2020 Crystal Ball Mid-Year Review

July 23, 2020

Nothing was calm about the first half of 2020. After one of the worst closes on record to the first quarter, that included a 35% peak to trough swoon in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index in March, this benchmark came roaring back with its best quarter since 2009 in the three months ended June.

In fact, the advertised bear market appeared to be over as fast as it appeared. Large cap U.S. stocks are just slightly off from the record highs set in February and are up in high single digits fashion over the last 12 months. That doesn’t feel like an environment that calls for extensive trading activity and extreme portfolio positioning that many experts were calling for back in the period of maximum angst in March.

While the economy isn’t necessarily out of the woods yet, we have recommended a “hold your ground view” and embracing patience to avoid whiplash that can occur when pure emotions and fear take hold. We feel this has served our clients well. We remain cautious near term, given wall of worry items such as the upcoming election and re-opening risks associated with COVID-19, but are optimistic over the 12 months.

The following is an update on our Crystal Ball Outlook for 2020 and a quick review of the first half of this year.

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