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2020: 2nd Quarter

As prognosticated in our last report, the current public health crisis, and ensuing economic headwinds have catalyzed a re-evaluation of priorities and behaviors for much of our population. However, observing our resilient history, the U.S. and the global community will emerge and heal from these events, albeit with changed values and a different worldview. At the end of Q2 initial signs of recovery emerged as the unemployment rate ebbed to 11.1% from April’s high of 14.7%. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to zero, and with the support of Congress, released a $1.6T stimulus package that propelled the stock market’s recovery, leading to the best quarter for U.S. equities in over 20 years (WSJ). In response to critics saying there was little more the central bank can do, Mr. Powell pushed back, “we’re not out of ammunition by a long shot, there are a number of dimensions where we can move to make policy even more accommodative” (WSJ). While it will be difficult to offset the near-total cessation of activity in April, recent data shows the economy has entered Q3 on a positive track, with month-over-month growth in indicators including retail sales, consumer spending and durable goods (Northern Trust). Ultimately, the trajectory of the virus, and the ability to rollout effective therapeutics and vaccines on record timelines, will be the deciding factor as to the speed and path of the overall recovery.

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