Market Update

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, January 8, 2021

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, holiday travel effects have kept infection growth at high levels, and positive results also moved to new highs. Still, we should see vaccinations ramp up by the end of the month, and we could approach herd immunity as soon as June. Turning to the economy, job growth looks likely to go negative for December, as shutdowns slowed hiring and increased layoffs. Plus, consumer confidence dropped further, along with retail spending. Overall, the data suggests the pandemic is still acting as a significant drag on the economy. Despite this weaker data, markets have continued to stay near all-time highs and expect better times ahead. Do they have it right? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, December 23, 2020


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Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including what it means for the economy and markets. On the medical front, there were signs the third wave may be cresting, as both new cases and positive tests have ticked down. Further, people are now getting the Pfizer vaccine, and the Moderna vaccine will soon be available. Turning to the economy, the news wasn’t positive. Layoffs continued to rise, and consumer confidence dropped further, along with retail spending. Overall, the data suggests the pandemic is still a significant drag on the economy. In response, Congress has passed another stimulus bill, which should provide economic support until the medical news improves further. Meanwhile, markets continue to expect better times ahead. But do they have it right? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, December 11, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. We had mixed news on the medical front. The third wave of the pandemic continues, although there were positive developments on vaccines. People could start getting shots in days, and recent projections suggest we could approach herd immunity as soon as June. Turning to the economy, the news got worse. Job growth dropped substantially, and layoffs rose sharply. With the employment market down, consumer confidence softened further, along with retail spending. Clearly, the third wave is acting as a significant drag on the economy, but what should we expect from the markets? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, November 25, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, we’ve seen significant improvements. Case growth has shown signs of topping, indicating the third wave may be about to crest. Further, three vaccines were announced as effective and safe in the past two weeks. While the pandemic is still in force and there is a potential risk from Thanksgiving gatherings, the trends may be starting to reverse. Offsetting this better medical news, the economic reports have softened. Layoffs ticked up, and consumer confidence ticked down, slowing consumer spending growth. While business confidence and investment remain healthy, the risks to consumers are rising. So, how have the markets reacted to this mix of improvements in the medical news but a slowdown in the economic recovery? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, November 13, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, case growth continues to accelerate, and new cases have reached all-time highs. This is something we need to watch, as the third wave is at a level where the national risks are material. Turning to the economy, the news was better. The job market remains strong, and consumer confidence and spending are holding up. Plus, business confidence and spending are still healthy. This positive economic data, along with notable progress in coronavirus vaccine development and a reduction in political uncertainty after the election, has driven markets close to all-time highs. But could we be in for volatility ahead? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, October 30, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, the third wave of the pandemic has accelerated around the country. With new cases at all-time highs and the geographic spread continuing to widen, this is something we need to watch. The news was better on the economic front. Layoffs have started to decline again, consumer spending has improved, and consumer confidence has remained off the lows. On top of that, business confidence and spending are still healthy. Overall, and despite the medical news, the recovery is proving much more resilient than we thought. So, can a growing economy help support the markets until the medical risks recede? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO, Brad McMillan, October 16, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, the pandemic remains under control at the national level, but state-level outbreaks are getting worse. Multiple states have seen case growth accelerate, to the point that some health care systems are at risk. This is something we need to watch. The news was better overall on the economic front. Layoffs ticked back up, but unemployed people continued to move back into the labor market at a good pace. Consumer confidence has stayed off the lows, and consumer spending growth has improved. Plus, business confidence and spending remain healthy. Despite the risks, the recovery carries on—and the stock market has responded. In fact, a rally at the start of the month took markets back close to all-time highs. But will the recovery be strong enough to support the markets through rising medical risks and fears that another stimulus deal won’t be cut until after the election? Watch this video to learn more.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, September 18, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. This week, we had some mixed news on the medical front. Although the pandemic remains under control, case counts have started to rise again, as post-Labor Day infections begin to register and as schools and universities reopen. Still, case growth remains well below July and August levels, and the positive test rate has continued to decline and is now around the recommended 5 percent level. Turning to the economy, the recovery continues, but it looks likely to slow. Improvement in the jobs market remains a relative bright spot, although job growth is slowing even as layoffs remain high. Consumer confidence also remains at low levels, and consumer spending has ticked back down again. So, have markets readjusted their expectations as the risks have moved back into focus? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, September 4, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. We had good news on the medical front, as the pandemic remains under control. Case growth is down, and the case growth rate remains well below the lows seen in mid-June. Still, testing continues to be an area of weakness, and the possibility that school reopenings will lead to more infections is a concern. Turning to the economy, we’ve seen improvements in the data. Layoffs dropped back down, and unemployed people moved back to work at a faster rate. Plus, consumer confidence showed signs of bottoming after some recent weakness, even as consumer spending ticked back up to a post-pandemic high. Despite worries about the effects of the second wave and the expiration of federal income support programs, the economy remains on track. The markets have certainly responded to this good news, hitting new highs before the recent turbulence. But what can we expect ahead? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

Coronavirus Update from Commonwealth CIO Brad McMillan, August 28, 2020

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides an update on the coronavirus, including the effects on the economy and markets. On the pandemic front, we’ve had some good news. Case growth is down significantly, and the case growth rate is below the lows seen in mid-June. Further, outbreaks in most states have been contained, although there are emerging worries in the Midwest. Testing does remain a weak spot, as the number of tests has trended down and the positive rate remains well above what it should be. Nonetheless, the big picture is that, for the moment, the pandemic is under control. Turning to the economy, the data continues to be somewhat softer. Improvement in the jobs market remains a relative bright spot, and layoffs have remained much lower than earlier in the pandemic. Still, there are signs of weakness. Consumer confidence has ticked down again, apparently due to worries about the expiration of federal income support programs. This metric is definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward. Despite those concerns, the stock market has been moving steadily upward and is now at new highs. Does this rise make sense in the current environment? Watch this video to learn more. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.

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