Good Afternoon,

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week, and to all the mom’s out there, I hope you enjoyed your Mother’s Day. It was so nice to see the special tributes to mothers around the globe on social media.

Things are heating up as summer approaches. The world continues the re-opening process with the vaccine being approved for children 12-15, the markets have been experiencing some volatility, tensions continue to mount in Israel, and on the political front, a high-ranking republican is ousted from her role.

Yesterday, an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted to allow adolescents ages 12 and up to take the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. This comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Pfizer’s request to allow their vaccine to be given to kids ages 12-15 on an emergency-use basis on Monday. Beginning today, individuals 12 years of age and older across most of the nation can get vaccinated. CVS Health is among one of the health providers ready to administer vaccines to adolescents with appointments now being taken at more than 5,600 pharmacy locations. Vaccinating children should increase the level of immunity in the U.S. population, helping to bring down the number of cases. This is a big step in getting kids back to school by removing an obstacle to school re-openings. In another step towards getting back to pre-Covid life, today the CDC announced that guidelines have been relaxed for fully vaccinated people. They no longer need to wear masks or social distance during indoor or outdoor activities, whether they are in large or small groups.

The Israel-Hamas conflict continues to flare with the worst violence since 2014. These tensions were initially triggered by days of escalating clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in East Jerusalem at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. This spiraled into an incessant exchange of Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes. President Joe Biden stated that he hopes the violence will end “sooner than later” but a ceasefire does not appear immediate.

It’s been a rough week for the markets. Since last Friday’s close, the S&P 500 slipped -2.6%, the Dow dropped -1.9%, and the Nasdaq fell -4.1%. Inflation fears appear to be the primary culprit with figures yesterday showing a year-over-year rise of 4.2% in April (surpassing expectations and March results). The largest contributors seem to be automotive-related price increases: gasoline (increased 49.6% from 22.5% in March), fuel oil (37.3% from 20.2%), and used cars and trucks (21% from 9.4%). The increase in gas prices probably didn’t come as a big surprise since many of us have felt the pain in our wallets from our weekly getaways to the gas station. It’s also important to consider April 2021’s inflation spike compares with last April’s price decline, at the height of the pandemic. The Fed’s narrative follows that inflation spikes will likely be temporary and expects inflation to be more modest once supply constraints ease.

The Grand Ole Party, also known as the GOP, voted to remove Congresswoman Liz Cheney from her role as republican conference chair in the House of Representatives. Daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney was one of 10 members of the Republican Party who voted alongside Democrats to impeach Donald Trump; accused of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol. He was acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate. As conference chair, Cheney was the third highest-ranking Republican in the House.

As a reminder, Tax Day is on Monday, May 17th for 2020 taxes. This is the last day to file taxes and make contributions to your retirement accounts. Please let us know if we can help facilitate these transactions for you.

Earlier today, we sent out the invitation for our next webinar. Please join Justin Wright from Financial Planning Group to discuss Long-Term Care Needs and Solutions on May 26th at 1 PM. Click here to register and learn more.

See you all soon and please let us know if you have any questions or would like to schedule a review with your wealth manager.

Warmest regards,

Rhonda Ducote