Greetings. I hope this note, which I am penning in mid-March, finds you, your families, and your friends well now in mid-April. While it’s impossible to foretell the future, the changes over the past month have simply been unprecedented in our lifetimes and are worth reflecting upon before turning to the months ahead.
In fact, in February, the Dow stood within reach of 30,000; unemployment remained historically low, as did interest rates, and the economy seemed to be forging ahead. That said, there had been continued rumblings over the duration of the 10+ year bull market, and many people had become defensive even as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was becoming a daily discussion. (N.B. Our asset-allocation team moved to a neutral equity stance at the end of 2019, while overweighting bonds.) However, no one foresaw what was going to happen to our markets, our country, and our world at that time.
Fast forward to the present time (mid-March), and while there is still much uncertainty, our collective focus has narrowed considerably to the issues at hand as governmental fiscal and monetary intervention is reaching a global high point (the $2 Trillion U.S. economic stimulus program being a case in point). The refrain “We’re in this together” has never felt more true to me.
Given this backdrop, please know that my team and I are working every day to support you and your families and, step by step, trying to bring further focus to the things most important to you. From taking gains, harvesting losses, and using the relatively low valuations in the market to make family gifts and charitable contributions, this is a time to work closely with your Advisor. While we are a bank, we have a heart, and I know that our teams care deeply for you and the communities we serve.
Please take this note in that spirit and let’s hope collectively that April and the months ahead are more hopeful and joyous than those in the recent past.