The War in Ukraine Unleashes Suffering and Uncertainty


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February 27, 2022
The war none of us wanted is here. The most tragic results, of course, are the deaths of destruction going on right now. There is war across the globe, of course, in various areas. Because of the players involved, this new war is going to have immediate and long-lasting effects on geopolitics as well as economies and markets. Global supply chains and economic growth had been recovering. The trajectory and even continuation of that recovery may now be in doubt, given the stricter sanctions and other punitive measures against Russia that are in the offing. We are now facing many unknowns for global trade, financial markets, multinational corporations and national economies, including the U.S. economy. We will of course keep an eye on all of this. There are predictable results and surprising ones, such as the S&P 500 having a positive week. We hope and pray that the death, destruction, and loss of freedom comes to an end.
STOCKS END A VOLATILE WEEK MIXED: The mover of stock prices all week was the anticipated and then the actual invasion of the Ukraine by Russia. As we watched the explosions and the pictures of suffering, investors parsed the short and long term effects and made trades. Toward the end of the week, the united front of the U.S. and Europe in imposing sanctions on Russia and the recognition that the U.S. Fed will likely not raise rates as aggressively this year, buoyed U.S. stocks (especially growth stocks) which rallied.
U.S. PERSONAL INCOME STILL INCREASING: Personal income for Americans increased, albeit barely, in January. It increased by about $9 billion, or just under 0.1%.
AMERICAN CONSUMERS KEEP SPENDING IN JANUARY: In the U.S., consumers increased their spending in January by a robust 2.1%. This despite the inflation. This puts the U.S. economy on solid footing to start the year, but of course economists are now concerned that further inflation and supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine will negatively effect spending.
HOTELS ARE RUNNING A BIT BEHIND PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS: I stayed in a hotel this week. (Actually, I’m typing these words form a sixth floor balcony!). It has been a very pleasant experience, although it is quite clear they are not fully staffed, but the staff they do have is working very hard. In the U.S., hotel occupancy is running about 9% behind 2019 figures. Considering the continued difficulty hotels are having in hiring workers and the remaining COVID fear from the omicron wave, this seems to be an encouraging outcome.
CONTINUING TO WATCH THE DATA: The data is leading to growing optimism that this unpredictable virus might allow us to at least have a normal spring and summer. Daily deaths in the U.S. for people with a COVID infection decreased another 19% last week. Global deaths moved down by 12%. (Bottom graph below). (Source:
HOSPITALIZATIONS AND GLOBAL INFECTIONS: Meanwhile, U.S. hospitals are emptying of people who are COVID positive. That number moved down 27.5% in one week, 65% off the recent, very recent, peak (see graph below). U.S. and global reported infections are falling off a cliff as well. There are continuing reports that the infection data is being skewed by people’s behavior. People are not testing at the same rate. So this week, I am showing you what Massachusetts does with their testing. They test sewage to see how much COVID virus is in it. This is a much more accurate look as it does not depend on human behavior or accuracy of tests. As you can see, the infection rate has hit another bottom. Please, please let it stay there. (second graph below). G (Sources: AND AND
“PIVOT” VS. “LEAN INTO”: I was able to attend a conference of people in the financial and investment advisory business the latter part of last week. It has been awhile. One thing I pay attention to is the buzzwords. The last time we had conferences, two plus years ago, it seemed like everything was “pivot.” “We are now going to pivot and move to another subject…..” It became a very over-used buzzword. I noticed at this conference that I did not hear that word once. It ran its course (are you noticing the same thing?) But, the new buzz phrase, which I heard over and over again, is “lean into.” In two days I must have heard it at least a couple of dozen times.
THE UKRAINE MATTERS: At this financial and investment advisory conference I attended last week, I was mingling one evening and I started talking to someone who works for Eventide Mutual Funds. I have known Mark for awhile. He said the last time he was at this hotel it was announced that the U.S. has invaded Afghanistan. Now, the next time he is at this hotel, it is announced that Russia has invaded the Ukraine. I said to Mark, “Do you notice any dramatic difference between then and now?” He asked what I meant, and I pointed at all the television screens that were showing sports, mostly basketball games. I am sure when we invaded Afghanistan that these screens had nothing but that news on the screens. Now not even one. Do we not care about The Ukraine? We concluded that our media believes we don’t. Also during the conference, one advisor told us that he just got off the phone with a colleague of his who lives in the Ukraine. His colleague told him that he just grabbed his gun and his two-year-old and jumped into his car to flee. It is horrible what is going on there.
Have a great week!
Our mission is to help you see the objective, find the path, and navigate past the obstacles to a more prosperous future.
Douglas R. MacGray, J.D., C.F.P. ®
Stonecrop Wealth Advisors, LLC
225 Wilmington-West Chester Pike; Suite 200
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
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“Such will be a great lesson of peace: teaching men that what they cannot take by and election, neither can they take by war; teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war.” Abraham Lincoln

“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3

(c) 2022 Douglas R. MacGray, All Rights Reserved
*S&P 500: This is a measure of the performance of the 500 largest companies in the United States, and it a common index to track the performance of U.S. equity markets, especially the large cap markets.
*MSCI All Country World Index X US: This is a broad measure of the performance of worldwide equity markets excluding the United States.
*Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate: This is a measure of the U.S. bond markets.
Investment advisory services offered through Stonecrop Wealth Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Doug MacGray

  • DATE

    February 26, 2022


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