A Year We’ll Never Forget… plus Corporate Profits & Unemployment/Stimulus…

This will mostly likely be one year ALL of us will never forget.  So much has happened and is happening, even as I type.  The news flow appears to be endless, whether it’s Covid-19, the economy, the markets, our international relationships, the election, or our current civil unrest.

Reopening Pace Slowing?

After the initial surge of our reopening process, I think the pace should be expected to slow.  This does not mean stop, just slower.  Testing recently reported 60K new cases per day last week, and many states are either pausing or pulling back slightly on the throttle.  This should be expected as this is a new and unfortunate occurrence for all of us.

The opening or not reopening of our schools and universities is less than 2 months away.  It’s beyond my pay-grade to make suggestions, however decisions made will certainly impact many.

Unemployment claims have slowed considerably, however we have over 12% of workers currently unemployed.  That % has improved and I won’t be surprised for the pace of improvement to slow soon, at least until we have more clarity.

Professional sports are making an attempt for a comeback.  I’m certainly hoping for no setbacks as any of us who enjoy competitive sports will at least enjoy having something else to focus on.  I’m sure professional sports teams are taking all precautions possible, however we are hearing that several athletes have tested positive.  I really can’t image playing baseball and not giving my teammates a high five or a pat on the rear.  The new, temporary rules and watching without fans will be very different, for sure!

Corporate America to Report

Immediately in front of us, we’ll start to hear about the 2nd Quarter Corporate Earnings this week with our Financial Companies reporting.  Stocks in the Financial Sector are down over 22% year to date only ahead of energy, which on average is down over 35%.  The challenge in predicting profits or lack thereof, for now, is companies as a whole are not providing any guidance as normal practice. Certainly can’t blame them.  Other than companies that have benefited from our closure, it’s hard for other types of companies to see a clear path based on the current status of the US re-opening status and progress thus far.

I wonder when corporate profits will equal or surpass the level back in 2019!!

Thank goodness the stock market is so forward looking!!

 Unemployment Benefits/Stimulus

The amount of government stimulus has to be given some credit for consumer spending, and our markets holding up in such a resilient manner, so far.

The additional $600 of unemployment compensation being paid will quickly fade away this month unless extended in some manner by our Congress.  This being an election year, I doubt that either party will want to be known as the party who stopped providing the dough, unless we have a quick, miraculous economic comeback that would need to have a definite vaccine.   Some want to extend the $600 until 2021, some want a payroll tax holiday.  In either case, we’ll certainly throw more stimuli at this issue with the anticipation that soon thereafter we’ll have a cure, and the economy will be able to operate in a more normal manner.

When this is truly behind us, the amount of debt now being accumulated on our books (yes, the governments books are ours) will certainly need to be recognized and dealt with in an appropriate manner.

Retirement Checklist

Throughout this entire pandemic, I have been diligently working on a helpful “Retirement Checklist” for pre-retirees. It will be available soon, and I can’t wait to share it with you. This checklist will serve as a valuable resource for those who are getting ready to retire, as it is filled with important topics & options to consider. Stay tuned!

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