November 9, 2020 Client Letter

November 9, 2020

Dear Valued Investor:

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been elected the 46th President of the United States, defeating President Donald Trump in a tight race and bringing an end to the highly contested 2020 election. The new president-elect benefited from high voter turnout and solid support among independent and suburban voters. At the same time, Trump kept the race close, which likely helped put Republicans in a strong position to keep narrow control of the Senate. With the presidential election behind us, we can continue battling COVID-19, healing our economy, and bridging our divides as a society.

President-elect Biden will inherit an economy that is improving nicely. Based on gross domestic product, the US economy grew by a record 33% annualized in the third quarter as the economy reopened (Bureau of Economic Analysis), likely bringing the US recession—one of the shortest ever—to an end. 

The strength of the US consumer has been a key driver of this recovery, with retail sales already eclipsing their pre-pandemic highs. But it’s not just the consumer driving the rebound. Manufacturing activity has been on the upswing; investment in technology equipment has surged; most housing markets across the country are booming; company results during third quarter earnings season have been much better than expected; and S&P 500 Index earnings are expected to increase significantly in 2021—potentially by more than 20% (FactSet).

Meanwhile, COVID-19 remains a threat as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. Although the numbers may go higher in the short run, cases are skewing younger and treatments have improved significantly, greatly improving patient outcomes. While widespread shutdowns are unlikely, renewed restrictions in Europe in response to its latest outbreak provide a reminder that this battle is not yet over. Safe and effective vaccines may be identified within the next month or two and become widely available sometime in mid- to late-2021.

Turning to policy, negotiating a stimulus package with Senate Republicans to help fortify the economic bridge to a COVID-19 vaccine likely will be among the first priorities after inauguration day, though a smaller package in the lame duck session of Congress may be possible. With Republicans potentially in control of the Senate, Biden then may turn to scaled-down versions of his key spending priorities—including renewable energy, infrastructure, and healthcare—as major tax increases may be off the table.

While political change may cause market volatility, US political and economic systems are resilient and can, after a period of adjustment, adapt to new realities. Most of our investment horizons extend far beyond this election and any political cycle. Now that the election is over, the focus continues to be on providing independent investment advice and helping you stick to your long-term investment strategies. The commitment to you will not change, regardless of who is in office.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. 

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of November 5, 2020.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities. 

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05074784 (Exp. 11/21)

November 4, 2020 Client Letter

November 4, 2020

Dear Valued Investor:

The American people have voted, casting a record number of ballots under extraordinary circumstances, which is a testament to the enduring resilience of our democracy. Determining the outcome of our elections is a process, but it usually moves so quickly it barely gets noticed. This year it will take longer, but the process itself hasn’t changed. For many, this uncertainty on top of an already heated election season has created additional anxiety and frustration. It’s important to remember, however, that emotion often drives poor investing decisions. This is a challenging moment in our nation’s history, but despite the increased uncertainty, we believe that the nation will move forward. The basic principles of sound investing remain the same: Focus on the big picture, think long term, and stick to your long-term investing plan. 

While the process of choosing our next president may last longer than it usually does, the election eventually will achieve a resolution that will be widely accepted by an overwhelming majority of the nation. Our democratic institutions have carried us through many political crises, from the untimely loss of President John F. Kennedy, to Watergate, to the Florida recount controversies in the 2000 presidential contest between President George W. Bush and former Vice President Al Gore. In that case, a disputed election was settled by the ultimate rule of law—the Supreme Court—and the United States moved on. There’s no reason to think the current situation will be any different.

This temporary uncertainty at the polls should not slow our economic recovery, even as the democratic process moves forward, along with the possibility of legal disputes and protests. Politics is the backdrop against which our economy operates, but people will go on trying to make a living, companies will continue to try to generate profits, and the battle against COVID-19 will be won, no matter who ends up occupying the White House.

Markets dislike uncertainty. In the coming days, we could see increased market volatility, as market participants respond to new developments in the 24/7 news cycle. Uncertainty may create opportunities, but for most investors, it’s will be important to be patient and continue to focus on your long-term plans. Companies are skilled at adapting to a variety of political environments, and financial markets most likely will look past any controversies and toward an eventual resolution.

Despite the strong emotions many may be feeling in the uncertain aftermath of Election Day, it’s important to recognize that US political and economic systems are resilient and can, after an adjustment period, adapt to any new reality. Many of our investment horizons extend far beyond this election season and even any particular political cycle. With emotions high, it’s important to focus on what matters most: independent investment advice and executing long-term investment strategies. This shouldn’t change regardless of the timeline for determining the winner of this election. 

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney

 

________________________________________

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. 

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of November 3, 2020.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities. 

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05074784 (Exp. 11/21)

October 2020 Client Letter

October 1, 2020

Dear Valued Investor:

Autumn has arrived, with students back in school, baseball playoffs beginning, and football in full swing. Life is trying to get back to as normal as possible despite the ongoing impact from COVID-19. While the number of new daily cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 has steadied in the United States, cases in Western Europe are increasing again, and many are concerned the United States could follow Europe with another spike higher. 

Although there are still reasons to worry, a number of positives are on the horizon. A major vaccine breakthrough possibly could be here by the end of the year. The US government has plans to ship 100 million Abbott Labs 15-minute COVID-19 tests over the next several weeks to help accelerate reopening of the economy. Meanwhile, Pfizer’s clinical trial is expected to produce conclusive results later this month, with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization potentially coming soon thereafter. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is in the final stages of testing, and promising vaccines from AstraZeneca and Moderna are in the pipeline as well. All of these point to the potential for an improving global economy in 2021.

In another sign of strength, the S&P 500 Index rallied 60% off its March 23 bottom through early September, although it has pulled back some over the past several weeks. After such a strong rally, a 10% correction is perfectly normal and to be expected. Add to this seasonal weakness—the historically poor stock market performance typical of September and October—and investors’ pre-election jitters, and this pullback could be viewed as an opportunity for suitable investors to consider adding to longer-term holdings.

Technology stocks have shown strength during the pandemic, but this group also has pulled back lately, causing many to claim this might be another “tech bubble” similar to the late 1990s. This seems unlikely, as the technology sector has experienced explosive growth, with tech earnings estimates above their pre-pandemic levels, justifying the valuations. 

While the economy is showing signs of improvement, it also continues to reflect areas of concern. Initial jobless claims have remained stubbornly high. Dave and Buster’s reported revenue in the second quarter was down 85%, and Live Nation’s revenue was down 98%, as no one was seeing live shows. On the other hand, existing and new home sales both recently hit 14-year highs, and manufacturing has increased for four consecutive months, suggesting the recession is likely over. Amazon has announced it will hire 33,000 new employees at an average salary of $150,000. Certain industries may be years away from fully recovering, while others are moving along like nothing is wrong. 

The contrasts in Washington are evident as well, with the presidential election only one month away, but all isn’t lost. There’s growing optimism that a new coronavirus relief package may still be possible before the end of the year. The Federal Reserve also is doing what it can to help spur confidence and liquidity in the markets. November’s winner will inherit an improving economy and one that will likely see strong growth in 2021, as multiple vaccines and therapeutics help spur the economy to open up more fully.

These signs of market and economic strength tell us that better times likely are coming in 2021. Stay safe these final months of what’s been a very challenging year. And please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. 

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of September 30, 2020.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities. 

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05061539 (Exp. 10/21)