying look how ugly she looks in these photos,” she regretted.

On the other hand, few people also countered the raging criticism saying that the pictures were amazing and the couple should ignore the critical comments.

“We didn’t know who the trolls were who were criticising us. We also didn’t know the people who were speaking in our support, but it made us very happy,” Lekshmi said.

Sharing about the reaction from her immediate family members, Lekshmi said: “Initially, our parents were shocked too, but we explained to them why we wanted to do it and they understood and have been very supportive. But many of our relatives accused us of aping the West.”

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UConn women will play South Carolina on Feb. 8, likely finalizing nonconference slate

The UConn women’s basketball team’s nonconference schedule is likely finalized, with the school announcing Tuesday that the Huskies will host South Carolina Monday, Feb. 8 at Gampel Pavilion.

Geno Auriemma and the Huskies are 8-1 all-time against South Carolina, the sole loss coming last season in Columbia, S.C. in a 70-52 decision. The Gamecocks graduated two seniors, Ty Harris and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, to the WNBA but return Aaliyah Boston, considered by many the top freshman in the country last season.

The Huskies managed to maintain a strong nonconference slate despite the various logistical complications amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Four of the teams they will play (assuming both UConn and Mississippi State advance to play each other on the second day of this month’s Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge) are ranked in the top six of ESPNw’s Way-Too-Early Top 25: While the Huskies are slotted at No. 4, South Carolina comes in at No. 1, Baylor at No. 3, Louisville at No. 5 and Mississippi State at No. 6. Conference foe DePaul, which came in second in the preseason Big East standings, was ranked No. 19 in the nation.

Here are the games firmly on the calendar as of now:

Nov. 28 vs. Quinnipiac in the Women’s Hall of Fame Challenge (Mohegan Sun Arena)

Nov. 29 vs. Maine or Mississippi State in the Women’s Hall of Fame Challenge (Mohegan Sun Arena)

Dec. 4 vs. Louisville (Mohegan Sun Arena)

Dec. 6 at Seton Hall*

Dec. 15 vs. Butler*

Dec. 19 vs. Xavier*

Dec. 22 at Villanova*

Jan. 7 at Baylor

Jan. 21 at Tennessee

Feb. 8 vs. South Carolina

* Big East game

Alexa Philippou can be reached at [email protected]


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WCHA women’s league, including Gophers, closing in on schedule

Over the past four weeks, college hockey’s three western men’s conferences have revealed plans for their 2020-21 seasons, with the Big Ten and NCHC announcing their formats and start dates, and the WCHA last week announcing its schedule.

While there hasn’t been an announcement about women’s college hockey, one is coming soon.

Jennifer Flowers, WCHA Women’s League commissioner, said she is hopeful there will be some scheduling news from the conference by the end of the week.

“We’ve made some really good progress, and we are very hopeful of being on the ice in November,’’ Flowers said, declining to give specifics.

The schedule, however, might not look like it usually does. In large part because of differences in COVID-19 testing protocols between the WCHA’s three Big Ten teams (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State) and its four members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (Bemidji State, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State Mankato and St. Cloud State), the season might start with games pitting Big Ten teams vs. Big Ten teams and NSIC teams vs. NSIC teams. 

“It won’t be a complete schedule,’’ Flowers said. “We’ve broken it down and tried to address what we can address given the information we have. We’ve talked a lot about just focusing on getting started. Sometimes if you work to solve the entire puzzle, you don’t get started on the puzzle. We’re going to break it down a bit because there are some things that continue to evolve.’’

In its return-to-play protocols that started with football and extended to winter sports such as men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s hockey, the Big Ten requires daily antigen testing. Teams from the NSIC, an NCAA Division II conference that doesn’t have the resources of the Big Ten, face challenges in meeting the NCAA’s recommendations proposed in September that athletes be tested three times a week during the season.

“That certainly got the attention of athletic directors at our level because most of us are still trying to figure out how we’re going to do one-time-a-week testing in terms of how to execute it and how to afford it,” Minnesota State Mankato athletic director Kevin Buisman told the Star Tribune in October.

Regarding COVID-19 testing differences between Big Ten and NSIC members of the WCHA, Flowers said, “It’s not been a secret that we’ve been coming from different places. The one thing I’m most proud of is just how committed everyone has been to our league and doing what’s best for the women and all seven of our institutions.’’

Gophers women’s coach Brad Frost welcomed the developments, though nothing has been finalized.

“When you don’t have a start date and don’t have a weekend when you know you’re playing games, it’s always, ‘When’s it going to happen, is it going to happen?’ ’’ Frost said. “… We’re just looking forward to an announcement soon that says, ‘Here’s when we’re starting’ and we get going.’’

The women’s hockey season usually starts in late September, so by this weekend teams

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High fashion in Italy faces “strange,” uncertain times

With formal events postponed and people working from home across the globe, Italy’s high-fashion industry is in flux. The Italian government has added more restrictions on day-to-day life in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases, all of which spells trouble for the Italian artisans caught in the middle.

Raffaella Grosso runs an embroidery company in Milan, where she and her staff produce designs for fashion houses like Armani, Versace and Prada. Grosso spoke with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about how the pandemic has affected her business. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: I should tell people listening to this that you and I had an interview scheduled last week. We had some scheduling issues. It didn’t happen. But in a way, that’s good, because I think the interview we’re doing now, this week, with the new announcements in Italy and the virus situation in Europe, are quite a big change from the way things were last week.

Raffaella Grasso: Yes, they are changing very fast now, things are getting a little bit worse. And so everything is changing day by day. We are getting news from the government, taking new measures to try and stop this virus.

Ryssdal: It has been, I’m sure, difficult for your business the past seven, eight months now. What do you expect it’s going to be like from here to the end of the year, do you think?

Grasso: That’s a good question. That’s very hard to answer. We are facing a very strange moment now. Everybody’s still trying to understand how to proceed in the next month, if it’s a good idea to produce. And that’s a problem for us, because we are not direct sellers. And so we have to follow our clients and see what they do.

Ryssdal: How worried are you for the Italian fashion industry with not just this pandemic, but also globalization and what it’s meaning for what you do?

Grasso: We do hand embroidery, not machines, for all the big names of Italian fashion and some also foreigners’ ones. And this last year, there’s great competition with foreign competitors. Our prices, obviously, are higher. In this period, some of our customers came back because to go to our competitors is difficult now because they’re abroad. And we have faced a strange moment when everybody’s coming back and telling us, “Well, we want to do “made in Italy.” So we want to work with you more than before, but your prices are too high. So you have to reduce prices because we are used to [paying] less.” And they want to pay less even if we are Italian.

Ryssdal: A bigger question about Milan and northern Italy: What’s the mood? I mean, I don’t imagine you can go down now and have a cup of coffee or a pastry or something and talk to people, right?

Grasso: Well, last week, it was possible. You had to stop very early in the afternoon, but

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Nancy Darsch, former Ohio State women’s basketball coach and WNBA coach, dies at 68

Nancy Darsch, who guided the Ohio State women’s basketball team to the 1993 NCAA championship game and went on to coach in the WNBA, has died. She was 68.

Nancy Darsch et al. wearing costumes: Brutus Buckeye -- mascot for OSU -- Nancy Darsch, the Ohio State University Women's basketball head coach, shouts out directions to players in their recent at home contest against Iowa. Chris Russell Photo PHOTO SCANNED AT 1333 PLEASE USE OFF OF THE LEAFDESK

© Columbus Dispatch file photo
Brutus Buckeye — mascot for OSU — Nancy Darsch, the Ohio State University Women’s basketball head coach, shouts out directions to players in their recent at home contest against Iowa. Chris Russell Photo PHOTO SCANNED AT 1333 PLEASE USE OFF OF THE LEAFDESK

She had Parkinson’s disease and died Monday in her hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Brian Agler, who coached with her at Seattle in the WNBA, said her family informed him of Darsch’s death.

Darsch started her college coaching career as an assistant at Tennessee under the great Pat Summitt. Darsch led the Buckeyes for 12 years, from 1985 to 1997, compiling a 234-125 record and making seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State went 28-4 in during the 1992-93 season and lost to Texas Tech 84-82 in the NCAA championship game.

“Nancy was a trailblazer, coach and mentor. I was lucky to have such a caring and kind coach,” former Ohio State star Katie Smith said in a statement. “She loved what she did and the people she shared it with. Always had a smile on her face, a fun comment to make you laugh and a playful punch on the arm. She will be dearly missed.”

Current Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said he kept an eye on the Buckeyes program and gained an admiration for Darsch as he started his coaching career at Miami University and continued it at Notre Dame.

“She did such an amazing job here and really elevated the program to national prominence,” McGuff said. “The 1993 Final Four was a special moment in this program’s history. Just an incredible coach.”

In March 1997, Ohio State announced the firings of both Darsch and men’s basketball coach Randy Ayers. The OSU women were coming off a 12-16 season, but Darsch said she thought she deserved another year to turn the program around.

Six weeks after her contract was terminated, Darsch received about $50,000 more than Ohio State owed her to buy out the final year of her contract. 

“I take with me a lot of good memories and special relationships as I leave,” Darsch said in a statement released by Ohio State at the time. “I now look forward to a new professional challenge.”

After her time in Columbus, Darsch went to the WNBA and was the inaugural coach of the New York Liberty in 1997. She helped the team reach the WNBA Finals that first season when they lost to the Houston Comets.

“We are grateful for Nancy’s leadership as a pioneer of this game,” the Liberty said in a statement. “Her contributions to the advancement of both collegiate and professional women’s basketball and her passion for the game will forever be felt.”

Darsch later coached the Washington Mystics and was an assistant for the Minnesota Lynx and

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This Little Book from 1917 Has a List of Every Reason Why Women Shouldn’t Vote and It’s Just as Relevant Today

There is a book that exists claiming to contain all the reasons why women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a wooden table: "This Little Book Contains Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote" was published by N.W.S Pub. Co. INC., in 1917.

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“This Little Book Contains Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote” was published by N.W.S Pub. Co. INC., in 1917.

Literally titled, This Little Book Contains Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote, the book was published by a dubious publishing company N.W.S Pub. Co. INC., in 1917, and you wouldn’t believe what’s written on page 13: nothing, absolutely nothing.

In fact, there’s nothing written on the first page of the book or the last page or the pages in between. This Little Book Contains Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote is actually completely blank. Probably because—even in 1917—there were no valid reasons why women should have been eligible to vote.

While the ultimate troll, the idea for the book blossomed from the need for change and was just one of the many ways New York’s National Women’s Suffrage Publishing Company elevated their agenda in advocating for women’s rights.

Along with Why Women Should Not Vote, the group published a variety of fundamental literature for spreading their message including Headquarters News Letter, an A-B-C of Organization, which served as a how-to guide for fundraising along with various other letters educating women on the Constitution and amendments that were made over the years, according to the Public Domain Review.

Many of the N.W.S.’ brochures, documents and leaflets are on display at the Virginia Commonwealth University.

Naturally, the “little book” sparked outrage from anti-women suffragists who opened it hoping to read countless

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What Is A Point-of-Sale Loan And Are They Worth It?

Online shopping has become a popular way to purchase just about everything, from clothing to furniture, electronics to wellness products and almost anything else you can think of — especially over the past few months as the coronavirus pandemic has kept many Americans at home.

And if you’re one of the millions who’ve been shopping more online lately, you’ve probably noticed a small logo near the payment information at checkout offering the option to “buy now, pay later” or apply for a monthly payment plan.

These options are called point-of-sale loans, or POS loans, and they seem to be sprouting up everywhere. Companies like Afterpay, Affirm and Klarna offer low- or no-interest financing for purchases, which could help you if you need extra time to pay.

But like any loan, POS loans come with terms and conditions that you want to be aware of before you sign up. Ahead, CNBC Select explains what to consider if you want to sign up for a POS loan the next time you make a bigger purchase.

What is point-of-sale financing?

POS financing is a broad term that describes methods for giving shoppers flexible, pay-over-time installment options. In some cases, shoppers apply for a one-time installment loan at checkout to help break their purchases up into smaller monthly payments. In other cases, a consumer might sign up for payment platform that partners with specific retailers and gives the option to choose a payment plan when they check out.

With Klarna, for instance, customers link their debit card to the app and pay in bi-weekly installments with the option for 0% interest over four payments. Klarna partners with stores like Sephora, Adidas, H&M and lots more.

Installment financing is considered a type of unsecured loan, and in the past, it’s typically been used when consumers want to buy a big-ticket item, such as furniture, electronics, jewelry, etc. But these days the “buy now pay later” option is showing up in nearly every sector, from clothing to housewares and cosmetics — even on Etsy. POS loans are also growing in the travel sector, with numerous airlines letting you book now and pay over time with an installment plan.

What to think about before you apply

Without a doubt, POS financing is convenient when you don’t have the cash up front. But as with all lending products that could potentially impact your credit score and your overall finances, be mindful when you apply.

Here are some things to consider:

1. The impact on your credit

POS loans may or may not require a hard credit inquiry. When you apply, read the fine print to see if the company is going to pull your information from the credit bureaus, which could impact your credit score. Affirm, for instance, only performs a soft credit check.

Also, do your research to see if the company reports to the credit bureaus, which could positively impact your credit after you make regular on-time payments, or harm your score if you fail to

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Syracuse teen receives gift of voting for 18th birthday

Syracuse, N.Y.— Azian Goodrich got a special gift for his 18th birthday: A ballot.

Goodrich turned 18 on Election Day, making him eligible to vote this year in his first presidential election. Along with his excited parents and wearing a customized “I Voted” shirt, he cast his ballot at the Erwin First United Methodist Church in Syracuse.

Goodrich is a first-year engineering major at Morehouse College and is taking his classes remotely due to the pandemic. According to his parents, it was Goodrich’s idea to wear matching apparel in the spirit of the election, and they set out to vote as a family to honor the occasion.

“As a young African American man, I really believe it’s important to get your word out there and voice your opinion, especially during these times,” said Goodrich. He said he felt it was crucial to exercise his right to vote in this election in light of the Black Lives Matter movement and the uproar about violence against people of color.

“That could be me one day,” said Goodrich about the death of George Floyd. For him, there is a conflict between the empowerment he feels from voting and excelling academically and the grim reminder of the recent deaths within the Black community.

With his parents by his side, Goodrich also launched his own leadership development firm, called The Family Association,  to “build leaders and help people find out what they want to do.” Channeling his passion for sharing his voice as a young member of the Black community and speaking his truth is something that Goodrich carries with him in his academic career and in his family.

Goodrich’s father, Anthony, emphasized that he supports his son’s right to make his own decisions and values the opportunity to be able to practice their right to vote together while preserving their own individual beliefs. He was proud to be there for what he noted was a “life-changing” experience with his son.

“I feel really good about it. I’m happy for him. I’m happy I get to share this experience with him, him being our oldest, and I want him to make his own decision,” he said.

Goodrich’s mother, Akua Goodrich, felt a similar sense of pride and excitement in watching her eldest son vote for the first time. As the director of registration for the Syracuse City School District, Akua Goodrich has seen the impact that the global pandemic has had on families in her community — so she took the day off to appreciate her family during these “trying times.”

“I am just so proud of our young people. People look at them and cast a certain eye on them for so many reasons,” she said. “As a mother of two African American boys and an African American 13-year-old who is a philanthropist in her own right, it’s amazing for me to see the young people get out there and show that they have a voice and mean it.”

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