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Market Commentary

February Monthly Market Commentary

Policies Go Big


The bleak economic landscape that prevailed in the closing months of 2020 has not faded from the collective memory of the American public. With the pandemic still claiming too many lives and the economy still reeling from business restrictions and virus fears that hamper normal behavior, the lingering effects cannot be ignored. Yet as the curtain rises on 2021, green shoots are appearing on a number of fronts and will soon take center stage. Act 1 is the tremendous progress taking place on the vaccine rollout, which is now inoculating more than 1.5 million Americans a day and is set to accelerate markedly over the next few months. Herd immunity by the summer now looms as a real possibility, which would be the first step towards bringing the nation’s economy back to health.

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January Monthly Market Commentary

A Chilled But Not Frozen Economy


It’s shaping up to be a cold winter for the U.S. economy, as the pandemic continues to rampage throughout the nation and wreak havoc on all forms of activity that involves in-person transactions. State and local governments are tightening business restrictions and urging residents to more diligently adhere to social distancing protocols. With a new variant of the Coronavirus amplifying the health crisis and the vaccine rollout falling short of expectations, conditions are likely to get worse before they get better. COVID-19 has already taken a big toll on jobs and retail sales, with both ending 2020 on very weak footing.

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Weekly Market Commentary

March 1, 2021


Once again, we are reminded that the markets do not travel a straight line up. Stocks underwent a brutal tumble this week, the first back-to-back weekly decline in the S&P 500 index in four months. Not surprisingly, many are wondering if the party is over, even though the Federal Reserve has no intention of taking away the punch bowl. Time will tell, as only the most brazen soothsayers are convinced they know which way the market is heading. That said, there is no shortage of explanations regarding why stocks took it on the chin this week, including the usual suspects – stocks are overvalued and primed for a fall, inflation is rearing its ugly head, and, most notably in recent weeks, spiking bond yields are eating the lunch of stock investors.

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Weekly Market Commentary

February 22, 2021


Christmas came late this year for retailers, as Santa sled straight out of Washington and delivered checks to households in January, sending them on to a belated shopping spree. The question is, was it “bad” or “good” Santa that shimmied down the economic chimney? No doubt, many will view the check-bearer as bad Santa, one who is set to become an even bolder stocking-stuffer next month when the government would have him deliver another, even larger, batch of goodies to an undeserving American public. These critics argue that the assistance is more than enough for the needy, and will nourish an overstuffed economy that eventually breaks out into an inflation sweat.

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Weekly Market Commentary

February 16, 2021


As the debate over whether the proposed $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus is too much or too little continues to rage, the administration has the upper hand and appears intent on pushing through as much of that package as it can. To be sure, Congress was certainly embroiled in the impeachment trial, which sucked all of the legislative energy out of the Senate. That said, President Biden has indicated reluctance to compromise on certain issues that had been thought to be on the bargaining table, such as reducing the size and/or income limits of the planned $1,400 direct payments to households. The votes have yet to be counted, and there still could be enough of a pushback in Congress that would result in meaningful changes to the American Rescue Plan; but it now appears that the fiscal stimulus will carry somewhat more punch than thought a few weeks ago.

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Weekly Market Commentary

February 8, 2021


The sample size is small, but so far, the economy, financial conditions and health situation are all getting off to a decent start in 2021 – at least relative to expectations that prevailed late last year. Recall that the consensus view was anything but positive as the curtain descended on 2020, a year to forget for most Americans. COVID-19 was infecting the population at an accelerating pace, driving up death and hospitalization rates and prompting governments to re-impose business restrictions, which stifled consumer spending and vaporized more than a half-million jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector in December.

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Weekly Market Commentary

February 1, 2021


On the heels of a tumultuous week in the financial markets, the list of uncertainties that portend more instability ahead continues to expand. On the health front, the drive to ramp up vaccinations is being dogged by supply constraints as well as distribution problems; importantly, there are growing fears about new variants of the virus that appear to be more contagious and deadly than the current strain. It’s also unclear if the new mutations, originating in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa, are resistant to the vaccines currently being distributed.

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