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Our 2021 Midyear Market Update

By Joe Arnold, AIF®


We all know that we can’t predict the future (thanks for the reminder, 2020!), nor do we truly have control over much of what we take for granted—things like how we work, how we go to school, and even how we interact with our loved ones. With those lessons fresh in our minds, most of us entered 2021 with a good deal of caution.


Although we didn’t know what to expect, we’re now halfway through the year (believe it or not), and it finally seems we are on our way to putting COVID-19 behind us. June is the perfect time to take stock of what’s happened so far in 2021 as we continue recovering—emotionally and economically—from the pandemic. 

Stock Market Performance

As vaccine rollouts have allowed many businesses to return to normal, some experts believe we may be entering a booming economy. (1) Stock market performance has been mildly volatile in the first half of this year with an overall trend toward growth. The S&P 500 reached its highest level this year on May 7, with a year-to-date return of 14% as of June 4. (2) The Dow Jones has also shown overall growth this year and is up 15% as of June 4. (3)


Meanwhile, the NASDAQ has shown greater volatility with a yearly low of -2.17% in early March, up to 9.7% at the end of April, and ending at 8.79% as of June 4. (4) Many experts have warned that while they are optimistic about market performance in 2021, that performance will likely be riddled with volatility throughout 2021 and in the coming years. (5)

A Shaky Return To Normal Employment Levels

It has been generally expected that as businesses reopen to full capacity, the number of unemployment claims and levels of unemployment will return to normal. As many of us have seen in the news, however, this is currently not the case. (6) Along with other businesses in the hospitality industry, restaurants are especially struggling to replace their workers and remain understaffed in the face of increasing demand from consumers.


Some commentators believe workers are reluctant to return to work because of continued unemployment assistance from federal and state governments. Others argue that many workers are unable to return to work yet because they are still wary of the coronavirus, are unable to find affordable childcare, or now have the time to look for more stable, higher-paying work outside of the hospitality industry. 


Whatever the reason for the worker shortage, worker benefits and wages may undergo drastic changes in 2021 and beyond as the economy returns to normal. In any case, getting workers back into the workforce remains a key component of the U.S. recovery plan.

Interest Rates & The Federal Reserve

Interest rates continue to remain low, as the Federal Reserve has promised. In an effort to encourage consumers to keep borrowing, the Fed has kept interest rates near zero since the onset of the pandemic. They have stated they will likely not raise rates again until 2023, when it is more likely that inflation rates will reach desired targets. (7)


For now, the near-zero interest rates may be attracting first-time homebuyers who have been able to weather the economic pressures from the pandemic. However, home prices have surged 13.2% over the past year, (8) igniting some fears that a housing bubble may be looming.

How Should You Respond?

It’s always been impossible to predict market performance with accuracy. And 2020 and 2021 have taught us that perhaps market performance may be impossible to predict at all. Although you never know what the future has in store, don’t let that prevent you from taking the steps to protect yourself and pursue financial freedom.


It’s wise to set financial goals, but now more than ever, it’s critical to make the right financial decisions to move you closer to achieving them. We understand that financial matters can be overwhelming and even confusing, but remember that you’re not walking this path alone. Our Foundation Wealth Advisors team is here to help. We specialize in helping our clients reach financial independence by using sound financial strategies to align day-to-day decisions with a long-term financial plan. Schedule a complimentary appointment by calling (440) 899-7535 or emailing me at to see if we’d be a good fit to partner with you on your financial journey.

About Joe

Joe Arnold is an independent financial advisor and the founder and president of Foundation Wealth Advisors, LLC, an independent firm whose advisors provide private investment management for individuals and families, as well as retirement plan consulting for small and mid-sized businesses. With 20 years of experience in the financial industry, Joe specializes in providing objective advice to individuals, as well as transparency in building and managing company 401(k) retirement plans. He is committed to putting his clients’ best interests first in all decision-making and recommendations. Based in Westlake, Ohio, he serves clients in the Cleveland, Akron, and surrounding areas, as well as throughout the country. Joe received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cleveland State University and is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®). He has been featured on national television, including CNBC and FOX Business, and quoted in various publications, including The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Forbes, and others. Joe lives in Rocky River, Ohio, with his wife, Allison, and their two grown children, Kevin and Keira. An avid golfer, he is a former Class A PGA of America teaching professional and NCAA Division 1 athlete. When he’s not working, he enjoys playing golf, reading, and honing his culinary skills. To learn more about Joe, connect with him on LinkedIn.










Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck
Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck