More Coronavirus Volatility

The Week on Wall Street

The stock market suffered through another volatile week as it wrestled with the health and economic fallout of the domestic spread of the coronavirus. Swift and decisive actions by the Federal Reserve and policy responses from the federal government did not keep stocks from recording losses for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 17.3%, while the Standard & Poor 500 lost 14.98%. The Nasdaq Composite index declined 12.64% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, fell 6.64%.[1][2][3]

Stocks Slide Further

The stock market continued its retreat amid fears of a darkening economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic. Despite a Sunday night announcement by the Federal Reserve that it was cutting its benchmark interest rate by 100 basis points to nearly zero and taking steps to increase market liquidity, stocks opened the week sharply lower, setting the stage for another difficult week for investors.[4]

Progress was reported on coronavirus testing capacity and on the efforts to combat the infection. At the same time, Washington, D.C., advanced legislation to provide financial assistance to unemployed workers and affected businesses. Neither did much to help investor anxieties, however. Stocks slid in the closing hours of the trading week, leaving stock indices near their lows of the week.[5]

Central Bankers Go Big

The response of global central bankers to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus has been broad-ranging. In addition to its 100 basis point cut in the federal funds rate, the Federal Reserve also took actions to provide additional credit access to banks, committed to buying at least $700 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds, and set up a new lending facility to backstop money market funds.[6]

The European Central Bank also announced an $800 billion-plus bond-buying program to support member economies. The Bank of England cut its benchmark lending rate to 0.1% and pledged to buy over $200 billion in government and investment-grade corporate bonds, while the Bank of Japan said that it would double its purchases of stocks and increase loans to businesses.[7][8][9]

Final Thought

Investors are struggling with answers to two unknowns: the trajectory of the coronavirus spread and its economic cost. With coronavirus testing beginning to ramp up, these numbers may begin drawing a firmer picture of the growth of coronavirus infections in the U.S. Economic indicators, such as jobless claims for unemployment insurance and the Index of Leading Economic Indicators, may provide clues regarding the economy.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

  • Tuesday: New Home Sales.
  • Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders.
  • Thursday: 4th-quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) Report. Jobless Claims for Unemployment.
  • Friday: Consumer Sentiment.
Source: Econoday, March 20, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

  • Tuesday: Nike (NKE), Carnival Corp. (CCL)
  • Wednesday: Micron Technologies (MU)
  • Thursday: Lululemon (LULU), KB Home (KBH)
Source: Zacks, March 20, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“Decide what you want to do. Then decide to do it. Then do it.”

– William Zinsser


Recipe of the Week

Lemon Pound Cake

Serves 8 to 10
Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F with rack in the bottom-third.
  2. Grease a loaf pan.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.
  4. Using mixer, beat butter until smooth.
  5. Add sugar and beat with butter for 2 minutes.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, with mixer at low setting.
  7. Beat in sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
  8. Once added, beat at medium-high until combined.
  9. Move to low speed and add flour mixture, beat until fully mixed.
  10. Turn up to high speed to remove any lumps, but don’t overmix.
  11. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes.
  12. Test cake with toothpick to see when cake is done.
  13. Optional: poppyseeds. Add them on top of the batter once it’s in the loaf pan before placing it in the oven.

Recipe adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com[10]


Tax Tips

Planning A Wedding? Remember These Tax Tips

If you or someone you love is getting married, keep these important tax issues in mind. Taking care of them now can help reduce your stress at tax time.
Change names: IRS rules require that the names and Social Security numbers on your tax return match your Social Security Administration records. To formally change your name, file Form SS-5, “Application for a Social Security Card,” with the Social Security Administration.
 
Change filing status: If you’re married on or before December 31, you are considered married for the whole year as far as tax purposes are concerned. You and your spouse can choose to file your federal income tax return either jointly or separately each year. You may want to ask a tax professional to run the numbers and see which status results in the lowest tax liability.
For more information about filing taxes as a newlywed, consult a tax professional in your area.
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov[11]

Golf Tip

A Wright Way to Work on Driving Distance

Mickey Wright is justifiably regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time. The superstar of the LPGA Tour during the late 1950s and 1960s, she won 82 tournaments during her career, and she was known for her prodigiously long drives.
Wright believed that the key to hitting it long off the tee was in the right foot. In particular, she felt that weight placed on the right foot during the swing should never stray from the instep. To reinforce that feeling, she would often tuck a golf ball under the outside spikes of her right shoe on the driving range. As she wrote in Sports Illustrated, “The immediate increase in distance using this gimmick is astonishing.” Try it for yourself.

Tip adapted from Sports Illustrated[12]


Healthy Lifestyle

Finding Inner Peace Inside (and Indoors)

Practiced for thousands of years, yoga has had a revival in the last couple decades. Yoga can be an optimal exercise choice for many individuals of all ages. But before getting started with any fitness regimen, make sure to discuss any medical concerns with your health care provider; this information is not a substitute for medical advice.
While there are many styles of yoga, most are considered low impact. But in addition to the fitness benefits, it can help you learn relaxation and breathing techniques as well as how to regulate emotions and quiet your mind. It’s also a great form of exercise to do indoors, and there are thousands of free classes on YouTube. So, if you’re still enduring the remnants of winter and practicing social distancing, you can practice “quieting your inner monologue,” doing yoga from the comfort of your own home.

Tip adapted from MedicalNewsToday.com[13]


Green Living

Gardening in the City

Do you live in a city or an apartment without a yard? That doesn’t mean you can’t create your very own garden.
If you have a rooftop to use or even a small yard, raised garden beds will do the trick. You can purchase premade garden beds, but building your own is easy too. Line the bottom with gravel and chicken wire to encourage drainage and discourage pests. Raised garden beds will save your back and knees, since you won’t have to bend over too much to tend to your plants.
One of the easiest things to start growing is herbs. You don’t have to have a green thumb or any yard space at all. Most herbs will flourish in a windowsill, and they’re hardier than most plants. Plus, you’ll have a delicious and easy way to season your meals right at your fingertips.

Tip adapted from Green America[14]


[1] The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2020
[2] The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2020
[3] The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2020
[4] CNBC.com, March 15, 2020
[5] CNBC.com, March 20, 2020
[6] The Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2020
[7] CNBC.com, March 19, 2020
[8] Pension & Investments, March 19, 2020
[9] Financial Times, March 16, 2020
[10] Sally’s Baking Addiction, March 20, 2020
[11] IRS.gov, March 5, 2019
[12] Sports Illustrated, March 20, 2020
[13] Medical News Today, March 20, 2020
[14] Green America, March 20, 2020