Autumn has arrived, with students back in school, baseball playoffs beginning, and football in full swing. Life is trying to get back to as normal as possible despite the ongoing impact from COVID-19. While the number of new daily cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 has steadied in the United States, cases in Western Europe are increasing again, and many are concerned the United States could follow Europe with another spike higher.

Although there are still reasons to worry, a number of positives are on the horizon. A major vaccine breakthrough possibly could be here by the end of the year. The US government has plans to ship 100 million Abbott Labs 15-minute COVID-19 tests over the next several weeks to help accelerate reopening of the economy. Meanwhile, Pfizer’s clinical trial is expected to produce conclusive results later this month, with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization potentially coming soon thereafter. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is in the final stages of testing, and promising vaccines from AstraZeneca and Moderna are in the pipeline as well. All of these point to the potential for an improving global economy in 2021.

In another sign of strength, the S&P 500 Index rallied 60% off its March 23 bottom through early September, although it has pulled back some over the past several weeks. After such a strong rally, a 10% correction is perfectly normal and to be expected. Add to this seasonal weakness—the historically poor stock market performance typical of September and October—and investors’ pre-election jitters, and this pullback could be viewed as an opportunity for suitable investors to consider adding to longer-term holdings.

Technology stocks have shown strength during the pandemic, but this group also has pulled back lately, causing many to claim this might be another “tech bubble” similar to the late 1990s. This seems unlikely, as the technology sector has experienced explosive growth, with tech earnings estimates above their pre-pandemic levels, justifying the valuations.

While the economy is showing signs of improvement, it also continues to reflect areas of concern. Initial jobless claims have remained stubbornly high. Dave and Buster’s reported revenue in the second quarter was down 85%, and Live Nation’s revenue was down 98%, as no one was seeing live shows. On the other hand, existing and new home sales both recently hit 14-year highs, and manufacturing has increased for four consecutive months, suggesting the recession is likely over. Amazon has announced it will hire 33,000 new employees at an average salary of $150,000. Certain industries may be years away from fully recovering, while others are moving along like nothing is wrong.

The contrasts in Washington are evident as well, with the presidential election only one month away, but all isn’t lost. There’s growing optimism that a new coronavirus relief package may still be possible before the end of the year. The Federal Reserve also is doing what it can to help spur confidence and liquidity in the markets. November’s winner will inherit an improving economy and one that will likely see strong growth in 2021, as multiple vaccines and therapeutics help spur the economy to open up more fully.

These signs of market and economic strength tell us that better times likely are coming in 2021. Stay safe these final months of what’s been a very challenging year. And please contact me if you have any questions.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of September 30, 2020.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05061539

Back to school this year will be different. On the one hand, like other years, it marks the end of summer, the arrival of cooler weather, kids hitting the books again, and Labor Day gatherings. But unlike other years, going back to school carries unique concerns because of COVID-19. This year, we’re all getting an education in remote learning, working from home, and social distancing.

While the COVID-19 fight is not over, more progress has been made recently. New cases and hospitalizations in the United States have been falling steadily since mid-July. Several promising vaccine candidates have entered phase-three trials in the United States, and the FDA could potentially fast-track approval for emergency use later this year. Abbott Laboratories has developed a $5 COVID-19 test that the company claims can produce reliable results in only 15 minutes. The fruition of pandemic developments may be getting us closer to the end of the pandemic.

The stock market has responded to these promising developments with fresh record highs for the S&P 500 Index and its strongest August performance since 1984. Stocks have also received a boost from surprisingly strong recent economic data, which already may have brought an end to the “lockdown recession.”

The brightening economic picture helped second quarter corporate earnings beat estimates by an average of 23%, more than in any quarter since FactSet began tracking earnings statistics in 2008. Estimates have risen to the point where analysts expect 2021 S&P 500 earnings to surpass the 2019 level.

But even if the recession may be over technically, the path forward may be challenging. MGM, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, and other major corporations recently announced thousands of layoffs. If lawmakers can’t agree on another stimulus package soon, the road ahead will get tougher.

Now that the Democratic and Republican national conventions are behind us, election season is in full swing—and with that comes the potential for increased market volatility. September historically has been the weakest month for S&P 500 stock performance, but during election years, it switches to October, when policy anxiety typically peaks. With stocks pricing in significant optimism after such a strong rally from the March lows and these seasonal headwinds on the way, the potential for a pullback may be high.

At the same time, it’s possible we’re in the beginning stages of a new bull market, which suggests additional gains for stocks may be forthcoming. That’s why it probably makes sense for suitable investors to be patient, stick with their target allocations—particularly those with multiyear time horizons—and resist the urge to get more defensive. Stocks appear to be expensive, but so do bonds. Even though stock market volatility may increase and stock returns potentially may fall below long-term averages, stocks may continue to outperform bonds over the next 12 months.

Good luck with the transition back to school, to a new season, and to the new norms—and stay safe. As always, please contact me with questions.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. 

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of September 3, 2020.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities. 

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05050782 

The spread in some of the recent hotspots like California and Florida is slowing, while states in the Northeast and Midwest are now experiencing increases in cases. According to the World Health Organization, 27 vaccines are in human trials, and the chances of an approved vaccine by late this year or early next year are quite high. By staying on the side of scientists, and through humankind’s resolve as the entire world is working together, it’s possible to believe we will beat this latest adversary.

In good news, the S&P 500 Index has moved into positive territory for the year (as of August 5) after being down more than 30% in March, making 2020 one of the largest reversal years ever. Going back to 1950, however, August and September historically have been the two worst months of the year for stocks. In addition, signs of recent weakening in the job market, based on stubbornly high jobless claims, combined with evidence of reduced consumer mobility from several high-frequency data points suggest the stage could be set for stocks to take a well-deserved break.

At the July 29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell made it very clear that the Fed has additional tools to support the recovery, and that low interest rates may be here to stay well beyond this year and next. The economy has improved off the March lows, but it isn’t near the record-breaking levels we saw earlier this year. Powell also noted that further relief from Congress was “essential” to help support the economy.

Meanwhile, Congress is inching closer to a new COVID-19 relief bill, but parties remain at odds over several key elements. Although the two sides appear far apart, a deal likely may be struck at the eleventh hour—consistent with typical Washington theater. At this time, Congress is expected to agree to a stimulus package in the neighborhood of $1.5 trillion, bringing the total US fiscal stimulus to more than $4 trillion.

Signs that the economic recovery may be leveling off have not prevented corporate America from delivering earnings well above expectations. Leaders like Apple, Amazon, and Facebook reported extremely strong results in the second quarter, helping these influential stocks move significantly higher. FactSet consensus estimates of future earnings have ticked higher as well, suggesting corporate America may be confident in the eventual economic rebound.

Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra said, “If you torture numbers enough, they will tell you anything,” which fits well with what we’re seeing right now in 2020. Some data appears good, while some data appears troubling. This journey is not over yet, and there may be more twists and turns before society and the economy can fully recover from COVID-19. But like all journeys, this one has an end date, and we will get there.

Until then, please remain diligent and strong, and contact me with any questions.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of August 5, 2020.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

LPL Tracking # 1-05040636

LPL Financial Research is looking ahead for new ways to face current challenges and prepare for better times. Use our Midyear Outlook 2020 to chart a path to eventual economic and market recovery. Plus, learn how stocks may predict the next president!

It’s still going to be a challenging environment with significant uncertainty that may lead to more volatility for the next few months, especially with the highly anticipated presidential election in November. Still, we continue to encourage investors to focus on the fundamental drivers of investment returns and their long-term financial goals.

LPL Research’s Midyear Outlook 2020 provides our updated views of the pillars for investing—the economy, stocks, and bonds. As the headlines change daily, we encourage you to continue to look to these pillars as trail markers on your investment journey, and to the Midyear Outlook 2020 to help provide perspective on facing these challenges now and preparing to move forward together.

View the complete Midyear Outlook 2020 material below

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts may not develop as predicted. Please read the full Midyear Outlook 2020: The Trail to Recovery publication for additional description and disclosure. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.
Tracking # 1-05032583 (Exp. 07/21)

“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
The battle with COVID-19 rages on, and the headlines continue to get worse. The number of new cases and deaths continues to grow. Individuals and companies are hurting, with even an iconic company like The Cheesecake Factory telling landlords they won’t be able to make their rent payments for April. This current situation is a human crisis, and there is no way to put a value on the lives that have been lost. However, we will get past this pandemic, as we’ve gotten past every other crisis, and we will see better times in the future. As

Warren Buffett stated, when clouds are dark, that could spell opportunity for longer-term investors.
We’re already seeing some good news on the horizon. The number of new cases may have peaked in Spain and Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe. Here at home, new cases may begin to slow within the next few weeks, while Seattle, one of the first major cities in the United States to have an outbreak, has reached its peak of new cases. Corporate America is seeing major breakthroughs as well, as Johnson & Johnson announced human testing on its COVID-19 treatment should start by September, and a vaccine may be ready by early next year.

While we wait for containment measures to take effect and for an ultimate cure, the immediate impact to the economy has been devastating. More than 3.2 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, more than five times the previous record, while US gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to take a historic dive. Remember, the economy can stop by either pumping the brakes or hitting a tree. Our economy has hit a tree, and the short- and long-term impacts of this abrupt halt could be felt for a long time to come.

The double-barreled support from the Federal Reserve (Fed) and Washington’s recent $2 trillion fiscal stimulus plan (CARES Act) won’t fix the root of the problem—only doctors and scientists can—but it may help the economy restart more quickly once the pandemic subsides. Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted we very well may be in a recession, but this isn’t a typical recession, as our economy started from a strong position. The $2 trillion CARES Act, totaling more than 9.3% of GDP, provided an additional boost. For reference, the 2008 fiscal stimulus plan was 5.5% of GDP, showing just how much larger this plan is than anything else we’ve ever seen. These measures may be viewed as a bridge for consumers and small businesses to help them get to the other side, and so businesses are positioned to take full advantage when the economy restarts. The combined monetary and fiscal policy action may be the catalyst to propel a historic bounce back for our economy over the second half of this year.

World War I took more than 15 million lives, only to be followed by the pandemic of 1918, which claimed another 50 million. Very few would have expected to see the boom in technological development, economic growth, and the stock market that followed during the “Roaring ‘20s.” It is always darkest right before the dawn, and our resolve and determination will once again shine through. Longer-term investors may want to consider looking for opportunities to invest in an eventual market recovery, as stocks are in the zone where adding to equity exposure could be quite beneficial. Or as Warren Buffett would say, they better get their buckets ready.

Please stay healthy and contact Cornerstone if you have any questions or concerns.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of April 1, 2020.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-975747

These are challenging times, and this week may be the toughest as we wait for COVID-19 to reach its peak in the United States. As the war against COVID-19 wages on, we continue to be inspired by the tremendous bravery shown by healthcare workers on the front lines. Other heroes will likely emerge from a lab somewhere with a vaccine in the near future. In the meantime, we have important roles to play by maintaining quarantines and social distancing.

We anxiously wait for the day when this threat has passed, as life feels very different. Many of the things we enjoy most are not available right now, such as traveling, sporting events, shows, concerts, or just dinner out with family and friends. We’re video conferencing with our co-workers while children are going to school online, and we’re finding new ways to stay connected and entertain ourselves without leaving our homes. As a society, we’re finding forced isolation can be challenging.

As we adapt to these changes in our daily lives, the stock markets have had to adapt to the new economic realities as well. The longest economic expansion in our nation’s history has ended as the US economy has entered a recession. This economic contraction is quite unique—it’s the first one brought on mainly by governments, as they closed non-essential businesses and initiated social distancing restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. It also may prove to be unique by potentially being one of the shortest recessions in history, depending on how quickly the virus can be contained.

What is not unique is the challenge for investors in navigating the bear market that’s accompanying this recession. Historically, the best time for many investors to buy stocks has been at the trough, or low point, of a recession, although the trough usually has been evident only in hindsight. Since 1970, bear market low points have occurred within an average of three weeks of the biggest increase in weekly jobless claims, something that we hope came last week. In previous recessions since WWII, stocks bottomed an average of about five months before the end of the recession, as stocks sensed improved upcoming economic data (source: FactSet). No one knows for sure when stocks will bottom this time, but looking at these data points suggests we may be getting close.

We’ve received some better news in the battle against COVID-19 over the past few days. China has contained its outbreak, and its economy is restarting. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the China outbreak, the lockdown is being lifted. In Italy, the epicenter of the European outbreak, a peak in new cases likely was reached last week, and the government is starting to plan for a restart of its economy. The epicenter of the US outbreak, New York, is starting to see a slowdown in new cases. This fight isn’t over, and we cannot fully discount another wave of new cases, but the other side of this crisis is coming into view. The stock market also has started to sense that we’re nearing an inflection point.

This is one of the greatest challenges we as Americans have faced, but some light is starting to glimmer in the dark tunnel. We don’t really have a playbook for this human crisis, though we are encouraged that the measures being taken are having the desired effects. The playbook for investing in bear markets and recessions is clearer. It suggests that we stay the course, consider selectively taking advantage of emerging opportunities where appropriate, and focus on long-term investing objectives.

Please stay healthy, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of April 8, 2020.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-979721

While it is a good idea for most business offices to remain closed during this period (and in fact, some areas it is mandated), Cornerstone is set up technically to provide the same level of service remotely that we offer from our physical office. We have access to many items you might need during this time. So, please call if you would like. 925-824-2880. We want to assist you with your questions and concerns.

This offer extends to others in your lives who may feel unsettled and would like to talk. While they might have investment accounts or an investment plan, most do not have a financial plan to answer questions like “will I be ok?”

We are walking through history. There is no need for you or your friends to walk through this alone.

“The stock market takes an escalator up, and an elevator down,” is a classic Wall Street saying. The last week has sure felt like taking an express elevator down, as the end of February brought a historic stock market sell-off, with the S&P 500 Index moving from an all-time high to a 10% correction in only six days—the quickest such move ever. Along the way, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) experienced multiple 1,000-point drops, including Thursday’s biggest one-day point drop ever, adding to fears. As the coronavirus spreads around the globe, what was once a promising start to 2020 now has the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq Composite all negative year to date.

To put the recent market weakness in perspective, in an average year the S&P 500 may pull back from its highest point to its lowest point 14% on average. Even in years in which the S&P 500 finished higher, it had a pullback of 11% on average. In 2019, when stocks gained more than 30%, we saw two pullbacks of more than 5% during the year. After a historically calm stretch to end last year and start this year, larger than normal volatility shouldn’t come as a surprise. We didn’t expect stocks to pull back this quickly, but we’re still within the normal range of market volatility.

We never want to minimize the loss of human lives, but keep in mind that less than 3,000 people have died from coronavirus globally so far, compared to the nearly 80,000 people who have died from the seasonal flu this year. Also, the number of active cases of coronavirus peaked at nearly 58,000 February 17 and has dropped to less than 44,000 now, a drop of more than 24% in less than two weeks. Also, the World Health Organization won’t call this outbreak a pandemic because of the extremely low mortality rate among young and healthy people. The mortality rate for people over the age of 80 is nearly 15%, but that drops to less than 0.3% for people under the age of 50, with rates even lower in developed countries. Here in the United States, 90 people have contracted the virus, but none have passed away.

What could be the potential economic impact? Any economic disruption in the United States most likely would be modest and short-lived. Domestic efforts to contain the virus should be more successful and have less economic disruption than in China. The epidemic could cut as much as 0.5% from gross domestic product (GDP) over the next several months, but as the virus becomes contained, it is likely we could return to trend growth during the second quarter. Globally, we can’t shut down a large portion of the world’s second largest economy (China) without experiencing spillover effects. China’s GDP could weaken significantly in the first quarter, but a potential return to trend growth by the third quarter may be possible if this outbreak follows a course similar to previous outbreaks (SARS, bird flu, swine flu, etc.).

As difficult as this week has been, it’s important to follow your investment strategies and focus on the long term. Based on history and solid economic fundamentals, a return to pre-outbreak levels of global economic growth and corporate profits appears likely. Investing fundamentals suggest that a second-half economic rebound, potentially aided by government and fiscal stimulus, could help extend this record-long economic cycle into 2021.

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of February 28, 2020.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Tracking # 1-957691

I’m sure you’ve seen the headlines, but if not, you should know that the global stock markets are dropping as a result of fears about the spread of the coronavirus.  The statistics keep changing, but currently by far the most deaths (2,664) have been confined to China, with 15 reported in Iran, 11 in South Korea, 7 in Italy and four on a Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

We have no idea how far or fast the disease will spread, and neither do the markets.

What is the best course of action today?  The first 3% drop in the U.S. stock markets was completely unexpected, and nobody could predict the second day’s fall.  The options now are:

Sell today, and then watch to see how the spread of the coronavirus plays out in the minds of day traders and quick-twitch “investors.”  The odds are that the markets will recover before the end of the epidemic, so you’ll eventually have to buy back at a higher price than you sold at—and look like a bit of a fool.

Wait until there is confirmation that we are, indeed, in a real bear market, sell at or near the bottom, and then see the markets rise past where you sold—and look like a bit of a fool.

Hold tight, ride out the downturn (however long or short it might be) and experience the next rise (whenever it comes) and breathe a sigh of relief that the markets were not down permanently for the first time in human history.  You’ll do some sweating along the way, but in the end you’ll look like a winner.

Market timing during times of market stress is psychologically appealing, but in the real world it is pretty much impossible to execute.  Not knowing when to get out (Yesterday?  Two days ago?) and especially not knowing when to get back in, mean that your odds of getting it right twice are about 25% or less—and remember that you already missed the first timing decision.

So in the real, rational world, you have two choices: ride it out, or contact our offices if you are feeling real mental distress over these two days of downturns.  It could mean that you need a permanent reduction in your portfolio’s risk profile before you make a mistake, out of panic, that could cripple your financial future.

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

LPL Tracking# 1-956459

The start of 2020 has brought increased stock market volatility. The uncharacteristically calm market environment we experienced for much of the past four months was bound to end, but identifying the catalyst for a potential sell-off became more difficult after the U.S.-China phase-one trade deal was signed. Not even the recent major escalation in the U.S.-Iran conflict could knock down this market. Unfortunately, the coronavirus appears to have done the trick.

That story is still developing, but so far, the coronavirus has been less deadly than the SARS outbreak, one of the best historical comparisons we have. However, the speed with which the illness has spread within China has grabbed the stock market’s attention. Analysis of prior outbreaks such as SARS, bird flu, and swine flu—and the aggressive ongoing containment efforts—suggests the global economic impact likely may be modest and short-lived, although the situation is unpredictable at this stage. The Chinese economy is being negatively impacted by business closures and travel restrictions, which may have spillover effects on the rest of the world, given the size and global interconnectedness of that economy.

In his post-meeting remarks January 30, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged the risk to the U.S. and global economies from the coronavirus outbreak. He also slightly downgraded the Fed’s assessment of consumer spending, although based on the January gross domestic product (GDP) report, it is possible the U.S. economy could continue to grow at or near the 2.1% pace reported for the fourth quarter of 2019. After the Fed’s announcement, the bond market factored in one quarter-of-a-point interest rate cut this fall. While that action isn’t a given, well-contained inflation would allow the central bank room to make interest-rate adjustments more easily if needed.

The fundamentals of the U.S. economy and stock market—interest rates, inflation, wage growth, and jobs—still appear favorable overall. Although S&P 500 Index companies have reported minimal earnings growth during fourth-quarter earnings season, commentary from corporate America over the past several weeks has helped solidify the outlook for corporate profits in 2020. It still appears profits could be the primary driver of any potential stock market gains over the next 11 months.

Investing fundamentals may continue to help support stocks over the balance of the year, though the magnitude of potential gains from current levels may be limited. In addition, there are some risks to consider beyond those already mentioned: The 2020 election could negatively impact certain segments of the market due to policy uncertainty; the United Kingdom will officially leave the European Union at the end of this year; and trade tensions with China could flare up again.

Bottom line, there may be some bumps in the road, but the economic expansion may continue through 2020 and help power forward this nearly 11-year-old bull market.

Thank you for your business, and please contact me if you have any questions.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted.

All data is provided as of January 31, 2020.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Tracking # 1-946762