Displaying items by tag: pandemic
Healthcare has been one of the predominant stories of the pandemic, but its stock prices…see the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site
One of the most eye-opening aspects of the pandemic’s impact on the economy has been in housing. The housing market has been on fire since Spring, with a gigantic boom in suburban home sales. The big question is whether this is the start of a sustained trend or a more temporary one. Most analysts think it was just a short-term move. Overall mortgage applications have flattened in recent months at the same time as listings have been rising, showing that supply and demand are changing. Additionally, there is a divergence in the type of demand. Demand for high end homes is stronger, but for cheaper housing it is much weaker.
FINSUM: The pandemic has affected those at the lower end of the socio-economic latter more strongly than those at the top, and combined with how the virus itself has incented social isolation, it is no wonder suburban housing has boomed. That said, it seems temporary almost by definition.
When the pandemic first hit, recruiting slowed down, with less advisors moving firms. However, after a couple of months, things started to pick up. According to a TD Ameritrade survey, 40% of advisors now say they are more likely to move than they were before the pandemic. Only 15% say they are less likely. If one comment sums up the increased velocity of recruiting, it might be this, “Advisors are at home and working in an independent environment. That can cause them to question what they are paying for at their firm. ‘Do I need the overhead and management of the wirehouse? Am I doing alright without it now?”.
FINSUM: On top of the questioning of whether all the overheads associated with a wirehouse make sense when they are working from home, the other big thing driving moves is the simple fact that it is easier for recruiters to reach advisors when they aren’t in the office. This makes the whole courting and exploration period much simpler.
Despite the volatility of the last couple of days, the markets actually got some good economic news today. As usual, the data is not perfect, but directionally, the unemployment numbers suggest the underlying economy is improving. The unemployment rate in August was 8.4%. That marks the first reading under 10% since before the pandemic. The economy added 1.4m jobs overall. The only fly in the ointment is that this is the third straight month that the number of jobs added has been falling, a sign that the recovery could be losing momentum.
FINSUM: The reality is we are not just going to immediately pop back to January 2020’s economy. The fact that well over a million jobs were added in a very tumultuous month is a good indication that the recovery is on track.
Muni bonds have been on a relentless rally. Any advisor is surely aware of this because there is likely a lot of their client’s money in the space. The inflows have been so sharp, and the price action so swift, that average ten-year yields in munis are at 0.7%, the lowest since the 1950s. At the same time, the COVID pandemic has decimated local and state budgets and there is a $1 tn budget deficit. Worse, the federal government has no clear plans in place to help local and state governments, meaning such municipalities may not be bailed out any time soon.
FINSUM: So on the one hand you have soaring prices, and on the other, significantly eroding credit quality. In any normal circumstance this would be seen as a bubble. However, given that Washington does seem likely to offer some aid to local governments, a meltdown will probably be avoided—but not without some volatility along the way.