October 21, 2020

2020 Third Quarter Market Recap

Anna Rathbun, Chief Investment Officer

Coming out of a recession is not easy. As the economy begins to revive itself, it is often not on sure footing, and we are tempted to doubt its progress. What we call the recovery part of the economic cycle is designated as such in hindsight, when things feel much better around us. So that is where we find ourselves today, in the difficult recovery phase where we wonder if there will be a double-dip recession or if this will be a slow crawl out of the deepest recession in modern history.


  • World financial markets continued to power through the third quarter, with equities returning mid-to-high-single-digit returns.
  • The risk-off sentiment did not immediately seep into the corporate debt market.
  • Overseas, political developments provided mostly calming effects on the markets.
  • Emerging market equity was led by Chinese stocks that reflected the optimism on China’s strong economic rebound.
  • Both the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have indicated that monetary policy cannot solve all the economic issues stemming from the pandemic and are recommending fiscal action.
  • Certain sub-industries within the services industry where physical proximity is necessary for business transaction have been the most severely hit, including American small businesses.
  • The U.S. Presidential Election has created additional uncertainties which make it hard for markets to underwrite the potential policy outcomes in the short term.
  • A no-deal Brexit would be a shock to a system that has been intertwined since the early 1970s.

Looking Ahead

Seven months after the lockdowns first began, the world looks different. Today, we are not attempting to “beat” the virus, but rather have accepted it as a part of our environment and are managing the risk. The preferred way today is to manage the infections locally while keeping the economy open in areas where the virus is under control. We have seen Europe, China, and now the United States continue to handle the pandemic in this way. Despite the election, Brexit, and other geopolitical developments, all eyes will stay on the pandemic because over the long run, how the pandemic story unfolds (and ends) is the factor with the most impact on global economic growth trends.

More Information

For more information on the 2020 Third Quarter 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 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, Registered Investment Adviser. Third party administration, actuarial and other consulting services offered through CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc.

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