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Northern Star Newsletter 12/30/2015


Northern Star Newsletter 12/30/2015

Message from Jon


As we are ending the year, take a moment to count your blessings. I pray that each of our military personnel deployed overseas stay safe and sound while in the service our country.


We also know that there are those domestic and abroad, who right now are wondering where their next meal is coming from or where they are going to be sleeping tonight. Say a prayer for those less fortunate because by the grace of god above, that could be you or I.

Happy New Year and Safe Travels!

Jon

Stocks End Holiday Week Positive

WEEKLY UPDATE - DECEMBER 28, 2015

Markets ended the holiday week on an upbeat note, giving stocks their best week since late November.[1]
For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.76%, the Dow Jones grew 2.47%, and the NASDAQ rose 2.55%.[2]

On the economic front, final data on third-quarter economic growth showed that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 2.0%, down from the previous estimate of 2.1%. The report showed that a slew of global issues cut into demand for U.S. goods abroad; on the positive side, what growth we had was driven by domestic demand.[3]

As the holiday shopping season fades, data shows that retailers are struggling to meet even modest sales goals. The last Saturday before Christmas can often make or break the season with last-minute shoppers flooding stores. However, this year's sales were tepid, and forecasts predict holiday sales to grow 3.1% over last year, down from 4.1% growth in 2014.[4]

The data also shows that shopping trends are shifting away from brick and mortar stores toward online retailers. Sales at physical stores dropped 5.8% over last year while traffic fell 8.0% between early November and mid-December. In contrast, online sales rose 11.8% between late November and late December. The increased online volume strained supply chains, causing some popular retailers, like Eddie Bauer [EBHI] to miss Christmas shipping deadlines.[5]

The week ahead, sandwiched between two trading holidays, has historically been slow, though surprises are always possible. On the calendar are reports about housing and consumer confidence, which investors are hoping will show that rising fortunes in the labor market continue to translate into spending.[6]

As we enter the final week of 2015, we're confronted by the fact that markets may close out the year flat. While that's frustrating for investors who were hoping to see the continued recovery translate into strong stock returns, it's important to consider the many headwinds markets had to contend with this year: global economic weakness, historic highs, terrorism, and declining commodity prices. Stay tuned for next week's update where we review 2015 and discuss expectations for the year to come.

Thank you for making 2015 an amazing year for us. We are honored and humbled by the trust you have placed in us as clients, and we look forward to serving you and your loved ones in 2016.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR: 
Monday: Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: International Trade in Goods, S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Pending Home Sales Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Chicago PMI
Friday: U.S. Markets Closed for New Year's Day

HEADLINES:

Consumer sentiment rises to five-month high. Consumers regained their optimism about the U.S. economy at the end of December, pushing a measure of sentiment to the highest level since July.[7]

Durable goods orders flat in November. Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods were flat in November and a measure of business investment fell, indicating that demand remains weak.[8]

Weekly jobless claims close to four-decade low. The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell to a near-42-year low. Though seasonal factors may be affecting the data, the drop is another sign indicating that the labor market continues to improve.[9]

Personal income rises for eighth straight month. Solid wage gains pushed up income in November for the eighth month in a row, raising hopes that consumer spending and economic growth should increase next year.[10]

Tax Tips: 

Charitable IRA Distributions Now Permanent

Taxpayers who are 70-1/2 or older can now make tax-free distributions from their Individual Retirement Accounts directly to a qualified charity. These qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) allow donations of some or all or part of your IRA distributions (up to $100,000 per taxpayer per year) to be made to eligible charities while excluding them from your taxable income. The QCD will count toward your annual RMD for 2015 and is retroactive, meaning that any direct distribution made to a qualified charity this year will count on your taxes.

To qualify, distributions must be made to IRS-eligible charities and must be paid directly to the charity by the IRA administrator. Simply note the donation as a QCD when you file your taxes; if you exclude the amount from your income, you cannot also deduct it on Schedule A of your tax return.

For more information about QCDs, contact a qualified tax specialist

Tip courtesy of MarketWatch[12]

 

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.

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 indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

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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1 http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/24/us-markets.html

2 http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=^GSPC&a=11&b=21&c=2015&d=11&e=25&f=2015&g=d

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?a=11&b=21&c=2015&d=11&e=25&f=2015&g=d&s=^DJI%2C+&ql=1

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?a=11&b=21&c=2015&d=11&e=25&f=2015&g=d&s=^IXIC%2C+&ql=1

3 http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/12/22/us-economy/

4 http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/12/24/us-retailers-at-risk-missing-modest-holiday-sales-goals/?intcmp=bigtopmarketfeaturesside

5 http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/12/24/malls-reel-as-web-roars/?intcmp=marketfeatures

6 http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/12/24/week-ahead-housing-data-and-consumer-confidence/?intcmp=bigtopmarketfeatures

7 http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/12/23/us-consumer-sentiment/

8 http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/12/23/durable-goods-orders/

9 http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/12/24/weekly-jobless-claims/

10 http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/23/us-personal-income-rises-in-boost-to-consumer-spending.html

11 http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/spicy-salmon-bok-choy-rice

12 http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ira-charitable-rollover-provision-made-permanent-2015-12-25

13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUPLAYER_GolfTipsMag&time_continue=96&v=YQVYX32q4Q0

14 http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2015/slow-down-to-boost-health.html?intcmp=HEA-HLLV-FLXSLDR-SLIDE1-RL1

15 http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/52-tips-for-living-green-1269861.php