We have a President-Elect, but control of the Senate and COVID-19 hang in the balance

November 09, 2020

It was not unexpected to have the final results of the Presidential Election delayed until sometime following election day; however, this was not necessarily the case with the U.S. Senate. As of this morning, it appears Senate control will remain with Republicans, but we will not know until the run-off election for the two Senate seats in Georgia, which will occur in early January. Democratic control would increase the chances of more significant policy changes out of Washington. It appears post-election financial market performance to this point might have been incorporating a status-quo, divided government type scenario; therefore, election results may continue to present a risk factor for the financial markets through early 2021.

Regardless of election results, the management and resolution of the current COVID-19 pandemic will likely have the biggest impact on our economy, and ultimately the financial markets, through at least 2021 – and on this front there is some positive news to report. This morning Pfizer and partner BioNTech announced that interim results from an ongoing Phase III clinical trial on their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate (BNT162b2) was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection . This favorable result increases the odds of emergency approval by the FDA by the end of this year and may allay some of the skepticism that exists regarding COVID-19 vaccine development and acceptance. This is extremely positive news especially as we face rising infection rates and social distancing restrictions across the globe. Financial markets are responding in kind, with early equity market activity suggesting large gains for the day.

In summary, while election and COVID-19 uncertainty remain, we continue to be constructive on economic recovery across the globe – and today’s vaccine news is supportive of that viewpoint. We encourage you to reach out to your investment team if you have any questions or concerns.

1 - Pfizer Press Release, November 9, 2020 “Pfizer and BioNTech Announce Vaccine Candidate Against COVID-19 Achieved Success in First Interim Analysis From Phase 3 Study”

The views expressed here are those of Washington Trust Wealth Management and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. Investment recommendations and opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. All material has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. Investing entails risk, including the possible loss of principal. Stock markets and investments in individual stocks are volatile and can decline significantly in response to issuer, market, economic, political, regulatory, geopolitical, and other conditions. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The information we provide does not constitute investment or tax advice and it should not be relied on as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any security. It does not take into account any investor’s particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon. Please consult with your Portfolio Manager, attorney or tax professional regarding your specific investment, legal or tax situation.

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