Weekly Market Review: May 18, 2020

Weekly Market Review: May 18, 2020


During the month of April 2019, an average of 2.34 million passengers were screened each day by the TSA at airports across the United States. Within days of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on  3/13/20, the airline industry went the way of the entire business world – almost a complete shutdown. The low point for air travelers was just 87,534 flyers on 4/14/20, off 96% from the April 2019 daily average. As states have hit the “reboot button,” airline passenger traffic has inched upward, reaching 250,467 last Friday 5/ 15/20. The airlines are now debating their options for a future business model: do they stop booking passengers into
“middle seats” and lose a third of their pre-pandemic revenue, or do they book full flights and risk alienating regular flyers? (source: Transportation Security Administration).

The House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion, 1,815-page HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) late last Friday night ( 5/ 15/20). The latest stimulus package comes on the heels of four previous bills (totaling $2.8 trillion of spending) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump between 3/06/20 and 4/24/20 to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The HEROES Act now goes onto the Senate for debate (source: Congress).

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.8% on a month-over-month basis in April 2020, its largest monthly decline since December 2008. The last calendar year in which inflation was negative, i.e., deflation, was 1954 or 66 years ago. Retailers recognize the difficulty of increasing prices when 23 million Americans are out of work
(source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Notable Numbers for the Week:

  1. NEVER GOING BACK – Before President Trump declared a national emergency to combat the COVID-19 virus on Friday 3/13/20, just 3.6% of American wage and salaried employees worked from home five days a week (source: Department of Labor).
  2. SOCIAL DISTANCING ALREADY – 35 million Americans live alone, i.e., 28% of the households in the United States have just a single person living in the house/apartment (source: Census Bureau).
  3. WE NEED A WINNER NOW – 88% of the drugs that enter clinical trials do not receive FDA approval and never come to market for sale to the general public (source: Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development).

Mark R. Reimet, CFP®

Jodie Booth
Financial Advisor