I trust that this finds you well and enjoying these early days of Fall. I have always loved the beauty that begins to explode on the trees and in the forests at this time of year, as the leaves change and summer turns to Autumn. It gives us a great excuse to get away for a few hours, find a country road to drive down, and marvel at the foliage.
Last week the markets were positive, with the Dow up 1.9% and the S&P 500 gaining 1.5%.
Monday saw some significant gains, with the Dow advancing 400 points. This was driven by a combination of good economic news here in the U.S., as well as by encouraging reports about progress in Europe on their recent coronavirus resurgence. Most encouragingly, the surge in share prices was broad. We have seen many days this year where positive market gains were disproportionately driven by the overperformance of just a few stocks, but on Monday 27 of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow were up in value and all 11 sectors of the S&P 500 saw gains.
One issue that caused the markets no small amount of consternation last week was the back and forth negotiation between the Democratic House of Representatives and the Republican Senate on additional coronavirus economic stimulus money. There is a strong argument to be made for more stimulus but the dysfunction in our nation’s capital is making compromise pretty elusive.
The Presidential election also weighed on the markets this week, both with the presidential debate that took place on Tuesday and with word on Friday that President Trump had tested positive for Covid 19. With the debate ending up as a bit of a train wreck, it was encouraging that investors did not overreact when the markets opened on Wednesday morning. The markets don’t always respond well to uncertainty, and Tuesday was nothing if not an uncertain evening! Regarding President Trump, when word first came out early Friday that he was ill there was a bit of a market pullback, but investors calmed a bit as the day went on and the markets stabilized by the closing bell. We, of course, pray for a full and speedy recovery for the President and First lady.
As always, thank you for the opportunity you have given me to serve you.