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Market Update – September 3, 2020

Back to school this year will be different. On the one hand, like other years, it marks the end of summer, the arrival of cooler weather, kids hitting the books again, and Labor Day gatherings. But unlike other years, going back to school carries unique concerns because of COVID-19. This year, we’re all getting an education in remote learning, working from home, and social distancing.

While the COVID-19 fight is not over, more progress has been made recently. New cases and hospitalizations in the United States have been falling steadily since mid-July. Several promising vaccine candidates have entered phase-three trials in the United States, and the FDA could potentially fast-track approval for emergency use later this year. Abbott Laboratories has developed a $5 COVID-19 test that the company claims can produce reliable results in only 15 minutes. The fruition of pandemic developments may be getting us closer to the end of the pandemic.

The stock market has responded to these promising developments with fresh record highs for the S&P 500 Index and its strongest August performance since 1984. Stocks have also received a boost from surprisingly strong recent economic data, which already may have brought an end to the “lockdown recession.”

The brightening economic picture helped second quarter corporate earnings beat estimates by an average of 23%, more than in any quarter since FactSet began tracking earnings statistics in 2008. Estimates have risen to the point where analysts expect 2021 S&P 500 earnings to surpass the 2019 level.

But even if the recession may be over technically, the path forward may be challenging. MGM, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, and other major corporations recently announced thousands of layoffs. If lawmakers can’t agree on another stimulus package soon, the road ahead will get tougher.

Now that the Democratic and Republican national conventions are behind us, election season is in full swing—and with that comes the potential for increased market volatility. September historically has been the weakest month for S&P 500 stock performance, but during election years, it switches to October, when policy anxiety typically peaks. With stocks pricing in significant optimism after such a strong rally from the March lows and these seasonal headwinds on the way, the potential for a pullback may be high.

At the same time, it’s possible we’re in the beginning stages of a new bull market, which suggests additional gains for stocks may be forthcoming. That’s why it probably makes sense for suitable investors to be patient, stick with their target allocations—particularly those with multiyear time horizons—and resist the urge to get more defensive. Stocks appear to be expensive, but so do bonds. Even though stock market volatility may increase and stock returns potentially may fall below long-term averages, stocks may continue to outperform bonds over the next 12 months.

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.

Market Update – August 6, 2020

The battle versus COVID-19 continues. The spread in some of the recent hotspots like California and Florida is slowing, while states in the Northeast and Midwest are now experiencing increases in cases. According to the World Health Organization, 27 vaccines are in human trials, and the chances of an approved vaccine by late this year or early next year are quite high. We continue to side with scientists and humankind’s resolve, as the entire world is working together, and we believe we will beat this latest adversary.

In good news, the S&P 500 Index has moved into positive territory for the year (as of August 5) after being down more than 30% in March, making 2020 one of the largest reversal years ever. Going back to 1950, however, August and September historically have been the two worst months of the year for stocks. In addition, signs of recent weakening in the job market, based on stubbornly high jobless claims, combined with evidence of reduced consumer mobility from several high-frequency data points suggest the stage could be set for stocks to take a well-deserved break.

At the July 29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell made it very clear that the Fed has additional tools to support the recovery, and that low interest rates may be here to stay well beyond this year and next. The economy has improved off the March lows, but it isn’t near the record-breaking levels we saw earlier this year. Powell also noted that further relief from Congress was “essential” to help support the economy.

Meanwhile, Congress is inching closer to a new COVID-19 relief bill, but parties remain at odds over several key elements. Although the two sides appear far apart, we expect a deal may likely be struck at the eleventh hour—consistent with typical Washington theater. At this time, we expect Congress to agree to a stimulus package in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion, bringing the total US fiscal stimulus to more than $4 trillion.

Signs that the economic recovery may be leveling off have not prevented corporate America from delivering earnings well above expectations. Leaders like Apple, Amazon, and Facebook reported extremely strong results in the second quarter, helping these influential stocks move significantly higher. FactSet consensus estimates of future earnings have ticked higher as well, suggesting corporate America may be confident in the eventual economic rebound.

Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra said, “If you torture numbers enough, they will tell you anything,” which fits well with what we’re seeing right now in 2020. Some data appears good, while some data appears troubling. This journey is not over yet, and there may be more twists and turns before society and the economy can fully recover from COVID19. But like all journeys, this one has an end date, and we will get there.

 

 

 

 

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 August 5, 2020.

All index data from FactSet.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

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Strategic Retirement Partners and its associates do not provide tax advice. Accordingly, any discussions of U.S. tax matters contained herein (including any attachments) is not intended for written to be used, and cannot be used, in connection with the promotion, marketing or recommendation by anyone unaffiliated with Strategic Retirement Partners of any of the matters addressed herein or for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax-related penalties.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Global Retirement Partners, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Global Retirement Partners and Strategic Retirement Partners (SRP) are separate entities from LPL Financial.

Global Retirement Partners employs (or contracts with) individuals who may be (1) registered representatives of LPL Financial and investment advisor representatives of Global Retirement Partners; or (2) solely investment advisor representatives of Global Retirement Partners. Although all personnel operate their business under the name Strategic Retirement Partners (SRP) they are each possibly subject to differing obligations and limitations and may be able to provide differing products or services.

Market Update – July 14, 2020

We are at the midpoint of 2020, and it would be an understatement to say it’s been a challenging year so far in the United States and around the world. We’ve faced health, social, and economic crises that continue to impact our communities and our economy.

That is why we’re looking ahead for new ways to face these challenges together and to prepare now for better times. LPL Research’s Midyear Outlook 2020: The Trail to Recovery charts a path forward.

The stock market is forward-looking:  It focuses on what’s happening today and what it sees on the path ahead. Much of the recent real-time economic data—such as transportation activity, home sales, and jobless claims—is showing tangible evidence that economic activity—while still depressed—has begun to make a comeback. The path of the economic recovery remains uncertain, but based on the deep impact and multi-staged recovery, LPL Research expects a 3–5% contraction in gross domestic product in 2020.

Already stocks are pricing in a steady economic recovery beyond 2020 that may be supported if we receive breakthrough treatments to end the COVID-19 pandemic. LPL Research’s 2020 year-end S&P 500 Index target range is 3,250–3,300, based on a price-to-earnings ratio (PE) of just below 20 and a normalized earnings per share (EPS) number of $165. However, the optimism showing in the S&P 500 Index now may limit the size of the gains over the rest of the year.

Turning to the bond market, LPL Research expects interest rates to head higher over the rest of 2020 but remain near historically low levels, with a year-end forecast of 1–1.5% on the 10-year US Treasury yield. If realized, this would be the lowest interest-rate level on record to end a year.

It’s still going to be a challenging environment with significant uncertainty that may lead to more volatility for the next few months, especially with the highly anticipated presidential election in November. It’s important for investors to continue to focus on the fundamental drivers of investment returns and their long-term financial goals.

LPL Research’s Midyear Outlook 2020 provides updated views of the pillars for investing—the economy, bonds, and stocks. As the headlines change daily, continue to look to these pillars as trail markers on your investment journey, and to the Midyear Outlook 2020 to help provide perspective on facing these challenges now and preparing to move forward together.

 

 

 

 

 

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 June 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.

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Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Global Retirement Partners, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Global Retirement Partners and Strategic Retirement Partners (SRP) are separate entities from LPL Financial.

Global Retirement Partners employs (or contracts with) individuals who may be (1) registered representatives of LPL Financial and investment adviser representatives of Global Retirement Partners; or (2) solely investment adviser representatives of Global Retirement Partners. Although all personnel operate their businesses under the name Strategic Retirement Partners (SRP), they are each possibly subject to differing obligations and limitations and may be able to provide differing products or services.

Market Update – June 30, 2020

The July Fourth holiday will be very different this year. Although it’s a time to enjoy family and friends, and maybe even watch some fireworks, social distancing and a new wave of COVID-19 cases also may take a seat at the picnic table. We all continue to believe our doctors and medical community will help us conquer this disease; however, with more than 10 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the globe (Johns Hopkins), this terrible fight is far from over. Meanwhile, the US economy appears to be turning a major corner, and better times may be ahead later in 2020.

Recent economic data has created some fireworks itself, coming in significantly better than what economists had expected, and in some cases, beating previous records. For example, the May US Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report showed a record 2.5 million jobs created—10 million more than economists expected, according to Bloomberg. Additionally, retail sales soared nearly 18% in May, according to the US Census Bureau, again much better than what was expected. Even though these rebounds are coming off historically low levels, it has been encouraging to see how quickly the economy may be coming back.

The big question, though, is when will the economy get back to normal? Although parts of our economy are coming back quickly, other areas may take years to come back fully. Industries like hotels, restaurants, and airlines are going to be under pressure for a long time. In fact, in the 10 US recessions since 1950, it took nearly 30 months on average for all of the jobs that were lost to come back. More recently, it took four years for all the jobs to return after the tech bubble recession in the early 2000s, and more than six years for all of the lost jobs to return after the financial crisis of 2008–09. Our economy has lost nearly 20 million jobs in the past three months, and even with re-hiring activity in May and June, it may take years to recover all of those job losses. (Jobs data from US Census Bureau)

A major second wave of COVID-19 is the big wild card. Although most of us don’t expect to go into full lockdown mode again like we did in March and April, more restrictions may be put in place, which could hinder the economic recovery. But it isn’t all bad news. On June 22, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said at a congressional hearing that a vaccine may be available by early 2021. He noted that in the past it has taken years to develop a vaccine against viruses, but with the entire world working together to beat COVID-19, this vaccine may be the fastest to market ever produced.

Voltaire said, “History never repeats itself. Man always does.” Given the stock market is driven by fear and greed, it has very human-like qualities, which means history may be a guide for what may happen next. In March 2003, stocks hit a major low before a huge spike into early summer, when stocks consolidated—or sat on their gains—during the summer months, followed by an eventual move higher later in the year. There was a very similar reaction in the summer of 2009 after the March 2009 bear market lows. So far in 2020 we’ve had the March lows and a huge rally, so historically, a summertime pullback or consolidation would be normal—and maybe even healthy.

While we’ve faced several health, social, and economic crises this year, July Fourth is a good time to think about how lucky we are to live in this great country and to remember the resilience and perseverance we’ve demonstrated over the past 244 years. History has shown us that better times will come.

 

 

 

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 June 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.

Market Update – June 4, 2020

As we look ahead to the summer months, we can’t help but think what a challenging year it’s been so far. At the same time, we’re encouraged by the resiliency and accelerated innovation among US businesses and the efforts by our national, state, and local governments to support our communities. And we continue to be amazed by the unparalleled dedication and cooperation among our front-line healthcare professionals and medical researchers to see us through to the other side of this health crisis.

In a similar way, the recent strength of the financial markets appears to be looking beyond continued economic weakness. Much of the economic news has been dismal, and there may be more bad news ahead, but economic data is backward-looking. It’s important to remember that the stock market looks forward.

Economic numbers are still negative, but they aren’t as bad as they were a month ago, and that’s usually been a prelude to things starting to get better. New claims for unemployment are still historically high, but they’ve improved eight weeks in a row, and the total number of people on the unemployment rolls has actually started to drop (US Labor Bureau). Manufacturing activity contracted in May, according to the Institute for Supply Management Purchasing Managers’ Index, but it was better than the prior month for the first time since January. And new home sales actually rose in the most recent US Census Bureau data for April, when they were widely expected to collapse.

Small businesses are anticipating better times ahead, too. In a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), small businesses expressed the most optimism about the economy improving than at any time in the last year and a half. And if they expect improvement, they’ll prepare for it—by retaining or rehiring workers, restocking inventories, and continuing to follow best practices for keeping customers safe.

Looking forward also means gauging the ongoing impact of fiscal support. In the United States, Congress is working on a new stimulus package. The European Commission recently announced an unprecedented 750 billion euro stimulus. Japan has announced additional stimulus that could bring its total pandemic response to 40% of that country’s gross domestic product (GDP). While debt levels are rising and may have to be addressed in the future, these current fiscal actions continue to play an important role in limiting any long-term economic damage from the recession.

The stock market may have gotten a little ahead of itself, and there still may be bouts of volatility, but recent gains in the S&P 500 Index are not out of character. Like us, the markets are seeing things to look forward to. Consider the recent rally as the stock market’s version of anticipating dinner out with friends, enjoying a ballgame, or planning a vacation. These may not be right around the corner, and there may be setbacks along the way, but the plans have been made.

 

 

 

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 June 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.

Market Update – May 21, 2020

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

The economic struggles in our country are among the worst we’ve ever seen. In April, a record 20 million people lost their jobs, and 36 million people have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March. Record drops in consumer confidence, manufacturing, and spending are all adding to the immediate economic fallout. Specific industries have been devastated, with names like J.C. Penney, J.Crew, and Neiman Marcus filing for bankruptcy.

Clothing sales are down 89%, furniture sales down 66%, and restaurant sales down 49% from this time last year, according to the United States Census Bureau. Yet, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, these many single defeats won’t necessarily add up to the final defeat. Our country has survived many trying times before, and we are starting to see glimmers of hope on both the medical and economic fronts. Our resolve and fortitude will once again shine, as we head toward better times in the second half of 2020.

More testing for COVID-19 is needed to help identify infected people and to stop the virus from spreading. As testing has soared, the number of positive COVID-19 results as a percentage of total tests has trended lower, and that percentage consistently has been beneath 10%, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. In addition, doctors have developed a “toolbox” of drugs to help provide patients a better chance at survival. Antiviral drugs like remdesivir in combination with other drugs are showing significantly better results now than just a few weeks ago. The World Health Organization has reported “potentially positive data” in several treatments. Although a vaccine could still be a year or more away, human drug trials are underway with encouraging initial results.

In the face of the devastating loss of human life and historically weak economic data, however, the S&P 500 Index has experienced one of its greatest short-term rallies ever, up more than 30% from the March 23 lows at its recent peak. Based on historical trends, a warranted correction in stocks over the coming months may be possible. Stock valuations are historically expensive, tensions are building between the United States and China, the stock market’s momentum is showing signs of waning, and we’re entering the historically weak summer months—all of these are reasons to be alert. History bears this out. All major S&P 500 bear markets in the past 60 years had a significant bounce off the market lows, followed by a correction of about 10% on average before another surge higher. Based on this historical trend, a market correction of 8–12% after the recent big rally may be likely over the coming months.

While current economic data may sound bad, it’s important to remember it is backward-looking. Real-time economic data points such as public transportation, traveler data from the Transportation Security Administration, fuel sales, railroad traffic, and federal tax withholding are all showing improvement as the economy begins to re-open.

Finally, small businesses are the lifeblood of the US economy, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows they employ 47% of all private sector jobs. Recent data showed small businesses are as optimistic about the next six months as they’ve been in 18 months, suggesting the worst may be behind us, and a growing demand for their products and services could be brewing. The pain from this recession is impacting all of us, but better times are coming.

 

 

 

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 May 19, 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.