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Short-sightedness is on the rise in both children and adults – new study

The study found 30% of adults born between 1965-1970 were short-sightedness.

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Short-sightedness is increasing worldwide. chali_studio/ Shutterstock

We’ve known for years now that rates of short-sightedness (scientifically known as myopia) are rising globally. Some estimates even suggest that half of the world’s population will be short-sighted by 2050. In the UK and Europe alone, rates of short-sightedness have doubled in the last 50 years.

But we still aren’t completely sure why these rates are rising so significantly – and who might be most at risk. This is what a recent study set out to understand. Looking at data from 107,442 participants aged 40-69, the researchers confirmed that rates of myopia have increased significantly in the UK in all age groups – and showed that education level and ethnicity may also be linked to greater risk.

They found that there was a jump in the number of people with short-sightedness when they compared participants born between 1965-1970 with those born between 1939-1944 – going from 20% of the population having myopia to nearly 30%. They also found that a greater number of people were developing short-sightedness in adulthood. Those who developed short-sightedness in childhood were also shown to become highly short-sighted and at greater risk of developing serious eye conditions in adulthood.

To get a better picture of whether certain groups were more at risk than others, the researchers compared participants by sex, ethnicity and education level.

While previous studies have found that women are more short-sighted on average – particularly at younger ages – others have found no difference between men and women.

This study found women had a 24% increased risk of developing myopia in childhood – but were 12% less likely to develop myopia in adulthood. It’s uncertain why this is – but it might be due to differences in lifestyle or the hormonal changes men and women experience.

Looking then at ethnicity, the researchers found that there was a higher prevalence of myopia in people who were Chinese. In fact, Chinese participants had a 240% greater risk of developing short-sightedness in childhood compared to white participants. Interestingly, all other ethnicities appeared to have a reduced risk of developing myopia in childhood – though this might be due to the fact that UK Biobank data has fewer participants from ethnic minority backgrounds.

These findings relate to what previous studies have shown, with research suggesting there’s a greater prevalence of myopia in east Asia and in people of Asian descent. One study looking at young men in Seoul found that almost 97% of 19-year-olds were myopic. Again, it’s not certain why this group has higher rates of short-sightedness. Some theorise it could be caused by lifestyle factors during childhood, such as greater focus on education.

University student with glasses reads his book.
Years in education was also linked to short-sightedness. fizkes/ Shutterstock

The researchers also looked at the impact that education had on short-sightedness. They found that the more years spent in education, the greater the risk a person had of developing short-sightedness in both childhood and adulthood. They also showed that the youngest participants (those born between 1965-1970) who had a university education were eight times more likely to develop myopia in childhood compared to those that had no formal education qualifications. Previous studies have also shown that people who spent more years in education are more likely to develop myopia.

The nuanced relationship between ethnicity and education was also explored. Having no formal educational qualifications was linked with lower risk of becoming short-sighted, as expected. This was most visibly shown in Chinese participants, where having no qualifications did not change their risk of developing myopia. However, Chinese participants that had higher level qualifications (such as a University degree) had the largest risk of myopia across the whole study.

Although it’s clear that education has a large hand in the development of myopia, the direct cause is unknown. Some argue that more time spent reading and using screens may be to blame. There’s now evidence even suggesting a link between home-schooling during COVID-19 lockdowns and greater amounts of myopia in Chinese children – potentially because more time is being spent indoors.

But the significant increase in short-sightedness is concerning for a number of reasons. For a person with myopia, having to wear glasses or contact lenses can be costly. More significantly, it also puts them at greater risk of eye diseases – such as myopic maculopathy and retinal detachments, which can both permanently affect eyesight. Not only could this seriously impact a person’s way of life, it would also put a greater financial strain on healthcare systems. Short-sightedness in children is even more concerning, as they’re more likely to develop into severe myopia – which is more likely to lead to these eye problems as a result.

While you can’t change genetics – which is one of the causes of myopia – there are a number of actions you can take to lower the risk of developing short-sightedness during childhood. Spending time outdoors has continued to demonstrate a protective effect against developing short-sightedness. But for children who may already be shortsighted, specialised spectacles and contact lenses are available that have demonstrated success in reducing myopia progression.

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Economics

5 Top Consumer Stocks To Watch Right Now

Are these consumer stocks a buy amid the earnings season?
The post 5 Top Consumer Stocks To Watch Right Now appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes,…

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5 Trending Consumer Stocks To Watch In The Stock Market Now         

As we tread through the earnings season, consumer stocks could be worth watching in the stock market this week. This would be the case since a number of big consumer names such as Costco (NASDAQ: COST) and Macy’s (NYSE: M) will be posting their financials for the quarter. As such, investors will be keeping an eye on these reports for clues on the strength of consumer spending amid this period of high inflation.

However, despite the soaring prices across the economy, it seems that consumers are surprisingly showing resilience. According to the Commerce Department, retail sales in April outpaced inflation for a fourth straight month. This could suggest that consumers as a whole were not only sustaining their spending, but spending more even after adjusting for inflation. Ultimately, it could be a reassuring sign that consumers are still supporting the economy and helping to diminish the narrative of an incoming recession. With that being said, here are five consumer stocks to check out in the stock market today.

Consumer Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] Right Now

Nordstrom

retail stocks (JWN stock)

Starting off our list of consumer stocks today is Nordstrom. For the most part, it is a fashion retailer of full-line luxury apparel, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics among others. The company operates through multiple retail channels, boutiques, and online as well. As it stands, Nordstrom operates around 100 stores in 32 states in the U.S. and three Canadian provinces.

Yesterday, the company reported its financials for the first quarter of 2022. Starting with revenue, Nordstrom pulled in net sales worth $3.47 million for the quarter. This marks an increase of 18.7% from the same quarter last year. Its Nordstrom banner saw net sales rise by 23.5% year-over-year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Next to that, its Nordstrom Rack banner saw a 10.3% increase in net sales from last year. Besides, net earnings were $20 million, with earnings per share of $0.13 for the quarter. Considering Nordstrom’s solid quarter, should you invest in JWN stock?

[Read More] Best Stocks To Invest In Right Now? 5 Value Stocks To Watch This Week

The Wendy’s Company

best consumer stocks (WEN stock)

Next up, we have The Wendy’s Company. For the most part, it is the holding company for the major fast-food chain, Wendy’s. Being one of the world’s largest hamburger fast-food chains, the company boasts over 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. and 29 other countries. The chain is known for its square hamburgers, sea salt fries, and the Frosty, a form of soft-serve ice cream mixed with starches. WEN stock is rising by over 8% on today’s opening bell.

According to an SEC filing, Wendy’s largest shareholder, Trian Partners, is looking into making a potential deal with the company. Trian said that it is considering a deal to “enhance shareholder value.” Also, the firm adds that this could lead to an acquisition or business combination. In response, Wendy’s stated that it is constantly reviewing strategic priorities and opportunities. It added that the company’s board will carefully review any proposal from Trian. Given this piece of news, will you be watching WEN stock?

[Read More] 4 Semiconductor Stocks To Watch In The Stock Market Today

Foot Locker

FL stock

Another stock investors could be watching is the shoes and apparel company, Foot Locker. In brief, the company uses its omnichannel capabilities to bridge the digital world and physical stores. As such, it provides buy online and pickup-in-store services, order-in-store, as well as the growing trend of e-commerce. Some of its most notable brands include Eastbay, Footaction, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, and Sidestep. Last week, the company reported its results for the first quarter of the year.

For starters, total sales came in at $2.175 billion, a slight uptick compared to sales of $2.153 billion in the year prior. Next to that, Foot Locker reported a net income of $133 million. Accordingly, adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.60, beating Wall Street’s expectations of $1.54. CEO Richard Johnson added, “Our progress in broadening and enriching our assortment continues to meet our customers’ demand for choice. These efforts helped drive our strong results in the first quarter, which will allow us to more fully participate in the robust growth of our category going forward.”  As such, is FL stock one to add to your watchlist? 

Tyson Foods 

TSN stock

Tyson Foods is a company that built its name on providing families with wholesome and great-tasting protein products. Its segments include Beef, Pork, Chicken, and Prepared Foods. With some of the fastest-growing portfolio of protein-centric brands, it should not be surprising that TSN stock often comes to mind when investors are looking for the best consumer stocks to buy. 

Earlier this month, Tyson Foods provided its fiscal second-quarter financial update. The company’s total sales for the quarter were $13.1 billion, representing an increase of 15.9% compared to the prior year’s quarter. Meanwhile, its GAAP earnings per share climbed to $2.28, up 75% year-over-year. According to Tyson, these financial figures are a reflection of the increasing consumer demand for its brands and products. To top it off, the company was also able to reduce its total debt by approximately $1 billion. Thus, does TSN stock have a spot on your watchlist?

[Read More] Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Rise, Wendy’s Stock Gains On Potential Deal

DoorDash

food delivery stocks (DASH Stock)

DoorDash is a consumer company that operates an online food ordering and delivery platform. In fact, it is one of the largest delivery companies in the U.S. and enjoys a huge market share. The company connects hundreds of thousands of merchants to over 25 million consumers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan through its local logistics platform. Accordingly, its platform allows local businesses to thrive in today’s “convenience economy,” as the company puts it.

On May 5, the company reported its first-quarter financials for 2022. Diving in, it posted a revenue of $1.5 billion, growing by 35% year-over-year. This was driven by total orders that grew by 23% year-over-year to $404 million. Along with that, it reported a GAAP gross profit of $662 million, an increase of 34% year-over-year. The company said that it added more consumers than any quarter since Q1 2021, due in part to the growth of its DashPass members. The growth in Monthly Active Users and average order frequency has helped it gain share in the U.S. Food Delivery category this quarter as well. Given DoorDash’s performance for the quarter, should you watch DASH stock?

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The post 5 Top Consumer Stocks To Watch Right Now appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

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Economics

Finding Shelter in an Inverse ETF

As the old saying goes, “What goes up must come down.” Indeed, up until the recent selling wave caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the continued…

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As the old saying goes, “What goes up must come down.”

Indeed, up until the recent selling wave caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the continued effects of supply chain disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tech stocks, including semiconductors, were the darlings of the investment world. That is, it seemed as if the sky-high valuations of some tech stocks were sustainable in an atmosphere of seemingly perpetual growth.

That, of course, was not the case, and the too-good-to-be-true valuations were quickly brought down to earth by the forces of inflation and tight monetary policy. As a result, the tech-heavy Nasdaq entered a free-fall that has not yet found a bottom.

At the same time, that does not mean that we should abandon the sector as a lost cause. One such way to play the sector during its downhill slide is the exchange-traded fund (ETF) Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares (NYSEARCA: SOXS).

As its title suggests, this is an inverse ETF, meaning that it is built to go up in value when its parent index goes down. Specifically, SOXS provides three times leveraged inverse exposure to a modified market-cap-weighted index of semiconductor companies that trade in American markets by using swap agreements, futures contracts and short positions.

While the index’s holdings are weighted by market capitalization, the fund’s managers cap the weights of the top five securities in the portfolio at 8% each. The weight of the remaining securities is capped at 4% each.

As of May 24, SOXS has been up 0.37% over the past month and up 24.73% for the past three months. It is currently up 60.47% year to date.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

The fund has amassed $258.15 million in assets under management and has an expense ratio of 1.01%.

In short, while SOXS does provide an investor with a way to invest in an inverse ETF, this kind of ETF may not be appropriate for all portfolios. Thus, interested investors always should conduct their due diligence and decide whether the fund is suitable for their investing goals.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

The post Finding Shelter in an Inverse ETF appeared first on Stock Investor.

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Economics

Don’t Panic! What History Tells Us After 7 S&P 500 Losing Weeks

The S&P 500 has fallen for seven straight weeks. Here’s why you don’t want to panic now.

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The S&P 500 has fallen for seven straight weeks. Here's why you don't want to panic now.

It has been a rough ride for investors. In fact, the S&P 500 has declined every week for almost two months straight, and the other indices haven’t fared much better. The Nasdaq is also down in seven straight weeks, while the Dow is down for eight.

It’s not very often we get a stretch this bad.

There tend to be opportunities to sell into a rally. We got one in mid-March, but it’s been all downhill since then.

At this writing, the S&P 500 is up 2.4% on the week, but I’m not sure many investors consider it out of the woods at this point.

The Data

Seven straight weekly declines is a pretty rare occurrence. This is just the fourth time we’ve seen such a streak since 1928. The prior three scenarios occurred in 1970, 1980 and 2001. Interestingly, all four declines concluded either in March or May. 

To little surprise, there is good news and bad news associated with the declines.

The bad news: In two of the three declines, the seven straight weeks of declines turned into eight straight weeks of declines (in 1970 and 2001).

Further, in both of those years, the market went on to retest the lows, although the time it took varied widely. After the bottom in 1970, the S&P 500 went on to break the low about 4 1/2 years later, in Q4 1974. In 2001, the index broke to new lows a little more than six months later following the 9/11 attacks. 

The good news: Each downtrend of this magnitude (seven straight weeks or more) has marked the low for at least six months. Further, the longest stretch did not exceed eight straight weeks. 

The “tldr” is we may endure more short-term pain, but we also could be near an intermediate or potentially even a long-term bottom.

For instance, following the low after each stretch of seven or more consecutive weekly declines, the S&P 500 was higher four weeks later, one quarter later, six months later and one year later. That’s promising.

In 2001 we had a nice initial burst off the lows, climbing 15.4% a month later and 13.3% one quarter later, although those gains faded a bit once we got to the 6-month and 12-month marks.

In the other two instances, the gains were much stronger, particularly one year down the road.

What to Do Now?

It must be said as caution that not all these scenarios are alike. That’s particularly true in a span of five decades and when we’ve had only three other occurrences to compare with over the past 50 to 60 years.

We could decline 10 straight weeks or rally this week and decline for another seven weeks in a row. (I’m not saying it’s likely, only that it’s possible.)

At this very moment, we have inflation that may or may not have peaked, a wavering housing market, war in Eastern Europe and a hawkish Federal Reserve. Take out the inflation aspect of this and the Fed would likely be dovish, not hawkish and tightening rates.

Selling after such an egregious decline — the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are 18.2% and 30.3% off the highs, respectively — seems like a mistake at this point.

For some perspective, the Nasdaq fell 32.6% at the depths of the covid-19 pullback. Its peak-to-trough decline is currently 31.9%.

While it’s human nature to “protect what’s left,” it’s also in investors' interest not to be in the group that sells into the low during a marketwide capitulation. I’m not saying it’s easy, but investors should keep their wits about them, even when their emotions are running high.

That’s especially true when history, however limited, tells us that we are usually near an intermediate or long-term low after such a misery-filled stretch of trading. 

Trading the S&P 500

Weekly chart of the S&P 500.

Chart courtesy of TrendSpider.com

As we look at the chart, the S&P 500 clearly is trying to find its footing in the 3,800s. That’s as it has traded below 3,900 in each of the past three weeks but continues to bounce.

If the index can clear 4,000 and then 4,150, there’s a realistic shot at a bounce into the 4,220 to 4,320 area. That’s admittedly a wide range, but with volatility this sharp, it’s easy for assets to overshoot key levels — both on the upside and on the downside.

If this is not the low and we trade below 3,795 — be it next month or in several months — then we have to consider the possibility that 3,400 to 3,500 is in play. There, we will find a bevy of levels that should support the S&P 500.

While it’s hard to be truly optimistic at the moment, it’s not irrational to be on the lookout for some type of rebound. 

The question isn’t “whether” a relief rally will come. It’s “how long will it last and how far will it go?” 

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