James Mayer Jr.:

We hope this video finds you healthy and we hope you are able to safely enjoy some of your favorite summertime activities, although the 2020 pandemic continues to monopolize the news headlines and our lives.

Our office remains closed for now, and our staff is limited but we will still be available to talk to you via the phone. If you have concerns, or just want to review your portfolio and allocation, please feel free to call the office, to set up a time for us to talk.

Here are some market comments we wanted to share with you as well. Global stocks have rallied for most of the second quarter, with the large U.S. technology companies leading the way. In our opinion, this reflects investors trying to look through the current period of economic weakness and focusing on future growth, in this lower interest rate world. However, a recent resurgence in U.S. COVID-19 cases, particularly in the southern and western regions of the country, have cast some doubt on the trajectory of the rebound, in the absence of a breakthrough COVID treatment. We think further gains will be difficult to come by in the near term, as markets already appear to be pricing in relatively short interruption to businesses.

While we are happy to see the recovery in prices, we continue to believe there are reasons to be skeptical of the v-shaped market narrative, given the job losses, the drop in consumer confidence and the fact that we are not yet rid of the virus. Ultimately, the U.S. consumer makes up around 70% of the U.S. economy and it is how we all feel and behave, that will determine the next direction of the market, particularly if stay-at-home orders are not reinstated.

The first half of 2020 has been unprecedented in history, both for the scope of the health crisis and the sheer amount of money that governments have devoted to addressing it. The Fed has indicated it is ready to do everything in its power to tamp down interest rates and support asset prices during this crisis. We continue to be optimistic about long-term economic prospects for the United States but we expect the market to remain unusually volatile this year, as investors cope with emerging news about the virus, global geopolitics and a presidential election coming in the fourth quarter.

Thank you for the trust you have placed in us. We greatly appreciate it. Please stay happy, please stay healthy and please stay safe and we will hopefully see you soon.