Good Afternoon,

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy.  It has been a Rocky Road this week on many fronts from mandates to the NFL Playoffs. The Biden Administration hit some bumps with their Covid mandates for businesses with over 100 employees being blocked and a Supreme Court justice retiring. Even the NFL hit some potholes on their road to the Super Bowl.

This week the Biden Administration withdrew its Covid-19 vaccine mandates for businesses. The Supreme Court voted 6-3 that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had exceeded its authority that Congress had given them when they issued the mandate under their emergency powers. OSHA pulled their vaccine and testing mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees yesterday and went into effect that same day. Biden is asking businesses to voluntarily implement Covid testing and vaccine requirements on their own terms. The agency is prioritizing their resources to focus on finalizing a Covid-19 Healthcare Standard for companies.

The Supreme Court is causing a few bumps in the road and one more to add is Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer stepping down after serving for more than 26 years. Breyer is the court’s oldest justice, at 83, and one of three liberal justices on the bench. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and believed that the Constitution should be based on practical considerations that change with the times. His retirement gives Biden the chance to nominate a successor and fulfill a campaign promise of nominating the first Black woman to the serve on the court.

Following the Fed meeting and ongoing Q4 earnings releases, volatility has continued to rise from last week’s levels. The Fed signaled yesterday that rates are expected to be raised as early as March because inflation is still high, and the labor market is strong. Many experts anticipate there will be two or three rate hikes this year. Although the markets are volatile, given how high valuations have been since the onset of the pandemic, it may be a healthy correction. We see a shift away from riskier businesses and toward higher-quality firms with strong cash flows. In addition, the Fed stated that it plans to begin shrinking its balance sheet in the near future. It’s unclear when this will happen, but the Fed has set the expectation for market participants that it will ultimately occur. As of last Friday, the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq are all down over – 3.4%, – 1.6%, and – 5.6%, respectively, with the 10-year Treasury yield marginally higher at 1.81%.

We are hosting some great virtual events this year. Last week we sent out the Webinar Event Calendar that you can view here. Earlier this week, we sent out the invitation to our first virtual event of the year on “Your Best Start” with Christopher Whitaker, CFP®, AIF®, and Megan Schwab, CFP® from our Financial Planning Department. It will be on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at 1pm PST. Click here to register and learn more.

Since our office is still under construction and we are not having in-person meetings at our Irvine location currently, please call our office at (888) 253-0288 or email Michelle Campos at to schedule a meeting with your Wealth Manager.

If you like football, last weekend did not disappoint, with playoff games keeping us on the edge of our seats. Although my Cowboys aren’t in the playoffs, this weekend the Los Angeles Rams are hosting the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game in Los Angeles. The AFC Championship game will be played in Kansas City with the Chiefs taking on the Cincinnati Bengals. The winners of these games will head to Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Take care and stay healthy.

Rhonda Ducote


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