Good Afternoon Valued Clients, Friends and Family,

As we hop into the long weekend, there has been quite a bit of news this week as we end the first quarter of 2021. March Madness proved to be unpredictable, vaccines in California have opened to anyone over age 50 and the market has been neither a bull nor a bear, but a bunny, hopping up and down.

The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, March Madness, is well underway and a big shout out to the men’s UCLA Basketball team for making it to the Final Four. They will faceoff with #1 Gonzaga this Saturday. My grand-pup Charlie is their Number 1 Fan!

We are starting off April in the right direction with the vaccine supply ramping up. Today, all adults ages 50 and over are eligible to get vaccinated, and on April 15th all individuals ages 16 and over will be eligible. Pfizer confirmed today that their vaccine protection lasts at least 6 months after the second dose. These results are from the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of Pfizer/BioNTech. They will now seek full FDA approval for their vaccine. It should last much longer, but this is a first look at how long the protection can last beyond the first estimate of 90 days (about 3 months). Our very own VP of Operations, Shawn Covarrubias, received her first shot of Pfizer this morning. Recently, the U.S. has seen an increase in new coronavirus cases with individuals beginning to travel more and restrictions being lifted in many states. With only 16% of the total U.S. population vaccinated, the CDC still recommends following all health and safety precautions while in public, including wearing masks.

In the first quarter of 2021, equity markets experienced hoppy-like activity. For the first two months of the year, the Nasdaq was leading the 2 other indices (S&P 500 and the Dow) as investors rushed big tech. However, in March we saw a quick reversal as fears of inflation grew based on the measures taken by the Federal Reserve and the Biden Administration to continue providing liquidity and aid to the American people. Eyes were directed at the bond market with interest rates, specifically the 10-year Treasury yield, rising rapidly due to these inflation fears.

The erratic movements of the equity markets in the first quarter best illustrates the confused investor being torn between optimism in the economy opening back up and concern over rising interest rates. However, signs are leaning more optimistic. Jobless claims are near their pandemic lows, and manufacturing and service indicators are trending up (signifying a pickup in business operations). In addition, the S&P 500 reached 4000 for the first time ever today. Not a bad start to the new quarter.

Looking at the chart below, the Dow took the lead in March and ended the first quarter up 9.3%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were up 5.8% and 2.8%, respectively.

The invitation for our next webinar on Medicare Essentials went out earlier this week and will take place on Wednesday, April 21st at 11 AM. The presenter will be Beatriz Nunez, a Community Education & Outreach Coordinator from the Council of Aging – Southern California Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). Click here to register for this webinar.

In observance of the market holiday schedule, Apriem Advisors will be closed tomorrow, April 2, 2021. Your first quarter 2021 reports will be delivered to your client portal or via mail on April 15th. Please call our office at (888) 253-0288 or email Sunni Allen at Sunni@apriem.com to schedule a virtual meeting or conference call review if you have not already done so.

Whether celebrating Passover, Easter or simply being with family or friends, we can all celebrate the many blessings that we have.

Best wishes,

Rhonda Ducote
President