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Comments and Opinions At the beginning of January, 2020 we were entering what would become a global pandemic with far reaching personal, social, political, and economic consequences. At the beginning of January, 2021 we began to see the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel.  Optimism rose over the increased availability of vaccines, another […]

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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A BRANCH OF NATIONAL SECURITIES CORPORATION · 59 FINLAY ROAD, PO BOX 2806, ORLEANS, MA  02653

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

Comments and Opinions

Second Quarter, 2020

As we enter the second half of 2020 we hope you and your family are doing well as we continue to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 virus on health, employment, businesses, the stock markets, and our way of life in general.  We have witnessed how national and local governments closed down their economies and restricted the movements of their citizens triggering a financial crisis as a result of a severe world-wide health threat.

In response to the crisis, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020.  The CARES Actis a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill which primarily includes $300 billion in one-time cash payments to individual Americans, $260 billion in increased unemployment benefits, the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program that provides forgivable loans to small businesses with an initial $350 billion in funding (later increased to $669 billion by subsequent legislation), $500 billion in aid for large corporations, and $339.8 billion to state and local governments.  The US Federal Reserve also acted swiftly by lowering interest rates and providing unprecedented liquidity to financial markets to ensure they would continue to function efficiently. The Fed is expected to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future.  More stimulus funding is expected. This aid, while necessary in the short term, adds to our ever-growing national debt in the long term.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US unemployment rate as of February, 2020 was 3.5%.  In April, 2020 the Bureau reported the unemployment rate at 14.7%, the highest rate and largest month-to-month increase in the history of the data (available back to January, 1948). According to the Small Business Administration, there are 30.7 million small businesses in the USA which account for 99.9% of all US businesses. The SBA also reports small companies have been responsible for creating 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64% of new jobs created in the United States. 

A BRANCH OF NATIONAL SECURITIES CORPORATION · 59 FINLAY ROAD, PO BOX 2806, ORLEANS, MA  02653

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 shutdown has severely impacted specific industries such as retail, hospitality, transportation, travel and tourism.  Small business owners have been sharply affected.  With the lessening of state and local restrictions these small business are working to adapt to new regulations and rules and fighting to keep their businesses alive.

Along with the bad news in the Second Quarter, there has been some good news.  Research has been progressing in the development of treatments and a vaccine. States have begun to reopen for business, employees have been returning to work, people have begun to resume travel and some of their usual activities.  Going forward, each State will have to find a balance between increased economic activity and the increase of Covid-19 cases that may put their citizens at risk and stress their healthcare systems.

Stock markets rebounded in the Second Quarter.  The S&P 500 closed at 3100.29 on June 30th, up from the March 31st close of 2584.59, a gain of 20%.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 25,812.88 on June 30th a 17.8% gain from its close of 21,917.16 on March 31st., and the NASDAQ Composite ended the Second Quarter at 10,058.77 gaining 30.6% from its close of 7700.10 at the end of the First Quarter, 2020.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results

It is said that stock markets are forward-looking.  Markets may be looking to the economic future with encouragement from current research for treatment and a vaccine, the increase of testing capabilities, and progress toward the gradual reopening of the US economy.  We believe volatility will continue in the stock markets with new spikes of virus cases in certain areas of the country, the current divisive social and political climate, upcoming national elections in November, and residual damage that has been done to the economy.

Overall, we remain optimistic in the long-term and feel confident that the US and the economy will weather the storm caused by the pandemic as we have weathered many other challenges in the past.  However, with the recent volatility in the markets, we strongly recommend our clients call us to schedule a time to review their accounts.  We can help you determine if your portfolio’s asset allocation meets your current financial goals and needs or if rebalancing is in order.  We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns.

*We are updating client email addresses and it is important that we have your current email address.  Please call us if you have changed your email address or to confirm we have yours on file.

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 recommendations of any kind.  Opinions are subject to change with market conditions. The views and strategies may not be suitable for all investors and are not intended to be relied on for legal or tax advice.

First Quarter 2020

Comments and Opinions

The longest bull market in US stock market history ended suddenly this quarter with the emergence of Covid-19, a novel coronavirus, originating in China and growing into a global pandemic.  The effects of this pandemic have changed our lives both socially and economically in ways we could not imagine just several short months ago.

We are now Socially Distancing and isolating ourselves to prevent the spread of the virus.  Schools have closed, many employees are working from home, travel has been disrupted, many small businesses have had to close for the foreseeable future, and first responders and medical personnel are battling equipment shortages and placing themselves in danger.

The economic fallout from this has yet to be determined.  Corporate earnings and unemployment for February and March will reflect the immediate toll the virus has taken on our economy.  The impact will stretch into the Second Quarter and beyond.  Market volatility will most likely continue during the uncertainty and recession is likely.

However, research on a vaccine has been ramped up across the world, Congress has passed the

CARES Act Economic Relief Plan (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.), corporations are working to adapt and provide needed equipment and supplies to hospitals, and communities and individuals are doing their part to help those affected.  

Our healthy economy was shut down out of necessity to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  Once it becomes clear that the rate of new infection has begun to flatten we feel that confidence will begin to return and the engine of the economy will start to ramp up.  Looking ahead, businesses will reopen, employees will return to work, and people will create demand for goods and services.  As we wait for this to happen, we believe our value as your financial advisors is most important during these difficult times.  We have weathered difficult economic situations in the past and are here to advise you now and going forward.

We urge you to become informed on the provisions of the CARES Act and how it may apply to you or your business.  Please be aware that Section 2203 of the CARES Act provides a Temporary Waiver of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for year 2020 for most retirement plans.  We recommend you consult your tax professional before making any changes to your retirement distributions.

We hope the charts on page two are helpful in providing you with some perspective and we encourage our clients to call us with their questions and concerns at #508-240-0320.

This is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or an offer or solicitation of any products or services. Opinions are subject to change with market conditions. The views and strategies may not be suitable for all investors and are not intended to be relied on for legal or tax advice. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.

A BRANCH OF NATIONAL SECURITIES CORPORATION · 59 FINLAY ROAD, PO BOX 2806, ORLEANS, MA  02653

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.