COVID-19 May Threaten The Recovery

Just as the economic recovery was beginning to gain some steam, COVID-19 cases have been rising dramatically in several regions around the world [FIGURE 1]. The change of seasons is adding to concerns, as colder weather shifts more activities indoors—increasing the chances of viral transmissions. This has prompted many governments to take greater action to try to curb the spread of COVID-19. Several countries and many states in the United States have rolled back reopening plans and implemented new restrictions such as school closures, nighttime curfews, and even stay-at-home orders.

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Frothy Sentiment Rides Bullish Technicals

The reaction from stocks since the US election has been truly impressive. The S&P 500 Index is up 8.8% for the month, on pace to be the best November for the S&P 500 in 40 years. Small caps have also soared, with the Russell 2000 Index up 16%, which would be its second-best month ever. Although we remain longer-term bullish on equities, there are some signs that sentiment could be getting a little frothy at the moment, which
could increase the odds of a pullback.

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Q3 Results Brighten 2021 Picture

Earnings blew away expectations during the second quarter as the unprecedented COVID-19 lockdowns early in the quarter, followed by the uncertainty and unevenness of the reopening and limited guidance from corporate leaders, caused analysts to badly miss with their forecasts. In the third quarter, analysts had more information and the environment included fewer twists and turns, which should have made predicting results much easier. Still, analysts were overly pessimistic by nearly the same margin, as earnings results far
surpassed expectations.

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Market-Friendly Election Outcome

Former Vice President Joe Biden has been elected the 46th President of the United States, defeating President Donald Trump in a tight race. Based on the polls and some market signals, the outcome of the presidential election may not have been much of a surprise.

The Senate was a different story. Conventional wisdom expected the Senate to go the same way as the top of the ticket. But the stronger-than-expected performance by some Senate Republicans considered vulnerable means that the Democrats will have to win both Georgia Senate seats in January runoffs—a tall task in a traditionally conservative state—to reach 50 seats and take control of the Senate (Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would break any tie). Here we focus on the most likely outcome—a split Congress under Biden.

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2 Post-Election Charts You Need to See

The election is over, but the questions are mounting. We don’t know who will be the next president as of Wednesday morning, but we do know that stocks tend to do well the final two months of an election year. “Once the uncertainty is over, stocks tend to rally in November and December, with November the best month of the year during an election year,” explained LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Of course, 2020 isn’t like any other year, and we still could be a ways away from who the winner will be.”

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Vote (If You Haven’t Already)

2020 has certainly been a bizarre year, and perhaps we have finally arrived at the culminating event—the US presidential election. While every election may be characterized as a major turning point in our country’s history, the context of the ongoing global pandemic makes a particularly compelling case for this year’s election.

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