It seems like almost every issue in our country right now is extremely polarizing. There are people who are really for it and others who are really against it and apparently no one in the middle. Well just so you all know, I’m in the middle when it comes to masks and the financial markets.

When it comes to masks, I have been wearing masks in public pretty much since the beginning of this pandemic. Before I got an official mask, I used a bandana tied around my face. I felt like and looked like I was going into a store to rob it rather than make a purchase, but I was never arrested or shot. Whether they protect me or the person I’m in contact with, whether they stop all the little molecules or just some, wearing one certainly can’t hurt, unless you have some type of medical condition. I actually find the mask has some advantages. People can’t tell whether I’m smiling, or frowning. In church, they can’t tell if I’m singing the hymns or not! I think the mask makes me look younger because it hides my gray whiskers and I have received a number of comments that I look better in a mask. I’m happy to comply with the mask requirements, especially if it will help get this virus out of town, but I also wouldn’t go into deep mourning if these requirements were lifted.

I’m sort of in the middle of the road on the stock market right now. As of this writing the Dow Jones Industrial Average is pushing close to 28,000 and has nearly recovered all the losses of March and April. On one end of the spectrum people are feeling that with the trillions of dollars in relief that has been pumped into the economy, and more on the way, that financial markets will continue to rise as that money finds its way into the economy. On the opposite end, you have those who believe this rally will quickly turn around and retrace itself back to the lows of March and April because we haven’t yet seen the virus abate and another shut down might be in the cards.

I’m feeling like the financial markets have gotten a bit ahead of themselves in hopes that our economy recovers quickly. I think we are due some bad news on the economic front as the year progresses. All the loans to businesses that were forgivable if they kept paying their employees are running out and if those businesses aren’t back at capacity, layoffs are bound to happen. Look at the airline industry. United and American have already announced furloughs and layoffs of thousands in September. Hospitality and lodging aren’t anywhere near pre-pandemic levels. Restaurants are operating at 50% capacity. How can you keep full staff when you only have half the business? So, short of another big bailout package, I expect unemployment to remain high or even go up before year end. More people out of work, and fewer goods and services being purchased certainly doesn’t point to a quick economic recovery. But I don’t feel that we will go through another complete shut down of the economy either. I believe we are learning to operate while living with this virus and that does provide somewhat of a floor for our economy. I don’t see much further upside to our financial markets, and a correction to the downside wouldn’t surprise me. I also don’t see a complete collapse back to the lows we experienced this Spring.

Stay safe and do what you can to keep others safe.

These are the opinions of Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.

Mike Berry is a Registered Representative offering securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated. Cambridge does not offer tax advice.

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