FOURTH QUARTER, 2020
COMMENTS AND OPINIONS
2020 was one of the most difficult and challenging years in recent history. The Covid-19 pandemic, political unrest, social strife, and economic uncertainty were and continue to be major challenges we face in the US and around the world. Going forward into 2021 we wish you and your families a hopeful, safe, and a Happy New Year.
The final quarter of 2020 produced both good and bad results. COVID-19 vaccines were approved for health providers, first responders and high risk senior citizens here and abroad. New treatments and additional vaccines continue to move through the pipeline. There were and continue to be some vaccine detractors, who feel that the COVID-19 vaccines were introduced too soon, without adequate testing. The majority of health professionals appeared to approve the vaccines.
As for the markets: “Following the trend throughout the year, large U.S. companies have continued to post positive results. The S&P 500, which tracks the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., was up 12.15% on the quarter and 18.4% for the year. While the S&P 500 tends to be oriented heavily towards large growth stocks (like technology), the announcement of a COVID-19 vaccination reversed the trend of growth stocks outperforming value stocks (like blue-chip companies). The equal-weighted S&P 500, which is more representative of the entire market, including value stocks, was up 18.46% on the quarter and 12.83% for the year, narrowing the gap between the two styles. The Russell 2000, which tracks the performance of U.S. small companies, reached an all-time high. Rising 31.37% for the quarter it finished the year positive at 20.02%.”
SOURCE: the Slaughter Associates Investment Committee, January 5, 2021
Last year, 2020, started off with a bang. Our economy was very healthy. Stocks were moving steadily upward. Interest rates were still very low. Housing was also doing well. Then came COVID-19 and the fallout.
Some parts of our economy did well and benefited from the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Many very large corporations, prospered October through December, 2020. For example, Walmart continued to be granted permission allowing their customers to enter their stores in most states. Small companies, a cornerstone of our economy, suffered with many businesses having to close their doors forever. Family-owned shops and stores, like hair salons, bars, smaller restaurants and service companies, had restrictions placed on the numbers of customers who could enter their premises and how many days they could be open for business. High Tech firms benefitted from the lock-down. Shipments of goods, especially electronic products, increased. Sales of locally sold products and services decreased. Commerce continued via on-line buying as Amazon and other similar firms benefited. We look forward to the healthy return of shopping local and the continued support of local businesses.
In the New Year, we believe developing a financial plan is more important than ever. Critical components of a plan are sustainable wealth and generational planning. Inherited assets may provide younger generations the ability to purchase a home or avoid student loans and other long-term debt. However, maintaining assets over generations can be challenging. A good financial plan can provide a roadmap to overcoming the pitfalls. Please call our office for more information on how we can assist in developing a sustainable generational plan for you and your family.
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Tel: (508) 240-0320 FAX: (508) 240-2309 www.brimmerfinancial.com Securities offered through National Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through National Asset Management, an SEC registered investment advisor. Fixed Insurance Products offered through National Insurance Corporation. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. The information provided is not directed at any investor or category of investors and is provided solely as general information about products and services or to otherwise provide general investment education. None of the information provided should be regarded as a suggestion to engage in or refrain from any investment-related course of action as neither National Securities nor its affiliates are undertaking to provide you with investment advice or