The United States set a somber record on Thursday, July 16, 2020, with more than 75,000 new COVID-19 cases. In fact, the U.S. set new single-day COVID-19 records 11 times between June 17 and July 16. Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts the country will soon top over 100,000 new cases each day.1

COVID-related deaths are also increasing in some states. Florida set its single day record for COVID deaths on July 16, with 156. Nine other states also set single-day death records the same week.1

The resurgence in coronavirus cases has led some states to enact new measures. More than half of all states now have some kind of mask mandate. California has even rolled back its reopening, closing bars, indoor dining, gyms, and more.2

What does this mean for the economic recovery? And what does it mean for your financial future? It’s impossible to predict what will happen in the short-term, but knowing where things stand today may help you make important decisions with your strategy.

Stock Market

The stock market continues to rally in spite of the increasing COVID numbers and the return of restrictions. As of July 16, the S&P 500 is nearly back to even for the year. In fact, it’s up 43.71% since hitting a low 2237 on March 23.3 NASDAQ set a record-high on July 9 when it reached 10,617.4

The continued gains are good news for investors, especially after the sharp decline in March. However, that decline also shows us just how quickly the market can turn, especially if state governments introduce new orders that close businesses.

If you’re concerned about another potential downturn or future risk, this could be the right time to explore risk-protection strategies. For example, products like fixed annuities allow you to participate in a portion of the market upside but also protect you against losses. A financial professional can help you determine which risk-management strategy is right for you.

Unemployment

While the number of new unemployment claims has declined for 15 consecutive weeks, unemployment numbers are still much higher than they were pre-COVID. In February, there were approximately 200,000 new unemployment claims each week. That number exploded to 6.867 million new claims in one week in late March.While new claims have declined since that point, they’re still more than double their level during the height of the Great Recession in 2009.5

Stimulus

In March, the government passed the CARES Act, which, among other things, provided direct stimulus payments to many Americans. A recent study found that 74% of recipients had used all of their stimulus payments within four weeks.6

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact Americans, Congress is considering a second round of stimulus payments. In May, the House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act to provide a second round of direct stimulus payments.6

In an interview in mid-July, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin indicated that a second round of stimulus payments was a possibility, even if it doesn’t align exactly with the HEROES Act. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump have also recently expressed their willingness to negotiate a second stimulus package.

While stimulus payments may provide a nice boost, they’re not a replacement for long-term strategy. At Benefit Resource Partners we can help you analyze your needs and goals and implement strategies to limit your risk exposure. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

1https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/17/world/coronavirus-updates.html

2https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/15/california-coronavirus-shutdown-businesses-restaurants

3https://www.google.com/search?q=INDEXSP:.INX&tbm=fin&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgecRowi3w8sc9YSntSWtOXmNU5eIKzsgvd80rySypFBLnYoOyeKW4uTj1c_UNDM0qi4t5FrHyePq5uEYEB1jpefpFAAAU6wGESAAAAA#scso=_Ap0RX4PNDdvRtAbPobiYBQ1:0

4https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/09/investing/stock-market-supreme-court-trump/index.html

5https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-jobless-claims-unemployment-week-ended-july-11-175149759.html

6https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/112232064

Annuities are long-term products of the insurance industry designed for retirement income. They contain some limitations, including possible withdrawal charges and a market value adjustment that could affect contract values.

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