Good Afternoon Apriem Family,

Today we celebrate Earth Day, and this year the theme is Restore Our EarthTM. I think it is an especially relevant theme considering what our Earth has been through this past year, not only environmentally, but also physically and mentally. This week, Derek Chauvin the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd was found guilty, Americans are continuing to get vaccinated, and the markets stumbled.

The biggest news this week, Derek Chauvin was found guilty for the murder of George Floyd. After 3 weeks of testimony, the jury convicted the former Minneapolis police officer on all three charges of murder and manslaughter, nearly a year after a viral video of his crime sparked global protests and a national call for police reform. The jury went into deliberations on Monday afternoon and announced the verdict on Tuesday.

According to the CDC, so far about 40.5% of the U.S. population has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and about 26.4% is fully vaccinated. As of right now, it is not mandatory for individuals to be vaccinated, but is strongly recommended. CSU and UC officials announced today that any students who plan to take in-person classes on campus will be required to get vaccinated. This would go into effect during the fall 2021 semester if one or more vaccines are fully approved by the FDA. Shawn (Pfizer), Sunni (Johnson & Johnson) and I (Moderna) are fully vaccinated with a few others in our office halfway there. New coronavirus cases have been relatively stable for the past month but are slowly rising. Below is the most recent data:

Markets fell into negative territory this week with the S&P 500 falling 1.2%, the Nasdaq falling 1.6%, and the Dow falling 1.0%. Much of the movement can be explained from news today of President Biden’s proposal to raise the highest earner’s ($1M+ annual income) long-term capital gains taxes to 39.6% (up from 20% currently). Paired with Biden’s proposal to raise the marginal income tax rate for the highest tax bracket, this would make long-term capital gains tax rates equal to the marginal tax rate for the wealthiest individuals. Investors also took in another batch of earnings this week. Netflix reported an earnings beat but saw its price decline as new subscriber growth of 3.98 million trailed far behind expectations of 6.29 million. It might be negative news for the company, but a good sign for the economy as a result of reopening. Next week, we’re in store for the largest tech names: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook with analysts expecting strong results.

Earth Day is observed every year on April 22nd to create awareness about pollution and to celebrate the environment of the blue planet. It is up to all of us to Restore Our EarthTM not just because we care about the natural world, but because this is where we live. A healthy Earth is needed to support our jobs, livelihoods, survival, and happiness.

Best wishes,

Rhonda Ducote