Weekly Investment Update

Equity markets declined last week with the S&P 500 losing nearly three percent as evidence of increasing cases of the COVID-19 virus in parts of the United States.  The increased cases caused concern that the economy may not be able to rebound as quickly as might have been implied by the stock market recovery that began in late March.  Much of last week’s decline occurred on Friday after a record number of new COVID-19 cases in the US were reported on Thursday (39,972) and Friday (45,255) according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with most of the new cases coming from Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona.  Perhaps most concerning for investors is that states such as Florida and Texas took steps to pause their economic reopening plans and closed bars; an ominous sign as employment and consumer spending data was beginning to show signs of recovery.[1]

Chart 1: Weekly Continuing Claims for Unemployment Insurance

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Last week, an additional 1.5 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance.  While the number of claims is staggering, it has been falling each week for the past few months.  Additionally, continuing claims for unemployment insurance have also been falling.  Last week, continued claims fell to 19.5 million, down from 20.3 million the previous week (Chart 1), which may imply that there is a trend toward net rehiring of workers, despite the large number of new unemployment claims each week.  A provision in the CARES Act, which provides an additional $600 per week in support of state unemployment insurance from the federal government to those out of work, is set to expire in July.  It will be important to track the impact on rehiring of workers as well as household debt service if this benefit is not extended in any new stimulus bills currently in discussion in Congress.

 

Key Economic Releases This Week

Source: Marketwatch

Asset Class Returns

Source: Morningstar, Bloomberg, US Treasury (total returns shown gross of fees)
As of June 26, 2020

Prices & Interest Rates

Source: Morningstar, Bloomberg, US Treasury (total returns shown gross of fees)
As of June 26, 2020

[1] https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630

Past performance may not be representative of future results.  All investments are subject to loss.  Forecasts regarding the market or economy are subject to a wide range of possible outcomes.  The views presented in this market update may prove to be inaccurate for a variety of factors.  These views are as of the date listed above and are subject to change based on changes in fundamental economic or market-related data.  Please contact your Financial Advisor in order to complete an updated risk assessment to ensure that your investment allocation is appropriate.