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Welcome to “Not Pretty, Not Rich,” a newsletter meant to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the markets and economy, and what you can do to take advantage — if anything.
A little housekeeping:
A reminder that I’m now sending this out on a Tuesday/Friday schedule for the time being. If any of you would like to see it more or less, let me know.
A disclaimer: I’m neither a financial expert or professional. I’m just a guy who writes about money, and this newsletter is a place for me to share my opinion, views, and resources. It’s unaffiliated with my employer, and all views contained within are my own.
And with that, it’s Friday, May 1… Wasn’t it just New Years?
It’s not a cure, but it’s something
Some good news: It looks like a treatment for COVID-19 has been found. Before you get too excited, though, this is just a treatment. Not a cure.
That said, the treatment, called “remdesivir,” even has our boy Dr. Fauci excited, so that’s promising. And like I said, it’s not a cure, but it does make a difference, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:
“Preliminary results indicate that patients who received remdesivir had a 31% faster time to recovery than those who received placebo (p<0.001). Specifically, the median time to recovery was 11 days for patients treated with remdesivir compared with 15 days for those who received placebo. Results also suggested a survival benefit, with a mortality rate of 8.0% for the group receiving remdesivir versus 11.6% for the placebo group (p=0.059).”
This doesn’t mean that we’re closer to a vaccine, either, unfortunately. But the race is on. According to a story in the New York Times, there are currently “at least 254 therapies and 95 vaccines related to Covid-19 being explored.”
Traditional vaccines take years and years to develop, but there’s a lot of effort being put behind finding one as soon as possible — because the toll this virus is having on the world is unprecedented. Again, we’re lucky it’s not deadlier.
30 and 33
Speaking of the toll the virus is taking on the economy, we have more mixed numbers that are hard to square. Yesterday’s weekly unemployment numbers showed that another 3.84 million have lost their jobs, bringing the six-week total to more than 30 million.
Despite that, the stock market had a hell of a month. In fact, it had its best month in 33 years. The S&P 500 was up 12.7% for the month of April, for the third-best month since World War II.
So, we have 30 million unemployed, and the best month for the market in 33 years — again, hard to wrap your head around. While we certainly shouldn’t be complaining that the market is up, many of the financial professionals I’ve spoken to say that they think reality will hit at some point. That doesn’t mean we’ll see a total free-fall as we did in February when the market sank 34%, but there’s a real chance it could see a substantial decline.
While the pandemic is the biggest thing affecting the markets, it’s not the only variable. We have oil prices in the mix, and as we march into the summer, the upcoming election could cause some volatility, too.
That’s all to say that you shouldn’t expect the markets to necessarily calm down in the near term. So maybe just ignore your 401(k) until 2025.
A treasure trove of investing resources
If you’re new to investing or perhaps just looking for more tools and resources, I came across a cool collection on GitHub. You can find it here — the tools and resources are open source, meaning that they should be free to use.
I don’t know who compiled it all, but it’s a pretty cool and thorough collection. Contained inside are articles about getting started, software and market tracking recommendations, tutorials on different types of analysis, and a lot more. I plan on sifting through it myself to learn more, and if you’re looking to get into investing or just check out some new tools or resources, take a look.
I hope it’s helpful. Until Monday,