As we enter the colder months, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in some parts of the country, prompting a second round of regional closures to limit business operations and social gatherings. At the same time, investor anxiety surrounding the U.S. presidential election and its potential impact on financial markets continued to rise.
Here are a few updates on this past month’s most notable market-related events.
COVID-19 and Market Developments
According to Johns Hopkins University data, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 43 million globally in October. There were approximately 218,000 cases in Canada as of October 26, with Quebec accounting for almost half.
With dozens of potential vaccines in clinical trials worldwide, hopes for an approved version before the end of the year gained momentum. British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc reported promising results in trials of the COVID-19 vaccine currently being developed by the University of Oxford.
As the November 3 U.S. election date approached, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden led in the polls. However, concerns that President Donald Trump would dispute a lost election result created uncertainty in some sectors.
North American equity markets see-sawed through most of October, with the S&P 500 Index in the U.S. remaining below its early September peak.
Economic data showed continued improvement in employment in Canada and the U.S., while housing numbers remained strong.
How does this affect my investments?
Several factors are feeding market uncertainty this fall, notably the U.S. election and the social disruption that may follow. While the election results could have a negative effect on market performance, any downturn is likely to be temporary in nature. In fact, history shows that on average, markets moved higher in the months following an election, regardless of which political party occupied the White House.
Source: Shiller, Bloomberg Finance L.P. All data is monthly starting at the beginning of November. Based on the last 23 elections beginning in 1928.
While the U.S. election results, the spread of COVID-19, and its economic impact are unpredictable, we would like to emphasize that we are here to support you in achieving your financial goals.