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Updates & Insights (4/9/2021) Thumbnail

Updates & Insights (4/9/2021)

The Economy and Your Financial Wellness 

Should you be worried about inflation? Will we ever pay down the U.S. National Debt? What simple rules can you follow to make yourself a better investor? Michael Antonelli, PWM Market Strategist and author of the popular Bull & Baird blog, had a high-level discussion on key economic factors, how they impact your financial wellness and strategies you can implement to stay focused on your personal financial plan. Click here to access the video.

Unpacking What It Means To Be a Fiduciary

What Is a Fiduciary? The Investment Advisors Act of 1940 established that investment advisors have a “fiduciary duty” to their clients. While the definition of that fiduciary standard has evolved in case law over the years, it’s commonly understood to mean that anyone offering professional investment advice is legally obliged to make recommendations that place the interests of the client ahead of their own and provide full disclosure of any conflicts of interest. Any firm or Financial Advisor who offers ongoing investment advice is legally required to live up to this standard. But that’s not the end of the story. Click here to read more.

Market Highlights 

Reopening On: Reopening momentum is becoming a more prominent theme on the back of vaccine progress, stimulus, and pandemic fatigue. Sell-side firms have increasingly highlighted the improvement in high-frequency indicators surrounding mobility, card spending, air travel, vacations, retail visits, dining out, gas demand and the labor market. Goldman Sachs said that its US Reopening Scale pushed up to '6' for the first time since the onset of Covid-19 last year. However, Goldman Sachs also highlighted there are sticky work-from-home dynamics, along with home-schooling in many parts of the country. 

Higher Rates, No Problem: Bloomberg discussed how stocks seem to be more comfortable with the higher rate backdrop, particularly with yields rising for good reasons (i.e. upside data surprises, reopening momentum, and positive earnings revisions). JPMorgan Forecast Revision Index, a measure of how much economic forecasts change, recorded  its biggest upward move ever in Q1. Analysts also noted that the ~1%+ backup in yields since August is not unprecedented and that rates and stocks can move higher in tandem. 

Vaccine Progress: US vaccinated over 4 million people on Saturday. The 7-day average is now over 3 million doses per day for first time. President Biden said that 90% of adults will be eligible to receive the vaccine by mid-April. Vaccination progress seems to be overshadowing any concern about a fourth wave in the US, driving further reopening momentum.

Big Jobs Number:  There are big gains in leisure and hospitality (+280,000) as many states eased Covid restrictions, but also strength in mining and logging (+183,000) and construction (+110,000). February and January job gains were both revised higher, as well. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.0% vs. February 6.2%. The labor-force participation rate ticked up to 61.5%,  though it is still below pre-pandemic levels. These results are consistent with a host of recent indicators showing manufacturing strength, higher mobility, and increased confidence amid an accelerating vaccination push.

Good News

Shopping Carts Show Pent-Up Party Spirits: A year into the worst health crisis in modern history, French Champagne, chocolate novelties and tequila have all shot up consumers’ grocery lists. This time last year, shoppers were panic buying after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 11. Supermarket shelves were stripped of essentials such as toilet paper, dried pasta, hand sanitizer and canned soup. Staples companies such as Lysol-maker Reckitt and paper-products giant Kimberly-Clark initially struggled to meet demand. If 2020 will be remembered for toilet-paper hoarding, 2021 is shaping up to be a good year for alcohol. Click here to read more.

Queen is Opening Buckingham Palace Gardens to Picnickers for the First Time This Summer: As daffodils and cherry blossom mark the onset of spring across London lawns, one famous residence in the English capital is readying itself to welcome picnickers for the first time—with the Buckingham Palace gardens opening to the paying public. The Royal Collection Trust has announced that a self-guided route through the gardens, and around its grand 3.5-acre lake, will be open this summer to those who’d like to explore. Perhaps more important…picnics in the grass can be experienced as part of the visit. Click here to learn more.

Good news for Ketchikan arrived on Wednesday morning: After years of effort by federal, state and local officials, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced an $18.7 million contract to renovate its dock facility in Ketchikan. The NOAA says work will begin soon on a new office building and pier in Ketchikan. The agency says the project will allow it to bring the research ship Fairweather to its official home port in the southern panhandle. Read more by clicking on this link. 

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