November 2020 brought an upcoming change in the oval office, major developments related to COVID-19 vaccines, and an uptick in coronavirus cases in the northern hemisphere. Market sentiment has improved with these developments, but as unexpected as 2020 has been, it’s important to continue to expect volatility and mentally prepare for it.
*Equity Indices - FTSE Global Indices in CAD, Bonds - Barclays Global Aggregate Canadian Float Adjusted Bond Index based on end-of-day data for the Total Return Index as at market close as at November 30, 2020
The largest story in the US this month was President-elect Joe Biden taking the victory in the presidential election. The democrats took the House and the republicans won the Senate, meaning that bipartisanship will be necessary to pass bills; the typical time lags associated with the political process will likely stay at play during President-elect Biden’s first term in office.
The announcement came several days after the final ballot was cast. During the waiting period, volatility was relatively subdued; we would have expected an uptick in volatility due to the uncertainty that a delay in announcing a winning candidate would bring, however that was not the case. This is yet another example of how challenging it can be to design trading strategies that attempt to time markets.
On the global front, the largest story has been continued advancements in COVID-19 vaccine trials. AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna have all reported successful trials of their vaccine candidates with impressive results for a first-generation vaccine. The markets have responded positively to these announcements as they will aid in the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions globally.
Although there has been progression with vaccines, we are seeing a continued trend upwards in daily infections, and with increasing cases comes increasing restrictions. These restrictions are going to be data driven; as the case curve flattens, we should see restrictions lift.
Long-term investors who have ignored headlines and any voices telling them to sell have been served well. Even better yet, those who have continued to add to their portfolio while markets dipped would have benefited even more.
Even with the uncertainty that 2020 has brought, we continue to believe that investors who stick to the basics (invest often, global diversification, strategic rebalancing, do not time markets) will be much more likely to reach their financial goals than investors who are finnicky and sell out of fear.
With that being said, thank you for reading and we hope that you have a safe and happy holiday season.