Happy Friday! We hope that everyone continues to stay safe and well, finding ways to remain positive and engaged during this time of physical isolation. The Clear Perspectives team continues to work hard to support our clients and sends our best to you and your family.
Weekly Market Update: The shutdown of the U.S. economy because of COVID-19 is becoming more evident by the day in the new economic data. The latest sign was a record 6.7% decline in the leading economic indicators in March. New jobless claims posted a record surge to 22 million this month, and the economic indicators are all but certain to be even worse in April and May as the data will reflect the longer shutdown period. See the direct graphic here.
Interestingly, the stock market has not responded much to the extraordinarily negative data. Instead, there seems to be an underlying assumption that the stimulus from the Federal Reserve and Congress will successfully contain the financial damage, and institutional investors are looking past the shut down into the future for a resurgence in growth. It is not possible, of course, to quickly return to what existed prior to the virus because airlines, airports, restaurants, bars, and hotels will have to rehire, reopening with new safeguards put in place. It will be many months before we can see if the current optimism in the markets will have proved to be correct. Meanwhile, because no one knows the direction of the market over the next six months, we will continue to dollar cost average back to your long-term target asset allocation, as we buy on low points each week.
Stimulus Checks: The relief funds from the CARES Act started to reach eligible citizens this week through checks and direct deposits. Thankfully, the IRS has set up a convenient website here to verify your eligibility and to track your payment, if applicable. If any further information is needed from you by the IRS, you can provide it there. As a reminder, be mindful about sharing personal information to unknown sites, but the IRS.gov site is safe to use.
Zoom Meetings: We have used Zoom for virtual meetings for a long time, well before this pandemic and the increased exposure to risk that Zoom has experienced. Zoom was designed as a subscription business service, and its dramatic growth in free public usage has raised concerns, but we want to reiterate that we take extra steps to increase the security for any meetings that we host. First, you can see some examples of what Zoom is doing here. Beyond that, we use private meeting links and will now also be including a password for each meeting that we’ll provide directly to you in advance of your meeting.
CPFP Billing: The details of your 2020 first quarter bill will be available on Monday through your CP client portal. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us and we’ll be happy to help.
Best advice from psychologists: Find a hobby! It allows you to deeply focus, which relieves stress. Here at Clear Perspectives we are preparing our gardens, studying piano, learning a language, and building a deck. We always enjoy finding out what is working for you.
Stay safe and well. We are always here to exchange communications, answer questions, chat, or meet virtually if there’s anything we can do to help. Enjoy your weekend and we look forward to better days ahead.
Carol & Tim and your Clear Perspectives team