We believe financial market participants are mostly shrugging off current economic data, which have been somewhat soft (including last week’s employment report), in anticipation of a stronger recovery later this year. The recent passage of a $900 billion COVID-19 fiscal relief bill should help cushion the economy over the next few months, and an additional $1.9 trillion relief package is currently under negotiation. Meanwhile, the White House is also crafting a proposal for a ~$2 trillion infrastructure spending plan. Although the economy and labor market continue to face significant headwinds from the pandemic, we believe robust fiscal spending, along with the Fed’s highly accommodative monetary policy framework should continue to provide support for the financial markets. There has also been meaningful progress on vaccines, and we expect widespread distribution in the second and third quarter of 2021, which should help accelerate consumer spending and overall economic activity later this year.

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