Stocks trying to add to huge gains. Futures are indicating a flat to slightly positive open as stocks attempt to add to historic gains from Tuesday on optimism surrounding eventual passage of the fiscal stimulus plan in the Senate. The Dow had its fifth best day ever, up 11.4%, which ranked as its best day since March 1933. It is important to note, however, that the largest gains ever have tended to take place during bear markets, as volatility is heightened. Additionally, the S&P 500 Index hasn’t been up back-to-back days for 28 trading sessions, tying the longest streak since World War II.
Washington strikes a deal. Congress and the White House reached a deal late last night on an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package to help cushion the economic and financial blow from the COVID-19 pandemic. Several hundred billion dollars larger than prior proposals and roughly 9% of US gross domestic product, the package provides direct financial assistance to many Americans, expands unemployment assistance, provides loans to affected businesses, and delivers significant resources for an increasingly stressed healthcare system. This package will help bridge consumers and businesses to the other side of what has become a business crisis. Unfortunately, stimulus will do little to solve our health crisis but this big step, on top of the Federal Reserve’s historic actions, may help limit the near-term downside and ensure a strong recovery once the outbreak is fully contained.
Liquidity crunch. The pandemic has caused unprecedented volatility. Last week, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), which measures the implied 30-day volatility of the S&P 500 based on options contracts, measured its highest reading ever. At the same time, we have seen liquidity dry up as buyers have become tentative, bid-ask spreads widened, and some exchange-traded corporate bond products traded below their net asset, or intrinsic, values. The Fed’s historic response this past weekend may help restore health to these markets, as we discuss today on the LPL Research blog.
Is cash king right now? According to data from Morningstar, investors appear to be treating money markets as king, based on fund flow data for the week of March 11. Investors essentially redeemed assets from all other categories in order to fuel additional exposure to money markets. Investors even reduced exposure to higher-quality taxable bonds and municipal bonds, indicating those categories may not feel safe enough to them in the current market environment. As we keep an eye on the factors in our Road to Recovery Playbook, this data gives us confidence that there may be limited sellers remaining in the market and investor sentiment is rather tepid at this time, as we discuss in today’s LPL Research blog.
In corporate America, pension plans are fading away. Only 16% of Fortune 500 companies offered them to full-time employees in 2018, according to Willis Towers Watson research. In contrast, legal, medical, accounting, and engineering firms are keeping the spirit of the traditional pension plan alive by adopting cash balance plans.1
I’d like for you to meet my friend, Hugh. He’s a retired film stuntman who, after a long career, is enjoying his retirement. Some of what he’s enjoying about his retirement is sharing part of his accumulated wealth with his family, specifically his wife and two sons. Like many Americans, Hugh likes to make sure … Continue reading “The Gift Tax”
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald The economic struggles in our country are among the worst we’ve ever seen. In April, a record 20 million people lost their jobs, and 36 million people have filed for unemployment since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March. Record drops in consumer … Continue reading “Better Times Are Coming”
You can sum up the appeal of a Roth IRA in three words: federal tax benefit. Potential earnings in a backdoor Roth IRA grow tax free as long as the owner abides by the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) rules, and withdrawals are federally tax free once you reach age 59½ and have held the Roth … Continue reading “Backdoor Roth IRA”
Inheriting wealth can be a burden and a blessing. Even if you have an inclination that a family member may remember you in their last will and testament, there are many facets to the process of inheritance that you may not have considered. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind if … Continue reading “Coping With An Inheritance”
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