Investment Focus | Issue 9
The Longest Economic Expansion in History is Over
What a start to the year. As of the end of March, 3.38 billion people worldwide have been asked or ordered to follow confinement measures in the fight against COVID-19; that’s more than 4 in 10 people worldwide. Our daily lives have been changed drastically in a short period of time, and the speculation is that we could be living like this for months to come.
Most economists agree that these mitigation measures will lead to a global recession over the upcoming months, ending the longest economic expansion in history. The current COVID-19 bear market has seen a peak to trough decline of approximately -35% in the first quarter. However, we have had a significant rally since then with the market up +30%, with the week of April 6th having the biggest weekly gain since 1938.
Why the rally? There are numerous reasons: many stocks were oversold, Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, the US Federal Reserve has been very aggressive, the virus is slowing in Europe, and the death toll forecast in the US appeared to have been overstated.
Economist Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, was encouraged by the stock market rally this week:
“I am feeling better. We’re having a bounce on medical issues, not on policy issues, not on technical issues. It’s about people, fewer people dying, fewer people getting infected. I’ve always said it’s a medical solutions that forms a bottom for this market.”
Have we seen a bottom? Based on historical analysis, although we believe that we have experienced the majority of the decline, there could be further downside from here. There’s still so much uncertainty as to when the economy will be up and running again.
In my last article, the Fear & Greed Index was at 24. It’s now risen substantially to a more neutral position, no doubt based on the positive news this week. We don’t recommend making decisions based on this index, but it serves to give us a reference for the volatility in the markets. When the index is at either extreme (Extreme Fear or Extreme Greed), we need to be careful we don’t make decisions based on those emotions.
The Bottom Line
We know that staying the course isn’t easy for many investors. These are difficult times for the world. There’s a lot of uncertainty. During periods like this, it helps to have something to believe in.
At Caldwell Wealth & Estate Advisory, we thank you for your trust during these difficult times and want you to know that we understand the gravity of the responsibility you have entrusted us with.
We continue working hard to be worthy of that trust. If you are worried about how this economy or your investment dip will affect your long-term financial plan, reach out to us. We would like to talk to you if your current situation has changed or if you have been impacted by job loss.
Lastly, we would like to thank our many clients in the medical community that are working on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. Thank you for putting yourself at risk and caring for our community. Thanks also to your families for their support of your heroic efforts during this stressful and scary time. There’s no way we can thank-you enough!
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