The gradual reopening of the US economy has started to lift Main Street sentiment from depressed levels, according to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) Beige Book. Despite growing concerns about rising COVID-19 cases in several pockets of the country, economic activity has returned in most industries.
Despite the gradual reopening of the economy in several states, sentiment on Main Street remains suppressed, as the effects of COVID-19 appear to be keeping a lid on American optimism in the most recent Federal Reserve (Fed) Beige Book.
With 22 million jobs lost in the past four weeks, a record drop in retail sales, and huge drops in industrial production and housing starts, it is safe to say we are likely in a recession. Even the Federal Reserve (Fed) in the recent Beige Book said that “economic activity contracted sharply and abruptly.” We highly doubt the Fed would say that if they didn’t believe the economy was in a recession.
Stocks have rallied nicely off the March 23 lows on the back of a bold policy response from the Federal Reserve (Fed) and lawmakers in Washington, DC, which was followed by signs that a peak in growth of COVID-19 cases may come soon. At Wednesday’s close, the S&P 500 Index stood 19% above the March 23 closing low but down 17.7% for the year. That begs the question whether a positive year is possible with a pretty big hole still left to dig out of.
I hope your week is off to a great start!
I hope this finds you and your family safe, healthy and doing well! Wow! How much our lives have changed in a little over a month. Not too terribly long ago we were celebrating Punxsutawney Phil not seeing his shadow and the potential early onset of Spring. Now, we’re celebrating the warmer weather being ushered in as hopefully another arrow in our quiver to help to eradicate a virus that started across the world in Wuhan, China.
In a move in which the timing was more compelling than the decision itself, the Federal Reserve (Fed) announced this morning that it unanimously decided to cut its policy rate by 50 basis points (0.5%) from the 1.5-1.75% range to the 1-1.25% range. The surprise move marked the Fed’s first rate action outside of a regularly scheduled meeting since October 2008.