We hope you have had a wonderful week. Our team wanted to send along some information on the markets and some timely planning information. All members of The Planning Group are healthy and our team continues to be fully functional.
The stock market struggled this week as investors wait and see on reopening
- By the end of the month, 95 percent of the US population will no longer be subject to stay-at-home requirements. Some investors see this re-opening as a clear bullish sign, while others see it as the biggest risk to the recent equity market gains. As states begin to re-open, it is anticipated that the number of COVID-19 cases will increase. However, there is a very high bar for governors to re-lock down their states, even if the number of infections rises. The reason for the original lockdowns was to slow the pressure on the US health care system and to buy time for testing and therapeutics, not to eradicate COVID-19. The US has succeeded by this metric as testing has ramped up, pressure on the health care system has been reduced, and therapeutics are coming online. Investors are keeping a close eye on the next few weeks to see how consumers respond to the reopening.
- The US is ramping up testing. Investors are watching this closely as the number of tests increase, the rate of positive tests has steadily decreased. The percent of total tests that are positive are now below 5%.
- Work continues on a treatment and vaccine for COVID-19. This week the Food and Drug Administration granted "fast track" status to Moderna's mRNA vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) against the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Moderna expects to enter stage 2 testing soon.
- Fed Chair Powell spoke this week and sparked more discussion on interest rates and how the Fed can and will support the economy moving forward. For more insights into the Fed's comments this week and the broader implications, we have put together a short question and answer article that talks about deflation, negative interest rates and the Fed's role in supporting the economy.
Planning Idea for the Week
- Small Business Owners: In response to the current pandemic, recent legislation including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act have detailed a number of unemployment benefits, loans and relief for small business owners as well as the self-employed.
If you’re a small business owner who has felt the financial devastation of this ongoing pandemic, there are options out there designed to offer relief and help keep your business afloat.
Technology ideas to help when social distancing
- Virtual Tours: If you are looking for things to do from your couch, many places have developed ways to bring the world to your living room.
- Google Arts & Culture: View artwork from famous museums around the world
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits
- Google Earth National Parks: Map and satellite imagery masters at Google Earth have put together a series of guided virtual tours of 31 national parks around the country
- Zoo and Aquariums: Watch live cams and learn about the animals
Good News From Around the World
- Guy Fieri has raised over $22 Million for restaurant workers and is planning on a face off against comedian Bill Murray in a nacho-making showdown to raise more funds. You can watch the face off at 5pm Eastern Time on 5/15/2020 on The Food Network Facebook Page.
- Kroger is purchasing 200,000 gallons of fluid milk from dairy farmers who have struggled to find new buyers to purchase their excess supply (much of which was originally destined for foodservice and schools before the pandemic hit). The milk will be redirected to Feeding America's network of food banks across the country.
- Governor Gavin Newsom of California has announced a new plan in California to bring three nutritious meals a day to seniors in need, while providing meaningful work to those who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first program of its kind in the nation, ‘Great Plates Delivered’ will support struggling restaurants to rehire or retain staff, prepare the meals, and deliver them to those in need. Eligible seniors will be provided with 21 meals per week. All of this will be accomplished through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state and local governments. FEMA will cover 75% of the cost, with the state picking up most of the remaining tab. Restaurants will be reimbursed at rates of $16 for breakfasts, $17 for lunches and up to $28 for dinners.
We hope that you have a nice weekend and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions at 907-677-8300. Please feel free to share this article with others.
From our families to yours, The Planning Group of the Northwest