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Here we go again.  Equity futures were trading on a limit up basis earlier but have since given up some of their gains.  As things stand now, the US equity market is still poised to open up by about 4%, but where it goes from there is anyone’s guess.  Optimism this morning stems from hopes that both sides of the political divide are closer to a stimulus deal in Washington and that some of the hardest-hit hotspots from the coronavirus are showing varying levels of improvement.

Light at the end of the tunnel in the coronavirus outbreak is obviously important because the sooner we see the light, the closer the US economy will be to moving out of its coma.  This has been a contentious topic over the last 24 hours.  On the one side, there’s a growing camp voicing concerns over the economic damage of the US and global shutdown.  They are calling for at least a plan to be made for when, how, and under what conditions Americans will be allowed to go back to work.  On the other side, a number of people argue that it’s still way too early to even start thinking about starting the economy back up as there are many more pressing concerns facing the country.

We’re not quite sure where the disagreement is here.  In the words of NY Governor Cuomo, “you have to walk and chew gum in life.”  In other words, can’t we address both the pressing Health Care needs facing the country and also start coming up with a plan for how Americans will be able to go back to work when the peak of the outbreak passes?  Governments at all levels have come under enormous criticism for being caught flatfooted heading into this outbreak.  Now that both Federal and state governments are thinking ahead, though, do they deserve the same criticism now?  There are no easy answers in any of this, and no one is looking to get things back up and running if it is only going to make things worse, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be asking the questions and coming up with plans and strategies as new data and treatments come to light.

Read today’s Bespoke Morning Lineup for a discussion of the latest figures in terms of Fed purchases in the last several days, the latest on the competing fiscal stimulus plans, and the latest coronavirus figures.


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