BY: MARSHALL BARTLETT
Senior Vice President / Portfolio Manager
In this morning’s news, the tension between the U.S. and China has escalated as the State Department ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston, TX to stop operations in order to protect American intellectual property and private information. China vowed to retaliate if the order was not reversed. This action adds to a growing list of issues between the two nations, including Hong Kong sanctions, travel restrictions due to COVID-19, and Huawei. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar continues to weaken, reaching 94.9 this morning. With levels above 102 in March of this year, the move lower has been meaningful and is about half of the large move lower seen back in 2017. A weaker U.S. dollar can provide some support for U.S. multinational corporations as they translate earnings back to dollars. These events highlight several cross currents that exist in the current environment, including the choppy re-opening process due to COVID-19 and news on progress toward a vaccine. Volatility will likely persist in the weeks ahead given these events and as we head into the election this fall. In all, bond yields are slightly lower and equity futures are mixed as we head into the market open.