July 20, 2020

It was a busy week in the markets with a lot of data released from corporate earnings to many indicators on the health of the economic recovery.

The top three things we will be covering in this week’s blog:

1. The Market

· The S&P rose 1.25% and continued to hold its ground despite increased COVID numbers in the U.S. including a new case record of 77,200[1] reported on Friday. While rising cases have yet to make a large impact, the first week of earnings season gave way for some rollercoaster swings in the market. The next week will be key with additional earnings announcements on the way while Congress battles on a fiscal stimulus plan.

2. Unemployment

Note: All Unemployment data sourced from the United States Department of Labor

· New claims came in at just a hair lower than the previous week at 1.3 million, which was slightly worse than the 1.25 million expected, and the 17th week in a row of over 1 million new claims. One major caveat to these numbers is that the 1.3 million is seasonally adjusted. There were actually 1.5 million of new claims non-seasonally adjusted and there were over 900,000 additional Pandemic Unemployment Claims to bring the actual total to 2.4 million.

· Continuing claims dropped over 700,000 to 17.33 million. This is a positive step in the slow economic recovery. Similar to the new claims, if you look at the non-seasonally adjusted numbers, there was actually a rise in continuing claims in the last week reported. One way to read that new and continuing claims were likely over-reported early in the pandemic and are now potentially being under-reported due to the seasonal adjustments.

· Total unemployment fell slightly to 32 million. It is important to note the 2 week lag in the total unemployment figures. With the consistent new claims and continuing claims over the first 2 weeks of July, it is not likely that we see much of a drop in this number any time soon.

· For more details, see the news release from the DOL: https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

3. Corporate Earnings –

o We saw a slew of corporate earnings with a lot of challenging numbers reported along with concerning forward guidance. With the banks, the numbers were mostly bad with the saving grace being trading fees that were generated through the various liquidity programs from the Fed. These are not likely to be regular revenue additions and the guidance from the banks was generally cautious. The first major tech name also announced after the bell on Thursday with Netflix proving lower guidance for Q3 than analysist expected, driving a large drop in the price. It will be important to see what happens with the smaller banks as they report later this month without the benefit of the trading fees as well as other big tech names that have driven most of the gains in the market in the last month.

Articles of Interest

· What happens when the $600/wk of additional Pandemic Unemployment Insurance runs out? – https://www.epi.org/blog/joblessness-remains-at-historic-levels-the-extra-600-in-ui-benefits-expires-next-week-congress-must-extend-it/

o While there has been some encouraging news of jobs added back into the economy over the last couple of months, there are still over 32 million filing for some level of unemployment benefits right now. There are many fewer job openings right now than those that are unemployed so without an extension of at least part of this benefit, we are likely to see a dramatic drop in income for those hardest hit by the shut downs. This article suggest that an additional 5 million jobs could be lost that are currently being supported by spending those on these benefits are doing right now.

· Commercial Mortgage Delinquencies – https://www.visualcapitalist.com/mortgage-delinquencies/

o This is a follow on to our post last week where we discussed the number of residential mortgages that were delinquent in July. This article discussed the commercial mortgage market and the pressure it is under as well. In particular, hospitality and retail are the most troubled sectors at this time, which would be expected given the nature of the shutdowns.

· More details on corporate earnings and what may lie ahead – https://insights.tradestation.com/2020/07/17/netflix-banks-coronavirus-earnings-recap/

o As I alluded to earlier in this post, much of the guidance from the banks and Netflix was very subdued for Q3.

Social Media Post of the Week

For those of you from the Pacific Northwest, you understand that the days like we have had recently are the reason we tough out are dreary wet winters! Check out some family fun we had this week.

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Bottom line for this week, when you combine the cautious outlook from corporate guidance for Q3 with a concern on how quickly the next fiscal stimulus package may be passed, the rise in delinquencies and challenging economic environment overall, there is plenty to be cautious about. It doesn’t mean that stocks won’t go up on optimism for a vaccine or that the next stimulus package will be more than enough to fill in any of the gap mentioned above, just that there are reasons to be cautious in our approach.

If you have any questions about any of the information in this week’s blog or what you should be doing right now with your personal and business planning, do not hesitate to reach out to us by sending an email to info@konvergentwealth.com or calling us at 253-236-7000.

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/17/us-shatters-coronavirus-record-with-over-77000-cases-in-a-day.html

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