On Our Minds

Major Stimulus Sparks Economy

The S&P 500 Index grew 5.8% in the first quarter in response to the massive fiscal stimulus and the anticipation of a significant economic rebound. The recent passage of the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package added to the previous five major stimulus bills totaling over $5.2 trillion. Lawmakers as well as the Federal Reserve have responded dramatically to the COVID pandemic flooding the market with liquidity and the markets responded positively. The COVID-relief money flooding into depository institutions is being used for consumption and investment and helping corporate earnings rebound quickly.

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Economic recovery is underway

With the completion of the fourth quarter of 2020 corporate earnings releases, investors are monitoring daily COVID headlines, rising interest rates, and the potential for a new stimulus program. Corporate earnings were mostly better than expected and guidance for the year ahead was surprisingly strong.

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Initial market in President Biden's first days

The S&P 500 Index was down 1% in January based on investors’ revised expectations of corporate revenue growth and earnings. First, the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and inoculation process is proceeding slowly while the virus is mutating. The new strains appear to be slightly more virulent and the vaccination timeline will take longer and delay economic normalization. Second, the peaceful installation of the Biden Administration with impactful policy changes have added uncertainty. New executive orders are being launched daily with an emphasis so far on changing carbon emissions, raising the minimum wage and bringing about social justice. Third, the expectation for further fiscal stimulus in the next 100 days is losing its enthusiasm. The passage of another $1.9 trillion relief package so soon after the recently passed $900-million package seems excessive even for the new Congress.

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Investment Market Update: Positive Takeaways From 2020

2020 was an unusual and volatile one with the S&P 500 Index’s 34% decline in 30 days in March followed by a re-tracement and rise of over 16% by year-end. This proved once again that a longer-term outlook is required in successful equity investing.

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Economic Normalization on the Horizon

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I thought I would summarize the financial markets briefly as we go into the last month of the year:

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. 

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Investment Market Update, Q3 2020

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq index had wonderful performance during the third quarter, with returns of 8.5% and 11%, respectively. However, pre-election politics obstructing a new federal stimulus package and an escalation in COVID cases caused both indexes to decline in September. The political stalemate over aid to bailout states and cities is dampening confidence. A multi-trillion-dollar stimulus package will eventually be implemented that should focus support for small businesses and unemployed individuals. The interminable wait for a COVID vaccine is also weighing on the markets and suppressing economic activity. The year-end target for a vaccine is unlikely, although a “cocktail” of antibiotics and steroids has shown to help patients recover, so the management of the virus is becoming more tenable. With the health crisis reduced, we should expect a gradual return to a stable growth economy.

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Real Estate Update - September 2020

Area Real Estate: An Update as of September 2020

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Market Starting to Show Improvement

I hope you are having a healthy summer and thought I would provide a summary of the August market activity.

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