The month of June brought diversity into our daily work lives here at White Raven Financial. Many of you know that our small office does not comfortably allow for the accommodation of social distancing when someone wishes to meet. So, we needed an alternative gathering place. Luckily, our favorite handyman lives on the property where our office is located and was able to do the major construction of our new outdoor office. We are pleased to report, that we have received compliments on the design, warmth, atmosphere, and space to properly social distance in our new meeting spot. And the internet does work outside the main building. We hope that if you need to visit, the accommodations will allow you to feel safe.
Amid our construction, we were well aware of the social unrest that was occurring in parts of the country, our state, and our counties. Brett’s girlfriend’s teenage daughter felt that she needed to voice her opinion – she and a few of her friends took part in the protest that was held in Shoreline. Brett noted that the young ladies did wear their masks and the protest was peaceful. With all the meetings canceled, the Arlington Garden Club (AGC) members found that they were missing the companionship of their friends. With the help of a committee and Diane taking the lead in updating the club’s technology, the AGC website was upgraded to feature virtual garden tours and allow members to provide more input.
Throughout the U.S., the month of June found many states entering phases to allow new construction. This seemed to help unemployment; per the Associated Press, unemployment dropped to 11.1% in the month of June. It appears that continued fiscal and monetary support are keeping rates low and businesses afloat. In our monthly readings and webinars, we heard the word “unprecedented” numerous times; with the speakers and writers noting that we are in the middle of a recession and emphasizing the staggering number of people that had filed for unemployment. Russell Investments June 3rd blog by Erik Ristuben delved into the stock market rise from its March low. In his blog, he noted that the market, as a rule, is a forward-looking vehicle. He continued by explaining the three parameters that Russell Investments feel may happen in the coming months. Blackrock, in their Q3 equity market outlook, also provided reasons for optimism in the months ahead. Although they then mentioned there could be reasons for caution – with the possibility of a 2nd wave of COVID-19 and heightened geopolitical tensions being a couple of their concerns.
Unemployment is not just a U.S. problem. Due to the economic contraction, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the global economy to contract by 4.9% in 2020. This is a downward revision from the 3% that they forecasted in April. This could change, as we are all aware, if a vaccine is developed within a suitable timeframe. Jeffrey Kleintop, Chief Global Investment Strategist for Charles Schwab, depicted several charts on how different countries were reacting to COVID-19; he noted that the trend in stocks and earnings expectations are more closely aligned with COVID-19 deaths rather than the number of cases for many countries.
Construction is at times a thinking process and does not go without risk. Knowing one’s risk, both financially and personally, is difficult in today’s world. Investing in one’s risk tolerance and wearing a mask for the safety of yourself and others are a common theme.
The markets in June decided to appear oblivious to how COVID-19 continued to generate new numbers and with new trade tensions highlighted. Albeit it was a rollercoaster, volatility was ever present throughout the month, but gains were the end result. Surviving the down-days, the blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* brought in a gain of 1.69%. The S&P 500 (SPY)* added a few tenths more than it’s bigger brother and showed a 1.84% gain for the month of June. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* again was on top of the index standings for the month with a positive 5.99%. (*After linking, click on Quarterly had & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab.) On Tuesday, June 30th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report. The report continued the news from prior months and noted that home prices continued with modest increases. The 20-city composite Home Price Index in April reported a 4.0% annual gain; a 0.1% gain from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of April showing a 0.9% increase over the prior month of March for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and thank you,
The Team at White Raven Financial
Advisory services offered through White Raven Financial Services, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Washington.
*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 June 30, 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.