For four weeks, the U.S. stock market has sparked and sputtered like a campfire in light rain.
Today, pandemic-driven demand is providing fuel for the investors. The need for certain types of products and services has accelerated and innovation is creating new opportunities. Consider:
- Technology. Today, digital technologies support nearly all group interactions, which has accelerated innovation. Traditional video communications platforms are in high demand, and multi-person virtual platforms are emerging. Robotics innovations are racing ahead, too. Robotic dogs enforce social distancing in Singaporean parks, reported Other types of robots sanitize streets and facilitate contactless delivery around the globe.
- Consumer products and services. COVID-19 increased demand for staples, cleaning, and personal hygiene products. The virus may have inspired deeper and longer-lasting changes in consumer behavior, too. Accenture reported people are favoring healthier lifestyles, consuming goods more conscientiously, and showing a preference for locally-sourced goods.
- Healthcare, drug development/delivery, and medical equipment. Last Friday, 316 COVID-19 treatments and 212 vaccines were in development around the world, reported the Milliken Institute. In some places, humans are collaborating with artificial intelligence to streamline drug discovery processes. Demand for telehealth services has increased dramatically. So has demand for personal protective equipment, reported Pankaj Singh of Plastics Today.
Throughout 2020, investors’ enthusiasm has pushed markets higher. However, concerns about a variety of issues have dampened enthusiasm in recent weeks. Last Friday, Ben Levisohn of Barron’s reported:
“In a week filled with headlines about government stimulus (or the lack thereof), Supreme Court nominations, the election, the gain in the Nasdaq…suggests that it was the fear of another COVID-19 wave that really got the market down. And for good reason. The week began with the U.K. talking about a second shutdown and ended with all of Europe facing down a second wave of infection…In the U.S., the number of cases is rising and the death toll passed 200,000 midweek…”
Many of these concerns aren’t likely to dissipate soon, and volatility is likely to continue.
Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average lost value, while the Nasdaq Composite gained value.
|Data as of 9/25/20||1-Week||Y-T-D||1-Year||3-Year||5-Year||10-Year|
|Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)||-0.6%||2.1%||10.5%||9.7%||11.8%||11.2%|
|Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.||-4.2||-7.9||-0.2||-1.5||3.5||1.7|
|10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)||0.7||NA||1.7||2.2||2.2||2.5|
|Gold (per ounce)||-4.7||22.1||21.5||12.9||10.2||3.7|
|Bloomberg Commodity Index||-3.2||-12.6||-10.4||-6.1||-4.4||-6.6|
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, 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.
Preparing for a Pandemic Halloween
In many neighborhoods across the United States, Halloween decorations have begun to appear. If you’ve been wondering whether Halloween celebrations and trick-or-treating are possible when the COVID-19 virus is still spreading across the country and the world, you may be interested in the Halloween guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control:
Low risk activities:
- Carving or decorating pumpkins at home and displaying them
- Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
- Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
- Holding a virtual Halloween costume contest
- Having a Halloween movie night at home with your family or roommates
- Having a Halloween scavenger hunt with lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while walking outdoors, at a safe distance from other participants
- Having a scavenger-hunt style trick-or-treat event with your household members in or around your home instead of trick-or-treating from house to house
Moderate risk activities:
- Participating in one-way trick-or-treating. Individually wrapped treats are lined up for families to take while remaining at a safe social distance (end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
- Small group, outdoor, open-air costume parades or parties with participants remaining at safe social distances (six feet apart)
- Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than six feet apart (if screaming is likely, distances should be increased)
- Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least six feet apart (again, if screaming is likely, distances should be increased)
With a little planning, everyone can have a safe and fun Halloween.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. In all the confusions of today, with all our troubles…with politicians and people slinging the word fear around, all of us become discouraged…tempted to say this is the end, the finish. But life – it goes on. It always has. It always will. Don’t forget that.”
–Robert Frost, Poet, on his 80th birthday in 1954