In a move that surprised more than a few, Arizona Governor Ducey took a major step last week to relax Covid-19 restrictions.

Ducey: “…no county, city or town may make or issue any order, rule or regulation that conflicts with or is in addition to the policy…This includes but is not limited to mandated use of face coverings. Any city, town or county that has a rule, regulation or ordinance not in place as of March 11, 2020 that is in conflict with the provisions of this order shall not be enforced.”

Explaining his reasons for the policy change, the governor added:

“Today we are in a different spot, and we are also a lot smarter. I’m confident Arizona’s businesses and citizens will continue to act responsibly as we gradually get back to normal.”

As you may have heard, the governor’s intended move towards normalcy was not well received in all quarters and Ducey’s office was quick to point out that the executive order does say political subdivisions can still set and enforce policies in their own government buildings and on public transportation, including requiring face coverings. It also states that businesses still have the right to maintain mask mandates in their own establishments and refuse service to those who do not comply. So, our take-away is that the official stand of the State of Arizona is one that promotes personal responsibility – not personal recklessness. In that, we agree.

In disagreement, apparently, is Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the Biden administration. In a speech this week she sounded as pessimistic as anything we’ve heard for months:

I’m going to pause here, I’m going to lose the script, and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.  We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared. I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room, gowned, gloved, masked, shielded, and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved one because their loved one couldn’t be there.” 
Walensky went on to implore Americans: “…to just please hold on a little while longer” and to warn that the United States’ trajectory has long looked like those of Germany, Italy, and France, which have all seen a “consistent and worrying spike” in recent weeks.”

Now, we appreciate that the good doctor may feel the need to ‘err on the side of caution’, but (in our view) that does not give her license to fudge the facts. For example, the three European countries that she refers to as having problems have one interesting thing in common; a mea culpa. France’s Emmanuel Macron admitted that due to the bureaucratic rat’s nest of the EU, these 3 countries — and likely others – were, at a minimum, seven weeks behind in their vaccine delivery schemes. Interestingly, the United Kingdom, no longer under the thumb of Brussels, has vaccinated about 32 million Brits compared to France’s 3.7 million French folks. Fortunately, France (and Germany we suspect) is playing catch-up rather quickly with 500,000 doses now being administered almost daily. That is another point Dr. Walensky could have mentioned but didn’t.

It’s hard to put this all together and resist the temptation of wondering ‘why all the ‘scary talk?’. Perhaps it is not a co-incidence that Walensky’s words were being distributed at the same time the administration is pushing for additional Covid ‘stimulus’ packages. That brings us to what OUR job is; to focus on protecting and managing the financial health of our clients.

We are happy to see the buoyancy in the markets and all that means for our portfolios. But, as we have mentioned before, the markets love liquidity and don’t much care about from whence it comes.

Ron’s Market Minute – News Reports of Volatile Trading (provided by Lincoln Financial Securities)

Recently, there have been news reports of volatile trading in a handful of both domestic and international securities. These movements have been linked to the reported liquidation of a leveraged hedge fund that experienced liquidity problems. This, in turn, caused a few investment banks that provided loans to the fund to sell collateral.

This vicious circle in the devaluation of the securities led to even deeper declines and further selling. Two of the investment banks involved reportedly experienced considerable losses as a result. While all of this is fluid, it appears that the issue is not a systemic problem. The securities involved were relatively few and only a small number of entities were impacted. Fortunately, there have been little to no spill-over effects into the overall markets to date.

We always try to be vigilant with matters that may concern our clients and their portfolios. While events like these garner media attention they are actually not uncommon. There have always been individuals and institutions that use leverage and very aggressive strategies to produce outsized, short-term returns. Sometimes these strategies work and sometimes they fail in dramatic fashion, as was the case here.

As mathematically-based stewards of wealth, we take a different approach. Our process is to build risk-aware portfolios that are diversified and goal-based. We believe performance is important, but we also know that there are people attached to the money we manage, and that transparency and risk control are of equal importance. This approach attempts to keep clients out of the murky corners of the market, where these unpredictable and volatile events are more likely to occur.

We will continue to monitor these events. Let us know if there is anything you would like to discuss. We are here for you.

Have a Happy Easter weekend!

Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
Investment Advisor
Denk Strategic Wealth Partners
10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite C-262
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone (602) 252-8700
Fax (602) 252-8701
Toll-Free (877) The-Denk
www.denkinvest.com

LFS-3518844-040121

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Ron Denk is a Registered Representative, offering investments through Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC.

Mr. Denk is also an Advisory Representative offering services through Denk Strategic Wealth Partners, a Registered Investment Advisor. Denk Strategic Wealth Partners is not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation.

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Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.