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Market Commentary

November Monthly Market Commentary

Rocky Road to a Vaccine


Like his former boss, President Barack Obama, Joe Biden will be inheriting a damaged economy when he takes office on January 20. The Covid-19 pandemic has not only sent the nation into its deepest recession since the 1930s, it is leaving indelible scars that will restrain activity for some time to come. Worse, he will be moving into the White House just as a second wave of the virus is cresting, sending infection and hospitalization rates to daily records and prompting renewed lockdown restrictions throughout most of the nation. The restrictions so far are not as onerous as they were when the coronavirus initially struck in March and April but they are already having a chilling effect on activity, particularly on restaurants, bars, travel and other service providers that rely on in-person transactions.

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October Monthly Market Commentary

A Host of Uncertainties


To say that uncertainty is rising would be an understatement. Political and policy uncertainties are surging with questions surrounding the next round of fiscal aid, questions around the outcome of the elections, questions around a peaceful transfer of power (if it occurs) and, most recently, questions surrounding the health of the president, although he apparently has made a swift recovery from COVID-19. Simply put, we have already seen more than a fair share of “October surprises” just a few weeks ahead of the November 3 elections.

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Weekly Market Commentary

November 23, 2020


There are still two months to go before inauguration day but, barring a miracle, Joe Biden will be inheriting a damaged economy when he assumes office on January 20, much like his former boss, Barack Obama. Unlike his predecessor, however, Biden will likely have to coax members of a split legislature to carry out his agenda. For the first two years of Obama’s regime, his party had total control of Congress, which greased the way for the aggressive bills passed in the early stage of his presidency. To be sure, if the Democrats eke out victories in both runoff elections for the Senate in Georgia on January 5, Biden would have a more hospitable political backdrop, as Vice President Harris would have the deciding vote in the event of a 50-50 tie.

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Weekly Market Commentary

November 16, 2020


Investors continue to struggle with conflicting forces on the health front, a tug-of-war that, aside from the election uncertainty, has been a key catalyst behind market moves in recent weeks. Simply put, the battle pits positive news regarding vaccine development against the negative influence of rising infection rates. While this conflict has been ongoing since the spring, it reached a fever pitch this week. News that the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, is conducting a trial for a vaccine that has been 90 percent effective and could reach the market within the next few months sent stocks and yields sharply higher. But even as investors are processing this joyful news, they are also confronted with a harsh reality that takes the bloom off the rose: Coronavirus cases are surging at record rates. With the nation heading into the colder winter months that could accelerate this ominous trend, the near-term outlook, as noted by Fed Chair Powell this week, looks extremely challenging.

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Weekly Market Commentary

November 9, 2020


It’s been a wild ride from Wall Street to the Beltway this week – and the rocky trip may not be over yet. As of this weekend, former Vice President Biden has been declared President Elect and expects to move into the White House on January 20. Not surprisingly, the outcome has triggered a wave of litigation from the Trump team that is likely to unfold for weeks on end. A contested election was always one of several options weighing on the minds of investors, but few political analysts expect the likely results to be upended. Still, a lot of unnerving rhetoric will garner attention in coming weeks, diluting the calming influence on the markets that an election verdict would ordinarily bring about.

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Weekly Market Commentary

November 2, 2020


Now that it is abundantly clear there will be no pre-election stimulus bill, even as cases of infections are hitting daily records, the markets are homing in on the potential damage the ongoing health crisis could have on the economy. The range of prospective effects is wide, depending on several variables that are still up in the air. First and foremost is the election outcome, which has been the biggest source of market uncertainty and volatility in recent weeks. Most market participants expect some form of stimulus after the elections, but its size, composition and timing would depend on who ultimately controls the purse strings in Congress and the White House. The most aggressive bill is expected from a Democratic sweep, the least aggressive from a split verdict with Trump retaining the White House, and something in the middle if Biden wins and presides over a split Congress.

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Weekly Market Commentary

October 26, 2020


The ongoing battle on Capitol Hill over a Coronavirus relief bill continues to dominate trading on Wall Street, with positive signs of a deal sending stock prices and bond yields higher and vice versa when talks appear to be falling apart. The administration and House Democrats are close in terms of dollar amounts, hovering around $2 trillion, but the Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, stands in front of the goal posts, backed by a formidable cadre of fiscal hawks who refuse to accept another budget-busting deal of that magnitude. Adding to this complicated mix, President Trump insists that if a deal is struck with the Democrats, he will twist the arms of Republicans to get it approved. As the choppy trading week drew to a close, it looks like reaching an agreement before the elections will be a nail-biter.

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Weekly Market Commentary

October 19, 2020


As if we haven’t had our fill of October “surprises,” this week’s batch of data provided another round of mixed messages that make the art of forecasting an economist’s nightmare. On the one side, you have a pandemic that shows no sign of letting up, with COVID-19 cases accelerating to the highest level in more than two months. With cold weather and the flu season about to descend on the nation, the health crisis continues to cast a dark cloud over the economic landscape, imparting downside risks into every economic forecasting model, including that of the Federal Reserve.

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Weekly Market Commentary

October 13, 2020


Well this is certainly not turning into a stress-free autumn, a season in which gently falling leaves should offer solace to a population agitated by a devastating pandemic. Yes, the foliage season is still very much part of nature’s plan, as its vibrant colors are poised to reach peak intensity in the coming weeks. But what nature gives to sooth the soul, mankind is equally adept at keeping the pot stirred. The past week has seen enough nerve-wracking events to keep heads spinning through what promises to be a highly anxious winter.

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Weekly Market Commentary

October 5, 2020


News that President Trump tested positive for the Coronavirus on Friday overshadowed what normally would be the headline-grabbing event of the day, namely the all-important jobs report. With the health crisis making a direct hit on the White House, the uncertainty surrounding an already tumultuous election will only grow more intense and add another source of volatility to the financial markets. As it is, the markets entered the last day of the week keenly focused on whether Congress would pass another relief bill before going on recess to help an economy that is clearly losing momentum. While negotiations were still in process on Friday, the window of getting anything done was rapidly closing.

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