Sell the news. Stocks reversed earlier losses this morning and traded higher this morning after the Senate approved the roughly $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package and markets digested the unprecedented surge in weekly jobless claims. Wednesday’s gains marked the first two-day win streak for the S&P 500 Index in more than a month, after tying its longest streak without back-to-back up days since WWII. Stocks held up relatively well immediately after the historic weekly jobless claims report was released today at 8:30 a.m. ET, further evidence that a recession had already been priced into markets.
New jobless claims rise almost unimaginably. We knew the disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic would be massive, but what it has meant to everyday workers finally came through in the numbers. Roughly 3.3 million people filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 21, almost five times the previous high of 695,000 set in 1982. The number, while well beyond economists’ consensus forecast, is not a complete surprise, and markets have already been slowly pricing it in. Jobs are likely to return quickly once the economy gets going again, but we know the timing of that is uncertain. Until then, backstops from federal programs and support for businesses to help minimize further layoffs will be essential for millions of Americans. We discuss this more in today’s blog post.
Fiscal stimulus gets through the Senate. The roughly $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package has been approved by the Senate, and now the bill goes to the House, where it is expected to pass on Friday and be signed by President Trump shortly thereafter. Coming as the ranks of the jobless surge, the package will help cushion the economic and financial blow from the COVID-19 pandemic. This news allowed us to check off the policy response signal (#5) in our Road to Recovery Playbook. Importantly, this isn’t the end of the support, as another more targeted package will likely be necessary, and the Federal Reserve may have more in its arsenal, as Chair Jerome Powell noted this morning in a televised interview.
“Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, reach for a bucket.” —Warren Buffett
From Our Partners at PAI: The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act has been a topic of discussion for weeks as legislators discussed the best way to give Americans a much-needed boost as the economy has faltered due to the Coronavirus. Signed into law in late March, there are several provisions that will … Continue reading “CARES Act and Coronavirus Relief”
Factor #1 in our Road to Recovery Playbook is finding confidence in the peak of COVID-19 cases in the United States. At Epic Capital, we are monitoring this factor daily, and we wanted to provide an update into what we are seeing. As shown in the Chart of the Day, while the number of new … Continue reading “Road to Recovery: COVID-19 Case Update”
The big equity bounce has continued, with the S&P 500 Index up more than 17% from the multi-year lows hit last Monday. The big question on many investors’ minds is could this be a bear market rally? After all, some of the most spectacular short-term bounces took place during bear markets.
Market gives up some gains into the weekend. Following the historic run over the past three days, US equities are lower in early trading Friday. The United States now has more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than China, though far fewer deaths. The stimulus package is expected to pass through the House of Representatives today before … Continue reading “Market Update: Friday March 27, 2020”
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