March 12, 2020
As you are aware, yesterday the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. This has jolted the stock market bear out of its 11-year hibernation. As I write this, the S&P 500 is now down 25% from its all-time high that was set on February 19. As we have shared at several WorldWatch programs, a bear market is confirmed when the S&P 500 is down 20% or more from a recent high.
Last night, President Trump announced a travel ban from most of Europe to the USA. This announcement, in conjunction with the WHO pandemic announcement, has been the catalyst for much of the market selloff today.
The pandemic situation continues to evolve along with the influence on the markets. Although there is no way to forecast the final impact of each, it is wise to keep an historical perspective on other major bear markets over the past 100 years. To provide insight, by separate email, clients have received an updated Bear Market Perspectives measured as of noon today.
Federal, State and Local Governments continue to take steps to try and curb the transmission of COVID-19. It is our top priority to monitor and maintain our business operations as normal; to continue to provide solutions for clients to remain in contact with us; and to be mindful and careful of the wellbeing of our clients and staff.
Regarding our ability to serve you throughout this uncertainty, we currently have no staff member with any symptoms of the virus. In the event this were to happen, all advisory and client service staff have the ability to work remotely from home. Therefore, you would not lose email or phone contact with them. Additionally, if you wish to replace in person-meetings with video conferencing or other methods, please let us know.
I trust this short update will provide a degree of comfort so that you can focus on managing your personal health maintenance needs.
Richard J. Volpe, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®
Founder and President