The Morning View: May 15, 2020

BY: MARSHALL BARTLETT
Senior Vice President / Portfolio Manager

Announced this morning, Retail Sales for April fell 16.4%, worse than expected and the lowest reading on record. Weakness occurred in clothing & accessories, furniture, and department stores, while food & beverage (grocery) stores were strong, a similar dynamic from the previous month. The Control Group, which excludes sales for food, autos, building materials, and gas stations, fell 15.3% in April, much worse than the 5.0% fall expected, as spending trailed off following individuals “front-loading” purchases of items at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, other than spending at grocery stores and some building materials dealers, retail sales were weak across the board. However, Mastercard indicated credit card volumes improved in early May, per a press release yesterday. A smooth re-opening of the economy, giving consumers confidence to spend money and overcome health concerns, will be important in the months ahead. Meanwhile, the rhetoric between the U.S. and China appears to be heating up again, reminding investors of the tension from last year. In all, both bond yields and equity futures are lower this morning as we head into the market open and a day that includes option expiration for May.

This material is intended to be for informational purposes only and is intended for current or prospective clients of Argent Trust Company. This information is obtained from sources believed to be reliable, and its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Forward‐looking assumptions are Argent Trust Company’s current estimates or expectations of future events or future results based on proprietary research and should not be construed as an estimate or promise of results that a portfolio may achieve. Actual results could differ materially from the results indicated by this information. Investments can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. 

About

Argent Financial Group

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, Argent Financial Group (Argent) is a leading, independent, fiduciary wealth management firm. Responsible for more than $30 billion in client assets, Argent provides individuals, families, businesses and institutions with a broad range of wealth management services, including trust and estate administration, investment management, ESOPs, retirement plan consulting, funeral and cemetery trusts, charitable organization administration, oil and gas (mineral) management and other unique financial services. Headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana, Argent was formed in 1990 and traces its roots back to 1930.

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