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Bending the Rules | Market Insights for Week Ending April 10, 2020

We are getting closer to a fork in the road as we consider how these facts relate to HCM’s investment strategy. One path contains all the things we have been worried about for the past month and a half. An impending recession with unknown severity and duration, corporate earnings that are expected to significantly contract and historic job losses. Down the other path is unlimited funding and the commitment by the Federal Reserve to support markets regardless of how disconnected stock prices get from the actual economy.

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What Matters Now? | Market Insights for Week Ending Mar 27, 2020

On Thursday, March 26th, we got our first glimpse into how the COVID-19 outbreak was starting to affect the economy. There had been anecdotal evidence of industries having to shutter and business demand slowing, but this was the first meaningful reading and would either confirm or deny the fears that had been building for weeks. Mainly, how bad is it going to be and how will the market react? The Wall St. consensus was for around 700k new unemployment claims, which would have been the highest reading since the beginning of the data set in 1967.

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Black Swan(s) | Market Insights for Week Ending Mar 13, 2020

There is a popular finance book by Nassim Taleb titled “The Black Swan” that will most likely shoot to the top of Amazon’s best seller list over the next few weeks. The book focuses on the extreme impact of rare and unpredictable outlier events and the effect they can have on all aspects of life, markets included. The cascade of events that have unfolded over the past few weeks have been historic in a way that most would like to forget but all will most certainly remember. What started as a viral outbreak in China has metastasized into an unrelenting avalanche of shocking headlines and unprecedented actions, both in the markets and society. The markets response to this uncertainty has been as swift and disorderly as any time in history.

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“Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There” -Dwight Eisenhower

Back in 1987, right after the infamous “Black Monday” decline (which took the Dow Jones Industrial Average down by 22.6%), the cover of Barron’s featured a suitcase with two frightened eyes of a panicked investor peeking out of its dark recesses and an arm reaching out waving a white flag of surrender. Selling immediately after Black Monday would have been a mistake and buying immediately after would not have yielded any long-term value. The right decision was to “Stand There” and collect the necessary information and make an informed decision.

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Is This Market Ludicrous? Market Insights for Week Ending Feb 14, 2020

The dominance of a handful of the largest companies in the market, as measured by the S&P 500, is dramatic. Scott Minerd, Guggenheim Partners CIO, said last week, “I have never in my career seen anything as crazy as what’s going on right now. We are in ludicrous season.” Some might say these comments are a little over the top, but just look at one of the extreme situations that Scott is referencing.

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