Good Afternoon,

August has been a busy month with the Democratic National Convention, the Republican National Convention, big changes in the Dow Jones Index, OC coming off the Watch List in California and Hurricane Laura.

Hurricane Laura made landfall early this morning as a Category 4 storm in Texas and Louisiana. This is said to be one of the most powerful storms to hit the US coastline. The storm has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, yet many challenges are ahead due to the heavy rain and flooding that is expected. We are praying for all the people who have been affected by the devastation of this storm.

Back on the east coast, the Republican National Convention (RNC) kicked off Monday night in Charlotte, North Carolina. The four-day convention is mostly being held virtually due to the pandemic. Many events have also been held or taped at the White House and other sites. Key speakers have included, First Lady Melania Trump, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Vice President Mike Pence. Tonight, Trump will close-out the event while formally accepting the Republican nomination for the party’s presidential candidate.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Index (DJIA) announced three new stocks to be added to the 30-stock lineup.  Salesforce (CRM) will replace Exxon Mobil (XOM), Amgen (AMGN) will replace Pfixer (PFE), and Honeywell (HON) will replace Raytheon, (RTX).   These stocks will be added on August 31, 2020.  This was prompted by Apple’s (AAPL) 4-1 split which would significantly reduce the price-weighted index’s exposure to tech from 27.6% to 20.3%.  With the departure of Exxon Mobil (nearly a century-old member) this leaves Chevron as the only energy stock in the DJIA.  The index is moving to add new types of businesses that better reflect the U.S. economy.   The last changes to the Dow Jones was when Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) replaced General Electric (GE) in 2018 and when Apple (AAPL) replaced AT&T (T) in 2015.

Some good news came to the residents of Orange County on Sunday, when it was removed from the state’s coronavirus watch list. This is a result of decreased hospitalizations and other key metrics that counties are being graded on. The rate of county residents testing positive for COVID-19 is at 5.4%, which is below the state’s desired threshold of 8%. Yesterday, some Orange County schools welcomed back students for the first time in months. The county must be off the list for 15 days before all schools can reopen. Guidelines have not yet been established for the reopening of other various businesses such as personal services, shopping malls, restaurants, and bars. Hopefully, the downward trend of new coronavirus cases continues, and the state will issue these guidelines for reopening.

This month I celebrate my 20th anniversary at Apriem Advisors. I would like to take a moment to thank my incredible staff and clients. It has been an honor to work with you for all these years.

With Gratitude,

Rhonda Ducote