Following three days of big gains, stocks slid across the board Friday amid news of a sharp spike in confirmed coronavirus cases. Johns Hopkins University reported the U.S. had 85,000 confirmed cases – the highest number in the world. Despite Friday’s losses, the Dow achieved its best weekly percentage gain since 1938, and the S&P attained its best weekly percentage gain since 2009. For the week, the Dow rose 12.84 percent to close at 21,636.78. The S&P gained 10.28 percent to finish at 2,541.47, and the NASDAQ climbed 9.06 percent to end the week at 7,502.38.
Returns Through 3/27/20
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)
NASDAQ Composite (PR)
S&P 500 (TR)
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)
MSCI EAFE (TR)
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.
Gone — 22 million workers worldwide lost their jobs as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis. Global job losses driven by the coronavirus pandemic are projected to be as few as 5.3 million (assuming swift and coordinated actions to contain the virus) to as many as 25 million (source: International Labor Organization, BTN Research).
Almost Interest-Free Cash — The Federal Reserve implemented its second emergency rate cut this month on March 15, effectively pushing short-term interest rates to zero. At the latest emergency meeting, the Fed also cut the reserve requirement for thousands of U.S. depository institutions to zero effective Thursday, March 26, permitting easier lending by banks (source: Federal Reserve, BTN Research).
Big Gain, Big Loss — The U.S. stock market lost $12.1 trillion of value from the close of trading on Feb. 19 to the close of trading on Friday, March 20. The U.S. stock market peaked at $36.1 trillion, having gained $28.5 trillion during the 2009-20 bull market through Feb. 19 (source: Wilshire, BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – Positive Steps to Combat COVID-19
Negative headlines have pervaded our consciousness since the stock market crash began on March 9 and the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. And, they continue to abound as confirmed cases multiply across the U.S. But there is still encouraging news to be found.
In a CNBC interview last week, Ben Bernanke, who served as the Federal Reserve Chairman during the 2008 financial crisis, predicted the coronavirus would cause a very sharp recession, but he expected a fairly quick recovery if we are able to effectively combat the virus.* The nation is now social distancing to slow the disease’s spread and create a preventative vaccine. Dozens of vaccines and coronavirus treatments, including existing drugs used for other illnesses, are being tested. Some anecdotal evidence appears promising.
Companies are stepping up. Last week, Ford Motor Company announced it is teaming up with 3M and General Electric to produce air respirators, ventilators and 3-D face shields. Other auto makers have also offered to help. Apple will donate 10 million face masks to relief efforts. Facebook, Tesla and other companies are following suit on a smaller scale. Several garment manufacturers plan to start producing face masks.
Cisco, Bank of America and JP Morgan have pledged $250 million, $100 million and $50 million respectively to address health and economic impacts. Many other corporations are making gifts to their communities or providing aid or extra benefits to employees. Despite 3.28 million new claims for unemployment in mid-March, Walmart, Amazon, Lowes, drug stores, groceries and others plan to hire 435,000 employees.
The Federal government is taking measures to reduce economic hardship until companies can resume normal business activities. In addition to actions by the Federal Reserve and legislation Congress passed earlier this month, Congress just passed a $2 trillion stimulus, which President Trump signed on Friday. The 880-page bill includes lending measures and economic policies to support small businesses, industries, taxpayers and the unemployed.
While there are reasons for hope, the unknowns we currently face are stressful. We appreciate the trust you have placed in us, and we are available to answer questions or address concerns you may have.
*The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright March 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3018274.1