Weekly Economic Update 5/13/2019

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: domestic and international stocks sell off as higher tariffs go into effect for Chinese goods coming to the U.S., while the wave of notable initial public offerings continues.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

As we noted recently, Wall Street has a wandering eye. Last week, it focused on the new tariff threats in the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute. Stocks fell across five trading sessions: the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.12%; the S&P 500, 2.18%; the Nasdaq Composite, 3.03%. International stocks also fell: the MSCI EAFE index declined 3.06%. 

Earnings and big-name initial public offerings mattered little last week. Traders were more concerned about how consumers and corporations might be affected by higher import taxes in future quarters. 1,2

 

TARIFFS INCREASE

At 12:01 am on Friday, duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products coming to the U.S. rose from 10% to 25%. Just days earlier, President Trump had tweeted that the U.S. might also tax another $325 billion of Chinese imports, mainly consumer goods.

While the proposed new taxes might take months to implement, institutional investors reacted negatively to this information, perceiving that trade talks were stalled. 3,4 

 

FINAL THOUGHT

A few weeks ago, market watchers noted the huge number of initial public offerings anticipated for 2019. One well-known tech firm completed its IPO on Friday, and the wave of tech IPOs is still building. According to research firm CB Insights, the average stock market valuation of the venture-capital-backed tech companies going public this year is $9.6 billion.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Getting married? Think about whether you want to keep your finances separate or create some joint investment and bank accounts. If you want a joint investment account, you will need to agree on the investment style

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Wednesday: April retail sales figures from the Census Bureau.

Friday: The University of Michigan’s preliminary May consumer sentiment index, a measure of consumer confidence.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, May 10, 2019

The Econoday and MarketWatch economic calendars list upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Take-Two Interactive (TTWO)

Tuesday: Agilent (A), Ralph Lauren (RL)

Wednesday: Alibaba (BABA), Cisco (CSCO), Macy’s (M)

Thursday: Applied Materials (AMAT), Nvidia (NVDA), Walmart (WMT)

Friday: Deere & Co. (DE)

Source: Morningstar.com, May 10, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.”

EMILY DICKINSON

Know someone who could use information like this?
Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

CITATIONS:

1 - wsj.com/market-data [5/10/19]

 

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [5/10/19]

3 - cnn.com/2019/05/10/business/china-us-tariffs-trade/index.html [5/10/19]

4 - cnbc.com/2019/05/07/if-trump-slaps-china-with-all-the-tariffs-threatened-it-could-be-the-us-consumer-that-pays.html [5/7/19]

5 - nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/09/business/dealbook/tech-ipos-uber.html [5/9/19]

CHART CITATIONS:

wsj.com/market-data [5/10/19]

 

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX/historical-prices [5/10/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [5/10/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [5/10/19]

 

The Cost of Procrastination

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

Don't let procrastination keep you from pursuing your financial goals.

Some of us share a common experience. You’re driving along when a police cruiser pulls up behind you with its lights flashing. You pull over, the officer gets out, and your heart drops.

 

“Are you aware the registration on your car has expired?”

 

You’d been meaning to take care of it for some time. For weeks, you had told yourself that you’d go to renew your registration tomorrow, and then, when the morning comes, you repeat it again.

 

Procrastination is avoiding a task that needs to be done – postponing until tomorrow what could be done, today. Procrastinators can sabotage themselves. They often put obstacles in their own path. They may choose paths that hurt their performance.

 

Though Mark Twain famously quipped, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” We know that procrastination can be detrimental, both in our personal and professional lives. From the college paper that gets put off to the end of the semester to that important sales presentation that waits until the end of the week for the attention it deserves, we’ve all procrastinated on something.

 

Problems with procrastination in the business world have led to a sizable industry in books, articles, workshops, videos, and other products created to deal with the issue. There are a number of theories about why people procrastinate, but whatever the psychology behind it, procrastination may, potentially, cost money – particularly, when investments and financial decisions are put off.

 

As the example below shows, putting off investing may put off potential returns.

Early Bird. Let’s look at the case of Cindy and Charlie, who each invest a hypothetical $10,000 to start. One of them begins immediately, but the other puts investing off.

 

Charlie begins depositing $10,000 a year in an account that earns a hypothetical 6% rate of return. Then, after 10 years, he stops making deposits. His invested assets, however, are free to keep growing and compounding.

 

While Charlie fills his account, Cindy waits 10 years before getting started. She then starts to invest a hypothetical $10,000 a year for 10 years into an account that also earns a hypothetical 6% rate of return.

Cindy and Charlie have both invested the same $100,000, but procrastination costs Cindy, as Charlie’s balance is much higher at the end of 20 years. Over 20 years, his account has grown to $237,863, while Cindy’s account has only grown to $132,822. Charlie’s account has not only put the power of compound interest to work, it has also allowed the investment returns more time to compound. 1

 

This is a hypothetical example of mathematical compounding. It’s used for comparison purposes only and is not intended to represent the past or future performance of any investment. Taxes and investment costs were not considered in this example. The results are not a guarantee of performance or specific investment advice. The rate of return on investments will vary over time, particularly for longer-term investments. Investments that offer the potential for high returns also carry a high degree of risk. Actual returns will fluctuate. The types of securities and strategies illustrated may not be suitable for everyone.


This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

 

 

Citations.

1 - nerdwallet.com/banking/calculator/compound-interest-calculator [12/13/18]

Weekly Economic Update 5/6/2019

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: the Federal Reserve stands pat on interest rates, key indicators show strength, and stocks end the week little changed.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks were up and down last week, and the three major benchmarks ended up little changed after five trading days. The S&P 500 rose 0.20% for the week; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.22%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.14%.

The MSCI EAFE index, a benchmark for international stocks, declined 0.21%. 1-2

 

The Fed Emphasizes Patience

The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady at its May meeting. Its May 1st policy statement noted “solid” job growth and economic activity, but only tame inflation pressure.

While the Fed was not expected to make a move, some investors wondered if its latest policy statement might hint at the possibility of a rate cut later this year. No such hint appeared. Fed chair Jerome Powell told the media Wednesday that “we don’t see a strong reason for moving in one direction or the other.” 3

 

Indications of a Thriving Economy

Employers added 263,000 net new jobs in April. Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast a gain of 190,000. The jobless rate fell to 3.6% last month, the lowest in half a century.

This better-than-expected employment snapshot comes on the heels of a first-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reading that surprised to the upside. In another bit of good news, personal spending rose an impressive 0.9% in March. 4-5

Final Thought

On Wednesday and Thursday, stocks fell in the wake of the Fed policy statement. Friday, they more or less recouped their losses after the impressive April jobs report. Ups and downs like these come with the territory when you invest; the key is to stay patient and think long term instead of short term.

TIP OF THE WEEK

If you are young and want to make financial progress out of college, consider starting your career in a metro area where housing and living expenses are relatively low. Some of the most “exciting” cities to live and work in are also some of the priciest, with their millennial and Gen Y residents deeply in debt.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Friday: The April Consumer Price Index, monitoring monthly and annual inflation.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, May 3, 2019

The Econoday and MarketWatch economic calendars list upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. Econoday Inc. is a technology and information company providing data and analysis for the financial industry, participants in the financial community, and individual investors. MarketWatch, a financial information website, is a subsidiary of Dow Jones & Company, a property of News Corp. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts are also subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Occidental Petroleum (OXY), Tyson Foods (TSN)

Tuesday: Allergan (AGN), Anheuser-Busch (BUD), Lyft (LYFT)

Wednesday: Green Dot (GDOT), Hostess Brands (TWNK), Walt Disney Co. (DIS)

Thursday: AXA Equitable Holdings (EQH), Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP), News Corp. (NWSA)

Friday: Enbridge (ENB), Marriott International (MAR), Viacom (VIA)

Source: Morningstar.com, May 3, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Know someone who could use information like this?
Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

CITATIONS:

1 - markets.wsj.com/usoverview [5/3/19] 

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [5/3/19]

3 - bankrate.com/banking/federal-reserve/fomc-meeting-recap-april-may-2019 [5/1/19]

4 - nytimes.com/2019/05/03/business/economy/jobs-report-april.html [5/3/19]

5 - marketwatch.com/tools/calendars/economic [5/3/19]

CHART CITATIONS:

markets.wsj.com/usoverview [5/3/19]

 

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX/historical-prices [5/3/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [5/3/19]

 

 

Taking Charge of Your Financial Life

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

Delegating responsibilities to others may lead to problems down the road.

When you are putting together a household, it isn’t unusual to delegate responsibilities. One spouse or partner may take on the laundry, while another takes on the shopping. You might also decide which one of you vacuums and which one of you dusts. This is a perfectly fine way to divvy up household tasks and chores.

 

One household task it’s valuable for both partners to take part in, however, is your shared financial life. It’s important, regardless of your level of wealth or stage of life. Counting on one spouse or partner to handle all financial decisions can create a gap for the other partner. Should the one in charge of the money separate, become severely disabled, or pass away, that may leave the other partner in a bind. A situation like that is probably difficult enough without adding additional stress.

 

A study conducted in April 2018 surveyed 1,662 American couples, covering households where one partner has primary budgeting responsibility as well as couples where the responsibility is shared evenly. For the latter, 87% of respondents indicated that they were “confident” in taking full responsibility, should it become necessary. For the former, only 52% of those partners who were not actively involved indicated that same confidence. 1

Begin the conversation. If you are the partner who isn’t steering the household finances, ask yourself why. It may be that you have preconceived notions about how difficult it might be to educate yourself to make informed decisions. Maybe you know how to do it, but you would simply rather not be bothered. It’s also possible that you recognize that your spouse or partner has a particular expertise in these matters and doesn’t need your help.

 

Regardless of the reason, it’s probably a good idea that you should at least be able to hop into the driver’s seat, should misfortune strike your household. In that unfortunate circumstance, you should feel confident that whatever the reason or the duration, you won’t have any unnecessary concerns about managing your household’s finances.

 

For example, what if you have insurance that covers extended care, in case of a severe injury that causes your spouse or partner to be away from work for an indefinite period? How will you be certain that the claim is made? Who will make sure the bills get paid? The job will fall to you.

 

Getting involved. The good news is that through communication, regular conversations, and a little effort, you can probably learn what you need to know in order to help yourself in these situations. Part of this, too, may be meeting and getting to know the financial professional who works for your household.

 

If it’s your first time, start simple. You may find worksheets helpful in guiding you on how to plan out a monthly household budget. There’s software that may help, but a budget doesn’t need to involve anything more than pen and paper, if you prefer. You’ll find several worksheets available online. You will also want to talk with your spouse or partner about the monthly budget they use, as it will likely be helpful if you are both on the same page – perhaps, literally. 2

  

The more knowledge you have, the more confident you can become. Starting the conversation is just the first step. It may take you some time to become comfortable in taking a greater role in the decision-making, but when you do, you may feel more confident if the responsibility ever falls solely to you.

 

his material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

Citations.

1 - nytimes.com/2019/03/01/business/retirement-finances-couples.html [3/1/19]
2 - thebalance.com/basic-monthly-budget-worksheet-1289585 [3/12/19]

 

Weekly Economic Update 4/29/2019

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: stocks come all the way back from their December lows, Q1 growth surpasses expectations, and earnings take center stage.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks returned to record territory, with both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closing at historic highs. The S&P gained 1.20% for the week; the Nasdaq, 1.85%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged, losing 0.06%. The MSCI EAFE index of international stocks lost 0.52%. 1-2

The S&P took only 17 weeks to fully rebound from its December low. 3

 

A SHIFT IN FOCUS

Last month, Wall Street fixated on trade, reacting to even the slightest hint of progress in U.S.-China negotiations. This month, the trade talks have taken a back seat, and the fixation is on earnings.

Anxieties about a possible earnings recession may be fading. So far, first-quarter results for S&P 500 firms are 5.3% above expectations, which compares to a 5-year average of 4.8%. 4

At some point, trade talk will come back, or other developments will lead Wall Street to chase other trends. The thing to remember is that Wall Street is fickle: what preoccupies it one week may be shrugged off the next. Short-term trends ultimately amount to background noise during the long-term pursuit of your financial goals. 

A Strong first quarter

Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the economy expanded at a 3.2% pace in Q1. The number surprised to the upside. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated Q1 gross domestic product would increase 2.5%. 5

 

What’s ahead

Investors have all kinds of news to consider this week. There will be a plethora of earnings calls, plus important reports on consumer spending and hiring. Also, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference following the central bank’s May meeting.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Too many business owners apply for loans too late. Financing is more likely to be approved when a business is financially stable. A loan arranged when a business is healthy could be used for business expansion as well as emergencies.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Monday: March personal spending figures from the Department of Commerce.

Tuesday: The Conference Board’s April consumer confidence index.

Wednesday: The Federal Reserve announces its latest interest rate decision.

Friday: The April jobs report from the Department of Labor.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, April 26, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Alphabet (GOOGL), Kemper (KMPR)

Tuesday: Amgen (AMGN), Apple (AAPL), Cummins (CMI), McDonalds (MCD)

Wednesday: Allstate (ALL), CVS Health (CVS), Humana (HUM), Public Storage (PSA)

Thursday: CBS (CBS), Cigna (CI), Dunkin’ Brands (DNKN), Gilead Sciences (GILD)

Friday: Fiat Chrysler (FCAU)

Source: Morningstar.com, April 26, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older.”

ANOUK AIMEE

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

CITATIONS:

1 - markets.wsj.com/usoverview [4/26/19] 

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [4/26/19]

3 - bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-23/abyss-averted-in-stocks-as-valuations-and-rates-restore-bull-run [4/23/19]

4 - insight.factset.com/earnings-season-update-april-26-2019 [4/26/19]

5 - cnbc.com/2019/04/26/gdp-q1-2019-first-read.html [4/26/19]

CHART CITATIONS:

markets.wsj.com/usoverview [4/26/19]

 

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX/historical-prices [4/26/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [4/26/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [4/26/19]

Weekly Economic Update 4/22/2019

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: stocks move sideways as earnings season gathers momentum, and retail sales jump.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

A short and relatively placid trading week wrapped up Thursday, with the major indices turning in mixed performances. The S&P 500 retreated 0.08%, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.17%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.56%. The MSCI EAFE index, tracking foreign stocks in developed countries, added 0.65%. 1-4

Nothing really catalytic emerged to drive the market last week, and volumes were low.

 

Earnings Season Update

More than 78% of S&P 500 firms reporting so far this earnings season have surpassed analyst expectations, according to FactSet. Since guidance tends to be conservative, there is the possibility that more companies will beat forecasts than expected. 5

The initial public offering market remained strong. Two high-profile technology companies came public on Thursday and were met with enthusiasm from investors. As mentioned in recent weeks, 2019 could be a banner year for IPOs. 

 

Retail Sales Rebound

March’s 1.6% gain was the biggest monthly advance seen since September 2017. Sales of cars and gasoline rose more than 3%. 6

If the upcoming March consumer spending report is also impressive, concerns about the current business cycle peaking may recede.

Final Thought

Nearly 800 companies will report earnings this week, including some high-profile names. This kicks off five weeks of active daily earnings reports.

Investors will watch corporate profits, guidance, and fundamental indicators with great interest, to try and glean whether the economy is strengthening or softening. Reports on first-quarter economic growth and existing home sales will command particular attention.

TIP OF THE WEEK


Your insurance needs should be reevaluated every few years. Life events like a marriage, a home purchase, or retirement may mean you need more (or less) coverage.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Monday: March existing home sales figures from the National Association of Realtors.

Tuesday: March new home sales numbers from the Census Bureau.

Friday: The first estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) from the federal government, and the final April University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, a gauge of consumer confidence levels.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, April 18, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Halliburton (HAL), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), Whirlpool (WHR)

Tuesday: Coca-Cola (KO), Harley-Davidson (HOG), Procter & Gamble (PG), Twitter (TWTR), Verizon (VZ)

Wednesday: Anthem (ANTM), Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT), Facebook (FB)

Thursday: 3M (MMM), AbbVie (ABBV), Amazon (AMZN), Starbucks (SBUX)

Friday: American Airlines (AAL), Colgate-Palmolive (CL), ExxonMobil (XOM)

Source: Morningstar.com, April 18, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.

ZIG ZIGLAR

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

CITATIONS:

1 - quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [4/18/19] 

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [4/18/19]         

3 - quotes.wsj.com/index/COMP [4/18/19]        

4 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [4/18/19]

5 - cnbc.com/2019/04/18/stocks-market-earnings-retail-sales-and-jobless-data-in-focus.html [4/18/19]

6 - reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-retail/us-retail-sales-post-biggest-gain-in-one-and-a-half-years-in-march-idUSKCN1RU1GI [4/18/19]

CHART CITATIONS:

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [4/18/19] 

quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [4/18/19]          

quotes.wsj.com/index/COMP [4/18/19]        

quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [4/18/19]

markets.wsj.com [4/18/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [4/18/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [4/18/19]

Weekly Economic Update 4/15/2019

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: stocks advance after earnings season gets off to an encouraging start, and consumer prices rise the most in more than a year.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks broke out of a narrow range on Friday following news that two major banks grew their bottom line in the first quarter. For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.79%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.91%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average improved 0.50%. Turning to overseas stocks, the MSCI EAFE index declined 0.09% 1-4

The market spent much of the week in a lull as investors waited for earnings season to begin. Wall Street is paying close attention to both guidance and profit margins.

 

Big Banks Post Solid Results

Friday, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase both reported Q1 profit growth, and JPMorgan Chase announced record revenue. 5

This was welcomed news. Analysts have tempered some of their expectations entering this earnings season, recognizing that slowing global growth, tariffs, and dollar strength may be affecting corporate profits. (The dollar rallied 6.2% in Q1.) 6

[Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities.]   

Inflation Picks Up

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% in March, the most in 14 months. This matched the consensus forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch, who believed rising gas prices would affect the number.

Even with this March jump, annual inflation remained relatively tame at 1.9%. 7

 

What’s Ahead

Note that U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed on Good Friday (April 19).

TIP OF THE WEEK

Life insurance is not solely for people with spouses and kids. If you are a caregiver to an ill parent, have significant debt, or simply wish to avoid having others pay for your funeral, life insurance coverage could prove very important in the event of your passing.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Thursday: March retail sales.

Friday: March housing starts and building permits.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, April 12, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS)

Tuesday: Bank of America (BAC), BlackRock (BLK), Comerica (CMA), IBM (IBM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Netflix (NFLX), UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

Wednesday: Abbott Labs (ABT), Alcoa (AA), Bank of New York Mellon (BNY), Morgan Stanley (MS), PepsiCo (PEP), U.S. Bancorp (USB), United Rentals (URI)

Thursday: American Express (AMEX), Honeywell (HON), Manpower (MAN), Philip Morris (PM), Schlumberger (SLB), Travelers Companies (TRV), Union Pacific (UNP).

Source: Morningstar.com, April 12, 2019.

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“To fly we have to have resistance.”

MAYA LIN

Know someone who could use information like this?

Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world's largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

CITATIONS:

1 - quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [4/12/19] 

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [4/12/19]         

3 - quotes.wsj.com/index/COMP [4/12/19]        

4 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [4/12/19]  

5 - cnn.com/2019/04/12/investing/wells-fargo-bank-earnings/index.html [4/12/19]

6 - tinyurl.com/y45wuftu [4/12/19]

7 - marketwatch.com/story/higher-gas-prices-boost-cost-of-living-in-march-but-inflation-still-soft-cpi-shows-2019-04-10 [4/10/19]

CHART CITATIONS:

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [4/12/19] 

quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [4/12/19]         

quotes.wsj.com/index/COMP [4/12/19]        

quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [4/12/19]

markets.wsj.com [4/12/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [4/12/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [4/12/19]

Do Our Biases Affect Our Financial Choices?

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

Even the most seasoned investors are prone to their influence.

Investors are routinely warned about allowing their emotions to influence their decisions.  They are less routinely cautioned about letting their preconceptions and biases color their financial choices.

 

In a battle between the facts & our preconceptions, our preconceptions may win. If we acknowledge this tendency, we may be able to avoid some unexamined choices when it comes to personal finance; it may actually “pay” us to recognize our biases as we invest. Here are some common examples of bias creeping into our financial lives. 1

  

Valuing outcomes of investment decisions more than the quality of those decisions. An investor thinks, “I got a great return from that decision,” instead of thinking, “that was a good decision because ______.”

 

How many investment decisions do we make that have a predictable outcome? Hardly any. In retrospect, it is all too easy to prize the gain from a decision over the wisdom of the decision, and to, therefore, believe that the decisions with the best outcomes were in fact the best decisions (not necessarily true). 

Valuing facts we “know” & “see” more than “abstract” facts. Information that seems abstract may seem less valid or valuable than information that relates to personal experience. This is true when we consider different types of investments, the state of the markets, and the health of the economy.

 

Valuing the latest information most. In the investment world, the latest news is often more valuable than old news, but when the latest news is consistently good (or consistently bad), memories of previous market climate(s) may become too distant. If we are not careful, our minds may subconsciously dismiss the eventual emergence of the next bear (or bull) market. 

     

Being overconfident. The more experienced we are at investing, the more confidence we have about our investment choices. When the market is going up and a clear majority of our investment choices work out well, this reinforces our confidence, sometimes to a point where we may start to feel we can do little wrong, thanks to the state of the market, our investing acumen, or both. This can be dangerous.

 

The herd mentality. You know how this goes: if everyone is doing something, they must be doing it for sound and logical reasons. The herd mentality is what leads many investors to buy high (and sell low). It can also promote panic selling. Above all, it encourages market timing – and when investors try to time the market, they frequently realize subpar returns.

       

Sometimes, asking ourselves what our certainty is based on and what it reflects about ourselves can be a helpful and informative step. Examining our preconceptions may help us as we invest.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

Citations.

1 - forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/12/14/three-psychological-biases-that-prevent-effective-financial-management [12/14/18]



Quarterly Economic Update

A review of Q1 2019, Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this Q1 recap: the Federal Reserve alters its outlook, the truce in the trade dispute holds, the real estate market strengthens, and stocks make an impressive comeback from Q4, even as growth concerns mount.

THE QUARTER IN BRIEF

The strongest first quarter for stocks in 21 years featured all kinds of news. Central banks revised their outlook on monetary policy, seeing less robust economies in 2019. Faint glimmers of progress emerged in the U.S.-China trade dispute. Concerns over near-term corporate earnings and bond yields grew. The possibility of a “hard” Brexit loomed in Europe. The real estate market showed signs of heating up again. As the closing bell rang on the last trading day of March, the Standard and Poor’s 500 notched a 13% gain for the first three months of the year. 1

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH

Late last year, the Federal Reserve was forecasting two interest rate hikes for 2019 and maintaining a fairly hawkish outlook. On March 20, the central bank veered away from all that. It cut its 2019 growth forecast for the economy by 0.2% to 2.1%, indicated it would not raise interest rates this year, and projected just one quarter-point hike through 2021. At a press conference immediately after the release of the March policy statement, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell shared his view that the “growth of economic activity has slowed,” but he added that Fed policymakers did not foresee a recession developing. 2

The financial markets reacted swiftly. Demand for longer-term Treasury notes rose. By March 22, the yield on the 10-year Treasury had fallen dramatically, to the point where the yield on the 2-year Treasury exceeded it. (Bond yields fall when bond prices rise.) Economists refer to this as an inverted yield curve. Some economists see an inverted yield curve as a recession signal, while others disagree. The sudden flight to longer-term Treasuries did seem to reflect a lessening of risk appetite among institutional investors. Just six days after the Fed made its pivot, the CMEGroup’s FedWatch Tool, which tracks market expectations about interest rate changes, gave the Fed a 71.7% chance of making an interest rate cut by the end of the year. 3,4

Some of the incoming data during the quarter seemed to correspond with the Fed’s revised assessment of the economy, but some did not. (Some was actually delayed as an effect of the federal government shutdown that carried into late January.)

Inflation pressure eased. In October, the Consumer Price Index showed a 2.5% annualized advance. By February, inflation was running at just 1.5%. 5

Job creation surged, then fell off. There were 311,000 net new jobs in January, but just 20,000 in February. From January to February, though, the unemployment rate declined from 4.0% to 3.8%, and the broader U-6 rate, encompassing the underemployed, dropped from 8.1% to 7.3%. (The federal government shutdown may have affected some of the above numbers.) 6  

The quarter also ended with the Bureau of Economic Analysis downgrading fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP). The prior estimate was 2.6%; the revised estimate was 2.2%. 7

One important consumer confidence gauge rose and fell during the quarter: the Conference Board’s index declined sharply to 124.1 in March, after hitting a 3-month peak of 131.4 in February. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index performed better: it started the quarter with a drop of 7.1 points in January, but by late March, it was at 98.4, a tenth of a point above where it was in December. 8,9

The Institute for Supply Management’s monthly purchasing manager index, following manufacturing activity, was nowhere near 60 (a level it reached last summer), but remained well above 50 (the mark delineating sector expansion from industry contraction). ISM’s manufacturing PMI was at 56.6 in January, 54.2 in February, and 55.3 in March. 10

GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH

Financial markets worldwide breathed a collective sigh of relief as the trade dispute between the U.S. and China eased. Negotiations between the two nations continued during the quarter, but no deal emerged. While some trade analysts see an agreement being reached in the second quarter, there are doubts that such an accord will resolve the issue at the center of the tariff fight – the concern that Chinese firms are using their technologies to steal U.S. intellectual property. In March, President Trump said that he would prefer leaving 25% tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products in place, even if a new trade deal was forged. 11

The quarter ended without a Brexit or even an accepted Brexit path – with the United Kingdom facing a potentially unpleasant outcome. The revised Brexit deal, which Prime Minister Theresa May brought to Parliament, was rejected for a third time in late March, raising the possibility of the U.K. leaving the European Union on April 12 without any kind of defined trade agreement. The European Central Bank surprised financial markets in early March with a decision to revive some of the economic stimulus measures it had recently ended, and it also indicated that would leave interest rates unchanged until at least 2020. The latest forecast from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) projects only 1% growth for the eurozone this year and less than that for the economies of Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. 12,13

WORLD MARKETS

The S&P 500 was just one of many equity benchmarks advancing double digits in the first quarter. In fact, nearly every foreign stock index posted a quarterly gain of some kind. China’s Shanghai Composite surged 26.77%; Italy’s FTSE MIB, 16.17%; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, 14.41%; France’s CAC 40, 13.10%; all outperformed the S&P for Q1. Other notable gains: Canada’s TSX Composite, 12.42%; Euro Stoxx 50, 11.66%; Germany’s DAX, 9.16%; Brazil’s Bovespa, 8.56%; the United Kingdom’s FTSE 100, 8.19%; India’s BSE Sensex, 8.11%; Japan’s Nikkei 225, 7.56%; South Korea’s KOSPI, 6.19%. MCSI’s World index rose 11.88% in the quarter; MSCI’s Emerging Markets index, 9.56%. 14,15

COMMODITIES MARKETS

Oil outgained all other major commodities during the quarter. The value of West Texas Intermediate crude rose 29.98% on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), taking the per-barrel price to $60.18 at the March 29 close. Other major Q1 advances: unleaded gasoline, 25.52%; palladium, 14.98%; copper, 9.29%; platinum, 6.59%; lumber, 6.07%; cotton, 5.61%. The significant retreats: natural gas, 4.21%; cocoa, 6.44%; corn, 6.98%; coffee, 9.22%; wheat, 11.76%. Gold gained but 0.29% for the quarter, while silver lost 2.65%. On the NYMEX Commodity Exchange, gold was worth $1,290.80 per ounce at the close on March 29; silver, $15.10 per ounce. The U.S. Dollar Index closed out Q1 1.27% higher at 97.20. 16,17

REAL ESTATE

Is a buyer’s market returning? As the quarter ended, some real estate industry journalists and analysts wondered if that was the case. Existing home sales surged 11.8% in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. That was the largest monthly gain seen since December 2015. While residential resales were still down 1.8%, year-over-year, this latest NAR report was certainly encouraging. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun cited “lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income, and higher consumer confidence” as contributing factors in the increase. Additionally, the Census Bureau said that the pace of new home buying improved 4.9% during February; economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast a 1.3% advance. 18,19

As Yun noted, cheaper home loans factored in to all this. The decline in longer-term Treasury yields influenced mortgage rates. By the last week of March, a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was carrying an average interest rate of just 4.06%, according to the calculations of mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Compare that with 4.95% as recently as November. (The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage carried an average interest rate of just 3.57% as March ended.) 20

In February, the median sale price of an existing home was $249,500, representing a year-over-year increase of 3.6%. The median new home purchase price was $315,300, and that was down 3.6% from a year earlier. 18,19

TIP OF THE QUARTER

Retirees aiming to increase their income over time should not overlook the potential of dividend-paying stocks.

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD

The major U.S. equity benchmarks recorded great gains in the quarter. The closing settlements on the last trading day of Q1: Dow Jones Industrial Average, 25,928.68; S&P 500, 2,834.40; Nasdaq Composite, 7,729.32. The S&P Smallcap 600 ended the quarter at 939.30, advancing 11.17%. 21

Just as the bulls seemed beaten down, they came running right back. After diving nearly 14% in the last three months of 2018, the S&P 500 rebounded more than 13% in the opening quarter of 2019. While consumer spending is still strong, many analysts still see slightly less economic growth this year (between 2%-2.5%). Stock market analytics firm FactSet is now projecting 4% profit growth for S&P 500 firms in 2019; when 2018 ended, the projection was near 10%. Economies in Europe and China appear to be less robust, and that could put a drag on the revenue of S&P 500 companies, 40% of which comes from outside the U.S. An abrupt April Brexit could also be a negative for global equity markets. The financial markets showed great resilience in Q1, forcing some financial firms to reconsider their full-year outlook. 1

QUOTE OF THE QUARTER

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”

PEARL BUCK

Know someone who could use information like this?
Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs, or expenses. Investors cannot invest directly in indices. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.

Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

CITATIONS:

1 - tinyurl.com/y23en223/ [3/29/19]

2 - cbsnews.com/news/fed-rate-hikes-none-in-2019-federal-reserve-projects-no-rate-hikes-slower-growth-this-year/ [3/20/19]

3 - bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-22/u-s-treasury-yield-curve-inverts-for-first-time-since-2007 [3/22/19]

4 - investors.com/market-trend/stock-market-today/dow-jones-futures-fed-rate-cut-odds-inverted-yield-curve/ [3/26/19]

5 - ycharts.com/indicators/us_inflation_rate [4/1/19]

6 - investing.com/economic-calendar/ [3/31/19]

7 - marketwatch.com/tools/calendars/economic [3/29/19]

8 - investing.com/economic-calendar/cb-consumer-confidence-48 [3/31/19]

9 - tradingeconomics.com/united-states/consumer-confidence [3/31/19]

10 - instituteforsupplymanagement.org/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm [4/1/19]

11 - pbs.org/newshour/economy/new-round-of-u-s-china-trade-talks-set-to-begin-in-beijing [3/28/19]

12 - cnbc.com/2019/03/29/brexit-general-election-speculation-grows-after-may-loses-vote.html [3/29/19]

13 - nytimes.com/2019/03/07/business/ecb-european-economy-stimulus.html [3/7/19]

14 - investing.com/indices/major-indices [3/31/19]

15 - msci.com/end-of-day-data-search [3/29/19]

16 - barchart.com/futures/performance-leaders?viewName=chart&timeFrame=3m [3/31/19]

17 - money.cnn.com/data/commodities/ [3/29/19]

18 - nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-surge-11-8-percent-in-february [3/22/19]

19 - cnbc.com/2019/03/29/new-home-sales-february.html [3/29/19]

20 - tinyurl.com/y27puujx [3/29/19]

21 - barchart.com/stocks/indices?viewName=performance [3/29/19]

22 - barchart.com/stocks/indices?viewName=performance [1/1/19]

23 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [3/29/19]

 



You Could Retire, But Should You?

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

It might be better to wait a bit longer.

Some people retire at first opportunity, only to wish they had waited longer. Your financial strategy likely considers normal financial ups and downs. That said, a big “what if” on your mind might be “what if I retire in a down time that doesn’t swing back upward in a year or two?” It could happen to everyone, and it certainly doesn’t work on your schedule. For that reason, the fact that you can retire doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.

 

Retiring earlier may increase longevity risk. The concern can be put into three dire words: “outliving your money.” Sudden medical expenses, savings shortfalls, financial downturns, and larger-than-planned withdrawals from retirement accounts can all contribute to it. The downside of retiring at 55 or 60 is that you have that many more years of retirement to fund.

 

There are also insurance issues to consider. Medicare will not cover you until you turn 65; in the event of an illness, how would your finances hold up without its availability? While your employer may give you a year-and-a-half of COBRA coverage upon your exit, that could cost your household more than $1,000 a month. 1,2

How is your cash position? If your early retirement happens to coincide with a severe market downturn or a business or health crisis, you will need an emergency fund – or at the very least, enough liquidity to quickly address such issues.

 

Does your spouse want to retire later? If so, your desire to retire early might cause some conflicts and impact any shared retirement dreams you hold. If you have older children or other relatives living with you, how would your decision affect them?  

  

Working a little longer might ease the transition to retirement. Some retirees end up missing the intellectual demands of the workplace and the socialization with friends and coworkers. They find no ready equivalent once they end their careers. Also, it may be difficult to find a part-time job in another field, so staying a while longer could help you make the change at a pace that will be more comfortable, both financially and emotionally. 3

 

Ideally, you will retire with adequate savings and a plan to stay physically and mentally active and socially engaged, so waiting a bit longer to retire might be advantageous to your bottom line.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

«RepresentativeDisclosure» 

 

Citations.

1 - cnbc.com/2019/02/28/what-you-need-to-know-about-medicare.html [2/28/19]
2 - fool.com/personal-finance/2019/02/24/should-you-use-cobra-coverage-when-you-leave-your.aspx [2/24/19]
3 - news.stlpublicradio.org/post/more-older-americans-working-past-65-delaying-retirement [8/8/18]

 

Weekly Economic Update

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: stocks close out a great quarter, mortgage rates decline, and Wall Street awaits a wave of IPO action.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Stocks ended last week higher as volatility slowed, completing their best quarter since 2009. A Friday tweet from Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin encouraged investors, referring to “constructive” discussions in the ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations. 1

The S&P 500 gained 1.27% for the week. The Dow Industrials and Nasdaq Composite both exceeded that advance: the Dow rose 1.60%; the Nasdaq, 1.42%. 2-4

Foreign shares went the other way. The MSCI EAFE index following international stocks retreated 0.91%. 5

2019 Could Be a Big Year for IPOs

One of the ride-share pioneers, Lyft, closed on its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday, and a glance at the IPO calendar shows that as many as 226 companies could soon go public, with Uber and Airbnb possibly among them. 6

This IPO wave may be a signal of a market top, or it may point to a comeback for risk appetite, which could be healthy for the overall market.

Should some big-name IPOs stumble, it may deter others from moving ahead, which may influence the market psychology. Conversely, an enthusiastic reception may help support further market advances.

[Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities.]   

Good News for the Housing Market

The Fed’s dovish tone has also influenced home loan rates. Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows an average interest rate of just 4.06% on a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage, compared with 4.28% a week earlier and 4.95% in December. 7

This news is especially significant given the recent pickup in existing home sales. They jumped 11.8% in February, the biggest monthly gain in more than three years. 8

[A 30-year, fixed rate mortgage is a conventional home loan meeting the lending requirements of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but it is not a mortgage guaranteed or insured by any government agency. Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, is required for any conventional loan with less than a 20% down payment.]

 

TAX TIP

The federal income tax filing deadline is Monday, April 15. However, residents of Maine and Massachusetts have until Wednesday, April 17 to file their 2018 tax return. April 15 is Patriots' Day, and April 16 is Emancipation Day. 9

TIP OF THE WEEK

Good debt (a home loan, a student loan) should be distinguished from bad debt (such as credit card debt with a high-interest rate). Strive to pay off bad debt as quickly as you can, and remember that much of it may be linked to purchases that reflect wants rather than needs.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Monday: February retail sales.

Wednesday: ADP’s snapshot of March private sector hiring.

Friday: The Department of Labor’s March jobs report.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, March 29, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Tuesday: GameStop (GME), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)

Thursday: Constellation Brands (STZ)

Source: Morningstar.com, March 29, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

HELEN KELLER

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

CITATIONS:

1 - marketwatch.com/story/stocks-end-higher-sp-records-strongest-quarter-in-a-decade-2019-03-29 [3/29/19]

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [3/29/19] 

3 - quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [3/29/19]         

4 - quotes.wsj.com/index/COMP [3/29/19]        

5 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [3/29/19]

6 - cnbc.com/2019/02/04/a-giant-ipo-wave-is-coming-as-unicorns-whet-investor-appetite.html [2/4/19]

7 - startribune.com/us-mortgage-rates-post-biggest-drop-in-decade-to-4-06-pct/507781302/ [3/29/19]

8 - nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-surge-11-8-percent-in-february [3/22/19]

 

9 - efile.com/tax-day-deadlines/ [3/21/19]

CHART CITATIONS.

 

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [3/29/19]   

quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [3/29/19]         

quotes.wsj.com/index/COMP [3/29/19]        

quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [3/29/19]

markets.wsj.com [3/29/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [3/29/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [3/29/19]

Yes, Young Growing Families Can Save & Invest

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

It may seem like a tall order, but it can be accomplished.

Put yourself steps ahead of your peers. If you have a young, growing family, no doubt your to-do list is pretty long on any given day. Beyond today, you are probably working on another kind of to-do list for the long term. Where does “saving and investing” rank on that list?

 

For some families, it never quite ranks high enough – and it never becomes the priority it should become. Assorted financial pressures, sudden shifts in household needs, bad luck – they can all move “saving and investing” down the list. Even so, young families have strategized to build wealth in the face of such stresses. You can follow their example.

    

First step: put it into numbers. How much money will you need to save by 65 to promote enough retirement income and to live comfortably? Are you on pace to build a retirement nest egg that large? How much risk do you feel comfortable tolerating as you invest?

 

A financial professional can help you arrive at answers to these questions and others. They can help you define long-range retirement savings goals and project the amount of savings and income you may need to sustain your lifestyle as retirees. At that point, “the future” will seem more tangible, and your wealth-building effort, even more purposeful.   

Second step: start today & never stop. If you have already started, congratulations! In getting an early start, you have taken advantage of a young investor’s greatest financial asset: time.

 

If you haven’t started saving and investing, you can do so now. It doesn’t take a huge lump sum to begin. Even if you defer $100 worth of salary into a retirement account per month, you are putting a foot forward. See if you can allocate much more. If you begin when you are young and keep at it, you may witness the awesome power of compounding as you build your retirement savings and net worth through the years. 

 

Of course, this may not be enough, and you may find that you need to devote more than $100 per month to your effort. If you strategize and escalate your savings over time, you may very well generate enough money for a very comfortable retirement.

 

Merely socking away money may not be enough, either. There are a wide variety of choices you can make – perhaps alongside a trusted financial professional – that may help position you and your household for a comfortable future, provided you keep good financial habits along the way. 

How do you find the balance? This is worth addressing – how do you balance saving and investing with attending to your family’s immediate financial needs?

  

Bottom line, you should consider finding money to save and invest for your family’s near-term and long-term goals. Are you spending a lot of money on goods and services you want rather than need? Cut back on that kind of spending. Is credit card debt siphoning away dollars you should assign to saving and investing? Fix that financial leak and avoid paying with plastic whenever you can.

  

Vow to keep “paying yourself first” – maintain the consistency of your saving and investing effort. What is more important: saving for your child’s college education or buying those season tickets? Who comes first in your life: your family or your luxuries? You know the answer. 

   

It has been done; it should be done. There are people who came to this country with little more than the clothes on their backs who have found prosperity. It all starts with belief – the belief that you can do it. Complement that belief with a strategy and regular saving and investing, and you may find yourself much better off much sooner than you think.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Weekly Economic Update

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: the “yield curve” inverts for the first time this decade, the Federal Reserve adjusts its stance on interest rates, and the price of oil climbs.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

Friday, the yield of the 3-month Treasury bill exceeded the yield of the 10-year Treasury note for the first time in 12 years. For some analysts, this “inverted yield curve” may imply a short-term lessening of confidence. (Treasury yields move inversely to Treasury prices.) 1

As a result, the S&P 500 ended the week 0.94% lower. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.80%, and the Dow Industrials lost 1.19%. 2,3,4

In contrast, the MSCI EAFE index following international stocks rose, gaining 0.52% for the week. 5

FED SEES NO HIKES IN 2019

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady, but lowered its estimate of 2019 economic growth to 2.1%.

Last December, the central bank forecast two rate hikes in 2019. It now expects to leave rates unchanged this year, with one quarter-point hike projected for 2020.

This pivot may acknowledge a slight change in economic conditions. The Fed’s latest policy statement noted that the “growth of economic activity has slowed from its solid rate in the fourth quarter.” 6   

OIL HOVERS NEAR $60

At Friday’s closing bell, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (NYMEX) crude oil was valued at $58.85 on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Its value briefly climbed to $60 earlier in the week.

Month-over-month, the price of WTI crude has risen nearly 5%. Historically, higher oil prices can have a significant impact on retail gasoline prices. 7

WHAT’s NEXT

A U.S. delegation is scheduled to accompany Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to China this week for further trade negotiations. Finally, Brexit will not occur this Friday, as the European Union has extended the United Kingdom’s deadline in response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s request. 8,9

T I P  O F  T H E  W E E K

When a baby comes along, it can be hard to stick to a household budget. Rather than struggle to meet old goals, adjust the budget in light of new realities. Refrain from abandoning budgeting in the wake of the change.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: The Conference Board’s latest reading on consumer confidence.

Thursday: February pending home sales, and the federal government’s second estimate of fourth-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Friday: Reports on consumer spending and new home sales, and March’s final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, another measure of consumer confidence levels.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, March 22, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons.

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Winnebago (WGO)

Tuesday: KB Home (KBH)

Wednesday: Lennar (LEN), Lululemon Athletica (LULU), Paychex (PAYX)

Thursday: Accenture (ACN)

Friday: Blackberry (BB), CarMax (KMX)

Source: Morningstar.com, March 22, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

Q U O T E  O F  T H E  W E E K

“Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.”

SARAH BERNHARDT

Know someone who could use information like this?
Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

CITATIONS:

1 - bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-22/u-s-treasury-yield-curve-inverts-for-first-time-since-2007 [3/22/19]

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [3/22/19] 

3 - quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [3/22/19]         

4 - quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ [3/22/19]        

5 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [3/22/19]

6 - cbsnews.com/news/fed-rate-hikes-none-in-2019-federal-reserve-projects-no-rate-hikes-slower-growth-this-year/ [3/20/19]

7 - money.cnn.com/data/commodities/ [3/22/19]

8 - cnbc.com/2019/03/20/trump-says-china-tariffs-could-stay-in-place-amid-trade-deal-talks.html [3/20/19]

9 - nytimes.com/2019/03/21/world/europe/brexit-extension-eu-uk.html [3/21/19]

 

CHART CITATIONS.

 

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [3/22/19]     

quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [3/22/19]         

quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ [3/22/19]        

quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [3/22/19]

markets.wsj.com [3/22/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [3/22/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [3/22/19]

 

Weekly Economic Update

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this week’s recap: the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq all advance more than 2% in five trading sessions, while investors review tame inflation data and wait for further news in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

THE WEEK ON WALL STREET

The big story last week was the sudden grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 passenger jets in dozens of countries. The financial effects of this ban could potentially impact the airline industry and segments of the economy for months. 1

While the news created a headwind for the Dow Industrials, stocks managed to post solid gains for the week. The Nasdaq Composite rose 3.12%; the S&P 500, 2.46%; the Dow, 2.25%. 2,3,4

Bullish sentiment was also evident overseas. Looking at the MSCI EAFE index, international stocks advanced 1.93%. 5

Any companies mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance.

TRADE MEETING DELAYED

Wall Street expected President Trump and Chinese President Xi to discuss trade issues this month. Thursday, Bloomberg reported that their talk had been postponed, with no firm date ahead. 6   

MUTED INFLATION

The latest Consumer Price Index showed just a 1.5% rise in overall consumer costs in the year ending in February.

This number does not suggest an overheating economy. During a 60 Minutes interview last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank did “not feel any hurry” to make a rate move.

TAX TIP

If you turned 70½ last year, April 1 is your final deadline to receive your initial Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from a traditional IRA, SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you take your initial RMD from these retirement accounts this year, you must receive your second RMD from them by December 31, 2019. 8

Withdrawals from traditional IRAs, SEP-IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59 1/2, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70 ½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from these plans. 7

T I P   O F   T H E   W E E K

If it seems you will retire before you are eligible for Medicare, be sure to make the most of your employee health benefits. Schedule doctor, optometrist, and dentist check-ups as well as any major procedures needed. Paying for this health care out of pocket could be hugely expensive, and the premiums for private insurance could be costly.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Wednesday: The Federal Reserve wraps up its two-day policy meeting.

Friday: February existing home sales.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, March 15, 2019

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons.

 

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Tuesday: FedEx (FDX), Michaels Companies (MIK)

Wednesday: General Mills (GIS), Micron Technology (MU)

Thursday: ConAgra Brands (CAG), Darden Restaurants (DRI), Nike (NKE)

Source: Morningstar.com, March 15, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame, and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

Q U O T E  O F  T H E  W E E K

“Committing a great truth to memory is admirable; committing it to life is wisdom.”

WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD

Know someone who could use information like this?
Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

 

CITATIONS:

1 - cnbc.com/2019/03/13/boeing-shares-fall-after-report-says-us-expected-to-ground-737-max-fleet.html [3/13/19]

2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [3/15/19] 

3 - quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [3/15/19]         

4 - quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ [3/15/19]        

5 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [3/15/19]

6 - bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-14/china-u-s-said-to-push-back-trump-xi-meeting-to-at-least-april [3/14/19]  

7 - reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-inflation-idUSKBN1QT1MF [3/12/19]

8 - irs.gov/newsroom/tax-time-guide-seniors-who-turned-70-and-a-half-last-year-must-start-receiving-retirement-plan-payments-by-april-1 [3/5/19]

 

CHART CITATIONS:

quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX [3/15/19] 

quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA [3/15/19]         

quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ [3/15/19]        

quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [3/15/19] 

markets.wsj.com [3/15/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield [3/8/19]

 

treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [3/8/19]

Your Financial Strategy

Like a chess grandmaster, it’s worth thinking a few moves ahead.

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

Thinking about retirement might seem unpleasant. As you budget your monthly bills, you might feel as if you simply don’t have enough to handle both your day-to-day affairs and still save for the future. It’s certainly true that it’s a challenge. That said, with some careful thought and a little imagination, you can probably think of ways to make what once felt impossible, more possible.

The strategic approach is known to grandmasters, generals, and sports coaches the world over. Simply put, it’s a matter of looking over your resources and options, then taking steps to use them to your greatest advantage. Strategy doesn’t guarantee any particular outcome, but it can help you make arrangements for all manner of financial situations, both positive and negative. You probably have some questions. That’s good; asking questions and seeking answers is a healthy beginning to a strategy.

Isn’t financial strategy for rich people? Not necessarily. Building that strategy could potentially give you a boost toward a better future for you and those you love. Whether it’s just you, as a single person, or you and your family, giving some thought to your finances could be all that is standing between real life and pursuing a dream. It could also potentially be what prevents a dire financial situation from becoming even worse. All by just thinking a few moves ahead. 1

Am I ready for this? Absolutely. Financial strategy is just a way of thinking ahead. If you’re reading this, you’re already thinking ahead. This means that you may be ready to start thinking about putting money aside for retirement, contemplating insurance choices, setting up beneficiaries, creating or updating a will, and even designating a financial power of attorney and health care proxy as well as drawing up a living will. 2

These topics might seem “far away,” in some distant future, or even fill you with a little anxiety or dread. That anxiety, though, is rooted in the uncertainties in life; you never know what’s coming next. At least with a strategy in action, you have some things in place for your family. If it still seems like too much, it’s good to know that you can reach out to professionals for help.

Do I have to do it all by myself? You have many choices when it comes to building a financial strategy. You could educate yourself and go it alone. It’s certainly cheaper, but you’re probably thinking more about all the things you need to learn and less about all the things you might miss by going the do-it-yourself route. There are also computer-based options, which can be affordable, but you definitely lose the advantages of human help. 2

Finally, there is the financial professional. You might think of a financial professional as a man wearing a green visor, crunching numbers for some cartoon billionaire. The truth is that there are all sorts of financial professionals who specialize in working with people at every income level and from all walks of life. Some financial professionals charge flat rates or by the hour, and others such as fee-only financial professionals typically receive a percentage of client assets under management. 2,3

You have many choices when it comes to who you do business with – your financial professional should be able to talk you through investments, financial issues in the news, working toward your own goals, and ultimately, help you think a few moves ahead.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 - nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/5-financial-planning-myths/ [12/7/18]

2 - investors.com/etfs-and-funds/personal-finance/steps-in-financial-planning-2019/ [12/31/18]

3 - thestreet.com/personal-finance/when-is-it-worth-it-to-work-with-a-financial-advisor-14631145 [6/23/18]

The A, B, C, & D of Medicare

Breaking down the basics & what each part covers.

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

Whether your 65th birthday is on the horizon or decades away, you should understand the parts of Medicare – what they cover and where they come from.

Parts A & B: Original Medicare. There are two components. Part A is hospital insurance. It provides coverage for inpatient stays at medical facilities. It can also help cover the costs of hospice care, home health care, and nursing home care – but not for long and only under certain parameters.1,2

Seniors are frequently warned that Medicare will only pay for a maximum of 100 days of nursing home care (provided certain conditions are met). Part A is the part that does so. Under current rules, you pay $0 for days 1-20 of skilled nursing facility (SNF) care under Part A. During days 21-100, a $170.50 daily coinsurance payment may be required of you.2

Part B is medical insurance and can help pick up some of the tab for physical therapy, physician services, expenses for durable medical equipment (hospital beds, wheelchairs), and other medical services, such as lab tests and a variety of health screenings.1

Part B isn’t free. You pay monthly premiums to get it and a yearly deductible (plus 20% of costs). The premiums vary according to the Medicare recipient’s income level. The standard monthly premium amount is $135.50 this year. The current yearly deductible is $185. (Some people automatically receive Part B coverage, but others must sign up for it.)3

Part C: Medicare Advantage plans. Insurance companies offer these Medicare-approved plans.

To keep up your Part C coverage, you must keep up your payment of Part B premiums as well as your Part C premiums. To say not all Part C plans are alike is an understatement. Provider networks, premiums, copays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket spending limits can all vary widely, so shopping around is wise. During Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15 - December 7), seniors can choose to switch out of Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa; although, any such move is much wiser with a Medigap policy already in place.4,5

How does a Medigap plan differ from a Part C plan? Medigap plans (also called Medicare Supplement plans) emerged to address the gaps in Part A and Part B coverage. If you have Part A and Part B already in place, a Medigap policy can pick up some copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for you. You pay Part B premiums in addition to Medigap plan premiums to keep a Medigap policy in effect. These plans no longer offer prescription drug coverage.6

Part D: prescription drug plans. While Part C plans commonly offer prescription drug coverage, insurers also sell Part D plans as a standalone product to those with Original Medicare. As per Medigap and Part C coverage, you need to keep paying Part B premiums in addition to premiums for the drug plan to keep Part D coverage going.7

Every Part D plan has a formulary, a list of medications covered under the plan. Most Part D plans rank approved drugs into tiers by cost. The good news is that Medicare’s website will determine the best Part D plan for you. Go to medicare.gov/find-a-plan to start your search; enter your medications and the website will do the legwork for you.8

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 - mymedicarematters.org/coverage/parts-a-b/whats-covered/ [1/29/19]

2 - medicare.gov/coverage/skilled-nursing-facility-snf-care [1/29/19]

3 - medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs [1/29/19]

4 - medicareinteractive.org/get-answers/medicare-basics/medicare-coverage-overview/original-medicare [1/29/19]

5 - medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/joining-a-health-or-drug-plan [1/29/19]

6 - medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/whats-medicare-supplement-insurance-medigap [1/29/19]

7 - ehealthinsurance.com/medicare/part-d-all/medicare-part-d-prescription-drug-coverage-costs [1/29/19]

What People Overlook When Shopping for Life Insurance

A few realities that must be acknowledged.

Shopping for life insurance means paying attention to detail. In scrutinizing these details, however, some fundamental, big-picture truths may be ignored.

If you want to renew or upgrade coverage later in life, the terms could be less than ideal. You may be healthier than most of your peers, you may have the constitution of someone half your age, but insurers base policy premiums and terms of coverage on actuarial norms, not exceptions. Purchase a term life policy at age 50, and your premiums may be considerably more expensive than if you had bought the same coverage at age 30. This is the way of the insurance business.1

Have you had a serious illness? Have you been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as diabetes, sleep apnea, or high blood pressure? You are looking at higher life insurance premiums, and insurers may limit the amount of life insurance coverage you can buy.2

A guaranteed acceptance life insurance policy may be the answer, but even with one of these policies, you may have to live a certain number of years after buying the coverage for your heirs to receive a death benefit. Many times, if the insured dies within 2-3 years of the policy purchase, the named beneficiaries only receive an amount equivalent to the premiums that have been paid, plus interest.2

Your beneficiaries need to know that you own life insurance. Roughly $1 billion in life insurance payouts sit unclaimed in America. Why? The beneficiaries are unaware of them. Also, sometimes beneficiary designations are hazy; a “husband” is named as a primary beneficiary on a policy, but the insured has married more than once, so an ex-spouse contests the beneficiary form. Such legal challenges may generate court costs offsetting the financial value of the death benefit.3

While it seems obvious to inform heirs about a life insurance policy, some people never do – and this simple oversight continues to obstruct life insurance payouts.

You need to name a beneficiary in the first place. Some consumers fail to, however, and that can create problems. If you do not designate a beneficiary for your life insurance policy, its death benefit could be included in your estate, exposed to probate and creditors.4

You must also recognize that you could live much longer than you expect. Years ago, most life insurance policies were sold with the assumption that the insured party would die by age 100. If the policyholder lived beyond that maturity date, the insurer would simply pay out the cash value of the policy (or something similar) to the insured person at that time.5

Today, maturity dates on life insurance policies are often set at age 121, but not all are. There is still a possibility that you could outlive a maturity date and money could be paid out to you instead of your named beneficiaries. This possibility must be acknowledged.5

As you shop for life insurance coverage, keep all this in mind. Some policyholders (and their heirs) tend to lose sight of these realities.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 - investopedia.com/articles/investing/102914/7-factors-affect-your-life-insurance-quote.asp [6/28/18]

2 - nasdaq.com/article/4-errors-to-avoid-with-your-life-insurance-cm868133 [10/30/17]

3 - baltimoresun.com/health/blog/bs-md-insurance-deceased-database-20170111-story.html [1/11/17]

4 - thebalance.com/must-life-insurance-be-used-to-pay-a-decedent-s-bills-3505232 [5/12/18]

5 - lifeinsurance.org/blog/does-life-insurance-expire-at-a-certain-age [6/28/18]

Save & Invest Even if Money Is Tight

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

For millennials, today is the right time.

If you are under 30, you have likely heard that now is the ideal time to save and invest. You know that the power of compound interest is on your side; you recognize the potential advantages of an early start.

There is only one problem: you do not earn enough money to invest. You are barely getting by as it is.

Regardless, the saving and investing effort can still be made. Even a minimal effort could have a meaningful impact later.

Can you invest $20 a week? There are 52 weeks in a year. What would saving and investing $1,040 a year do for you at age 25? Suppose the invested assets earn 7% a year, an assumption that is not unreasonable. (The average yearly return of the S&P 500 through history is roughly 10%; during 2013-17, its average return was +13.4%.) At a 7% return and annual compounding, you end up with $14,876 after a decade in this scenario, according to Bankrate’s compound interest calculator. By year 10, your investment account is earning nearly as much annually ($939) as you are putting into it ($1,040). 1,2

You certainly cannot retire on $14,876, but the early start really matters. Extending the scenario out, say you keep investing $20 a week under the same conditions for 40 years, until age 65. As you started at age 25, you are projected to have $214,946 after 40 years, off just $41,600 in total contributions. 2

This scenario needs adjustment considering a strong probability: the probability that your account contributions will grow over time. So, assume that you have $14,876 after ten years, and then you start contributing $175 a week to the account earning 7% annually starting at age 35. By age 65, you are projected to have $1,003,159. 2

Even if you stop your $20-per-week saving and investing effort entirely after 10 years at age 35, the $14,876 generated in that first decade keeps growing to $113,240 at age 65 thanks to 7% annual compounded interest. 2

How do you find the money to do this? It is not so much a matter of finding it as assigning it. A budgeting app can help: you can look at your monthly cash flow and designate a small part of it for saving and investing.

Should you start an emergency savings fund first, then invest? One school of thought says that is the way to go – but rather than think either/or, think both. Put a ten or twenty (or a fifty) toward each cause, if your budget allows. As ValuePenguin notes, many deposit accounts are yielding 0.01% interest. 3

It does not take much to start saving and investing for retirement. Get the ball rolling with anything, any amount, today, for the power of compounding is there for you to harness. If you delay the effort for a decade or two, building adequate retirement savings could prove difficult.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.Citations.

1 - nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/average-stock-market-return/ [2/28/18]

2 - bankrate.com/calculators/savings/compound-savings-calculator-tool.aspx [7/26/18]

3 - valuepenguin.com/average-savings-account-interest-rates [7/26/18]

Your Emergency Fund: How Much is Enough?

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

An emergency fund may help alleviate the stress associated with a financial crisis.

Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops

washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as

you’re driving to work, giving yourself your best, “You can make it!” pep talk, you see smoke

seeping out from under your hood.

Bad things happen to the best of us, and instead of conveniently spacing themselves out, they

almost always come in waves. The important thing is to have a financial life preserver, in the

form of an emergency cash fund, at the ready.

Although many people agree that an emergency fund is an important resource, they’re not sure

how much to save or where to keep the money. Others wonder how they can find any extra

cash to sock away. One recent survey found that 29% of Americans lack any emergency savings

whatsoever. 1

How Much Money? When starting an emergency fund, you’ll want to set a target amount. But

how much is enough? Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. The ideal amount

for your emergency fund may depend on your financial situation and lifestyle. For example, if

you own your home or provide for a number of dependents, you may be more likely to face

financial emergencies. And if the crisis you face is a job loss or injury that affects your income,

you may need to depend on your emergency fund for an extended period of time.

Coming Up with Cash. If saving several months of income seems an unreasonable goal, don’t

despair. Start with a more modest target, such as saving $1,000. Build your savings at regular

intervals, a bit at a time. It may help to treat the transaction like a bill you pay each month.

Consider setting up an automatic monthly transfer to make self-discipline a matter of course.

You may want to consider paying off any credit card debt before you begin saving.

Once you see your savings begin to build, you may be tempted to use the account for

something other than an emergency. Try to budget and prepare separately for bigger expenses

you know are coming. Keep your emergency money separate from your checking account so

that it’s harder to dip into.

Where Do I Put It? An emergency fund should be easily accessible, which is why many people

choose traditional bank savings accounts. Savings accounts typically offer modest rates of

return. Certificates of Deposit may provide slightly higher returns than savings accounts, but

your money will be locked away until the CD matures, which could be several months to several

years.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures bank accounts and certificates of

deposit (CD’s) up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution in principal and interest. CD’s are

time deposits offered by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions. CD’s offer a slightly higher

return than a traditional bank savings account, but they also may require a higher amount of

deposit. If you sell before the CD reaches maturity, you may be subject to penalties. 2

Some individuals turn to money market accounts for their emergency savings. Money market

funds are considered low-risk securities, but they’re not backed by the federal government like

CD’s, so it is possible to lose money. Depending on your particular goals and the amount you

have saved, some combination of lower-risk investments may be your best choice. 2

Money held in money market funds is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other

government agency. Money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at

$1.00 a share. However, it is possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund.

Money market mutual funds are sold by prospectus. 2

Please consider the charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives carefully before

investing. A prospectus containing this and other information about the investment company

can be obtained from your financial professional. Read it carefully before you invest or send

money.

The only thing you can know about unexpected expenses is that they’re coming – for everyone.

But having an emergency fund may help alleviate the stress and worry associated with a

financial crisis. If your emergency savings are not where they should be, consider taking steps

today to create a cushion for the future.


Know someone who could use information like this? Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)


This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 - cnbc.com/2018/07/02/about-55-million-americans-have-no-emergency-savings.html [7/6/18]

2 - investor.vanguard.com/investing/cash-investments [12/13/18]

Monthly Economic Update for January 2019

Presented by Beacon Financial Group

In this month’s recap: equities rally here and around the world, economic fundamentals look solid, the pace of home sales slows, and oil surges.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

During a month marked by political impasses in the United States and United Kingdom, equities performed well around most of the world. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced 7.87% in January, with a new earnings season as well as trade and monetary policy developments providing tailwinds. Most of the economic data that rolled in was good; the partial federal government shutdown may have negatively impacted some of the numbers. Home sales fell off abruptly. Many commodities advanced. All in all, investors focused on the potential of the markets more than disputes. 1

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH

The Congressional Budget Office believes that the 35-day federal government shutdown cost the economy about $11 billion. The silver lining is that roughly $8 billion of that loss is potentially recoverable, presuming federal spending and consumer spending bounce back in the coming months. 2

Due to the length and breadth of the shutdown, a few key economic reports did not appear last month. Nevertheless, there were plenty of attention-getting news items.

As expected, the Federal Reserve left interest rates alone in January. What really intrigued investors was the dovish tone of the Fed’s latest policy statement. It noted that the Federal Open Market Committee would be “patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate” for the economy. The central bank appeared newly cautious: language implying that rate hikes might be merited was now absent. 3

In mid-January, China made a move in the U.S.-China trade dispute. It offered a plan to address the U.S. trade deficit, with an objective of cutting it to $0 by 2024. China would undertake a strategy to buy greater amounts of American goods: $45 billion more during 2019, and gradually, more in each of the following five years, with the multiyear increase reaching $1 trillion. Bloomberg News reported that U.S. negotiators wanted China to try and wipe out the trade imbalance within two years, not six. American demand for Chinese-made products is so strong, however, that making any real dent in the trade deficit might be a tall order, given current free market conditions. 4

Main Street seemed a bit unsettled by the shutdown and recent stock market volatility. The most respected U.S. monthly consumer confidence gauge, maintained by the Conference Board, fell sharply in January to 120.2, a good reading that still represented its lowest level since July 2017. Its future expectations sub-index hit a 27-month low. At mid-month, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index slipped from its final December mark of 98.3 to 90.7. 5,6

The Institute for Supply Management’s twin purchasing manager indices also fell; those numbers exclusively concerned December. In the last month of 2018, ISM’s manufacturing sector index slipped 5.2 points to 54.1; its services sector PMI declined 3.1 points to 57.6. Both readings indicated solid sector expansion, just to a lesser degree than a month before. 7

One word summed up the latest jobs report from the Department of Labor: fantastic. In December, employers added 312,000 net new workers to their payrolls. The main unemployment rate rose 0.2% to 3.9%, but that was an effect of more Americans looking for work. The U-6 rate, counting both the unemployed and underemployed, held at 7.6%. Wages were up 3.2% year-over-year, the best annual advance in a decade. 8

The Consumer Price Index retreated 0.1% during December after a flat November; the core CPI rose 0.2% in the final month of 2018, replicating its November move. December also brought a slight slip for both the headline (0.2%) and core (0.1%) Producer Price Index. 6

As January drew to a close, some significant data was still pending: the first estimate of Q4 Gross Domestic Product (GDP), plus the latest reports on personal spending as well as income and durable goods orders. This backlogged data could appear in the first half of this month.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH

Would the Brexit be delayed? After the crushing 230-vote defeat of Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal in Parliament, the United Kingdom faced six possible options: an extension of the March 29 Brexit deadline set by the European Union, a renegotiation of May’s withdrawal deal, a general election that could bring about a change in U.K. leadership, a “hard” Brexit with no trade agreements with the E.U., another national vote on the matter, or no Brexit at all with the U.K. staying in the E.U. As January ended, May faced a February 13 deadline to return to Parliament with either an altered deal or a statement of which other course of action she wanted the U.K. to pursue. While European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that the Brexit agreement was “not open for renegotiation,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that a delayed Brexit could be in order. One key sticking point has been the flow of trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which could be disturbed if Northern Ireland leaves the E.U. 9,10

China’s factory sector shrunk for a second straight month in January; the reading on the nation’s official manufacturing PMI improved 0.2 points to 49.5. The Chinese economy grew 6.6% in 2018 – a striking advance by global standards, but its smallest expansion since 1990. The effect of that slowdown was being felt in America (where major tech and heavy equipment firms reported declining sales in China) and in Japan, South Korea, and Australia, three of its other major trading partners. (Tariffs on a variety of Chinese imports to the U.S. are slated to rise from 10% to 25% before the end of the first quarter.) 11,12

WORLD MARKETS

Investors felt bullish around the world last month, and the performance numbers of major equity benchmarks reflected their optimism. Europe saw broad gains: Russia’s MICEX improved 6.41% in January; Spain’s IBEX 35, 6.05%; the FTSE Eurofirst 300, 5.99%; Germany’s DAX, 5.82%; France’s CAC 40, 5.54%. Even in London, the FTSE 100 gained 3.58%. 13

Indices in the Asia-Pacific region, Canada, and South America recorded even larger monthly jumps. Canada’s TSX Composite outperformed the Dow and S&P 500, surging 8.50%. The MSCI Emerging Markets index climbed 8.71% for the month, and MSCI’s World index added 7.68%. Look what two South American benchmarks did: Brazil’s Bovespa soared 11.14%, and Argentina’s Merval, 18.97%. Mexico’s Bolsa posted a monthly advance of 5.64%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and South Korea’s Kospi set the pace in the east, with respective gains of 8.11% and 8.03%. Australia’s All Ordinaries rose 3.99%; China’s Shanghai Composite, 3.96%; Japan’s Nikkei 225, 3.79%. The only notable retreats were minor: India’s Nifty 50 lost 0.29%; Malaysia’s KLSE Composite, 0.42%. 13,14

COMMODITIES MARKETS

Oil got off to a great start for 2019. By the closing bell on January 31, a barrel of WTI crude was worth $54.04 on the NYMEX, after a 17.94% YTD gain. While natural gas futures lost 4.53% last month, unleaded gasoline improved 4.94%, and heating oil soared 11.71%. 15

Among the softs, while cocoa took a 10.50% drop, other major crops rose. Sugar gained 4.16%; soybeans, 3.83%; cotton, 2.99%; wheat, 2.68%; corn, 0.47%; coffee, 0.34%. Copper led the key metals, rising 5.75%. Platinum advanced 4.35%, and silver and gold respectively added 4.05% and 3.03%. Gold ended the month at $1,319.50 on the COMEX; silver, at $16.06. The U.S. Dollar Index lost 0.80% in January. 15,16

REAL ESTATE

First, the good news. January brought a significant dip in mortgage rates. In Freddie Mac’s last Primary Mortgage Market Survey of 2018 (December 27), a conventional home loan carried 4.55% interest on average. By January 31, that average interest rate had declined to 4.46%. The trend carried over to 15-year, fixed rate loans (4.01% to 3.89%) and 5/1-year, adjustable loans (4.00% to 3.96%). 17,18

Additionally, delayed new home sales data from the Census Bureau showed a 17.0% jump in November to an 8-month high. (The Bureau’s report on January housing starts is still pending as a result of the shutdown.) 19

Now, the bad news: existing home sales slowed. The National Association of Realtors announced that resales were down 6.4% month-over-month in December, after improving 2.1% in November. In 2018, existing home sales lagged 3.1% behind their 2017 pace; last year was the poorest year for home buying since 2015. 6,20

In other real estate news, the 20-city composite S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed 4.7% annual appreciation in its latest edition (November), which was the slimmest gain in almost four years. The yearly advance had been 5.0% a month earlier. The NAR’s pending home sales index, which measures monthly housing contract activity, fell 2.2% to 99.0 in December; that was its worst reading since April 2014. 5,20

T I P O F T H E M O N T H

Recent college graduates are certainly challenged to save for the future, what with student loans, rent, and entry-level jobs. It can be tough to set anything aside. Still, saving and investing something is better than nothing, and the effort must be made. Given the power of compounding over time, starting early is smart.

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD

Equities got off to a flying start this year. While the big three all gained 7% or better last month, the small caps outran those bullish starts: the Russell 2000 soared 11.19% in January. At the closing bell on January 31, their settlements were: Dow Industrials, 24,999.67; Nasdaq Composite, 7,281.74; S&P 500, 2,704.10; Russell 2000, 1,499.42. Leading the pack among U.S. benchmarks in terms of monthly performance, the PHLX Oil Service Sector index climbed 19.28%. The CBOE VIX declined 34.82% in January, down to 16.57 at the end of the month. 1

Patient investors sighed with relief at January’s major Wall Street advance. The S&P 500 had not rallied so strongly in January since 1987. It just goes to show that when the bears come out, the bulls are quite capable of coming right back. Going into February, investors have three preoccupations: earnings, the rate of progress in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, and the lingering risk of a shutdown in Washington. In the best-case scenario, this month would see a return to business as usual on Wall Street: a leveling out of extreme volatility, a fading memory of December and its anxieties. With luck, maybe we will see that this month instead of a retreat inspired by poor quarterly results or sudden headlines. 23

Q U O T E O F T H E M O N T H

“Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age.”

CHRISTOPHER MORLEY

UPCOMING RELEASES

What will investors interpret during the rest of 2019’s shortest month? Besides earnings, they will look at the January Consumer Price Index (2/13), the January Producer Price Index (2/14), the preliminary February University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, recent retail sales data, and January industrial output (2/15), minutes from the January Federal Reserve policy meeting as well as new and delayed reports on homebuilding activity (2/20), January existing home sales and leading indicators (2/21), a new Conference Board consumer confidence index, January new home sales, and the December S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index (2/26), January pending home sales and hard goods orders (2/27), and then, an estimate of Q4 growth (2/28). January personal spending data, the January Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, and the final February University of Michigan consumer sentiment index are slated to appear on March 1.

Know someone who could use information like this? Please feel free to send us their contact information via phone or email. (Don’t worry – we’ll request their permission before adding them to our mailing list.)

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. MarketingPro, Inc. is not affiliated with any person or firm that may be providing this information to you. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

CITATIONS:

1 - markets.wsj.com/us [1/31/19]

2 - tinyurl.com/ybuyqd79 [1/28/19]

3 - nbcnews.com/business/economy/federal-reserve-leaves-interest-rate-unchanged-first-meeting-2019-n964726 [1/30/19]

4 - bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-18/china-is-said-to-offer-path-to-eliminate-u-s-trade-imbalance [1/18/19]

5 - reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy/us-consumer-morale-at-one-and-a-half-year-low-house-price-gains-slow-idUSKCN1PN271 [1/29/19]

6 - investing.com/economic-calendar/ [1/31/19]

7 - instituteforsupplymanagement.org/ISMReport/NonMfgROB.cfm?SSO=1 [1/7/19]

8 - time.com/5493913/december-jobs-numbers/ [1/4/19]

9 - cnbc.com/2019/01/15/theresa-may-loses-brexit-vote-what-happens-next.html [1/15/19]

10 - apnews.com/dcaa3bafbc474b0ca2f1a2ef43b450fd [1/31/19]

11 - cnbc.com/2019/01/31/china-economy-manufacturing-january-pmi-.html [1/31/19]

12 - hawaiipublicradio.org/post/asia-minute-slowing-chinese-economy-hits-neighboring-countries [1/29/19]

13 - markets.on.nytimes.com/research/markets/worldmarkets/worldmarkets.asp [1/31/19]

14 - msci.com/end-of-day-data-search [1/31/19]

15 - money.cnn.com/data/commodities/ [1/31/19]

16 - marketwatch.com/investing/index/dxy/historical [1/31/19]

17 - freddiemac.com/pmms/archive.html [1/31/19]

18 - freddiemac.com/pmms/archive.html?year=2018 [1/31/19]

19 - marketwatch.com/story/new-home-sales-soar-17-in-november-hit-an-8-month-high-2019-01-31 [1/31/19]

20 - tinyurl.com/yd25wvyd [1/30/19]

21 - markets.wsj.com/us [12/31/18]

22 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldAll [2/1/19]

23 - marketwatch.com/story/what-does-the-stock-markets-monster-january-rally-mean-for-february-2019-01-31 [1/31/19]