Message from Jon
At this point, so early in the year, we are seeing a steady rise and continuation of the end of 2017. Right now, the futures are pointing to another up-day with little to low volatility as a disrupter to today's climb.
Crude Oil is on the rise at $62.00 per barrel for WTSC & Brent Oil, selling at $68.00. This certainly means we will be paying a higher price at the pumps while our gas also climbs, costing us more to heat our homes.
With the market conditions favoring risky investments (equities), the gold and precious metals arena is showing signs of weakness. Energy, surprisingly, is showing signs of increase, according to Dorsey/Wright, and relative strength. This development should be interesting to watch over the coming weeks and months.
While we have seen the housing market on fire in 2017, we are seeing a cooling of the REIT arena as of late, indicating either increased interest in other areas of the market OR a general indication of the Real Estate market beginning to cool down. Time will tell which is accurate.
Tax Reform & Market Conditions:
There is a lot of speculation on the impact of the Tax Reform recently passed by both the House and Senate. Will it favor the rich or improve the middle class? Will it create more jobs or will corporations merely adjust their accounting but not their pay-scale or operations? In my opinion, the tax reform was never really meant to target the average consumer. The main strategy was to improve the overall competitiveness of US companies in a global economy.
This will certainly have a myriad of benefits in job creation, salary improvement, economic recovery (even more so), and overall consumer sentiment. This should improve the consumer spending which our economy has become dependent on over the last 40+ years. All that being said, will this happen immediately? Probably not. Just like the erosion we have witnessed of job losses and competitive disadvantage over the years, it will take many, many years to repair and replenish, I am sure.
With all that said, the reform should instill confidence in US Companies, which should continue the market conditions domestically for some time, barring terrorism, political tensions, or some other ghastly event no-one saw coming.
Till we speak again, stay dry!
The first week of 2018 is behind us, and across the globe, stocks experienced a strong start to the year. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE gained 2.44% last week. In the U.S., our major indexes also leapt forward, hitting a number of records and milestones.
Domestic Index Performance for the First Week of 2018
* Gained 2.60%
* Hit 2,700 for the first time
* Posted its largest weekly gain since December 2016
* Gained 2.33%
* Hit 25,000 for the first time
* Had its best yearly start since 2006
* Gained 3.38%
* Hit 7,000 for the first time
* Posted its largest weekly gain since December 2016
* Had its best yearly start since 2006
What drove markets last week?
A variety of factors affected the markets last week - from tax reform to commodity prices. Interestingly, considering the indexes' positive performance, one of the biggest economic headlines seemed to provide negative data: The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than anticipated.
On the surface, this report may seem like bad news for the economy. The missed projection, however, is likely less of a big deal than it appears at first. While hiring was lower than expected, wages picked up and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1% - the lowest rate since 2000.
Ultimately, this jobs report may be positive news for the markets. It shows that the economy is still adding jobs but not at a blistering pace. As a result, slower job growth could keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates too aggressively. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said she believes, "We're basically at maximum employment from the view of monetary policy." She anticipates 3 to 4 rate increases this year. If the Fed continues with its gradual rate increases, this move could have a favorable affect on stocks.
As we move forward in 2018, we will continue monitoring a myriad of economic perspectives that may impact you, including any changes to monetary policy. For now, we are pleased to see the markets' positive start to the year and look forward to guiding you through whatever lies ahead.
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Consumer Price Index, Retail Sales
Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com
and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
"The only person you're destined to become
is the person you decide to be."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tax Details for the Sharing Economy*
If you participate in the sharing economy, you use websites or apps to provide services, such as renting your house for guests. Doing so may require you to address specific tax details for your income. Here are some key items to be aware of as you manage your tax liabilities:
You generally have to pay federal taxes when you receive income from any of the following:
- Part-time work
- Side business
- Cash payments
- Form 1099 or W-2 money
Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
Tip courtesy of IRS.gov
Improve Your Balance for Better Play
Good balance is crucial in golf, due to the game's rotational athletic nature. You must manage a strong accelerated force while transferring energy from the club to your ball at exactly the right time. If your balance is off, your shot will be, too.
You can practice with the "Bucket Brigade Drill."
- Fill a small bucket with water (but not completely full).
- Stand with your feet apart under your shoulders, extend your arms, and hold the bucket in front of you.
- Focus on a target (perhaps a picture frame if inside or a tree trunk if outside).
- Make sure you are "Parallel Left" (or "Parallel Right" for left-handed players) of your target. Keep your arms, legs, shoulders, and feet still as you focus.
- Turn toward your target, using only your feet, legs, and core. Keep your arms extended in front of you. Your goal is to make this move without spilling any water.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds, paying close attention to the feel of your body and the setup.
- Repeat this move multiple times on each side.
This technique will help you practice your setup while building muscle strength, which is essential for balance in any swing.
Tip adapted from John Hughes | Golf Tips Magazine
Identify Frostbite and Hypothermia
Winter often brings bitter cold across the country, and so far, 2018 is off to quite a chilly start. If you enjoy exercising or participate in outdoor activities, staying warm is essential. Here are some signs to help you recognize frostbite and hypothermia:
Frostbite occurs when the body starts freezing and most commonly affects exposed skin, such as fingers, cheeks, and noses. Here are signs to look for:
- Loss of feeling
- Stinging sensations
When your body temperature drops to abnormally low levels due to cold exposure, hypothermia may set in. These extreme conditions can cause your body to lose heat faster than it can generate warmth. If you suspect any of the following signs, seek emergency help immediately:
- Intense shivering
- Slurring speech
- Coordination loss
Consult your doctor to learn more about potential risks when exercising outside during cold weather.
Tip adapted from Mayo Clinic
Foods With High Carbon Footprints
The foods we eat can negatively affect our environment. For example, agriculture is one of the largest contributors of harmful gases like carbon monoxide and methane. Here is a quick guide on some common foods that have the highest carbon footprints:
Livestock creates 51% of the world's greenhouse gases. Here are the top meats (in order): lamb, beef, pork, and farmed salmon.
Plant-based foods can also harm the environment, mostly due to shipping produce around the world that only grows in warm climates. The top plant contributors include (in order): potatoes, asparagus, avocados, bananas and eggplant.
Tip adapted from Care2.com
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
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