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Weekly Market Commentary (July 10, 2020)

The Markets
 
What a quarter!
 
Who could have guessed a global pandemic would produce outsized stock market returns? Near the end of last quarter (March 23), the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 30.75 percent for the year, and it looked like 2020 was going to be a disappointing year for many investors.
 
Since then, the S&P 500 has gained 39 percent, reported The Economist. It rose 20 percent from March 31 to June 30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also did well, delivering its second best quarterly showing since 1938. The Nasdaq Composite finished the quarter in positive territory.
 
A variety of factors contributed to the exceptional performance of U.S. stock markets during the quarter:
 
  • The Federal Reserve maintained a supportive monetary policy stance. It has been buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities and funding emergency loans.
  • The $2 trillion emergency spending package passed by Congress had impact. Stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, and emergency loans plumped personal income and supported businesses through second quarter closures.
  • Positive data suggested economic recovery might be underway. In the United States, unemployment numbers improved, although they remained at historically high levels. Factory activity in China hit a three-month high, and the June Purchasing Manager's Index in the United States came in above expectations.
 
Supportive central bank policies helped global economies during the second quarter, too. Stock markets in many regions, including Europe, China, and Japan, finished the second quarter higher. Positive economic data, optimism about coronavirus treatments, and hopes for a vaccine helped push markets higher, reported T. Rowe Price.
 
Consumer confidence also contributed. Callum Keown, Nicholas Jasinski, and Carleton English of Barron's reported:
 
"On Tuesday, the Conference Board reported an 11-point rise in the June consumer confidence index, to 98.1 points. Economists' consensus estimate had been for a 90.6 reading. American households remain more optimistic about the future than their current circumstances: the present situation index component of the survey rose 15.1 points, to 86.2, while the expectations index rose 9.1 points, to 106."
 
It is possible consumer confidence in the United States will be dented by the recent upsurge in coronavirus cases. Last week, the spread of COVID-19 was gaining momentum again. Every day, from Wednesday through Saturday, more than more than 50,000 new cases were confirmed.
 
Many states and cities implemented new measures to slow the spread. One of the most important may be mask wearing. Researchers at Goldman Sachs reported:
 
"Thus, the upshot of our analysis is that a national face mask mandate could potentially substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5 percent from GDP. It is important to recognize that this estimate is quite uncertain because it is based on a number of statistical relationships that are all measured with error. Despite the numerical uncertainty, however, our analysis suggests that the economic benefit from a face mask mandate and increased face mask usage could be sizable."
 

Data as of 7/3/20
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 4.0% -3.1% 5.3% 8.8% 8.6% 11.8%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 1.8 -10.3 -5.4 -0.7 0.3 2.9
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 0.7 NA 2.0 2.3 2.4 3.0
Gold (per ounce) 1.5 16.4 25.4 11.5 8.7 3.9
Bloomberg Commodity Index 3.8 -18.9 -15.9 -7.6 -8.4 -6.3
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
 
Let's all go to the drive-in! Americans' search for socially-distanced entertainment is leading them to drive-in theaters. Demand has been strong enough that pop up drive-ins are opening in sports venues, arenas, and fairgrounds across the United States, reports Sara Fischer of Axios News.
 
In the 1950s, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in the United States. By October 2019, the number had dwindled to 305. More than one-third were concentrated in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and California, according to the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association.
 
Outdoor movie theaters tend to operate on razor-thin margins, reported The Washington Post. "...Drive-ins in the 21st century have flourished in more working-class and rural areas where land is cheaper and the venue appeals to families seeking to pile in the car for a night of inexpensive entertainment."
 
Now, we're seeing a resurgence of interest in outdoor movie venues. The sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival has partnered with big box stores. They'll be bringing "...the big screen to America's backyard this summer...," by offering movies in store parking lots.
 
So, set up the lawn chairs or deck out your cargo space with pillows and blankets, and settle in to watch some movies from a safe social distance in the great outdoors.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
                                                                                         --Groucho Marx, Comedian
 
Best regards,
Lee Barczak
President
 
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. *Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary (June 30, 2020)

The Markets
 
Blame it on the coronavirus.
 
Stock markets in the United States and Europe retreated last week as the number of new COVID-19 cases increased steadily in America. On Thursday, there were more than 44,000 new cases, the highest daily total to date, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
 
"The turn has created a new puzzle for investors, many of whom had started focusing on 2021 earnings expectations as the next performance-driver for stocks. The old market gauges, like manufacturing surveys, jobs tallies, and retail sales, feel like lagging indicators. The new leading indicators deal with the disease. Yet tracking its progress is tricky even for epidemiologists who have studied these issues for decades," reported Avi Salzman of Barron's.
 
Another piece of the investment puzzle was reshaped when the Federal Reserve (Fed) released bank stress test results last week. It found most banks were likely to remain well-capitalized if economic growth rebounds relatively quickly. However, in a worst-case economic recovery scenario, banks did not fare as well. Consequently, the Fed suspended share buybacks and capped the dividends banks can pay investors, reported Alexandra Scaggs of Barron's.
 
"The Fed...also said future payouts would depend on bank earnings - and bank earnings will start to look worse as pre-coronavirus quarters drop out and are replaced by COVID-impaired results. Even that decision might not have been a problem if the market believed the spread of COVID was under control. Then the numbers started coming out. Florida's seven-day average of cases grew 7.8 percent, up from the previous day's 4.1 percent. Arizona's jumped to 5.4 percent, from 2.9 percent. In Texas, the positivity rate - that is, the number of tests divided by positive results - hit 11.8 percent," reported Ben Levisohn of Barron's.
 
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dispelled the notion this is a second wave of the virus. He told The Wall Street Journal, "People keep talking about a second wave...We're still in a first wave."
 

Data as of 6/26/20
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -2.9% -6.9% 3.3% 7.3% 7.4% 10.9%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -1.1 -11.9 -5.7 -1.4 -0.5 2.3
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 0.6 NA 2.1 2.1 2.5 3.0
Gold (per ounce) 0.7 14.8 24.5 12.0 8.4 3.3
Bloomberg Commodity Index -2.1 -21.8 -21.1 -7.5 -9.0 -6.9
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
 
College sports budget cuts. College and university campuses across the world are facing serious financial shortfalls. "Revenues are plummeting as students (particularly international ones) remain home or rethink future plans, and endowment funds implode as stock markets drop," reported Alexandra Witze in Nature.
 
One way some schools are trying to balance budgets is by cutting sports programs. Kendall Baker of Axios News reported athletic directors and conference commissioners are brainstorming ways to lower spending, including reducing travel by focusing on regional play and eliminating conference championship tournaments. The sports affected may include:
 
  • Field hockey
  • Men's and women's soccer
  • Men's and women's tennis
  • Women's lacrosse
  • Softball
  • Baseball
 
During the past 12 weeks, 43 Division I teams have been eliminated from the NCAA, reported Baker. "Men's and women's tennis have been hit the hardest, as have Olympic sports like volleyball. That could affect future podiums: 88 percent of American athletes in the Rio Games had played their sport in college."
 
Power 5 conferences, which include the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conferences have not yet eliminated a sports team. That may change if the highly lucrative football season is cancelled due to COVID and television deals, which account for about a third of revenue, disappear.
 
A source cited by Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated suggested the accounting may deserve a closer look. So-called 'non-revenue generating' sports often generate income for colleges and universities because many athletes pay tuition:
 
"While trimming their own budget, athletic directors are often hurting their university's bursar office. Sure, eliminating a men's track team might save $1 million a year in the athletic budget, but what is it costing the academic side...A track team could be generating over $1 million to the university side."
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
                                                              --Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
 
Best regards,
Lee Barczak
President
 
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. *Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary (June 22, 2020)

The Markets
 
Could it be the upside surprises?
 
U.S. stock markets have marched higher despite a pandemic, an economic downturn, and social justice protests - and a lot of people have wondered why.
 
Greg Rosalsky of Plant Money spoke with Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller about, "...the mass psychology of a gazillion buyers and sellers, who each are telling themselves their own stories about why they're making the trades they're making."
 
Rosalsky and Shiller discussed some narratives that purport to explain recent market performance, including: 
  • Quarantine boredom. Matt Levine of Bloomberg has postulated "...a lot of individual investors buy stocks mainly because it's fun, and that the more fun stocks are, and the less fun everything else is, the more they'll buy stocks. In a pandemic, when people can't really leave their house and sports are canceled, there is a lot less fun to be had elsewhere...so people buy more stocks." 
  • Big, publicly-traded companies are safe. This theory suggests businesses hit hardest by the economic downturn often are not traded on stock exchanges. In a separate article, Rosalsky cited former technology executive Eric Schmidt who wrote, "Gigantic corporations, which have deep pockets, fancy accountants, huge legal teams, and access to international financial markets, are also better equipped to weather shocks than your local hardware store or small manufacturing company." 
  • Don't fight central banks. "The Fed is using its unlimited money-printing machine to single-handedly prop up the stock market. 'The Fed is itself an important narrative,' Shiller says. In reality, he says the Fed's magic over the real economy is limited. But its statements clearly move markets, and it has lots of power as a storyteller," reported Rosalsky. 
On Saturday, Lisa Beilfuss of Barron's offered another narrative. She reported:
 
"...upside economic surprises over the past two weeks - mortgage applications hit the highest level since 2008, retail sales rose at the fastest pace ever, and U.S. businesses added 2.5 million jobs in May instead of cutting an anticipated eight million, to name a few - are even better than they look and offer at least some proof that the stock-market rebound was driven by expectations for improving fundamentals...It's about the magnitude of the surprises versus Wall Street's expectations."
 
We don't know which narratives were responsible, but major U.S. stock indices moved higher last week.

Data as of 6/19/20

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)

1.9%

-4.1%

5.9%

8.1%

8.0%

10.8%

Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.

1.8

-10.9

-4.1

-1.1

-0.1

2.1

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

0.7

NA

2.0

2.2

2.3

3.2

Gold (per ounce)

0.1

13.9

29.1

11.6

8.1

3.3

Bloomberg Commodity Index

1.4

-20.2

-17.0

-7.2

-8.4

-7.0

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
 
WHAT DO YOU THINK? In recent years, we've learned a lot about why investors do the things they do. For instance, we now know investors are not the omniscient, rational decision-makers economists believed them to be. Investors have built-in biases that sometimes cause them make errors in thinking.
 
One of those biases is known as confirmation bias. Investors (and non-investors) have a tendency to seek data that reinforces their beliefs and ignore data that suggests they're wrong. Recently, sentiment data has been published that supports diverse ideas about the direction of the economy and stock markets. For example: 
  • Consumer sentiment was up month-to-month, suggesting Americans were more optimistic about their personal finances and current economic prospects in June than they were in May. However, sentiment remains down year-to-year and below the baseline, which is consumer sentiment in 1966 (the year the survey began).
  •  Investor sentiment was down week-to-week. Almost one-half of participants (47.8 percent) in the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Sentiment survey were feeling bearish last week, while one-fourth (24.4 percent) were feeling bullish. The bulls were down 9.9 percent week-to-week, and the bears were up 9.7 percent week-to-week. Some investors consider the AAII survey to be a contrarian indicator, meaning they think the survey's prevailing sentiment is incorrect. In this case, contrarians would be bullish.
  •  Money managers think the market is overvalued. Bank of America surveyed 212 money managers with $598 billion under management and reported 78 percent think the stock market is pricey. Survey participants indicated the most crowded trades were U.S. technology and growth stocks, reported John Melloy of CNBC. 
When data supports varied opinions, how can investors avoid mistakes? One of the best ways is to work with an advisor who has a clearly defined process and who will help you develop a plan to meet your financial goals.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought."
--Warren Buffett, Investor and philanthropist
 
Best regards,
 
Lee Barczak
President
 
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. *Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary (June 18, 2020)

 
The Markets
 
The Nasdaq Composite dipped its toes into record territory last week before retreating.
 
Stock indices in the United States rallied early last week on optimism about the reopening of businesses across the country. The Nasdaq Composite rose to 10,000 for the first time ever, before tumbling lower.
 
On Wednesday, the United States Federal Reserve (Fed) economic projections showed U.S. economic growth declining 6.5 percent this year with unemployment receding to 9.3 percent. In 2021, the Fed expects economic growth to improve, increasing by 5 percent, while unemployment ebbs to 6.5 percent.
 
Fed Chair Jerome Powell said:
 
"The extent of the downturn and the pace of recovery remain extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus. We all want to get back to normal, but a full recovery is unlikely to occur until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities. The severity of the downturn will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery when the public health crisis passes."
 
Powell indicated low income workers have been hit hardest in this recession and Congress may need to take additional action to help improve the labor situation in the United States.
 
News that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had risen in several U.S. states, as well as other countries, coupled with the Fed's modest outlook for the pace of recovery, appeared to kindle investor anxiety and U.S. stocks sold off sharply on Thursday.
 
By Friday, major indices had recouped some losses, but finished lower for the week.
 

Data as of 6/12/20
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -4.8% -5.9% 5.6% 7.8% 7.8% 10.8%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -3.5 -12.5 -5.2 -1.4 -0.6 2.3
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 0.7 NA 2.1 2.2 2.4 3.3
Gold (per ounce) 3.0 13.8 30.1 11.0 7.9 3.5
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.5 -21.2 -17.4 -7.9 -8.7 -6.7
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
 
How does volatility impact your choices? When it comes to investing, people tend to have short memories. During bull markets, as stock values push higher, many investors want to increase their exposure to stocks. Why wouldn't they? When volatility is relatively low, it can be difficult for investors to recall why they limited their exposure to higher risk assets.
 
Similarly, when a bear market arrives and volatility increases, investors often want to retreat to the safety of more conservative investments. After all, when volatility increases and stock values fluctuate dramatically, it can be difficult for investors to recall why they chose to invest any portion of their portfolios in stocks.
 
The fact is, investors often fall prey to a phenomenon known as recency bias. People tend to believe what is happening now will continue to occur in the future. It won't. The economy tends to cycle from expansion to contraction and back to expansion. Stock markets tend to cycle from bull markets to bear markets and back to bull markets. Periods of high volatility tend to be followed by periods of low volatility.
 
We are all susceptible to recency bias and other behaviors that can undermine investment success. In their research paper, The Behavior of Individual Investors, Brad Barber and Terrance Odean concluded:
 
"The investors who inhabit the real world and those who populate academic models are distant cousins. In theory, investors hold well diversified portfolios and trade infrequently so as to minimize taxes and other investment costs. In practice, investors behave differently. They trade frequently and have perverse stock selection ability, incurring unnecessary investment costs and return losses. They tend to sell their winners and hold their losers, generating unnecessary tax liabilities. Many hold poorly diversified portfolios, resulting in unnecessarily high levels of diversifiable risk, and many are unduly influenced by media and past experience."
 
Recent volatility could cause you to question your investment choices. We maintain that our strategy and portfolio allocation support your goals and risk tolerance. Rest assured we have our eye on the prize for you.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"The psychology of individuals - warts and all - must be a central consideration in the formulation of any practical investing approach. The good news here is that others' misbehavior will consistently and systematically create opportunities for you. The bad news is that you are prone to all of the same quirks and are just as likely, in the absence of strict adherence to the rules, to create the same opportunities for others."
                                                                                                                                                                                                              --Daniel Crosby, Psychologist and author
 
Best regards,
 
Lee Barczak
President
 
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. *Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary (June 11, 2020)

The Markets
 
The employment report electrified U.S. stock markets last week.
 
American stock markets responded enthusiastically to the news U.S. unemployment was 13.3 percent in May. If it seems inexplicable double-digit unemployment would thrill investors, there is a reason. The unemployment rate in April was higher at 14.7 percent, and analysts had forecast the rate in May would jump to 19.1 percent. All in all, that makes 13.3 percent look pretty attractive.
 
There were some caveats.
 
First, "If the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to 'other reasons'... had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported," explained the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The same would have been true of April's numbers, so it's a wash. Month-to-month, the numbers dropped.
 
Second, there is more than one measure of unemployment. U3 measures people who are unemployed and seeking work. U6 includes unemployed, underemployed (part-time workers who want to be working full-time), and discouraged workers. It's usually a higher number. The May Employment Summary Report showed U6 unemployment was 21.2 percent, down from 22.8 percent in April. That suggests about one-in-five Americans is not working as much as they would like to be.
 
The BLS wrote the improvement in unemployment reflected, "...a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it." The biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade.
 
The lower month-to-month numbers may be a sign the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) worked:
 
"...give some credit to the government relief efforts, especially the [PPP], for bringing back jobs. The program gave relief to small businesses...through loans that would not have to be paid back if most of the money went to rehire and pay employees. PPP money had to be used right away, and a lot of it started hitting small businesses' bank accounts in late April and early May, which ended up triggering a net gain of 2.5 million jobs in May," reported Heather Long of The Washington Post.
 
Eurozone stocks rallied last week, too, after the European Central Bank increased its quantitative easing program and extended support to June 2021, reported Dhara Ranasinghe and Yoruk Bahceli of Reuters.
 
Major U.S. indices and U.S. Treasury yields finished the week higher.
 

Data as of 6/5/20
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 4.9% -1.1% 9.5% 8.8% 7.6% 11.8%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 7.1 -9.3 0.0 -0.6 0.3 3.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 0.9 NA 1.9 2.1 2.4 3.2
Gold (per ounce) -2.6 10.5 26.1 9.6 7.7 3.3
Bloomberg Commodity Index 1.8 -20.0 -15.4 -7.6 -8.4 -6.2
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
 
Necessity is the mother of invention. The silver lining of the COVID-19 cloud may be innovation. From healthcare to retail, people and companies have been identifying problems and finding ways to solve them:
 
  • How much toilet paper is enough toilet paper? As consumers cleared shelves of toilet paper, a company in Germany developed a toilet paper calculator to help determine how much is enough. "A person with a stockpile of 10 rolls, who uses the typical amount of paper three times a day, should survive for 53 days...39 days longer than the recommended 14-day quarantine for those with symptoms," reported Reuters.
 
  • Ingenious respirator solutions. Early in the crisis a dearth of respirators handicapped healthcare workers' ability to support patients with serious cases of COVID-19. Many companies developed alternatives. One company, "...built a simple but effective ventilator from a windshield wiper motor and a pliable [hand-operated resuscitator]," reported Eric Haseltine in Psychology Today.
 
  • Where's Waldo's fever? An artificial intelligence firm that creates tools to detect threats of violence revamped its analytics software so thermal cameras can measure the temperature of a person's forehead and send out an alarm when a fever is detected.
 
  • Gear 'Q' would have loved. A California company held a month-long contest, asking participants to suggest practical devices for a COVID-19 world. Entries "...poured in, including a wrist-mounted disinfectant sprayer, half gloves for knuckle-pushing of buttons and a device that lets you open car doors without touching the handle, aimed at cab users," reported Reuters.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral."
                                 
                                                     --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer and poet
 
Best regards,
Lee Barczak
President
 
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. *Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
Morgan Kenwood Advisors
5130 West Loomis Road, Greendale, Wisconsin 53129
Phone: (414) 423-4020
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Morgan Kenwood Advisors, LLC
5130 West Loomis Road
Greendale, WI 53129-1424
Phone: (414) 423-4020
Fax: (414) 423-4023
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