Apps and Life Hacks

Apps and Life Hacks

While tax season has nearly come and gone, it’s always nice to have a few ideas to help you close out the current tax season and plan for next year. We’ve curated a few of our favorite apps and life hacks that can help you get and stay organized. And, if you enjoy this piece (or if you’re not a technology buff), we hope you’ll share it with someone who is. http://bit.ly/appsandhacks

Apps and Life Hacks2019-03-29T10:16:13-04:00

Treasury Yields Prompt Concerns

The Weekly Update

Week of March 25, 2019
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

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.)

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%.

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

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.”

Oil Hovers Near $60

At Friday’s closing bell, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) 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.

What’s Next

A U.S. delegation is scheduled to accompany Treasury Secretary 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.

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.

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)

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-22/u-s-treasury-yield-curve-inverts-for-first-time-since-2007
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fed-rate-hikes-none-in-2019-federal-reserve-projects-no-rate-hikes-slower-growth-this-year
https://money.cnn.com/data/commodities
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/20/trump-says-china-tariffs-could-stay-in-place-amid-trade-deal-talks.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/world/europe/brexit-extension-eu-uk.html
Treasury Yields Prompt Concerns2019-03-25T14:50:03-04:00

Women & Investing

Women & Investing

Women investors face special challenges that make financial literacy and advanced planning especially important. For example, women are more likely to outlive their husbands or have divorce disproportionately affect them, making long-term financial strategies especially critical. Grab a copy of our new resource for women who are seeking perspectives on how to take control of their financial lives. We hope you’ll share it with the women in your life http://bit.ly/womenandinvesting

Women & Investing2019-03-20T10:08:22-04:00

Dow, S&P, Nasdaq All Rise

The Weekly Update

Week of March 18, 2019
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

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.

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%.

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

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.

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.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Wednesday: The Federal Reserve wraps up its two-day policy meeting.
Friday: February existing home sales.

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)

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/13/boeing-shares-fall-after-report-says-us-expected-to-ground-737-max-fleet.html
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-14/china-u-s-said-to-push-back-trump-xi-meeting-to-at-least-april
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-inflation-idUSKBN1QT1MF
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-time-guide-seniors-who-turned-70-and-a-half-last-year-must-start-receiving-retirement-plan-payments-by-april-1
Dow, S&P, Nasdaq All Rise2019-03-18T13:31:25-04:00

Stocks Dip on Growth Concerns

The Weekly Update

Week of March 11, 2019
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

The Week on Wall Street

As in February, investors spent most of the first full trading week of March hoping for new details in U.S.-China trade negotiations. While they waited, stock benchmarks drifted downward. From Monday’s open to Friday’s close, the S&P 500 lost 2.55%, while the Dow Industrials took a 2.66% fall, and the Nasdaq Composite weakened 3.12%. The MSCI EAFE index tracking developed markets outside the U.S. and Canada fell 1.09%.

Why did stocks lose momentum? In a hint that global economic growth might be slowing, the European Central Bank abruptly reduced its 2019 Gross Domestic Product forecast for the eurozone from 1.7% to 1.1%. A disappointing reading on U.S. hiring also raised questions.

Perplexing Jobs Data

According to the Department of Labor, the economy generated only 20,000 net new jobs in February. This was the smallest monthly gain since September 2017. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, while underemployment declined sharply to 7.3%. (These decreases could reflect furloughed federal employees returning to work.) The average wage rose 3.4% in 12 months, the largest year-over-year increase in a decade.

Harsh winter weather may have impeded hiring last month, and February’s payroll growth could be revised in the Department of Labor’s next report.

Earnings Season Recap

The fourth-quarter reporting season is all but over. FactSet notes that the S&P 500 has seen earnings growth of 13.4% in Q4, marking the fifth straight quarter with a double-digit rise.

Final Thought

Stocks lost ground last week, breaking a long string of weekly advances. The extended rally partly reflected optimism that the U.S.-China trade dispute would soon be resolved, but a deal may or may not happen. The week offered a reminder that Wall Street sees both ups and downs. Day-to-day market fluctuations should not cause you to alter your long-term approach.

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Monday: January retail sales.
Tuesday: The Consumer Price Index, tracking monthly and yearly inflation.
Thursday: January new home sales and February retail sales.
Friday: The University of Michigan’s initial March consumer sentiment index, measuring consumer confidence.

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS)
Wednesday: Smart & Final (SFS)
Thursday: Adobe Systems (ADBE), Broadcom (AVGO), Dollar General (DG)

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/07/stock-market-us-china-trade-jobless-claims-in-focus.html
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/08/jobs-report-just-20-000-added-february-economists-expected-181-000/3098383002/
https://insight.factset.com/earnings-insight-q418-by-the-numbers-infographic
Stocks Dip on Growth Concerns2019-03-11T15:53:18-04:00

6 Steps for Early Retirement

6 Steps for Early Retirement

We’ve gotten a lot of questions recently on what it takes to retire early. While leaving the workforce may sound appealing, the people we work with want to make sure they have enough money saved and their portfolio is positioned for the road ahead. Here are the 6 steps every investor should take before considering early retirement https://bit.ly/2SIqwgT.

6 Steps for Early Retirement2019-03-07T14:35:29-05:00

S&P Ends Week Little Changed

The Weekly Update

Week of March 4, 2019
By Christopher T. Much, CFP®, AIF®

The Week on Wall Street

Stocks lost a little ground as February gave way to March. While domestic and overseas political developments made headlines, the market stayed relatively calm: from Monday’s open through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 ceded just 0.17%, finishing the week at 2,803.69.

The Dow declined 0.65% in five trading sessions to 26,026.32, while the Nasdaq finished the week 0.06% higher at 7,595.35. The MSCI EAFE index of international stocks rose 0.24% for the week.

Volatility has dropped in the past few weeks. Wall Street has grown less anxious about the possibility of new tariffs and higher interest rates this year.

Powell Shares His Outlook

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the Senate that Fed officials would take a “patient approach” with regard to future interest rate moves. Powell called the economy “healthy,” but noted that “conflicting signals” have emerged in recent months; he said that he was not concerned about inflation picking up in response to wage growth.

After making four rate hikes in 2018 and forecasting two more for 2019, the Fed has adopted a “wait-and-see” approach to monetary policy in the new year.

Planned March Tariffs Delayed

Earlier in the week, President Trump opted to postpone the 15% increase in tariffs on many Chinese imports slated for the start of March. He did not announce a new deadline. Thursday, U.S. officials said the deadline had been suspended “until further notice.”

As we noted two weeks ago, the White House had indicated that it might postpone new tariffs if substantial progress was made with China on trade talks.

What’s Next

U.K. lawmakers will vote on a revised Brexit deal on March 12. If they reject it, they have two options left. They can either ask the European Union to push back the March 29 Brexit deadline or choose to leave the E.U. without a deal.

Tax Reminder

March 15 is the deadline for most partnerships and S corporations to send in their 2018 federal tax returns or extensions. (Some states that tax corporate income set different due dates.)

THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: The latest new home sales numbers from the Census Bureau.
Wednesday: Payroll-processing giant ADP releases its February national employment report.
Friday: The Department of Labor releases its February job market snapshot.

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Monday: Salesforce (CRM)
Tuesday: Kohl’s (KSS), Target (TGT), Urban Outfitters (URBN)
Wednesday: Abercrombie (ANF), Dollar Tree (DLTR)
Thursday: Burlington Stores (BURL), Costco (COST), Tech Data (TECD)

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Data collected from Investors FastTrack software.
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/NASDAQ
https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/02/26/fed-interest-rates-powell-says-fed-patient-weighs-hikes/2986104002/
https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/28/business/us-china-trade-war-tariffs/index.html
http://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/27/brexit-guide-to-what-happens-next.html
https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2018/03/06/march-15-is-tax-deadline-for-s-corp-and-partnership-extensions-and-elections-2
S&P Ends Week Little Changed2019-03-04T14:01:54-05:00