Weekly Market Commentary

August 31, 2020

The Markets

Hello everyone. I hope this finds you and your family in good health and safe. We recently have received news of several clients having some health issues with spouses, relatives, or themselves. It has been unrelated to Covid, but the virus restrictions on visits have added to the stress on the families. Please let us know if you are dealing with anything similar so we can support you in any way possible. It’s important to have a deep caring support team so we are here for you if needed.

August has been a good month for stock investors. At the end of last week, the S&P 500 Index was up 6.8 percent for the month and the Index is poised to deliver its best returns for the month since 1986. I just looked this up on impulse and the top rock song of 1986 was “That’s what friends are for.”  How ironic since I just finished the paragraph above.

The performance of U.S. stock markets is remarkable, in part, because, so far, company earnings – the profit that publicly-traded companies earn and report each quarter haven’t been great in 2020. Earnings were down reflecting the impact of coronavirus closures.

Weak second-quarter earnings had little impact on U.S. stocks, however. Instead, investors appeared to focus on ‘upside earnings surprises.’ That term is used to describe companies with earnings that exceed analysts’ expectations. During the second quarter, 84 percent of companies in the S&P 500 beat analysts’ estimates.

FactSet reported other factors have been cited to explain the upward trajectory of stock markets, as well. These include:

  • Improved earnings sentiment
  • Expectations for additional fiscal stimulus
  • Optimism about coronavirus treatments and vaccines
  • Fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) as the market moves higher


It’s not easy to become an American citizen. In fact, newly-minted citizens may know more about the history of the United States than many of us who were born here. In 2018, a national survey reported just one-in-three Americans scored 60 percent or better on a multiple-choice test that included questions from the U.S. Citizenship Test.

See what you know about the United States by taking this brief quiz:

  1. What does the Constitution do?
    1. Defines the government
    2. Sets up the government
    3. Protects basic rights of Americans
    4. All of the above
  1. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
    1. Mississippi River
    2. Colorado River
    3. Ohio River
    4. Rio Grande River
  1. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
    1. Founded the Red Cross
    2. Made the first flag of the United States
    3. Fought for women’s rights
    4. Was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives
  1. Which statement correctly describes the “rule of law?”
    1. The law is what the president says it is
    2. The people who enforce the laws do not have to follow them
    3. Judges can rewrite laws they disagree with
    4. No one is above the law
  1. When was the Constitution written?
    1. 1492
    2. 1776
    3. 1787
    4. 1865
  1. Name your U.S. Representative.

Focus On The Positive

“When humor goes, there goes civilization.” –Erma Bombeck, Humorist, writer, columnist

Quiz Answers:

1.    D – All of the above (Defines the government; Sets up the government; Protects basic rights of Americans)

2.    A – Mississippi River

3.    C – Fought for women’s rights

4.    D – No one is above the law

5.    C – 1787

6.    Look up your representative at https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative


Best regards,

Bill Spalding