Markets Are Confident—But Are They Right?

April 30, 2020

As we did last week, I’d like to provide an update on where we are in the coronavirus crisis. This week, the news has generally been good. The virus continues to come under control, with the growth rate slowing (although the case count has not declined as much). Some states are reopening their economies, which will give us valuable data and should help with employment. Finally, the markets have continued to rally but may have gotten a bit ahead of themselves. Let’s take a closer look.

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Is Runaway Inflation an Inevitability?

April 29, 2020

With the Fed’s regular meeting concluding today, expectations are that the central bank will continue to provide whatever stimulus is necessary to keep the economy afloat. In conjunction with the federal government’s unprecedented multi-trillion dollar stimulus program, fears are rising that inflation is coming both fast and hard—and that we, as investors, need to plan now for this inevitability. I don’t believe it.

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Bonds Broke—Now What?

April 28, 2020

Brad here. Today, Nick Follett, manager of fixed income on our Investment Management and Research team, is here to discuss what's happening with bonds and the fixed income market. Over to you, Nick!

About one month ago, the bond market broke. Equities were down, as was fixed income—at exactly the time when you would expect and need it to be up. The 10-year U.S. Treasury, which started the year at 1.90 percent, fell from 1.10 percent (on March 2) to 54 basis points (bps) just one week later. There were concerns about every aspect of the financial system, from money market funds to the system itself. Indiscriminate selling forced down all fixed income classes as even the most liquid Treasuries, municipal bonds, and investment-grade corporates saw few if any buyers for the inordinate number of sellers.

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Appearance on Yahoo Finance's The Final Round, April 28, 2020 [Video]

April 28, 2020

I appeared on Yahoo Finance’s The Final Round to discuss the impact of coronavirus on the market. Listen in to hear more.

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Monday Update: Lowered Expectations Lead to Better-Than-Expected Results

April 27, 2020

The economic data released last week largely came in above forecasts, primarily due to very low expectations by economists rather than significantly better economic activity. This week will be another busy one. We’ll get our first look at first-quarter GDP growth, the personal spending and income reports for March, and the weekly initial jobless claims report. Updates on consumer and manufacturer confidence will also be highlighted.

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Coronavirus Update: April 24, 2020 [Video]

April 24, 2020

Today, I'd like to discuss where we are in the coronavirus crisis and what that means for the economy and markets. We’ve seen significant progress in terms of the virus, with the daily case growth rate dropping below 4 percent for several days in a row. Further, the number of tests given has risen from about 150,000 to 300,000 per day. As we turn to the economy, the news is more of a mixed bag. Jobless claims are still very high, although this damage may have started to peak. Plus, with measures like the Paycheck Protection Program and stimulus checks, both individuals and businesses are getting some much-needed relief.

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Appearance on CNBC's The Exchange, April 23, 2020 [Video]

April 23, 2020

Is the recent market stumble something to worry about? I discuss this and more on CNBC’s The Exchange.

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A Historic Collapse in Crude Oil Prices

April 23, 2020

Brad here. Today, my colleague Nate Parker, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, provides insights on the oil markets and why U.S. prices recently dropped into negative territory. Enjoy!

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Real Progress in Coronavirus Crisis, But Concerns Remain

April 22, 2020

Today, I'd like to take another look at where we are with containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Since last week, there has been real progress on many fronts, although concerns remain.

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Where Do the Markets Go from Here?

April 21, 2020

Now that it looks like the coronavirus is starting to come under control (and I will do another update here tomorrow), it is time to think about what is coming next for the markets. We have had the fastest onset of a bear market in history, followed by the fastest recovery into a bull market in history. This kind of volatility is, well, historic. But since it is unprecedented, we can’t really look back at history for guidance as to what happens next.

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Monday Update: Historically Bad Week for Economic Data

April 20, 2020

The economic data released last week came in largely worse than expected, highlighting the very real headwinds the economy is facing with the majority of the country effectively shut down. March’s retail sales and industrial production reports were two of the most disappointing releases, but the weakness was widespread. This week will again be packed with important reports, with highlights on housing sales, business and consumer sentiment, and business spending. We’ll also look closely at the weekly initial unemployment claims.

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Coronavirus Update: April 17, 2020 [Video]

April 17, 2020

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus crisis, including its effects on the economy and markets. With regard to the virus itself, we’re seeing signs of progress. This week, the daily spread rate dipped below 5 percent, and the number of new cases per day started to stabilize. With this good news on the pandemic front, the focus is shifting to how to reopen the economy. Here, the news is not as good. With more than 22 million jobs lost over the past several weeks and many businesses remaining closed, the damage is mounting.

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Is There a Silver Lining to the Jobless Claims Numbers?

April 16, 2020

Brad here. In today's post, Peter Essele, vice president of investment management and research, provides some perspective on the latest jobless claims numbers—and what we might expect going forward.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: April 2020

April 15, 2020

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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Has the Coronavirus Curve Been Flattened?

April 14, 2020

Some good news to report today: the coronavirus curve has been flattened. Now, you might wonder how I can say this when the cases continue to rise. In fact, no one has really come up with a definition of what “flattening the curve” means. So, from my perspective, it’s when the daily case growth rate declines enough that, despite the increased base of cases each day, the number of new cases declines. That scenario has now happened for several days in a row.

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Monday Update: Consumer Confidence Crashes

April 13, 2020

The data releases last week were disappointing but not surprising, given the headwinds created by the widespread efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Six million Americans filed for initial unemployment claims for the second week in a row, and the drop in consumer sentiment set a record. This week will be packed with important updates, with an emphasis on the March retail sales report on Wednesday and the weekly initial jobless claims report on Thursday.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: April 2020

April 10, 2020

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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Coronavirus Update: April 9, 2020 [Video]

April 9, 2020

Today, I'd like to look at where we are in the coronavirus crisis, including the economic and market implications. As the virus continues to move across the country, we can expect April to be a tough month. At the same time, there has been some positive news regarding the pandemic itself. The spread rate has dropped significantly over the past week, demonstrating the measures we’ve put in place seem to be working. But on the economic side, the news is not so good. We’ve lost more than 16 million jobs in the past three weeks. On top of that, both businesses and consumers have started to pull back. Fortunately, government programs are now being implemented, which may help mitigate the damage in the weeks ahead.

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Is There an End in Sight for the Coronavirus Crisis?

April 8, 2020

Things have quieted a bit (but only a bit) in terms of the coronavirus crisis. As such, I thought it would be a good time to provide an update on this evolving situation. Let’s start with the trends in the spread of the virus to understand what they mean in the present for the markets, as well as in the future for the pandemic itself and the economy.

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Should Investors Consider Gold?

April 7, 2020

Brad here. My colleague Nate Parker, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, takes over today to discuss investment in gold and historical trends in gold prices in volatile markets. Take it away, Nate!

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Monday Update: Initial Jobless Claims Spike Again

April 6, 2020

The economic updates released last week came in generally better than expected. Business confidence remained surprisingly resilient, while employment figures, despite being very weak, did not reflect recent layoffs. This week will again be packed with economic updates, including reports on inflation, consumer confidence, and weekly initial jobless claims. 

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Coronavirus Update: April 3, 2020 [Video]

April 3, 2020

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the wide-ranging effects of the coronavirus pandemic. With case counts continuing to rise, we may be entering into the toughest phase of the crisis. Although there are signs of general improvement, including a slowdown in case growth, the economic damage is mounting. More than 6 million people lost their jobs in the past week, bringing the total number of jobs lost thus far to around 10 million.

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Looking Back at the Markets in March and Ahead to April 2020

April 2, 2020

March was a really tough month. After a terrible February, all major stock indices were down by double digits, leading to significant declines for the quarter as a whole. All of the major indices ended the month and quarter below their 200-day moving averages, often a sign of more trouble ahead. Plus, even the safe asset classes (fixed income and gold), which often benefit from these sorts of declines, had troubles of their own in March. Like I said, it was a really tough month.

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Market Thoughts for April 2020 [Video]

April 1, 2020

March was a terrible month for the financial markets, with the coronavirus driving the volatility. In the U.S., markets were down by double digits. Further, the economic damage began to emerge, with three million jobs lost in a week. In response, the government quickly stepped in with a $2 trillion stimulus package. The markets took comfort in these measures, showing a slight bounce at month-end.

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