February 2021 Client Letter

February 4, 2021

Dear Valued Investor,

“In the short-term, the market is a popularity contest. In the long-term, the market is a weighing machine.” Warren Buffett

2021 is under way, as our nation and the rest of the world look to begin to put the global pandemic behind us. The path forward for the US economy, as well as that of the global economy, will continue to depend heavily on the success of combatting the virus.

While many of the risks presented by the outbreak of COVID-19 persist, it appears we may be in the later innings of the pandemic. Following increased restrictions to quell the holiday surge, new daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have peaked, and are down significantly the past few weeks (source: COVID Tracking Project). Reopening is taking place as well, highlighted by New York City’s plans to bring back indoor dining by Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, the distribution of currently approved vaccines is well underway—and accelerating. The United States has added over 1 million shots per day over the past week (source: CDC) and 1.5 million per day is quite possible soon. Adding to this optimistic trend, new vaccine candidates from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax have also shown efficacy in combatting the effects of the virus and new mutations. If these two candidates are authorized for use as most experts expect, the boost in supply will be a welcome development in the US and abroad.

Despite the positive trends in COVID-19 data, volatility began to return to the stock market in the final days of January, as retail traders set their eyes on GameStop (GME) stock and other heavily shorted securities, captivating the nation’s imagination. As Warren Buffett explained above, while many of these securities may be popular now, the real winners will likely be investors with longer-term horizons. While these developments could be another sign of excessive optimism in certain segments of the equity markets, we do not believe they represent a sign of a broader market bubble or indicate a major correction is forthcoming.

After the powerful snapback of economic growth seen in the third quarter, the economy continued to grow at a solid 4% in the fourth quarter despite the holiday surge in COVID-19 cases. This improving economic backdrop has provided tailwinds to corporate profits, which should help stocks grow into their elevated valuations. S&P 500 Index earnings for the fourth quarter are impressively tracking 9 percentage points ahead of consensus expectations, while more than 80% of companies have beaten earnings estimates (source: FactSet). Meanwhile, housing remains extremely strong nationally and manufacturing data continues to show an economy that is firmly on the mend.

The improving economic backdrop, along with US government and Federal Reserve policies designed to boost the economy, suggest the environment for risk assets may remain favorable in 2021. Don’t get complacent though; after the S&P 500 Index rallied more than 70% since the March 2020 lows, some volatility would be perfectly warranted. Remember, they say that the stock market is the only place where things go on sale, yet people run out of the store screaming. Have a plan in place to be ready to take advantage when the sales come, and don’t run out screaming.

Stay healthy and please contact me with 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.

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 # 1-05107322

Quick Market Update: January 2021

January 2021 Client Letter

January 7, 2021

Dear Valued Investor:

Happy New Year! 

A new year offers a welcomed turn of the calendar and a fresh start. However, it’s difficult to put 2020 completely behind us just yet because the COVID-19 pandemic still presents a significant threat. Healthcare workers continue to perform heroically, while the rest of us must continue to make sacrifices until vaccines are widely distributed.

Despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19, it’s important to remember the tremendous progress the US economy has made in its recovery so far:

  • The US economy has created more than 12 million jobs since April 2020—more than half the number of jobs lost during the spring lockdown—and has brought down the unemployment rate from 14.7% in April to 6.7% in November.
  • Holiday shopping was up a better-than-expected 3% year over year according to MasterCard data. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that a 49% increase in online sales was the big driver. This growth is impressive when we remember how different the world looked in late 2019 when businesses were fully open without restrictions, shoppers freely visited brick-and-mortar stores, and unemployment was near record lows.
  • The manufacturing sector has staged a strong recovery. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index in December tied for its second highest reading in 15 years and has registered above 50—the dividing line between expansion and contraction—for seven straight months.

The economy lost some momentum as 2020 ended with more rapid COVID-19 spread and renewed restrictions. Still, the US economy appears poised to grow through the end of the pandemic, bolstered by the new $900 billion fiscal stimulus package passed December 27, 2020, which provides much-needed aid for small businesses, consumers, schools, and the healthcare system. US gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow 4.6% annualized in the fourth quarter of 2020, followed by 2.5% in the first quarter of 2021 (source: Bloomberg). 

A better economic backdrop may mean better corporate earnings. Analysts’ consensus estimates for S&P 500 Index company profits have been rising steadily in recent months (source: FactSet) amid the improving economic outlook. S&P 500 companies are expected to return to 2019 profit levels in 2021—a remarkable achievement if realized.

Thanks to the remarkable work of medical researchers and doctors, the end of the pandemic is approaching, and the outlook for the economy and stock market appears promising. But the road ahead may not be smooth. The vaccine rollout is still in its early stages and has significant logistical challenges. US-China tensions aren’t going away any time soon. Higher interest rates and a pickup in inflation could put pressure on stock market valuations at some point. Divisiveness in America is at an extreme. And following the Georgia Senate elections, tax increases may be likely—probably in 2022.

One thing 2020 has taught us as investors is the importance of sticking to a long-term investment plan. That may be easier said than done when volatility arrives—and we had our fair share of that in 2020. Investors who stayed with their plans in 2020 benefited as volatility presented opportunities. 

Best wishes for a successful 2021, and please contact me if you have any questions. 

Sincerely,

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Wayne Rigney

Rigney Financial Services

 

 

____________________________________

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 January 6, 2021.

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 # 1-05095994   Exp. 01/22

Outlook 2021

LPL Financial Outlook 2021 is now available to read!

MORE THAN MOST YEARS, it’s hard to look ahead to the next year, to 2021, without looking back at 2020. A global pandemic, a massive economic collapse, a bear market, a surprisingly sharp reversal, a hotly contested election where passions ran high, the impact of lockdowns—it was an unusual year of extraordinary challenges. In 2021 it’s time to restart the engines, but things are going to look different, feel different. 2020 has changed us, the way we do business, the way we connect. It’s also shown us our constants, what works for us, and what we hold on to.

In 2021 we restart the engine, but we’re not driving toward the same world we left behind in 2019. It’s not even our destination. There has been damage to areas of the economy that may never fully recover, but there are other areas that will adapt, reinvent themselves, and help reinvigorate growth. In our Outlook 2021: Powering Forward, we’ll talk about stocks and bonds, the economy, and the post-election policy environment, but in the background will be new challenges, new opportunities, and new ways of doing things.

Thankfully, one constant has been the value of personal and professional relationships, even if we’ve had to learn how to connect in new ways. Sound financial advice offered a long-term map for many investors that helped them from getting off course in a turbulent 2020. There are still risks to navigate in 2021, but it’s time to get back on the road.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:

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)