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Happy Thanksgiving 2020

In lieu of sending this out on Friday, here is a mid-week pre-Thanksgiving email.  I hope everyone receiving this is in good health and staying safe.  For me, Thanksgiving is a special holiday which marks the beginning of the holiday season culminating in New Year’s Eve.  I know this has been a difficult year for many and perhaps the remaining five weeks will help us reflect on the events of this year, find some respite in the time remaining, and give us an opportunity to look forward to what 2021 will bring.  I am hopeful that 2021 will mark the beginning of a return to “normalcy” that we all crave so deeply.

You've undoubtedly noticed the stock market has been on a tear lately. We’ve had the recovery trade, the vaccine trade, and now they’re talking about the transition trade. News this week that the General Services Administration (GSA) is moving forward with a smooth and peaceful transition for the Biden team takes some risk off the table, to which the markets let out a big sigh of relief. Furthermore, President-elect Biden has announced some of his cabinet picks and to a large extent they are career politicians and/or government officials who seem neither extreme nor threatening. Most notably, Janet Yellen may have a second act as the next Treasury Secretary if President-elect Biden gets his way. You’ll remember her as the uber-dove, former Federal Reserve Chair. Many see her as a market-friendly choice considering she oversaw a long economic expansion with historically low interest rates and she’s likely to push for further fiscal stimulus. Not only is Yellen the first woman to hold the position of Fed Chair, but if she is confirmed by the Senate, she’ll become the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary.

In company news I don’t often talk about Tesla, but it made news this week for two reasons. First is that Elon Musk has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest man. On Monday, a surge in Tesla’s stock price sent his net worth up $7.9 billion in just one day, putting his wealth at a whopping $127 billion. While he started the year a rich man, his wealth grew a staggering $100 billion this year alone. On a second note, Tesla’s stock price surge caused its valuation to top $500 billion for the first time. Not looking to take a cheap shot at Ford, but Monday’s market cap gain for Tesla isn’t all that far off the total market cap of Ford at $35 billion. Pushing the stock price to new heights is a general enthusiasm over the impact a Biden administration may have on the EV sector.

As for the latest in vaccine news, it now appears three vaccines will receive emergency use authorization from the FDA and be available as soon as mid-December. While it may be some time before everyone who wants a vaccine will have access to one, it does appear that the rollout will happen faster than previously anticipated. This is great news for the economy as the rate of infection has picked up considerably in recent weeks and threats of sporadic lockdowns continue to make headline news. I anticipate 2021 will be the year we get a handle on this pandemic and the markets, by their recent movements, concur.

In closing, we at Harvest Financial Advisors want to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and blessed Thanksgiving.

Bruce J. Mason, MBA