As we can all attest, 2020 was an extremely challenging year. After the initial economic shock of the springtime shutdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. economy recovered substantially from March and April lows. November’s momentous news of two effective vaccines buoyed hopes and signaled a light at the end of the tunnel. The news came on the heels of another development: the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. Along with the critically important support from the Federal Reserve and fiscal stimulus packages, these factors drove markets higher with stocks closing the year at record highs.
Bond markets posted moderate gains, capping off a strong year. U.S. Treasury rates remained at historic lows, with modestly higher yields for longer-dated bond issues. The Federal Reserve’s near-zero rates are likely to remain in place for years. Read more.