Stocks are up this morning which is kind of strange as what I’ve been reading of late has given me every indication that the world is ending. Okay, that was tongue-in-cheek … for while most news headlines appear to focus on nothing but negative news there appears to be some positive rays of sunshine making their way through the clouds.
Analysts had lofty expectations for the retail sales report this morning … but even their optimistic views were not positive enough as a record monthly number was announced. With less foot traffic at many stores this is quite interesting … so it seems many are fully taking advantage of how easy it has become to make online purchases … as the many Amazon Prime trucks passing (and stopping at) my home will attest.
Possibly adding to investor’s buoyant moods this morning is a report … yes, yes … another report … that a drug … “dexamethasone” … could reduce the number of deaths in patients severely affected by the virus. We do need to keep something in mind, however. This is not a cure, and even if it is proven effective … this drug which is inexpensive and readily-available … will not help in mild cases and will only reduce … not eliminate … the number of fatalities. But it is, certainly, a step in the right direction … and a major one at that.
On top of this, the White House is talking about a plan to further spur the economy by injecting $1 trillion into infrastructure. One issue is whether or not this will see the light of day … as it was promised in the 2016 campaign and with all the stimulus projects being discussed … there is still limited comment about how we will pay for the bill we will eventually face at the end of the day. One thing about infrastructure that I will point out is that I wish this would have been decided sooner … as it seems it would have been easier to close roads and bridges before everyone got the green (or yellow) light to get on the roads to return to work.
As sunny as today seems to be for economic news and investors, there are some pretty smart people reminding us to keep an umbrella handy just in case. It is being reported (something many will ignore) that Fed Chairman Powell is warning of “… ‘significant risks’ about the recovery and says small businesses are at risk.” Who is this party pooper Fed guy?
On a final note, I saw a schedule from one of our PMs this morning and couldn’t help but notice there are 15 Zoom calls (i.e. “virtual meetings”) scheduled to take place over the next three days. If there is one thing to point out with today’s situation is we have been forced to discover ways to continue to work in the face of present circumstances … and some things (that we might have little incentive to try just a few months ago) will continue to be used even after this virus is gone.
Just this weekend the head of a small company told me he is both much more productive than before, but also … strangely … has been able to play more golf than he has in years.
I too, thanks to a few practice rounds, hours of training videos and a new set of clubs have found tremendous improvement in my own golf game.
Not wanting to brag, I’ve been able to take my 106 average and reduce it all the way down to 104.
I’m about ready for the tour!
Have a great day,
Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
cell: (856) 625-7915
… as of 10:44 AM today …
Quick Look at the News
Retail sales went a bit crazy during the last month as purchasing was much greater than many analysts anticipated (CNBC)https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/16/us-retail-sales-may-2020.html
... but air travel is still in the doldrums ... and if you are going on a flight, don't expect to be drinking as many airlines are banning alcohol out of concern for safety (CNN)https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/alcohol-ban-airlines-covid-19/index.html
With the number of cases increasing in many locations, there is talk we may have entered the second wave ... but wait a minute ... the first wave might not even be over yet (Today)https://www.today.com/health/coronavirus-second-wave-are-we-first-or-second-wave-covid-t184347
... even so ... one kind of wave has taken a back seat to the virus ... a heat wave ... for as temperatures rise so do deaths due to climate (TheGuardian)https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/16/climate-deaths-heat-cdc
I didn't put this first ... as there have been so many false promises of late and I don't want to get too hopeful ... but a drug shows promise for severely-affected virus patients (BBC)https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53061281
... yet people will continue about the risk to the elderly. There is a solution to that ... diluted blood plasma. This seems to reverse aging ... if you happen to be a mouse (NewAtlas)https://newatlas.com/medical/diluted-blood-plasma-reverse-aging-in-mice/
As we get older ... and lose our friends ... it is important to stay close to family and make new acquaintances. Why? Loneliness has terrible effects on both your brain and your body (CNET)https://www.cnet.com/news/how-loneliness-could-be-changing-your-brain-and-body/