Tax Update (April 2021)

The new tax deadline for 2020 returns of May 17, 2021 is closing in fast. For all tax clients who have not yet sent us documents, we are requesting that you get your tax information (either in full, or whatever you have available) to us no later than April 15.  

If you are unable to do so, we will most likely be recommending filing an extension with the IRS, which will allow us until October 15 to file the final return. If we find that filing an extension is in your best interest, our team will reach out to let you know more about that process.

In anticipation of questions, we have collected a brief Q&A for you on our website. If you have additional inquiries, please contact our Tax Department at 610-868-9000 or

Current Market Observations

by William Henderson, Vice President / Head of Investments
Positive returns across all three broad market indices in a Good Friday holiday-shortened week gave investors reason to celebrate into the Easter Weekend. For the week ended April 1, 2021, the Dow Jones Industrial Average returned +1.6%, the S&P 500 Index gained +2.8%, and the NASDAQ jumped a healthy +3.9%. Strong weekly gains in all three broader market indices added to positive returns thus far for the full year. Year-to-date, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has returned +8.9, the S&P 500 Index +7.4% and the NASDAQ +4.8%. Stronger relative gains for the Dow Jones Industrial average simply point to the common story this year of a shift from growth to value; with growth stocks best represented by the technology heavy NASDAQ and value stocks better represented by industrial and financial stalwarts that make up the Dow. Generally, as an economic cycle matures, value stocks begin to outperform growth stocks, and this is exactly what we are seeing play out nicely in 2021. Lastly, the bell weather 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond rose by a modest four basis points during the previous week to end at 1.72%.

Last week, the Labor Department’s March jobs report showed a nonfarm payroll gain of 916,000 vs. economists expectation of up 625,000. Easing COVID-19 restrictions on travel and leisure and multiple stimulus packages will continue to allow job growth to boom.  Total U.S. Payroll Employment stood at 144.1 million, significantly higher since the pandemic low in 2020. (See chart below from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.) 

Further, the jobless rate fell to 6% from 6.2%, in line with estimates and further pointing to a strong rebound in employment and the economy. (See chart below from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.) 

Strong increases in payrolls and a resultant decrease in unemployment are pushing economists such at Cornerstone Macro, to predict a 9% real GDP outlook for 2021. Further, employment gains could push the unemployment rate to 3.5% by year-end 2021 and potentially as low as 2.8% in 2022.   

Responsible Investing and ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) focused dollars are taking the headlines this year with many large investment managers pressuring U.S. Corporations to place greater emphasis on doing good rather than just doing. Investment managers are stressing that Responsible Investing is possible without sacrificing returns. Improvements in technology are allowing tectonic positive shifts in sustainable and responsible investing. Last week, Vanguard Group Inc. and Blackrock Inc., along with 41 other investment management firms representing $23 trillion of assets joined the “Net Zero Asset Managers” initiative. This initiative is pledging to support efforts that place a greater focus on investors as activists for their clients and to influence companies to use their substantial resources in a more responsible and sustainable way. 

In this professional’s opinion, whether viewed as a divisive issue or not, Responsible Investing can be acceptable to everyone. I would like to believe that all investors want clean air to breath, fresh water to drink and healthy forests and parks for recreation. Valley National Financial Advisors can assist clients with building and maintaining a portfolio with a clear focus on Responsible Investing. VNFA is a steward for our client’s assets and, as such, can help them become a steward of all resources. 

The Numbers & “Heat Map”

Sources: Index Returns: Morningstar Workstation. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three, five and ten year returns are annualized. Interest Rates: Federal Reserve, Mortgage Bankers Association.

The health of the economy is a key driver of long-term returns in the stock market. Below, we assess the key economic conditions that we believe are of particular importance to investors.




Consumer confidence has increased meaningfully over the last month as vaccine distribution has accelerated.



S&P 500 Q1 earnings are expected to be up greater than 20%, year-over-year. Earnings season begins in a couple of weeks.



The unemployment rate declined to 6% in March, from 6.2% in February



The Fed plans to allow inflation to temporarily overshoot its 2% target such that the long-term average is 2%. Inflation has been tame since the Great Financial Crisis, less than 2%.



President Biden recently unveiled a stimulus package directed towards infrastructure that would total >$2T over eight years.



The Federal Reserve continues to indicate that the monetary environment will remain very accommodative for the foreseeable future.




There are few, if any, looming geopolitical risks that could upset the economic recovery.



With multiple vaccines in distribution and highly accommodative fiscal and monetary policies in place, 2021 may be one of the strongest economic years on record.

The “Heat Map” is a subjective analysis based upon metrics that VNFA’s investment committee believes are important to financial markets and the economy. The “Heat Map” is designed for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as a basis for investment decisions.

“Your Financial Choices”

Tune in Wednesday, 6 PM for “Your Financial Choices” show on WDIY 88.1FM: Laurie will welcome guest Bill Henderson, Head of Investments at Valley National Financial Advisors, to discuss responsible investing, ESG and first quarter insights.

Laurie can take your questions live on the air at 610-758-8810, or address those submitted via Recordings of past shows are available to listen or download at both and