The North American economies endured an unprecedented case of whiplash in 2020. The shock of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the most pronounced economic contraction of the current era, followed by record expansions in both countries. North American stock markets also suffered their fastest onset of bear markets on record. Surprisingly many, by year-end, the main U.S. and Canadian equity indices had actually posted gains for calendar 2020. Even after the stunning setback of early 2020, investors are showing signs of optimism that positive momentum will continue through 2021. This reflects continuing confidence in a vaccine and stimulus-fueled global recovery. As always, the nascent business cycle will create opportunities and challenges for investors.
This time, the balance between the ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 and vaccine inoculations will determine the eventual path back to ‘normal’. Uneven rollouts among countries will play a significant part in the speed of their relative recoveries. Having a financial plan and taking advantage of professional advice can aid in maintaining a well-positioned portfolio during this transformative period