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Volatile stock markets and uncertain economic conditions can be stressful and unsettling.  Investors usually ask what they should do during turbulent times.  Below are some tips Fidelity Investments offers to navigate volatile markets.

  1. Keep your perspective:  Downturns are normal

On average since 1926, stocks have dipped into bear market territory every 6 years with losses averaging almost 40%.  While market downturns may be unsettling, history shows stocks have recovered and delivered long-term gains.  Despite market pullbacks, stocks have risen over the long term.

  1.  Have a Financial Plan you can live with – through market ups and downs

Your mix of stocks, bonds, and short-term investments will determine your potential returns, but also the likely swings in your portfolio.  Pick an investment mix that aligns with your goals, timeframe, and financial situation that you can stick with despite market volatility.  Choose an investment mix you are comfortable with.

  1.  Focus on time in the market – not trying to time the market

It can be tempting to try to sell out of stocks to avoid downturns, but it’s hard to time it right.  If you sell and are still on the sidelines during a recovery, it can be difficult to catch up.  Missing even a few of the best days in the market can significantly undermine your performance.  Missing out on the best days can be costly.

  1. Invest consistently, even in bad times.

Some of the best times to buy stocks have been when things seemed the worst.  Consistent investing can give you the discipline to buy stocks when they are at their cheapest.  Consider setting up an automatic investment plan.  Investing during recessions has historically led to strong investment results.

  1. Consult with your financial advisor

Down markets may be a good time to meet with your advisor to answer your questions, discuss adjusting your investment mix or examine opportunities when prices are low.

Source:  Fidelity.com

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 recommendations of any kind.  Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Comments and Opinions

The First Quarter, 2022 brought major pressures on both the US and Global stages. Although we began to move forward in the recovery from the last two years of the pandemic, rising inflation, rising interest rates, and supply chain issues impacted consumers and the stock markets. In March, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought humanitarian crises, global economic and political upheaval, and stock market uncertainty.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March, 2022, inflation rose 8.5% over the last 12 months – a 40 year high. Gas, food, and housing were the biggest inflationary drivers putting pressure on consumers. The root causes of this inflation stem from historic government spending, continuing supply chain disruptions, and strong consumer demand.

The uncertainty of the above situations impacts our economy and the stock markets. Markets do not like uncertainty and volatility is the result. U.S. stocks recorded the first quarterly decline since the onset of the Covid pandemic in the first quarter of 2022. Source: NASDAQ. The US Gross Domestic Product was down 1.4% a reversal from an annual 6.9% growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2021. Source: Wall Street Journal

Although the US faces challenges and there is talk of recession, some believe the economy remains strong and can return to modest growth going forward. Consumer spending is strong as Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted. According to Morningstar, the Federal Reserve’s shift to tighter monetary policy increases confidence that high inflation will be tamed. Markets are now pricing in an increase in the federal-funds rate to 2.5% by the end of 2022, a much more aggressive pace of tightening than previously expected. This will come at the cost of slightly slower near-term GDP growth, but they don’t believe a recession is on the horizon.

Source: Morningstar, Quarter End Insights, April 1, 2022

As we watch and wait in a volatile market environment investors should review their portfolio’s asset allocation, risk suitability and risk tolerance to make sure their plan is on track to meet their financial goals.

Market Volatility: Check Your Emotions at the Door.”

The following article is taken from the Investor Insights page on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website:

https://www.finra.org/investors/insights/market-volatiliy-check-emotions-door

Volatile markets can inspire feelings of fear and anxiety among investors. The market surges and sags that we experience can be for any number of reasons—trade policy concerns, tax breaks, inflation fears, economic optimism, concern of a global pandemic or a recession watch. The stock market reacts, and sometimes so do we. It raises the question: what should you do in times of volatile markets? In many situations, the answer is sit tight, and take the long view.

“One enduring truth about stock markets is that they go up, and they go down—and the steeper the rise or the fall, the more tempting it can be to derail a long-term strategy with a snap decision,” said Gerri Walsh, FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Investor Education. “Especially when markets fall sharply, we tend to react on impulse. Before that becomes your reaction to market volatility, focus first on your goals and your investment timeframe.”

Investors who need short-term liquidity—for example, if you plan to make a large purchase such as a house or a car, or you know a tuition bill is about to come due—will likely want to pursue a different path than investors who do not need cash right away. All else being equal, the latter group might be better able to stomach volatility in the short term. But any investor who cannot bear the thought of—or cannot afford—locking in losses in times of volatility may want to explore less volatile alternatives to help secure their portfolio’s value.

“Talk to your investment professional,” said Walsh. “And consider the broader consequences. How does any action you choose to take in the moment impact your portfolio in the future? What are the tax consequences? Before you make any decisions regarding your investments, it’s important that you keep your emotions in check and understand what is going on.” Whether any given day’s drop reflects a market correction, an anomaly or the beginning of a bear market can take time to figure out – and is outside the control of any one investor. So control what you can – and focus on key investing concepts such as staying diversified and rebalancing to stay aligned with your goals.

The performance quoted herein represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors cannot invest directly in an Index and performance represents gross returns without net fees if any.

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 recommendations of any kind.

Comments and Opinions

The Third Quarter of 2021 began with optimism, fueled by increasing vaccination rates, employees returning to work, and schools and businesses re-opening.  The stock markets were strong in the first half of the quarter – reaching all-time highs.  However, the markets ended the quarter on a pessimistic note.  A surge in covid-19 Delta variant cases, increasing supply chain problems with warnings of possible shortages of goods for the holiday season, and continuing inflation slowed economic growth and erased earlier market gains. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the quarter down 1.5%, the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.2% and the S&P 500 closed up 0.6%.  However, each of these indices remain positive year-to-date with the DJIA up 12.1%, the S&P 500 up 15.9%, and the Nasdaq up 12.7%. 

Source: nasdaq.com 

Historically, the month of September has produced weak stock market returns. Some analysts believe that the negative “September Effect” on markets can be attributed to seasonal behavioral bias as investors change their portfolios at the end of summer to cash in. Another reason could be that most mutual funds cash in their holdings to harvest tax losses. There is a statistical case for the September effect depending on the period analyzed, but much of the theory is anecdotal. 

Source:  Investopedia September 09, 2021

In the Fourth Quarter, markets will be focused on the continued progress of reopening, the Federal Reserve’s expected tightening of monetary policy, inflation, and future tax policy to name a few issues.  Year-end is a good time to review your portfolios, rebalance if necessary, and consult with your tax professional regarding any losses in your non-retirement accounts.  Please call our office with any questions or concerns.

Estate Planning

October 18th to the 24th, 2021 was designated National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  Estate planning is an often overlooked element of financial wellness. It is estimated that over half of Americans – 56% – do not have an up-to-date estate plan. Source:  www.naepc.org 

Estate planning is not just a tool for wealthy individuals and families.   Whether your finances are complicated or more simple everyone should have a plan that determines the way their assets are to be distributed after their death. 

A basic estate plan should include: 

  1. Will or Trust
  2. Health Care Proxy on file with your health professionals
  3. Durable Power of Attorney
  4. Beneficiary Designations for your retirement accounts
  5. Transfer on Death registrations for your non-retirement accounts
  6. Appointment of a Personal Representative or Executor/Executrix to administer your estate.
  7. Gifting Plan if applicable

These basic building blocks of an estate plan should be periodically reviewed and updated if necessary.  Your Personal Representative should have access to the necessary information.  A well-thought-out plan can avoid family disputes, litigation, excess estate taxes, and court costs.  Discussing the plan and communicating your wishes to your family may serve to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

The performance quoted herein represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors cannot invest directly in an Index and performance represents gross returns without net fees if any.

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 recommendations of any kind.

Comments & Opinions

A year ago at the end of the Second Quarter of 2020, we were in an economic and social lockdown brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The US and most of the world were under severe restrictions.  It’s been a long year.  Now, due to the availability of Covid-19 vaccines and behavioral changes in society, we have witnessed strong rebounds in the US and global economies along with lessening of social restrictions. 

US equity benchmarks closed the first half of 2021 at or near record highs as the economy reopened and more people returned to work.  The S&P 500 ended the first half of the year up 15.2%, the DJIA was up 13.8%, and the NASDAQ Composite finished the first half of the year up 12.9%.  Historic fiscal and monetary stimulus has provided a consistent tailwind since the Spring of 2020, and there is little evidence those efforts will be removed anytime soon. Source:  NASDAQ.com July 1, 2021

Going forward, we believe the main challenges for the economic recovery may be the spike in the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant and the possibility of new restrictions, continuing inflation for products and services across the board, and the Federal Reserve’s response to these inflationary pressures.  The question of whether price increases are “transitory” or long-term is yet to be seen. 

Fed Chairman Powell stated on July 27th, that inflation will likely remain elevated in the coming months before moderating.  He also said the Fed will not raise rates or begin tapering the purchase of Treasury and mortgage bonds that provide stimulus to the economy until they see “substantial further progress” toward their goal of low unemployment and stable inflation. Source:  Wall Street Journal, 07/28/2021

We recommend a review of your investment portfolio and financial plan to determine if any adjustments are needed for your short-term and long-term goals.  Please call our office to schedule a meeting at 508-240-0320.

INFLATION

What, Why, When?

Inflation can be defined as the rise in prices for goods and services and the decline in the purchasing power of money.  Three of the main reasons that contribute to inflation are an increase in the money supply, the resulting decline in the value of the Dollar, and a disruption in the supply chain for goods and services.  All three of these have occurred since the beginning stages of the pandemic.

The Federal government and the Federal Reserve rapidly infused the economy with stimulus money.  Trillions of dollars were printed to provide individuals and businesses with money to keep the economy functioning and the Federal Reserve began purchasing assets in order to inject liquidity into the economy.

A large, rapid increase in the money supply reduces the value of each dollar and therefore, the cost of goods goes up. Companies pay more for their supplies and they pass the cost on to the consumer.

Production of goods slowed during the pandemic due to employees becoming ill and wide-reaching economic shutdowns.   Supply chains for imports, especially from China, were disrupted and this significantly impacted the price and availability of goods.  

Too much money chasing too few goods = Inflation

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 recommendations of any kind.

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.