Ken's 2nd Quarter 2020 Recap

July 15, 2020

Ken’s 2nd Quarter 2020 Recap

I hope you all have weathered these crazy times as best you are able and that this update finds you as safe and as happy as your circumstances allow.

So where to begin?  I could do as I normally do and try to find an interesting factoid or two.  Or I could just default to my other frequent habit of pointing out the humor in current events. 

But no.

Instead, let us recap the Logan family real estate saga which is still yet to be concluded.  It’s a thrill ride and will touch on all of your emotions.  It’s a hilarious, tragic and strangely, therapeutic story all at the same time – therapeutic because I think typing this out has helped me temporarily abate my urge to open a bottle of scotch!


For reference:
Buyer = person potentially buying our condo

Seller = person selling our hopefully future home to us

Us = folks seemingly able to do nothing about our situation, the monkeys in the middle


Emotional State          Detail

  • Meh -   We toured about 13 homes
  • Bad -    We put a last-minute offer on one we liked but got outbid (essentially)
  • Good -  About a week later we put an offer on our hopefully future home that was accepted!  We were the only offer which was surprising.
  • Meh -    From that point we had 10 days to get our condo under contract or our offer on the hopefully future home would be rejected.
  • Good -  Got 3 offers on our current condo, and accepted one.  If the sale goes through, we’ll actually get a little over asking price!
  • Meh -    Buyer of our condo wanted to move our closing date up from July 8th to July 1st, so we made appropriate changes and the seller of potential future home agrees to July 1st.
  • Bad -     Buyer’s bank says “Wait just a a minute!” and pushed us back to July 8th closing, and we undid all the changes we had just changed to move back to July 8th.
  • Meh -    HVAC goes out on our condo.  This would have been a “Bad” but we had actually built in to replace the approximately 50 year old HVAC unit into our asking price.  When it went the new one was already planned to be installed about 3 days later.  Of course that was right before a heat wave and those were a HOT 3 days in the house.
  • Meh -    Appraisal of our hopefully future home comes in well under our accepted offer.  This is good for us long term, but we had to renegotiate the offer down to the appraised value and as a result of that we now need to bring more cash to close.  This means Lesley’s re-decorating budget took a hit.  ☹
  • Good -  Our condo appraises high enough to cover our asking price!  That was a big win.
  • Meh -    Start packing and making arrangements for July 9th move – renting back from Buyer for two days.
  • Bad -     July 2nd we find out Buyer has changed jobs and can no longer close on July 8th.  Buyer’s bank pushes closing to July 17th, and we scramble and make appropriate changes.  WHO CHANGES JOBS WHILE BUYING A HOUSE?
  • Good -   Rather than book new movers, we agree with Seller to rent from July 9th until closing July 17th
  • Bad -     July 6th at about 9pm we find out the Seller’s son put a stop to our plan to rent before closing.  Our reaction to this was much more muted than the reactions on July 2nd - presumably because we didn’t have enough energy left to get upset.
  • Bad -      Movers we hired July 9th don’t have any room in schedule for July 17th – maybe we can move on Saturday July 18th with them but that’s at overtime rates AND we would need the Buyer to agree to let us rent back until we can move.
  • Good -    Looks like July 17th is moving forward to close on both properties, and new movers are booked.


So yeah.  That’s where we currently stand.  As you can imagine it’s been a challenge and pretty stressful to juggle all those dates back and forth, change and re-change daycare plans, movers, utilities, signing and re-signing amendments, etc.  Oh and there’s this COVID thing too.  


Last minute stuff is currently driving us nuts but it’ll all be over soon – we hope!  We are accepting all forms of well wishes and crossing our fingers, toes, arms, legs, and whatever other body parts can be crossed.

Hopefully by the end of the 3rd quarter we’re looking back on this and chuckling a little.  If it all goes through I’ll be ending my 16 year run on the East Shore of the Susquehanna River and returning to the West Shore where I spent the first 23 years.  For those that don’t know South Central PA geography - the Susquehanna River acts as a weird divide.  The bridges are less than a mile long that connect the two shores, but sometimes people act as if it’s a completely different country on the other side of the river and try to keep to their own “shore”.  It’s a thing.



So that real estate adventure has been a heck of a roller coaster right?  I almost put together a chart of “Lesley and Ken’s emotional status” over the last 3 months or so, but I ran out of time. 


Anyways, speaking of roller coasters, what about the stock markets?  I’d say that’s been an even bigger coaster!   (How about that for a segue?)


Below is the snapshot of the 2nd quarter bounceback.


2nd Quarter Market Snapshot

Index:                                       Close 3/31/20      Close 6/30/20   2nd Qtr 2020 +/-     2020 +/-

Dow Jones Industrial Average    21,917.16            25,812.88        17.77%                (9.55%)

S&P 500                                        2,584.59              3,100.29        19.95%               (4.04%)

NASDAQ                                       7,700.10             10,058.77       30.63%                12.11%


The DJIA & S&P 500 rallied to points just shy of all time highs previously set Feb 20th of this year before pulling back a little.  The NASDAQ has set new all time highs this quarter, which essentially says that technology companies have led the rebound from March 23rd lows.

It is nearly universally agreed that the main reason for this rebound has been due to the quick reactions of the Federal Reserve as well as stimulus passed in Washington.  Both Monetary and Fiscal policies have been incredibly supportive to stock prices and judging by the market price action they have essentially placed their bets that business will be good by year end and into 2021.


(Source – Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. - Quarterly Market Review: Dec 2019-Jun 2020.  Copyright 2020, Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., All rights reserved.)

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.


So what’s next?

That’s always the question isn’t it?  No matter the market conditions you will find experts on both sides of that answer.  The bulls and the bears.  The trick is to read/listen to varying opinions and pull what makes sense to you.  It would be easy to just listen to folks you agree with all the time (confirmation bias).

If a “1” was stuffing your money in the mattress and a “10” is trying to borrow more money to invest on a scale of risk, I’d say I’m a 6.0 or 6.5 currently, so leaning towards the bulls.  That said, I’m always trying to find something to refute my current stance and my biggest worry right now is not COVID, but the potential for a changing landscape in Washington come February.

The markets hate uncertainty and a new administration is the very definition of uncertainty.  From the perspective of market reaction I’m not particularly worried about Democrats gaining the presidency or even the Senate - as long as the Senate is still fairly close.  What I am worried about it if the new President were to name a historically anti Wall Street advocate as the Secretary of Treasury.  Such an appointment could make stock traders very uncertain about future policy.

Longer term I am watching to see that the US economy is humming well enough by the middle of next year to sustain itself without additional fiscal or monetary stimulus.


Business update

Lots going on at Jones Financial Group but I’ll focus on three things.

1 – Our intern, Kyler Balliet, a double major at Susquehanna University has been tremendous.  I’ve given him two projects that he has knocked out of the park and just last week he agreed to stay on through the fall semester.

2 – Our office is open - by appointment only - to meet with clients again.  We are taking the appropriate precautions to ensure everyone’s safety.  If you do need to drop by, please call first, we’re still keeping the front door locked to help mitigate risk.

3 – Speaking of the office, we’ve got a possible office move coming up.  Our vision at JFG is, in a word, grand, and to accommodate that scope we’ll need some more space.  We are closing in on a solution and may have some news to report shortly.  The tentative plan is to relocate for two years to a nearby office while we figure out a more permanent solution.  Stay tuned!

(No changes in Selinsgrove)


What hobbies have you picked up in quarantine?

If you’ve read this far send me a quick reply with what has been occupying your time these days! 

One fun thing I did was start a Mario Kart Tour group with friends – it’s an app on your phone and you can play for free so it wasn’t too hard to recruit.  We’re up to 13 players that race twice a week for about 30 minute sessions and of course me being me I made a spreadsheet and started keeping track of finishes!  We started not only playing, but joining zoom meetings while we did it.  Yes, as if it wasn’t previously official, I’m a nerd.  It’s been a nice break and who knows how long we’ll keep it going.

Another update is that baseball is back!  Our opening games were this past Sunday and we’ll end up playing about 75% of a normal season.  It feels about the same except the umpires are choosing to call balls and strikes from behind the pitchers mound, so basically you have to swing at ANYTHING close with 2 strikes.


Ok I’ve gone on long enough for probably two updates.  Take care all and talk to you soon!



This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. The information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed by LPL Financial as to the accuracy and is not intended to be used as the basis for any investment decisions. The information presented does not constitute a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security and is not a recommendation of any kind. Please consult your financial advisor before making financial decisions.