Chew on this Chinese math… U.S. stocks just finish their strongest month since 1987, at the same time the six-week unemployment total is now +30 million, implying a jobless rate of around 22%, the worst since the Great Depression, and more than twice the 10% peak reached in 2009. Consumer Spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, fell -7.5% last month, the steepest monthly decline on record, and yet the Nasdaq traded to almost “unchanged” on the year, go figure! I’m still wondering if this will ultimately go down as the greatest “buy the rumor sell the fact” trade in my lifetime? Simply meaning, buy the rumor of the “reopening” but sell the fact as it happens. Visa’s CEO is warning that the firm will be challenged “for a number of quarters” even as declines in spending on its network began to moderate in April. This was also the first time in over a decade that Apple didn’t issue a forecast for the next quarter. The good news is the fact we are reopening the economy to those who want to participate and taking steps back towards some form of normalcy. U.S. coronavirus cases as a whole are increasing at the slowest pace of the month. Unfortunately, New Jersey still recorded 460 new deaths, a record one-day increase for the state, and the number of new cases in California jumped by a whopping +5% after thousands flooded to the beaches this past weekend despite “stay-at-home” orders still being place. I argue it’s simply more people getting out and about in the Spring weather combined with more available testing. Meaning, with more people starting to move around and more able to get tested we will naturally see an initial jump in the numbers. What happens out into the Fall and early-Winter is perhaps the much larger concern and unknown? We will have the needed tools in our toolbox to easily battle the second-wave? Will a second-wave even happen? How long will it take U.S. and global consumers to return to a perceived “normal”? How will travel and entertainment spending change? Keep in mind, travel and tourism represent about +8 million jobs account for about 3% of U.S GDP. At the same time, the U.S. restaurant industry is thought to have employed about +14 million earlier this year. Interestingly, we had been seeing +13,000 new restaurants open in the U.S. each of the past few years with a total of around 675,000 restaurants in play at any one time. Bottom-line, travel, tourism, restaurants, leisure, and hospitality employe a lot of American’s and are tied to many facets of our economy. It is going to be very interesting to see how things shake out. I’ve heard many restaurant owners say they simply can’t reopen profitably under the early restrictions and corona guidelines. how many make it to the other side safely is a huge unknown?

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