by John Fox, CEO & Chief Investment Officer
The parade route was quiet this year, in my hometown and virtually everywhere across the country, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans found other ways to congregate, in person with masks and “social distancing” or digitally. Most important, we found ways to commemorate the day — honoring the military personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. We owe them, and their families, immense gratitude for their selfless service, and we thank those who continue to protect our freedom today.
Reopening Public Places
All 50 states are in the process of reopening. Here in New York, the beaches and state parks opened over the weekend with parking lots limited to 50% capacity and social distancing required on the beach. At the state park that I hiked, beach signs announced, “Minimum Ten Feet Between Blankets.” Most beachgoers seemed to be following this rule, but at least half were not wearing masks. This is the uneven nature of reopening throughout the U.S., with some events occurring successfully and others possibly resulting in new virus outbreaks.
Reopening and the Economy
The weekend also brought news on the reopening’s economic impact. A front-page headline in this morning’s Wall Street Journal declares, “For Economy, Worst of the Coronavirus Shutdowns May Be Over.” The article cites a number of real-time indicators that show some slow improvement over the pace of April’s economic activity:
- The number of travelers going through airport TSA checkpoints has increased from less than 90,000 a day to more than 250,000 on May 24
- A number of websites that track trucking demand show an increase over the last four weeks
- Real estate agents report an uptick in interest and mortgage applications
We expect there will be both successes and setbacks as different states and businesses learn how to operate in our new environment. As this unfolds, we will continue to monitor the economic data, talk directly to our holdings’ leadership, and look for opportunities to invest in financially strong, enduring, quality companies.
Ongoing Investor Communications
Your Fenimore team hopes that our weekly emails over the past few turbulent months have been helpful and reassuring. We thought it was imperative to communicate with you frequently during these trying times.
Going forward, in addition to our quarterly messages, we will continue to share significant and educational information as warranted, but not necessarily on a weekly schedule.
Fenimore’s research analysts like to share intelligence from our fieldwork and insights that assist us with our distinct investment process. Here are two recent communications we hope you enjoy:
Financial Statements – Know the Numbers: Spotting Indicators Before Investing
Andrew Boord, Co-Manager of the FAM Small Cap Fund, discusses how he built a strong foundation for investment research while working with Howard Schilit, author of Financial Shenanigans.
Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting: Key Takeaways
Will Preston, Co-Manager of the FAM Dividend Focus Fund, shares Fenimore’s perspective on the 2020 meeting.
As always, please call 800-721-5391 or email us if you have questions or concerns. Fenimore’s associates welcome the opportunity to serve you. Thank you.