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Blog | Back to the Future: America

Alexi Guagas
Senior Associate Adviser
28 Jul 2021

Cast your minds back to the mid-1940s, the world is in the middle of World War II and the top Allied Scientists are located in a secret laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. 

These scientists are working under the code name “The Manhattan Project” - the mission, to design and build the first atomic bomb which would be used and hopefully bring an end to the war.  

Fast forward to 2020, a Manhattan Project-style effort of similarly paired U.S. scientists, government agencies, and military-style planning — although in the pursuit of cures, not combat — determination to find a common goal, a vaccine to cure Covid-19.  And on May 15th, 2020, “Operation Warp Speed” was born.  

As the atomic bomb brought a swift end to the war in the pacific for the U.S. in 1945, the Covid-19 vaccine would equally start to change the fortunes of the U.S. Astonishingly, in less than 8 months from the beginning of “Operation Warp Speed”, drug companies such as Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson had their vaccines approved for use. 

Enter 2021, the impact of a successful mass vaccination rollout, coupled with federal stimulus checks, triggered a surge in consumer spending. The U.S. economy grew at 6.4% in the first quarter of 2021. 

History suggests periods of massive non-financial disruption such as wars and pandemics (like we saw in 2020) will see a country’s GDP bounce back.  

Economists believe that economic growth has continued to accelerate in the second quarter of 2021, as Americans are eager to get outside and are being welcomed by newly reopened businesses. Economists believe further growth in the second quarter will be enough to push GDP output above the previous peak reached at the end of 2019 before the pandemic struck and cut off the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.  

Factories in the U.S. are also anticipating a return to normality or better, a ramping up of operations to match demand as jobless claims continue to tick lower. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has dropped as the job market continues to heal. 

Has this sentiment translated to U.S. equity markets? Yes – The stock market has been trading higher for months. However, if the strong activity results produce a better earnings outlook, it could fuel the rally further. 

The U.S has recovered from the previous administration’s ‘botched response’ to the pandemic by the success of Operation Warp Speed and the pace at which they have rolled out their vaccine program.  Such success has provided great excitement and sustained hope that the U.S might be turning a corner in the pandemic.  

It’s crazy to think how far they have come in such a short period of time, from a bleak winter to a prosperous summer. The power of great minds combining for the greater good of mankind, a common goal in the pursuit of a cure – has meant that almost 50% of the American adult population are now fully vaccinated, restrictions have begun to ease, and the economy is back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Welcome back America, we are waiting with anticipation on the sidelines – kind regards, Australia.  


Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.