Commentary

First Wave of Economic Damage: 3 Million New Unemployment Claims

As expected, the initial jobless claims report—the one that shows how many people have been laid off and are newly applying for unemployment assistance—was a shocker this morning. Three million people lost their jobs and applied for unemployment last week. This is by far the highest number ever, with the previous record at just under 700,000 in 1982.

Commentary

How to Think About the Coronavirus Pandemic: The Big Picture

With everything that is happening in the world, now is a good time to step back and think about where we are and where we might be going. There is a tremendous amount of information available. But what’s missing is a framework for that information that would help clarify the big picture.

Commentary

Where Bear? There Bear!

We have finally seen the end of the bull market, with the Dow dropping 20 percent from its highs and the S&P 500 following today. We are officially in a bear market, with all that implies. Stock markets around the world are down again today on the news.

Commentary

Is the End of the Bull Market Nigh?

Monday, March 9, will be the 11th anniversary of the bull market that started back in 2009. With recent pullbacks and turbulence around the coronavirus, it is reasonable to worry that this anniversary will be the last and that a bear market will break the streak sometime in the next year. As such, now seems a good time to consider where we stand—and where the market might be headed.

Video

Market Thoughts for March 2020

White Paper

Outlook 2020: Slower Growth, with a Chance of Recession

This expansion cycle has lasted much longer than usual, and major market indicators have moved closer to recessionary levels. Does this mean there’s a downturn on the horizon? Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s chief investment officer, looks at several factors that should determine where we’re headed and explains why a recession—if there is one—won’t be as bad as many fear.

Commentary

Reassessing the Coronavirus Risk

In yesterday’s post, I pointed out that the markets were taking a break, stopping the sudden slide to think about whether the news surrounding the coronavirus is really as bad as all that. Today, they appear to have decided that, yes, things are that bad and may be even worse. Perhaps, then, it is time for me to reassess my conclusions.

Commentary

How Should Investors React to the Coronavirus?

It is now clear that the coronavirus has escaped the attempted containment by Chinese authorities and has spread around the world. According to the World Health Organization, there are 79,331 confirmed cases, of which 77,262 are in China and 2,069 are outside of China (as of February 24, 2020).

Commentary

Monthly Market Risk Update: February 2020

It’s time for our monthly look at market risk factors. We had a strong start to the year, with U.S. markets at all-time highs by mid-January. But a risk-off sentiment driven by the spread of the coronavirus from China spooked investors, leading to modest declines for equity markets at month-end.

Commentary

Looking Back at the Markets in January and Ahead to February 2020

January was a tough month. We started with a U.S. attack on an Iranian general (creating thoughts of war) and ended with the possibility of a new global pandemic (with the Wuhan coronavirus spreading around the world). In between, of course, we had the impeachment spectacle here in the U.S., as well as the British exit from the European Union.

Commentary

Jobs Report Preview: Good News Ahead?

Today, we get the big one, the most (in my opinion) significant economic report of all: the jobs report. So, what should we expect?

Video

Market Thoughts for February 2020

Video

Market Thoughts for January 2020

Commentary

Outlook 2020: How Real Is the Risk of Recession?

As we move into 2020, we find ourselves in an uncertain place. Economic trends have deteriorated, and growth levels have flatted. Plus, the impeachment process and election could have negative repercussions. Indeed, the risk of recession is real—although its impact may be much milder than many fear.

Video

2020 Outlook

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, provides his 2020 market outlook. After a strong 2019, worries are starting to build for the year ahead—especially over a potential recession. But the data is actually improving. As such, 2020 may look much like 2019. Job growth might slow, but consumers are likely to keep spending. Plus, business investment is showing signs of a comeback, which would be a significant tailwind. The news for the markets may not be as positive, as we may see some volatility. But as long as the economy keeps growing? The markets should continue to move forward.