Market Update – Volatility & Actions We Are Taking for Our Clients

Graphic reading Market Update

As a valued client, your peace of mind is very important to us. Since our last update, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to expand across the U.S. and the rest of the world, with the most U.S. confirmed cases right here in the state of Washington. Considering that, we wanted to share some insight and the actions we are taking to support our clients.

Market volatility is certainly not new. There have been many “bear markets” defined as a 20% drop or more. Today’s closing prices ended very close to a bear market. Two weeks ago, I wrote that the market does not like uncertainties. Right now, there are at least three major uncertainties the markets are responding to:

  • Coronavirus – Obviously it is dominating the news right now, and according to the experts there will likely be many more cases. Please review the appropriate websites like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for specific ways to prevent and protect yourself from the virus, as well as filtering information about travel. The markets will react quickly to information regarding the virus and its potential financial impact on the global economy.
  • Oil – Yesterday, Saudi Arabia and Russia could not agree on oil production, so Saudi Arabia decided to increase production to drive down prices. Not only would this put pressure on the stocks of oil producing companies, but also increases geo-political risk of oil producing countries like Russia and Iran.
  • Politics – With 8 months left until the U.S. presidential election, the Democratic party does not have a clear candidate yet. The two front runners have very different platforms, and once the party has a nominee, at least one uncertainty will clear up.

Petersen Hastings has a tested contingency plan in place to make sure our clients would continue to receive our guidance during times of trouble. We have the ability to work remotely and have adopted technologies that enable our team to stay connected with each other and with our clients. We have many clients that do not live in the Tri-Cities area, and we regularly engage with them using screen sharing and video conferencing techniques. Right now, we are conducting business as usual, however, if you have an upcoming meeting scheduled in our office, and would feel more comfortable with another solution, we are able and willing to accommodate those requests.

We have approximately half of our clients that have access to our client portal, which provides secure on-line document sharing that can be accessed through a desktop computer or a mobile app (Apple and Android). If you do not have online access to your account, now would be a good time to contact our client service team to get set up.

We have been rebalancing portfolios to the targeted investment policies and will review tax loss harvesting opportunities. These strategies have helped our clients with past periods of volatility over the years. We realize these times are challenging and they add increased stress. During this time of volatility, we will continue to provide communication to you. In the meantime, please reach out to your advisor to discuss your personal situation. Thank you for your confidence in us to help you on your Trusted Financial PathTM.

Scott Sarber, CFP®, AIF®

CEO & President