Good Afternoon,

Spring began this past Saturday, and it has been a beautiful week. I have been sitting out in my yard and simply enjoying the spring weather. I always think of spring as a new beginning with the fresh flowers and fresh air. This week, my spring began by receiving my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. There has been a decline in coronavirus cases nationally and the market carries on. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families who were affected by the shootings that took place in Georgia and Colorado.

Yesterday, I received my first shot of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. I made an appointment at my local CVS Pharmacy and will go again in two weeks for my second shot. Ben, our Chief Investment Officer, will receive his first shot of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine tomorrow.

With the U.S. distribution of vaccines developed by Pfizer (PFE), Moderna (MRNA), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and potentially AstraZeneca (AZN), more individuals will be able to get vaccinated. U.S. health officials are encouraged by the acceleration of Covid-19 vaccinations, but not enough Americans are fully vaccinated to slow the spread of the virus. According to the CDC, more than a quarter of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and about 14% of the U.S. population is completely vaccinated. The rate of vaccinations has doubled in less than two months. Data shows new coronavirus cases are on the decline and we hope this trend continues. Even so, with spring break and states easing restrictions, there is worry that infections could surge again. Below is a chart of daily new coronavirus cases in the U.S. showing a significant downtrend since January.

Much like the traffic jam on the Suez Canal, markets seem to be experiencing their own gridlock. Major indices fell into negative territory for the week so far. This is due to concerns over supply chain constraints in crucial items like vaccines and semiconductor chips, and inflation fears over a fresh stimulus package boosting aggregate demand. Since the beginning of the week, the Nasdaq has fallen over 2%, and the S&P 500 and the Dow dropped slightly under 1%. In positive news, last week marked the lowest number of jobless claims filed throughout the pandemic at 684,000. A significant improvement from the prior week’s 770,000 jobless claims.

Our virtual webinar on Medicare will take place on Wednesday, April 21st from 11 AM – 12 PM PST. The presenter will be Beatriz Nunez, who is a HICAP Community Educator and Outreach Coordinator from the Council on Aging – Southern California. The invitation will be sent next week. Be sure to look for it in your inbox.

With the federal tax deadline extended to May 17, 2021, please let us know if you need your tax documents or to make contributions to your retirement accounts. As always, please call our office toll free at (888) 253-0288 or email Sunni Allen at Sunni@apriem.com to schedule your quarter-end review via Zoom or conference call with your wealth manager.

Stay safe and be well.

Rhonda Ducote
President