Weekly Market Commentary

September 28, 2020

 

The Markets

For four weeks, the U.S. stock market has sparked and sputtered like a campfire in light rain.

Today, pandemic-driven demand is providing fuel for investors. The need for certain types of products and services has accelerated and innovation is creating new opportunities. Consider:

Technology. Today, digital technologies support nearly all group interactions, which has accelerated innovation. Traditional video communications platforms are in high demand, and multi-person virtual platforms are emerging. Robotics innovations are racing ahead, too. Robotic dogs enforce social distancing in Singaporean parks, reported Accenture. Other types of robots sanitize streets and facilitate contactless delivery around the globe.

Consumer products and services. COVID-19 increased demand for staples, cleaning, and personal hygiene products. The virus may have inspired deeper and longer-lasting changes in consumer behavior, too. It’s reported that people are favoring healthier lifestyles, consuming goods more conscientiously, and showing a preference for locally-sourced goods.

Healthcare, drug development/delivery, and medical equipment. Last Friday, 316 COVID-19 treatments and 212 vaccines were in development around the world. In some places, humans are collaborating with artificial intelligence to streamline drug discovery processes. Demand for tele-health services has increased dramatically and so has demand for personal protective equipment.

Throughout 2020, investors’ enthusiasm has pushed markets higher. However, many concerns still linger and aren’t likely to dissipate soon, so volatility is likely to continue.

 

Preparing for a pandemic Halloween. In many neighborhoods across the United States, Halloween decorations have begun to appear. If you’ve been wondering whether Halloween celebrations and trick-or-treating are possible when the COVID-19 virus is still spreading across the country and the world, you may be interested in the Halloween guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control:

Low risk activities:

Carving or decorating pumpkins at home and displaying them

Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends

Decorating your house, apartment, or living space

Holding a virtual Halloween costume contest

Having a Halloween movie night at home with your family or roommates

Having a Halloween scavenger hunt with lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while walking outdoors, at a safe distance from other participants

Having a scavenger-hunt style trick-or-treat event with your household members in or around your home instead of trick-or-treating from house to house

 

Moderate risk activities:

Participating in one-way trick-or-treating. Individually wrapped treats are lined up for families to take while remaining at a safe social distance (end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)

Small group, outdoor, open-air costume parades or parties with participants remaining at safe social distances (six feet apart)

Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than six feet apart (if screaming is likely, distances should be increased)

Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least six feet apart (again, if screaming is likely, distances should be increased)

 

With a little planning, everyone can have a safe and fun Halloween.

 

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on. In all the confusions of today, with all our troubles…with politicians and people slinging the word fear around, all of us become discouraged…tempted to say this is the end, the finish. But life – it goes on. It always has. It always will. Don’t forget that.”

–Robert Frost, Poet, on his 80th birthday in 1954

 

Best regards,

Bill Spalding