Talking Points of the Week for Financial Advisors (4/20)
April 20th, 2020
Every week, member firms of HQR receive a 19-page Weekly Report which includes risk level summaries, model allocations, detailed model positioning information, market index information, and much more. Here, we are sharing the talking points of the week which we provide in the Weekly Report.
The S&P 500 posted its second straight positive week for the first time since the selloff began in mid-February, bringing the COVID-19 related drawdown to -15.1%, and up over 28% since the lows on March 23.
March economic data releases have picked up and, as expected, the picture has not been pretty. An index of leading economic indicators was actually “better” than expected by only declining -6.7%, while consensus expectations were for a -7.2% decline. Jobless claims accounted for a vast majority of the decline, but there weren’t any real bright spots to point to in the underlying data.
March's advance retail sales had their sharpest decline on record, falling -8.7%. Clothing lead the plunge by declining just over -50% while car sales fell -25%. The backdrop of this decline wasn’t pretty as data collection was hampered by businesses having closed their operations and not able to report, so the worst-hit firms may be underrepresented in this figure and we may see more significant revisions in the future.
Jobless claims continue to remain at historic levels with over 5.2 million people filing for unemployment claims last week. Over the last four weeks, over 22 million people have lost their jobs, accounting for over 13% of the total U.S. labor force.