Market Commentary – May 2020

U.S. stocks continued to recover in May as states began the process of reopening their economies following nationwide lockdowns from the COVID-19 outbreak. As of May 28th, over 40 million jobs have been lost in the U.S. during the past ten weeks, which represents the most rapid rise in unemployment in U.S. history. Fortunately, the rate of job losses has been slowing and unemployment figures are a lagging economic indicator. Therefore, we can deduce that at least from the perspective of labor, the U.S. economy has appeared to have already bottomed and is now in the recovery phase. This development coupled with massive amounts of government stimulus and the prospect for a COVID-19 vaccine have quickly propelled stocks higher from the lows reached on March 23rd. Many have viewed the strong rally with skepticism, but we believe the monetary and fiscal stimulus measures imposed by the U.S. government represent a market backstop. In the most likely scenario, stocks will remain range-bound for the near-term as more clarity is gained on the state of the economy. Additionally, we will be closely watching two additional risks that include trade relations with China and the recent emergence of social unrest nationwide.