Talking Points of the Week for Financial Advisors (3/9)
March 9th, 2020
- Last week was marked with continued coronavirus news and fears with the S&P 500 having a wild ride with movements greater that 2% in either direction the norm for the week. Global cases of the virus surpassed 100K with 14 deaths in the U.S., and the Fed authorized an emergency 50 basis point cut, and Congress passed an $8.3B package to help fight the virus. Concerns have still amounted to the lack of testing and preparedness across the U.S. with companies announcing the cancellation of travel and expanded, and even necessary, temporary work from home policies. The volatility index began the week at highly elevated levels and increased further by the end of the week, closing Friday above 40.
- Following January's huge jobs beat, February continued the trend with posting a 273K increase in nonfarm payrolls, beating an expected 175K increase. These results lowered the unemployment number back down to 3.5%, and average hourly earnings rose 0.3% in February, putting the annual increase at 3.0%.
- The services sector continued to grow in February with the ISM Non-Manufacturing increase rising to 57.3 in February, which was the fastest growth we have seen in the index in a year. The coronavirus was mentioned several times in the survey's responses but has yet to put a damper on the index, though continued fears through early March may cause the survey to retrace a bit from these levels.
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