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Has 2020 Volatility Thrown Your Allocation Out of Whack?

Has 2020 Volatility Thrown Your Allocation Out of Whack?

The financial markets have been on a wild ride in 2020. The year began with a continuation of the bull market that started in 2009. The longest bull market in history, however, came to an abrupt end with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.1

From February 20 to March 23, the S&P 500 fell by 33.67%. From that lowpoint through August 14, the index has climbed 50%. In fact, the S&P 500 has recouped all earlier losses and is now in positive territory year-to-date.2

However, that doesn’t mean your portfolio is back where it started at the beginning of the year. Your portfolio is probably allocated across a variety of asset classes. The exact allocation should be based on your specific needs, goals and risk tolerance.

Diversification, or the allocation of funds across many different assets, helps to minimize risk exposure. If one asset performs poorly, only that portion of the allocation suffers. The loss may be offset by gains in other asset classes.

Your various asset classes are always moving in different directions. For example, consider a few asset classes and their index performance through July of this year:3

BloomBarc US 1-5 Yr Government Idx (Short-term Government Treasuries): 4.36%

Bloomberg Commodity Index TR (Commodities): -14.80%

S&P 500 Index (Large-Cap U.S. Stocks): 2.38%

S&P 600 Smallcap (Small-cap U.S. Stocks): -14.48%

That’s just a sampling of some common asset classes that are often included in diversified portfolios. Over time, your allocation becomes out of balance. For example, your allocation to small cap stocks may have declined this year as the asset class has declined in value. Similarly, your allocation to short-term treasuries may have increased as those assets have risen in value.

The result is an allocation that may be very different than what you intended.

One strategy is to review and rebalance your portfolio regularly. In fact, you can set your account up for automatic rebalancing, so at regular periods, assets will be sold and purchased to get back to your original allocation.

If you haven’t reviewed your allocation lately, it’s possible it doesn’t align with your current goals and risk tolerance. We can help you implement the right allocation for your needs and continue to rebalance the portfolio on an ongoing basis.

Let’s connect soon and start the conversation. Contact us today at Benefit Resource Partners.

1https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/11/investing/bear-market-stocks-recession/index.html

2https://www.google.com/search?q=INDEXSP:.INX&tbm=fin&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgecRowi3w8sc9YSntSWtOXmNU5eIKzsgvd80rySypFBLnYoOyeKW4uTj1c_UNDM0qi4t5FrHyePq5uEYEB1jpefpFAAAU6wGESAAAAA#scso=_StQ2X43rM4q_tQadupGwDA1:0

3https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/tools/benchmarkreturns

Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency. 20364-2020/8/20

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Fourth Quarter Preview: What to Expect for the End of 2020

Fourth Quarter Preview: What to Expect for the End of 2020

It took just under five months for it to happen. On August 17th, the S&P 500 closed at 3389.78—an all-time record. That record is also significant because it means the index officially recouped all losses from the downturn that happened in March.1

This year has been a rollercoaster ride for investors. The S&P 500 dropped 33.92% from February 19 to March 23 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. Since March 23, the index has increased 51.51%, triggering a new bull market.2

However, a sharp increase in the stock market doesn’t mean the U.S. economy is out of the woods. In fact, other metrics would indicate that the economy is still struggling. In the second quarter, gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 32.9%, the largest quarterly contraction on record. That contraction is more than three times the previous record—a 10% contraction in 1958.3

Also, not all sectors of the stock market have participated in the recovery. The increase over the last five months has been fueled by growth in the Information Technology (IT) and Consumer Discretionary sectors, each of which are up more than 23% year-to-date. However, other sectors, particularly Financials and Energy, are negative on the year. In fact, of the 11 S&P 500 Sectors, five are still negative on the year.4

The 4th Quarter is historically the best quarter for S&P 500 performance, with the index up an average of 3.51% from October through December over the past 30 years.5 However, 2020 is not like other years. There are factors and risks that could threaten the market’s recovery. Below are a couple things to watch as the year comes to a close:

Election

We’re only a couple months away from the election, as if 2020 needed more uncertainty. Everyone has their own preferred candidate. However, some investment managers are saying the real risk isn’t one of the candidates winning, it’s an unclear outcome.

Bridgewater Associates, which manages more than $140 billion, recently told clients the real risk is if there is “material concern over the legitimacy of the process.” Analysis of recent options transactions show that many investors are taking protective stances through January 2021, possibly an indication they are concerned about post-election volatility.6

However, UBS notes that post-election volatility is often short-lived. They point to the most recent example of an election with an unclear winner—the 2000 election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. During that time, the S&P 500 fell around 6% in the weeks after the election as litigation mounted. However, those losses were erased as soon as the election reached resolution.7

COVID

Of course, the other major risk to the economy and financial markets in the fourth quarter is developments related to COVID. The pandemic is now in its seventh month. As of mid-August, the death toll in the United States exceeded 168,000, with more than 5 million confirmed cases.8

The development of a vaccine in the fourth quarter could deliver a boost to the economy. The government has implemented Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to deliver 300 million vaccines by January. Moderna has a vaccine in phase 3 trials, but it is uncertain whether the company will be able to meet the government’s target date.8

Ready to protect your portfolio from fourth quarter uncertainty? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Benefit Resource Partners. We can analyze your needs and goals and implement a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

1https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/17/stock-market-futures-open-to-close-news.html

2https://www.google.com/search?q=INDEXSP:.INX&tbm=fin&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgecRowi3w8sc9YSntSWtOXmNU5eIKzsgvd80rySypFBLnYoOyeKW4uTj1c_UNDM0qi4t5FrHyePq5uEYEB1jpefpFAAAU6wGESAAAAA#scso=_iyc9X5L9Eq6E9PwPt8m4mAM1:0

3https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/07/30/896714437/3-months-of-hell-u-s-economys-worst-quarter-ever

4https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/17/investing/premarket-stocks-trading/index.html

5https://stockanalysis.com/average-monthly-stock-returns/

6https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2020-election-wall-street-stock-market

7https://fortune.com/2020/08/18/trump-biden-stock-market-2020-election-contested-results-what-could-happen-investors/

8https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/19/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/

Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency. 20365 – 2020/8/20

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COVID Economic Update: Is a Second Stimulus on the Horizon?​

COVID Economic Update: Is a Second Stimulus on the Horizon?

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into its seventh month, leaders in Washington are debating a second stimulus bill. On August 8, President Trump signed executive orders that extended the federal unemployment benefit, but reduced the amount from $600 per week to $400. The orders also suspended the payroll tax through the end of the year, and suspended interest on federal student loans.1

However, even as President Trump signed the orders, Republicans and Democrats continued to negotiate terms for a second stimulus package. Democrats support a $3 trillion package known as the HEROES Act, while Republicans have their own $1 trillion HEALS Act.1

It’s unclear whether the final bill will include direct stimulus payments to Americans. Both Republicans and Democrats have endorsed the idea. However, it’s difficult to predict at this point what stimulus payments may be included in the final legislation.

Market Update

Despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID, the election, and the overall economy, the financial markets continue to climb. After suffering deep losses earlier in the year, two of the three major market indexes are in positive territory. Through August 10, all index year-to-date returns are:

S&P 500: 3.53%2

DJIA: -2.57%3

NASDAQ: 22.24%4

While the markets have mostly recovered from their losses earlier in the year, volatility can strike at any time. That’s especially true should the COVID pandemic worsen or if the economy suffers continued damage. There also may be increasing uncertainty as the election approaches.

If you’re concerned about risk, let’s talk about it. There are a wide range of strategies and tools we can implement to minimize risk and help protect your financial future. Let’s connect today and discuss your needs, goals and concerns. At Benefit Resource Partners, we welcome the opportunity to help you implement the right strategy for your objectives.

1https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/08/10/does-trumps-executive-order-mean-theres-no-second-stimulus-check-coming/#170371841d71

2https://www.google.com/search?q=INDEXSP:.INX&tbm=fin&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgecRowi3w8sc9YSntSWtOXmNU5eIKzsgvd80rySypFBLnYoOyeKW4uTj1c_UNDM0qi4t5FrHyePq5uEYEB1jpefpFAAAU6wGESAAAAA#scso=_N64yX_KZKca7tQawrZbwAg1:0

3https://www.google.com/search?q=INDEXDJX:.DJI&tbm=fin&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgecRozC3w8sc9YSmtSWtOXmNU4eIKzsgvd80rySypFBLjYoOyeKS4uDj0c_UNkgsry3kWsfJ6-rm4Rrh4RVjpuXh5AgAzsV5OSAAAAA#scso=_h64yX9HyDLOO9PwPrMKg2Ac1:0

4https://www.google.com/search?q=NASDAQ:NDAQ&tbm=fin&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgecRoyi3w8sc9YSmdSWtOXmNU4-IKzsgvd80rySypFJLgYoOy-KR4uLj0c_UNzKtyzQyKeRaxcvs5Brs4Blr5AQkAEbRSnEgAAAA#scso=_7a0yX-q3AcyxtQbPt7HICg1:0

Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency. 20363 – 2020/8/20

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