Decreasing Medical Risks, Economic Resiliency, and Market Highs

This content is brought to you by:

Mike Zirbel, a Financial Advisor with 307 Financial Services
located at 416 East Main Street, Riverton, WY, 82501.
PH: (307)856-8200.
It is intended for educational purposes and not to provide specific advice.

Over the past week, case counts rose to new highs, due to holiday travel showing up in the data. By the end of the week, however, there were signs that case growth was starting to peak. Still, the events in Washington on January 6 present a risk of another wave of travel-induced infections.

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The real area of improvement this week has been in vaccine deployment. Vaccinations have accelerated significantly since the start of the year, and we now have more than 3 percent of the population vaccinated. With current trends, we should have about half the population vaccinated by the end of March. As the vaccinated population grows along with the population of people who have been exposed to the virus, that should also help reduce infection rates. We are getting close to the worst of it. After that point, more improvement should come steadily.

The economic news also continued to deteriorate, but here too we saw positive signs. Confidence and spending were down as lockdowns widened around the country. On the positive side, the federal government has now passed a stimulus program that should help support the economy over the next couple of months. And with the new administration, more stimulus is likely.

While the current headlines continue to be bad, there are signs of improvement and reasons to believe we are close to the bottom. That seems to be what markets are thinking, as a combination of slowly decreasing medical risks and economic resiliency has kept them close to all-time highs in the past weeks. Let’s take a look at the details.

The Virus: Christmas Travel Cases May Be Peaking

New cases per day. The most obvious metric for tracking the virus is daily new cases. We saw a data distortion lull in the aftermath of the Christmas holiday, as we did with Thanksgiving, with the drop due to slower data reporting. Now, however, case growth has moved back up to new highs as the holiday travel surge shows up. With that said, we are now two weeks past the new year. Much of the travel infections are likely already in the system, which may be shown by the infection peak in the past couple of days. While risks remain—the events of January 6 in Washington could result in another round of infection growth—we may be getting close to the crest of the third wave.

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New daily infection rates were 236,631 on January 13, down from 265,105 a week earlier. The seven-day average number of new cases per day was 250,092, up from 229,523 a week ago, a smaller increase than in the prior week. While case growth remains high, the good news is that the rate of increase looks to have slowed. If this trend continues, we could see the third wave peak in the next couple of weeks, as the post-holiday surge fades.

This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a tax preparer, professional tax advisor, or lawyer.

Michael W Zirbel is a financial professional with 307 Financial Services, LLC at 416 E Main ST. Riverton, WY. 82501. He offers securities as a Registered Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 307-856-8200 or at [email protected].

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