Obsidian Market Update 8/28/20

Good afternoon!

This week we’re going to look at presidential elections and the stock market and some fun things we have come across recently.

First, how do presidents affect the stock market? Not much, it seems. Jurrien Timmer at Fidelity has researched the results back to 1789. Here is what he found. The “Presidential Cycle” shows that in the first two years of a presidential term, the market returns are below average, and in the last two years, they are well above average. There are big differences in the first two years of a Democratic Presidency compared to a Republican Presidency, but there is only a 0.2% difference over the full four years. He also found the best four-year return results came from Presidents who had a divided Congress. A Republican or Democratic sweep resulted in underperformance.

It is sometimes suggested that a particular president or party is “good” or “bad” for the stock market, and ultimately, it’s these long-term fundamentals that matter. While policy initiatives like taxes and spending can affect markets, so do demographics and effective monetary policy.

Domestic and global events affect the stock market at least as much, if not more, than the president’s financial policies. If the global economy is doing well and energy prices are stable, the stock market does well regardless of who is in office. And of course, factors like a war or global pandemic will have significant effects. While there are many other ways in which the parties are different, their impact on the stock market does not appear to be one.

Now for some fun stuff. In July, Ethiopia smashed the world record for tree planting. Led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, millions of Ethiopians planted 353 million trees in 12 hours. The world’s second-largest economy, the United States, generated more electricity from wind, sun, and water in April than from coal for the first time.

We’re happy that so many animal species are making a comeback. Humpback whales are thriving in the South Atlantic, dolphins are breeding in the Potomac for the first time since the 1800s, and seal pups are being born on the Thames banks. Herds of bison are once again roaming the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Tigers in India and Siberia are making a comeback, too.

Believe it or not, there is good news in global health. Algeria and Argentina have officially eliminated malaria. Malaria rates are also falling in other countries, like Cambodia, Laos, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. According to the UN, global HIV deaths have also fallen by ⅓ since 2010, and global measles rates have fallen by ⅔ thanks to the measles vaccine. Rwanda sees great success from vaccines, with 95% of their babies getting vaccinated for measles, rubella, and polio and is on track to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer.

We at Obsidian hope everyone has a great weekend with plenty of terrific news of your own. We’ll see you back here next week.

Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Securities offered through Triad Advisors, member FINRA/SIPC.​ Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions,LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.