On Our Minds

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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Highlighting Highlighters

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.

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Be safe and prepared this summer

The arrival of hurricane season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic requires us all to be doubly vigilant. You’ll be hearing a lot about hurricane preparedness when it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones in terms of shelter, safety and supplies. Researchers are predicting 19 named storms this year, and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has posted some important operational guidelines on its website (fema.gov).

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Happy (SECURE Act) 2020!

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.

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