A First Foundation Blog

The Week Ahead – Mt. San Antonio

Welcome to “The Week Ahead” where we take a moment to provide our thoughts on what we can expect in markets and the economy during the upcoming week.

Mt. San Antonio, better known locally as Mt. Baldy, is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, and the highest point in Los Angeles County. If you’re not quite sure where it is, look for snow, as it normally is snowcapped for much of the year. At the start of the year (it’s hard to believe that we’re halfway through 2020), my personal new year’s resolution was to finish hiking the “Three Saints” of Southern California: Mt. San Jacinto, Mt. San Antonio, and Mt. San Gorgonio. This past weekend I managed to check off Mt. Baldy, as I completed the 7-hour, 11 mile, 3,990 feet ascended, and a peak elevation of 10,064 feet hike. If you take the Devil’s Backbone trail you’ll traverse a narrow ridge with views of the Cajon Pass on one side and the L.A. basin on the other. On a clear day one can see the Pacific Ocean to the Mojave desert. Hiking has always been a great way to disconnect from the world for a brief period and a time for self-reflection. As I trekked (mask on and socially distanced), I reflected on the first six months of the year and tried to remember one single highlight from each month:

  • January: potential war with Iran
  • February: presidential impeachment trial
  • March: COVID-19 shutdown
  • April: Michael Jordan’s Last Dance documentary
  • May: bread making, lots of it
  • June: reopening the economy / back to the office

A few other mish-mash thoughts during my hike:

  • Don’t fight the Fed
  • Market timing is hard
  • It’s hard being comfortable being uncomfortable
  • Embrace change and disruption

Fireworks came early last week as June’s employment report showed that 4.8 million jobs were added for the month while at the same time May saw a large 2.7 million upward revision. So far, the economy has recovered roughly 34% of the jobs lost during the recession, with 14.7 million people still currently unemployed. The unemployment rate now sits at 11.1%, down from 13.3%. We’re still early in the recovery stage and the next level to build confidence for investors will be hitting single-digit unemployment levels. After last week’s fireworks via the employment report, the week ahead will be relatively quiet for economic data. Keep an eye on initial jobless claims, a flat to downward trend will be positive.  

Mt. San Antonio

Data deck for July 4–July 10




July 6

IHS – Markit Services PMI


July 6

ISM Non-Manufacturing


July 7

JOLTS Job Openings


July 8

Consumer Credit


July 9

Initial Jobless Claims


July 9

Wholesale Inventories


July 10

PPI (Month-over-month)




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Andrew Chan, CAIA, Managing Director of Portfolio Strategy
About the Author
Andrew Chan, CAIA, Managing Director of Portfolio Strategy
Mr. Chan serves on the investment team and is responsible for conducting investment manager research and portfolio construction. As a member of the investment committee, he provides market commentary and investment insights. Mr. Chan’s responsibilities include overseeing client portfolios, calculating risk metrics, conducting the rebalancing of client portfolios, and evaluating the selection of new investment managers. With over 10 years of wealth management experience, Mr. Chan has played key roles across various aspects of investment and wealth management. Prior to joining First Foundation Advisors, Mr. Chan was most recently a portfolio manager at U.S. Trust where, in addition to his daily responsibilities, he served on numerous internal committees including the investment manager committee, the portfolio model committee, and the strategic technology committee. He also served on the in-house strategic consultant committee reporting directly to the President of U.S. Trust. Mr. Chan is a graduate of the Wharton School Executive Program on Investment Management and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside. He is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). Mr. Chan serves on the executive board for CAIA Los Angeles and is the Interim President for the association. Read more