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Amazon up 74% this year, and it's time to make a 401(k) plan for 2021: How the headlines could affect your money

Amazon is still the pandemic's biggest winner.

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An Amazon employee sorts boxes before loading them onto trucks for shipping at Amazon.com's fulfillment Center in Fernley, Nevada.
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Stocks react to GDP news and tech earnings, Amazon is still the pandemic's biggest winner, and it's time to make decisions about your company benefits and retirement plans. Here's how the headlines could affect your money. 

Stocks react to GDP news, tech earnings

Stocks were up Thursday, recovering from Wednesday's plunge on reports that the third-quarter GDP was up a massive 33.1%. However, the market dipped again early Friday following lackluster earnings reports in the Big Tech sector: Apple reported a 21% sales drop in iPhones, and Facebook saw its user base shrink in the U.S. and Canada.

Amazon is the pandemic's biggest winner

If you have mutual fund holdings, you probably have Amazon stock. And that's good news: Amazon's earnings last quarter were better than expected, up 37% year over year. But the retail giant gave investors pause over its fourth-quarter guidance for operating profit, which it said would be between $1 billion and $4.5 billion. The unusual amount of uncertainty stems from the unpredictability of Covid-related costs. 

Still, the company's stock is up 74% this year. While earnings reports are informative, it's not a good idea to get lost in the details. Keep an eye on the big picture.

Time to plan your 401(k) for 2021

It's the time of year when your HR department reminds you to set your benefits and retirement contributions for 2021. Next year, workers can defer up to $19,500 into a 401(k) and up to $6,000 in an IRA. That's unchanged from 2020.

An important change to note, though: You'll be able to contribute up to $3,600 into your health savings account if you're an individual with self-only health coverage and up to $7,200 for family plans. 

Words you've heard: Earnings guidance

In finance terms, earnings guidance is a corporation's prediction of its near-term profits and losses, typically for the quarter to come. It's not meant to be a precise forecast and generally comes in the form of announcements about current plans and industry trends.

And although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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