September 2, 2020

August 2020 Market Recap

Anna Rathbun, Chief Investment Officer

Headlines throughout the month of August covered situations that could have potentially spooked the markets. Washington bickered in an unfruitful attempt to extend help for unemployed Americans. The rhetoric between the U.S. and China around the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations continued to strain an already fatigued relationship between the two countries. We also saw increases in the number of COVID-19 cases in countries such as Germany, France, and South Korea where we previously believed the infection was controlled and contained. Against this backdrop, however, the global economy continued to heal. The global financial markets focused on the positive side of the month’s developments and continued to grind higher.


  • U.S. equity markets continued to rise throughout August to post one of the best monthly performances since the recession began in February.
  • As the Q2 earnings season winds down, we find that the markets set the earnings bar rather low.
  • Overseas markets also experienced a lift in risk-assets, aided incrementally by the weakening U.S. Dollar.
  • For August, the positive sentiment in the markets resulted in bond market behavior that generally supported a constructive view of the economy.
  • Credit spreads remained tight and changed little.
  • The U.S. Treasury yield curve steepened, perhaps expressing a less pessimistic view of economic growth ahead.

Looking Ahead

With equity markets repeatedly hitting record highs and credit spreads remaining tight, it would seem that the world is well on its way toward the expansion phase of this new economic cycle. Looking ahead, however, we know that difficulties lie ahead. We expect COVID-19 to be a part of our society for the foreseeable future and continue to pose challenges as we try to reopen businesses and re-employ millions of U.S. workers who have lost their jobs. We are also heading into the final weeks of a highly contentious Presidential election which may have its own short-term impact on the markets. Juxtaposed against this reality, the current equity market valuations suggest caution and prudent rebalancing of portfolios. But as always, we hope that the global economy and the financial markets outperform our expectations, and that the current race toward a coronavirus vaccine will be a timely and successful endeavor.

More Information

For more information on the July 2020 Market Recap, please contact CBIZ Investment Advisory Services.


The information included in this update is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. The views expressed are those of the author based on the data available when this update was written and are subject to change based on market conditions or other factors. CBIZ Investment Advisory Services and/or CBIZ Retirement Plan Services disclaims any liability for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying information supplied in this update.

Investment management services to individuals, corporations, trusts, endowments and foundations offered through CBIZ Investment Advisory Services, LLC, SEC Registered Investment Adviser. For information about additional service offerings, please see the Form ADV 2A for CBIZ Investment Advisory Services, LLC at adviserinfo.sec.gov.

CBIZ Retirement Plan Services is a trade name under which certain subsidiaries of CBIZ, Inc. (NYSE Listed: CBZ) market investment advisory, investment management, third party administration, actuarial and other retirement plan services. Investments, investment advisory and investment management services offered through CBIZ Financial Solutions, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC and SEC Registered Investment Adviser, dba CBIZ Retirement Plan Advisory Services.  Investment advisory and investment management services may also be offered through CBIZ Investment Advisory Services, LLC, SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Third party administration, actuarial and other consulting services offered through CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc.

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