It’s shaping up to be quite a memorable year—and we still have the entire second half of 2020 to go. Last month, the COVID-19 pandemic finally started to abate in the US after months of social distancing and a near shutdown of the economy. As fears of the coronavirus began to dwindle, news of national racial tensions—exacerbated by the senseless death of George Floyd—began to resurface. At month’s end, one crisis was slowly improving while the other was picking up steam—all with the backdrop of an equity market that has largely shrugged it all off. This is in contrast to Wall Street’s major indices tumbling more than 2% on Friday as several U.S. states imposed business restrictions in response to a surge in coronavirus cases.

Recently, Parametric Portfolio Associates published a Research Commentary entitled, “Munis Shine in May,” which we thought would be of interest.

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You’re working from home, working out from home, eating, educating kids and entertaining yourself at home – as you adjust to this new routine, make sure that you are not putting your goals and dreams on pause because of market volatility.

We all have a tough time handling uncertainty. So how are we supposed to make thoughtful decisions in this environment where everything seems uncertain? How do we avoid fear-based financial decisions and putting our goals on pause?

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Over the past few weeks, news of the spread of COVID-19 has dominated media channels. It’s in your news feed, it’s in your inbox, and everyone around you is likely talking about it. However, even more newsworthy than the virus itself is what has happened in reaction to it. The stock market has fallen; entire countries are on lockdown, tours and sporting events cancelled, and millions of children are not in school. In the US, panic over rising case counts had triggered a rush on stores and personal stockpiling; to the extent toilet paper shelves are empty.

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John Maxwell, in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, opens his chapter on the Law of Navigation by discussing the importance of controlling your direction rather than being controlled by it. Maxwell said, “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a Leader to chart the course.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed into bear market territory on March 11—defined as a decline of at least 20% from its recent peak. Many airline companies and energy stocks surpassed this threshold with even steeper drops, as equity prices were impacted by accelerating uncertainty about COVID-19 and the outbreak of an oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

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