The holiday-shortened week saw a rise in U.S. markets. The positive momentum corresponded with news that some of the states and countries hardest hit by COVID-19 may be reaching plateaus in the number of cases they’re experiencing. Markets were also buoyed by the Fed’s announcement of additional stimulus. However, there is still great uncertainty about the health outlook and the economy, so market volatility will continue. U.S. economic data this week provided additional perspective on the global shutdown’s impact on the domestic economy. Thursday’s initial jobless claims report showed that 6.6 million people filed a new claim for unemployment benefits last week. The prior week’s figure was also revised upward, bringing the three week total to nearly 16.8 million. (By comparison, the same three-week period last year saw a total of 630,000 new jobless claims.)
Markets will remain volatile and the best thing to do is stay the course and do nothing. However, for those who feel like they need more safety, if we continue to move higher this week it could be an opportunity to reduce risk if you are looking to replenish cash or liquid bucket assets. The S&P 500 is currently at 2776 we opened the month of March at 2900 if it is able to get back to that level it may be a short term top. I believe the markets will shift in the next week or two from moving on public health data to moving on economic data. Markets will be looking to see how long it takes for the unemployment number to peak. Many corporate earnings reports are scheduled to come out in the next few weeks. Markets are expecting weak earnings from the first quarter, and many companies have already announced that they will not be providing forward-looking guidance on performance. The reports will be worth watching to see what they reveal about conditions in various parts of the economy. How markets react to these revelations will provide a window into how long it will take for a meaningful recovery.
As always, stay safe and I look forward to meeting with you once things get back to normal. Financial Advisor Stephen Caruso is here to help at any time. If you would like to schedule a phone appointment. I have included a link to my calendar below and you can self schedule.