by John Fox, CEO & Chief Investment Officer
A spike in coronavirus cases in some reopened states fanned fears of a second wave of infections and perhaps a step back on reopening progress. Alabama, Arizona, and Florida are among the states showing increases in infection rate and positive test rate, although the levels are still less than half of what each state recorded in March.
Nationwide, the number of reported cases continues to grow, but this needs to be taken in context with the substantial increase in the number of tests now being performed daily.
Significant Increase in Tests
- During the first week of May, the United States performed just under 300,000 tests per day.
- As of this past weekend, the average number of tests per day was well over 500,000.
Naturally, there will be more reported cases with more testing. At the same time, we continue to watch the numbers closely as there is a concern about increased infections stemming from Memorial Day activities and the large numbers of people who gathered for the recent protests.
Virtual Meetings Continue
Traditionally, the first few weeks of June are very busy for the Investment Research Team as we travel to various Wall Street-sponsored conferences. These events bring hundreds of corporate executives to New York City for two or three days where they interact with investors from dawn to dusk.
We attend these conferences to meet with the management teams of the companies whose stock we own, find new prospective investments, and speak with our holdings’ competitors. Given our close proximity to the City, it’s a convenient way to connect with dozens of businesses in a consolidated time period.
Of course, this year we are not traveling, but the old saying “the show must go on” is as true on Wall Street as it is on Broadway. Over the last two weeks, we have been participating in “virtual” conferences where we video conference with the CEOs, CFOs, and investor relations professionals from our holdings. It has certainly been different, but, overall, has worked well. We expect video conferencing will likewise serve us well for Fenimore investor events later in the year.
Improving Business Environment
While the stock market declined last week on economic fears due to virus rates, we continue to hear that business conditions are improving from the March/April period as more states reopen. Similar to the virus trends, we are keeping a close watch on economic and company news.
Demonstrators are marching in cities around the nation. In our area, there have been large protests and marches in the cities of Albany and Troy. Many public companies are also speaking out and taking action.
Fenimore’s actions are centered around long-term commitments to our community partners as exemplified, in part, by the City Mission of Schenectady and Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady. For 46 years, we have partnered with service organizations in Schoharie County, the Capital District, and around the country.
We are reaching out to our local partners who serve the community and will step up our commitment to advance the success of minorities. Each one of us has the ability to make a difference.
Please remember that if you have questions or concerns regarding your financial situation, you can reach our associates at 800-721-5391 or via email.
Thank you for your ongoing confidence and please stay well.
 FactSet, as of 6/15/2020
 The COVID Tracking Project, covidtracking.com, as of 6/14/2020