What Is Going on With the Market?

What is going on with the market? 

Economic activity shows continued signs of slowing, as more businesses temporarily close their doors and organizations cancel events and gatherings due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).  The stock market has reacted swiftly, as many of you are acutely aware.  (And we wouldn’t say it’s done yet; this volatility could last a while.)  As of last night, the S&P 500 Index closed trading down approximately 26% year-to-date.  It is possible that the very measures designed to combat the spread of COVID-19 (social distancing, restricted travel, event and venue closures, etc.) will put the economy into recession.  If, however, these measures are successful at curtailing the spread of the virus and minimizing the human toll, the economy will benefit in the long-run as well. 

Will this be 2008 all over again? 

You probably remember the financial crisis of 2008 and early 2009.  We sure do.  At that time, many companies themselves were structurally troubled (subprime loans, etc.).  In contrast, the current situation reflects economic slowdown, in large part, due to the combating of COVID-19, in addition to fears of that slowdown and possible quarantines.  With the exception of a few specific industries, there is no reason to believe that most companies will suffer any long-term impairment from this.

When will things get better?

We can’t put a time figure on it.  But as pointed out by colleagues at Fenimore Asset Management, advisors to the FAM Funds in Cobleskill, NY, we do watch out for a couple of key milestones:  a slowing in the number of new coronavirus cases (for example, China and South Korea have had success in slowing the growth of new cases), followed by the resumption of normal living, business hours, etc.  We believe that, at that point, conditions will be favorable for a market and economic recovery.  While the considerable stimulus proffered by the Federal Reserve may not be able to prevent a dramatic economic slowdown in the near-term, lower interest rates, along with lower oil prices, should provide a tailwind to consumer spending and business investment alike when normal activities resume.

Should I do anything in my portfolio now? 

Generally, we do not recommend selling equities as a reaction to market declines.  Stock prices can be quite volatile.  But we believe the underlying estimated intrinsic value of businesses to be far more stable.  We may, however, take advantage of lower prices to realize losses for tax purposes in some accounts. 

Medley & Brown’s Offices

As things develop, some of our staff may work from home, as needed.  We have the capability to sign on to client accounts and obtain market data remotely, and you should not see any disruption in service to your account.  Also, in order to protect our clients and to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19, we will not be scheduling in-person meetings at this time.  However, we are fully available for all calls and emails to assist you and serve your needs.  If you do not reach one of us, please leave a voicemail, and we will return your call promptly.



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Sissy Moreland

Client Services Trading

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Sissy joined Medley & Brown in 2017, but her career goes all the way back to 1990 when she was the merchandise director for four years at Phi Theta Kappa. She was also Customer Service Manager and Marketing Development Manager at Crystal Springs Apparel from 1994 to 2005. From 2005 to 2017, she was Manager of Sales Administration at Skyhawke Technologies. Thanks to her considerable operations and administrative experience, Sissy oversees trading and assists with most back-office operations for the firm. Staying so busy at work requires Sissy to recharge her batteries outside the office from time to time which she does by running, reading, enjoying a leisurely brunch, and watching the Saints play football.

Beth Braswell

Client Services Coordinator

Beth spent four years in the investment world before joining Medley & Brown in 2004 as our operations coordinator. She and her husband Robbie are busy parents to identical triplet daughters, so not surprisingly, some of Beth’s favorite things to do are napping and relaxing on the beach when she actually finds the time. Beth also enjoys taking short walks to the pool, attending concerts, and going out of town for long weekends. Beth loves her Mississippi State bulldogs and currently has four dogs, three cats, and three grandcats because having three children simply isn’t enough. No wonder her operational skills are so exceptional.

Doug Muenzenmay, CFA, CFP®

Senior Advisor   |   Principal

When he’s not enjoying the outdoors or attending his children’s school and sporting events, you can find Doug studiously researching investments for his clients. His career began in 1991 after graduating from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He spent 17 years in trust investments at three different banks before joining Medley & Brown in 2010. Doug also got his MBA from Mississippi College and served as an adjunct professor in finance there from 2007 to 2013. Married to his wife Sharon since 2001, Doug is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and a board member of the CFA Society of Mississippi.

Eddie Carlisle, CFP®

Senior Advisor  |   Principal  |  Chief Compliance Officer

Eddie’s extensive education includes a B.S.B.A. in accounting, with special distinction, from Mississippi College in 1994, along with a J.D. from Vanderbilt University and LL.M. (Master of Laws) in taxation from the University of Florida. But it’s what he’s learned outside of school and work that really stands out. He’s an Eagle Scout, which taught him a great deal about honesty and hard work from an early age. He learned even more earning black belts in Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Hanmudo. Oh, and he studies the Korean language in his spare time as well. Additionally, Eddie serves as an adult leader for Scout Troop 164 in Madison. He is a past board member of Hope Hollow Ministries, the Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society, and the Mississippi Corporate Counsel Association. Eddie is currently a board member of the Woodward Hines Education Foundation. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and their three children—Andrew, Caroline, and Emma. 

Julius Ridgway

Senior Advisor   |   Principal

Judging from his background, you’d think investments and other financial matters were all Julius cares about. After all, he has two decades of direct investment experience and spent the previous ten years involved in banking and real estate. Julius also received a masters degree from the London School of Economics in 1998, an MBA from Millsaps College in 1993, and a history degree from the University of Mississippi in 1990. But his true passions include driving sports cars on racetracks or twisty mountain roads, running ultramarathons, and taking road trips with his wife and son. He’s worked here since 2002 as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and member of the CFA Institute while also serving as an adjunct instructor at Millsaps College and board member of New Stage Theatre. It takes major dedication to tackle all these responsibilities—sort of like training for all those long distant runs—but Julius enjoys every minute of the grind. And when it’s time to slow down, Julius finds the best way to clear his head is taking long hikes in the mountains on all those road trips.