It’s said markets hate uncertainty, but that wasn’t the case last week.
Despite tremendous uncertainty about the outcome of the United States election, major domestic and international stock indices moved higher and the CBOE Volatility Index, better known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, moved 35 percent lower. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s reported:
“By all accounts, it should have been a terrible week for the stock market. At the close of trading on Friday, we still didn’t know whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump had won or which party would control the Senate. There was also set to be at least two recounts – one in Georgia, and one in Michigan – with likely more to come. It’s the kind of uncertainty that the market is supposed to hate.”
Yet, there was little fear to be found in financial markets. Investors’ confidence may have been grounded in a wave of positive economic news:
• 15 of 18 manufacturing industries grew in October. The ISM’s Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index rose 3.9 percent in October. The Index finished at 59.3 percent, an indication manufacturing is improving and the economy is growing.
• Rates remained low. The Federal Reserve kept rates near zero, which supports economic growth. The Fed’s Open Market Committee statement indicated supportive monetary policy would continue. “The Federal Reserve is committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals.”
• People are going back to work. More jobs were created in October than economists expected. The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Unemployment report showed 638,000 new jobs for October. The U-3 unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent. That’s an improvement on April’s unemployment level of 14.7 percent.
While that’s all good news, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continued to increase last week. Randall Forsyth of Barron’s reported, “As politics at long last fades as a factor, the renewed surge in COVID-19 cases looms large…Even without renewed mandated lockdowns, however, people are apt to hunker down voluntarily…that could dampen the labor market’s recovery.”
Data as of 11/6/20
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 7.3% 8.6% 14.1% 10.6% 10.8% 11.1%
Vanguard Total Intl Index (Foreign Stocks) 7.4 -0.1 3.7 2.0 6.0 3.9
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 0.8 NA 1.8 2.3 2.3 2.6
Gold (per ounce) 3.1 27.4 30.6 15.2 12.3 3.4
Bloomberg Commodity Index 1.4 -10.0 -9.2 -6.2 -3.1 -7.2
S&P 500, Vanguard Total Intl Index, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.
A SALUTE TO VETERANS AND GOLD STAR FAMILIES. This week we celebrate Veterans Day. The U.S. Department of the Interior is celebrating by giving veterans and Gold Star families free access to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands, reported the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
To gain free admission on Veterans Day 2020 – and every day after – anyone who has served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, can show one of the following forms of identification:
• Veteran ID Card
• Department of Defense ID Card
• Veteran Health Identification Card
• Veteran’s designation on a state-issued driver’s license or state ID card
The most frequently visited National Park Service sites across the country include:
• Golden Gate National Recreation Area
• Blue Ridge Parkway
• Great Smoky Mountains National Park
• Gateway National Recreation Area
• Lincoln Memorial
• George Washington Memorial Parkway
• Lake Mead National Recreation Area
• Natchez Trace Parkway
• Grand Canyon National Park
• Gulf Islands National Seashore
Happy Veterans Day!
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“There is nothing so American as our national parks…The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.”
–Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President