Despite the concerns about strained relations with China, increased COVID infections, social protests, weaker earnings, high U.S. unemployment and the November election, the S&P 500 Index is up 1% for the year while the Nasdaq Index is up 19.7%. The increasing spread of the virus is suppressing a healthy economic recovery as consumers and businesses remain conservative in their spending.
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Criminals often take advantage of uncertain times, leading to an increase in fraudulent activity. Please remember, we will never call you to ask you..
With cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) confirmed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, “social distancing” has become one of the tactics..
We share our homes, our beds and our hearts with our pets. Is it any wonder we treat them as if they were our children? For some people, pets are the..
On Our Minds
I normally do not make a practice of working from home, but with safe distancing and travel limitations sparked by the pandemic, staying home was something many were following.
After setting up my home office and starting some projects, I reached for my yellow highlighter, then laughed because I didn’t have one at home, then resorted to using Post-it Notes.
Investors reconsidered the emotionally-oversold market in the month of April and bravely pushed the market higher by 12.7% even before news about the virus infection curve flattening. Since the “shelter-at-home” policies have reduced the infection rate, government policymakers are announcing dates for re-opening the economy.
Criminals often take advantage of uncertain times, leading to an increase in fraudulent activity. Please remember, we will never call you to ask you to provide or verify your full account number, username, password, debit card number, unique PIN or Social Security number.
Back in the day, when your father or mother would give you a dollar, they might offer this cautionary advice: “Don’t spend it all at once,” or “don’t spend it all in one place.”
Well, that certainly can be applied to the stimulus payments the government has promised millions of Americans due to the harsh economic times created by the coronavirus pandemic. The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that the payments will begin in mid-April and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.
I wanted to write a note to you about the tremendous first quarter market volatility and the 20% S&P 500 Index decline. This “waterfall” decline was the worst since the 2008 Great Recession and was particularly unusual since the market was trading at an all-time high on Feb. 19. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event elevating fear and uncertainty, but it is a transitory event for the markets and the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, we hope you please practice social distancing and stay safe.
The equity and fixed income markets are experiencing unprecedented volatility and fear about the coronavirus. This is a health crisis that has evolved into a financial challenge for policy makers as they attempt to suppress the spread of the virus while not closing down the economy entirely. Unfortunately, the only way to deter the spread of the virus is to reduce or close transportation and impose a quarantine. Since the only way we know to limit the number of infections is to reduce social interaction, we expect more states will join California, Illinois and New York in a “lock down.” For a historical comparison in 2009-2010 the H1N1 “Swine-Flu” virus infected 60 million Americans and killed 12,500, and yet the panic was not as prevalent.
With cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) confirmed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, “social distancing” has become one of the tactics designed to slow the spread of the global pandemic. Businesses across the country are taking precautionary steps in accordance with their emergency preparedness plans, and banks are no exception.
During the month of November, the S&P 500 Index jumped 11% on the expectation of improving economic conditions next year. The index is signaling that the U.S. will reach economic normalization in 2021 due to the development of several COVID vaccines, a likely deferment of further trade wars, a potential stimulus package, and a divided government.
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, better known as the SECURE Act, is so new that estate planners and accountants are still learning ways to plan around it to minimize the impact on existing and future clients. Following are some items to ponder as you review your estate plans through the year.
Supported by stable interest rates and optimism regarding the China trade negotiations, the S&P 500 Index rose 28.9% and the Nasdaq Index, with its high information technology weighting, rose 33% for the year. Enthusiasm and expectations for a better economy and strengthening earnings grew as the year progressed. Current equity market valuations look historically elevated with an overall 18x expected Price-to-Earnings ratio, but with few attractive investment alternatives, the financial market gains can continue. There is still over $1 trillion in private equity and hedge fund cash ready to be invested, so even a minor correction would be met with supportive technical buying. The rally was concentrated in the Large Cap technology growth stocks with Mid Cap and Small Cap stocks generally up less significantly. Value stocks like financials, consumer staples, energy and utilities – which are not expected to have significant earnings growth – underperformed during the year.
Samuel A. Kiburz, who serves as Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout Troop in Punta Gorda and Portfolio Manager at Charlotte State Bank & Trust, sees several similarities between the two callings. He described those parallels in a column he wrote after taking his troop to a summer camp in the Ocala National Forest.
We share our homes, our beds and our hearts with our pets. Is it any wonder we treat them as if they were our children? For some people, pets are the only family member providing love, affection, entertainment, a listening ear and a reason to get up in the morning. They ask for no more than a place to live, to be well fed, cared for and loved – and if you spoil your pets as badly as I do, a lot of tummy rubs. What they give us in return is “priceless.”
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