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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.