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Yesterday was overcast and drizzly just about all day.  Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 52 degrees and with a northwest wind of 5 to 7 mph becoming calm in the morning. Showers Tuesday evening, mainly after 8:00 pm, with a low around 38 degrees.

A third local case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Garrett County, according to the Garrett County Health Department and Garrett Regional Medical Center (GRMC). The patient is a man over 60 from Garrett County who had no history of international travel, and no known contact with a COVID-19 case. He did, however, travel within the U.S. to an area known to have COVID-19 cases. All three of the confirmed positive cases in Garrett County traveled together.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan yesterday enacted an emergency order to close all non-essential businesses across the state, effective yesterday at 5:00 pm. Further guidance and specifics can be found at https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-04.pdf

Please check the county website, https://www.garrettcounty.org/covid-19, for the latest virus-related information locally.  I must say that local area organizations, including and especially county government and the commissioners, have done a nice job of sending-out information to the community.

Like a lot of people, my 401K has essentially become a 301K in just a few weeks time!  And, yes, like most folks, I am seriously bummed. So, I thought I would end on this promising note.  Local investment advisor Edward Lytle sent us this piece on bear markets in recent history and the fact that while things can get bad, they will not likely stay bad. Basically, we should relaize that “what goes down” can and should, hopefully, “come back up.” Here’s his piece and for the record, I don’t know Ed nor is he an advertiser, I just thought this was a nice, sound piece with a good (and somewhat positive) perspective that I thought our readers would enjoy.

Bear Markets Come and Go

The longest bull market in history lasted almost 11 years before coronavirus fears and the realities of a seriously disrupted U.S. economy brought it to an end.

If you are losing sleep over volatility driven by a cascade of disheartening news, it may help to remember that the stock market is historically cyclical. There have been 10 bear markets (prior to this one) since 1950, and the market has recovered eventually every time.

Bear markets are typically defined as declines of 20% or more from the most recent high, and bull markets are increases of 20% or more from the bear market low. But there is no official declaration, so in some cases there are different interpretations regarding when these cycles begin and end.

On average, bull markets lasted longer (1,955 days) than bear markets (431 days) over this period, and the average bull market advance (172.0%) was greater than the average bear market decline (-34.2%).

Bear Markets Since 1950 Calendar Days to Bottom U.S. Stock Market Decline (S&P 500 Index)
August 1956 to October 1957 446 -21.5%
December 1961 to June 1962 196 -28.0%
February 1966 to October 1966 240 -22.2%
November 1968 to May 1970 543 -36.1%
January 1973 to October 1974 630 -48.2%
November 1980 to August 1982 622 -27.1%
August 1987 to December 1987 101 -33.5%
July 1990 to October 1990 87 -19.9%*
March 2000 to October 2002 929 -49.1%
October 2007 to March 2009 517 -56.8%
*The intraday low marked a decline of -20.2%, so this cycle is often considered a bear market.

The bottom line is that neither the ups nor the downs last forever, even if they feel as though they will. During the worst downturns, there were short-term rallies and buying opportunities. And in some cases, people have profited over time by investing carefully just when things seemed bleakest.

If you’re reconsidering your current investment strategy, a volatile market is probably the worst time to turn your portfolio inside out. Dramatic price swings can magnify the impact of a wholesale restructuring if the timing of that move is a little off. A well-thought-out asset allocation and diversification strategy is still the fundamental basis of good investment planning. Changes in your portfolio don’t necessarily need to happen all at once. Try not to let fear derail your long-term goals.

Source: Edward Lytle, ERL Financial Services, LLC, Friendsville

Have a safe day dear readers!