The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on ways you could make your workday better. Many of you may have had a glimpse of the interactions in our small office and noted the easy interactions between Diane and Brett, which also seems to occur when Kris comes in from New Zealand. But you never know… maybe there was something that White Raven Financial could improve on. After reading the article, both Diane and Brett felt the office already seemed to follow many of the suggestions: The team does have rapport and cohesion – or so many clients tell us. And we enjoy the occasional treat that Diane’s husband, Mike, brings us after a trip into town. After a second group discussion and an additional review of the article; the final decision was maybe we should “just leave well enough alone” and “be ourselves”.
There was one thing in the article that Diane noted that seemed to be missing. Prior to anyone visiting the office, the team washes their hands. And the desk where people place their hand and the chair where visitors sit is also wiped down with a cleanser. It is something that we have never published about, nor have we told clients; it was just something that was done. But with the current virus, we feel it may be important for you to know. We also feel that our practice of hygiene must be working – when a team member caught a cold/flu twice this winter, which also required a few days off, the other team members sailed through without a sniffle or missed day of work.
Domestic hygiene is usually not part of the economic news, but the coronavirus appears to have changed that tune with the recent risk assessment by the World Health Organization and the raising of COVID-19 to “very high”. Due to the possibility that the coronavirus may affect economic activity, the Federal Reserve just recently cut rates by half of a percentage point to a range of 1.00% to 1.25%. However, the U.S. consumers still appeared optimistic in February. Although the end-of-February’s report by Reuters noted that economists feel that this could change, dependent on the spread of the virus in the U.S., and the recent stock market rout. In our current reading, we see the words “monitoring” varies daily. Jeffrey Kleintop, Chief Global Investment Strategist for Charles Schwab, noted in an insight blog that it will be hard to predict the economic impact of the coronavirus due to the many unknowns but also reiterated that economists are anticipating a rebound later this year.
We don’t hear much about planes being cleaned thoroughly (although we are sure they are) but globally we learn that a cut in non-essential international travel has been announced by many companies. To offset the possible business impact of the virus, on March 3rd, the European Central Bank reportedly is viewing how the longer-term loan program may be used to help enterprises. Blackrock reported in their early March Global Weekly Commentary that they expected the economic expansion to remain intact even though the current outbreak has produced a new global dimension. Chief Investment Officer Robert J. Horrocks, PhD of Matthews Funds, wrote about past incidents of similar impact and the basic facts to those impacts – providing us with a possible view of the future from the past.
We realize these are scary times for many. We acknowledge that we don’t know the future. We also know that we can’t time the market thus these famous words seem to be apropos just like Kilroy “Hang in there”. And please contact us if you wish to review your risk tolerance and/or diversification.
The end-of-February showed some of the major indices going into correction territory and a reminder on how a world event can affect even a strong economy. The blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* fared the worst falling -10.07%. The S&P 500 (SPY)* did not hit the full storm and ended February dropping -8.41%. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* stayed out of the conversion zone and posted a -6.38% loss for the month. (*After linking, click on Quarterly had & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab.) On Tuesday, February 25th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report and again noted that home prices are continuing to increase at a modest rate. The 20-city composite Home Price Index in December reported a 2.9% annual gain; a 0.4% gain from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of December showed now gain over the prior month of November for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and thank you,
The Team at White Raven Financial
*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Returns for the DOW, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are the total return (price only) provided by Morningstar as of February 29, 2020. Diversification and asset allocation do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
*The Standard and Poor’s 500 is an unmanaged, capitalization weighted benchmark that tracks broad-based changes in the U.S. stock market. This index of 500 common stocks is comprised of 400 industrial, 20 transportation, 40 utility, and 40 financial companies representing major U.S. industry sectors. The index is calculated on a total return basis with dividends reinvested and is not available for direct investment.
*The Dow Jones Industrial Average covers 30 blue chip U.S. companies selected by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The Dow represents about 25% of the NYSE market capitalization and less than 2% of NYSE issues.
*The NASDAQ is a market-value weighted index that measures all NASDAQ domestic and foreign common stocks.