Coronavirus Update: May 29, 2020 [Video]

May 29, 2020

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus pandemic, including the economic and market implications. We had some good news in the past week, as there were no signs of a second wave of infections even as the economy continued to reopen. The daily spread rate remained at 1.5 percent per day in 9 of the past 10 days, bringing us to the lowest level since the pandemic started. Plus, the daily case growth continued to hold steady, and the number of active cases has begun to level off. On the economic front, layoffs continued to decrease, and people have started returning to work. We’re also seeing positive signs that consumers have the confidence to spend, as shown in the uptick in restaurant bookings and mortgage applications.

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What’s (Not) Happening in the Coronavirus Crisis?

May 28, 2020

The big news this past week has been what has not happened: there are, at present, no signs of a second wave of infections stemming from the ongoing reopening of the economy and the loosening of social distancing measures in several states. In fact, the data shows that social distancing had been subsiding in many areas even before the formal loosening. So, we are now two weeks or more into the start of a new environment for the spread of the virus. While it is still early in the process, some growth in cases could have been expected. The fact that we have continued to see the spread rates at close to the lowest levels of the pandemic is positive.

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Appearance on Yahoo Finance’s On the Move, May 28, 2020 [Video]

May 28, 2020

How has the coronavirus impacted jobless claims and the markets? I discussed this and more today on Yahoo Finance’s On the Move.

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COVID-19: What We Know and How We Know It

May 27, 2020

Recently, I’ve gotten some questions on news reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many states have been conflating two different types of COVID-19 tests in their reporting. The substance of both the news reports and the subsequent questions was that this conflation made the data unreliable and that the situation could be worse—with respect to the virus and the pandemic—than we had thought. Indeed, it is a reasonable concern. And given that I use various coronavirus data here on the blog, I thought it would be worth writing about what we know about the virus and how we know it.

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Monday Update (on Tuesday): Housing Hit Hard by Pandemic in April

May 26, 2020

Last week continued to show the devastating effect that the pandemic had on the economy in April, with many of the updates focusing on weakness in the housing sector during the month. This will be a jam-packed week of economic reports, with updates scheduled that touch on wide swaths of the economy.

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Appearance on CNBC's The Exchange, May 22, 2020 [Video]

May 26, 2020

Last Friday, I appeared on CNBC’s The Exchange to discuss the economy and the markets. Listen in to hear more.

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Coronavirus Update: May 22, 2020 [Video]

May 22, 2020

Today, I'd like to give an update on the coronavirus pandemic, including its effects on the economy and markets. There was some good news on the pandemic front, with daily testing numbers continuing to rise. We didn’t see as much progress in the daily spread rate and the number of new cases, with both remaining relatively stable. Here, the results may be better than they look, as we didn’t get a bump in new cases even though the economy started to reopen. In fact, the economic reopening seems to be going better than many expected. The restaurant business has started to tick up, and mortgage applications have just about returned to 2019 levels.

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Is the Latest Coronavirus News Better Than It Looks?

May 21, 2020

This past week revealed a mix of improvement and stabilization in the COVID-19 pandemic. While testing continues to expand, the progress in slowing the spread rate and case growth has stalled, leaving both at levels consistent with the past two weeks. The number of active cases has started to grow again, which is a negative. Overall, conditions remain much better than they have been in recent weeks, but we did not see much, if any, additional progress in controlling the virus.

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Confessions of an ESG Investing Skeptic

May 20, 2020

Today’s post on ESG investing comes from Brian Price, senior vice president of investment management and research here at Commonwealthand a self-proclaimed ESG investing skeptic. Over to you, Brian!

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Value Vs. Valuation: A Dilemma for Emerging Market Investors

May 19, 2020

Brad here. One of the most common questions I get from investors is where to invest. Stocks, bonds, or something else? Are things different this time, and how should we react? And, perhaps most relevant, should we invest in the U.S. or abroad? Anu Gaggar, Commonwealth’s international analyst, spends her days thinking about how—and whether—to invest abroad, and this post provides a timely and very useful guide to how she is thinking about emerging markets. Thanks, Anu!

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Monday Update: Retail Sales and Industrial Production Plunge

May 18, 2020

Last week’s economic updates continued to show the devastating impact that shelter-in-place orders had on the economy in April, highlighted by historically bad retail sales and industrial production reports. This week will be relatively quiet for economic updates, with the focus on housing, the FOMC minutes, and the weekly initial jobless claims report.

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Coronavirus Update: May 15, 2020 [Video]

May 15, 2020

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus crisis, including the economic and market implications. It was another good week in terms of controlling the virus, with the daily spread rate dropping to less than 2 percent for five days in a row. Plus, testing increased to more than 300,000 tests per day, and the number of new cases per day continued to decline significantly. Similar progress was seen on the economic front. Layoffs continued, but millions of people have started to return to work—one of the positive effects of the reopening process. Of course, risks remain, with a second wave of infections looming the largest. But the foundation of the economy is starting to be rebuilt.

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Progress on Several Fronts in Coronavirus Pandemic

May 14, 2020

Last week, we took a look at progress in the coronavirus pandemic since the start of April, which has been substantial. What I want to look at today is some very good news from the past week. We saw continued and even accelerated progress on several fronts with the pandemic and are almost into phase 2. For the economy, the rolling reopening has also started to show some positive effects. Financial markets, on the other hand, have had some volatility as the prospect of reopening turns into reality. So, here we go.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: May 2020

May 13, 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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Economic Risk Factor Update: May 2020

May 12, 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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Monday Update: Unemployment Rate Soars to 14.7 Percent

May 11, 2020

The highlights of last week’s economic news were reports on trade, service sector confidence, and the jobs market. This week will be another busy one for updates, with releases scheduled on inflation, retail sales, industrial production, and consumer sentiment.

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Coronavirus Update: May 8, 2020 [Video]

May 8, 2020

Today, I'd like to take a look back over the past month to evaluate how far we’ve come in the coronavirus crisis. We’ve seen real progress in terms of the pandemic, with daily spread rates going from 15 percent at the start of April to less than 3 percent in recent days. Plus, the daily testing rate has doubled in that same time period, with the number of positive test results declining. We’re also making progress on the economic front. The news here isn’t necessarily good, but we could say it’s getting less bad. Weekly layoffs have started to trend down, federal stimulus programs have gone into effect, and a number of states have begun to reopen. The markets have taken note of these shifts and fully expect a V-shaped recovery.

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Pandemic Slowing—Are the Biggest Risks Behind Us?

May 7, 2020

The two keywords for last week’s update were “continued progress,” and those would work for this week as well. As this is the first update for May, however, let’s take a look at the progress over the past month, since the start of April. While weekly data is useful, the pandemic has now continued on for long enough that we have the data to establish a broader context—and that broader context is surprisingly positive.

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

May 6, 2020

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. April was a Dickens of a month. But what lies ahead? Let’s take a closer look.

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Monday Update (on Tuesday): Longest Economic Expansion in U.S. History Ends

May 5, 2020

Last week saw the release of several important economic updates, with the initial look at economic growth in the first quarter drawing much of the attention. The pace of reports this week will be slower, but the release of April’s employment report on Friday will be closely monitored.

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Market Thoughts for May 2020 [Video]

May 4, 2020

In April, U.S. markets were up by double digits. Still, the economic damage continued. Millions of jobs were lost, and businesses shut down. But we did see progress. The spread of the virus slowed, and testing increased. Plus, federal stimulus provided funds to individuals and businesses. The markets noted these improvements, bouncing back in April. In fact, the markets expect a full recovery in about a year. Are they right?

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Coronavirus Update: May 1, 2020 [Video]

May 1, 2020

Today, I'd like to discuss where we are in the coronavirus crisis, including a look at the virus itself, the economy, and the market.

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