May 4, 2020— As investors turned part-time epidemiologists, we have been paying close attention to the trajectory of the COVID-19 disease, including growth in the number of new daily cases. There is evidence at the global and U.S. level that the so-called curve is being bent, though the U.S. curve is behind many other parts of the world and it has taken an unprecedented societal effort to do so.Some argue there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with U.S.
May 1, 2020—The damage to the U.S. economy resulting from the outbreak and social-distancing restrictions has started being revealed over the past few weeks. Businesses have temporarily shuttered, which has forced a drastic hit to consumer spending. The damage to labor markets was immediately seen in weekly unemployment claims figures. Now we have monthly and quarterly data trickling in confirming the dire forecasts.The most timely and striking indicator has come from the labor market.
April 22, 2020—Highlights:We have reduced our exposure to real estate investment trusts (REITs) from an overweight to a neutral allocation.Risk assets like REITs and equities have staged a strong rally since March 23, but we expect a slow economic recovery, the risks around which do not appear to be properly appreciated by investors.We took the opportunity to sell REITs into relative strength to reduce overall risk in client portfolios.