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The Northern Star Newsletter 11/22/19 - A New Dow Milestone


Message from Jon

Market Update:

Last week, we saw a late week rally perpetuated, from what I can tell, by the nearing of a trade war "phase 1" deal and also the fact that Fed Chair Powell's indication to hold rates in place for the time being.1,2

Hong Kong & the Impeachment hearings are continuing to dominate the newsfeeds while Brexit has yet to see much in the way of improvement.3,5,6 The VIX is at an April Low, according to Eric Kuby of North Star Investment Management, also indicating that investors are not impressed by concerns that the markets are overbought at present.4 

Firm Update:

We concluded our Winter Gala on Saturday, and it was a hit once again! We entertained over 100 clients this year and feel grateful that they would share their Saturday evening with us. The Dessert table was a big hit, especially the cheesecake, while the Big Swing Band and Casino did not disappoint.

Clients were encouraged to bring a gift for donation, and they did not disappoint either, leaving behind an impressive amount that staff will be delivering before month's end. We are so grateful to have the clientele we have and never take that for granted!

Year-End Tips and Topics:

At the end of each year, we take a look at client plans and portfolios to see what needs to be considered and acted upon. This year is no different, although, with the Tax reform act, we have certainly had to do a double take in a few instances to be sure which path will be the most beneficial for clients to take.

The normal topics that get attention are 529 plan contributions, retirement plan contributions, tax harvesting, estate plan gifting, charitable gifting-to name but a few. Make sure you are not letting essential deadlines and planning topics go un-noticed in your plans either.

Till we speak again,



  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-15/trade-war-latest-kudlow-china-u-s-trade-war-deal-tariffs
  2. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-powell-says-interest-rates-will-be-on-hold-absent-a-material-deterioration-in-economy-2019-11-13
  3. https://nsinvest.com/tkif-thank-kudlow-its-friday/
  4. https://www.barrons.com/articles/hong-kong-rising-tensions-us-investors-51573499489
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/impeachment-hearings-live-updates/2019/11/19/c5ea3bba-0a54-11ea-bd9d-c628fd48b3a0_story.html
  6. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50308647

A New Dow Milestone


The Week on Wall Street
Stock benchmarks were little changed for much of last week, but a rally occurred Friday after news broke that the U.S. and China could be closing in on the first phase of a new trade pact. 

At Friday's close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 28,000 level. The Dow rose 1.17% for the week, outgaining the S&P 500 (which advanced 0.89%) and the Nasdaq Composite (which added 0.77%). The MSCI EAFE index, representing developed overseas stock markets, fell 0.77%.[1][2]

Will There Be a Trade Breakthrough?
Friday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told the media that "in all likelihood," a phase-one trade deal between China and the U.S. would presently happen, stating that the talks were "down to the last details." Thursday evening, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow expressed similar optimism, noting that negotiations were "coming down to the short strokes."

That said, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that President Trump is not yet committed to signing a phase-one trade deal. Secretary Ross noted that such an agreement would be "relatively limited in scope."[3][4]

Consumers Boost Their Buying
Retail sales advanced 0.3% in October, according to the Department of Commerce. That surpassed the 0.2% gain forecast by economists polled by MarketWatch. Even so, households bought fewer big-ticket items than they did in September.[5]

Wednesday: Minutes from the October Federal Reserve meeting appear.
Thursday: The National Association of Realtors presents data on October existing home sales.
Friday: The University of Michigan publishes its final Consumer Sentiment Index for November (an assessment of consumer confidence).

Source: Econoday, November 15, 2019
The Econoday economic calendar lists 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.

Tuesday: Home Depot (HD), Medtronic (MDT), TJX Companies (TJX)
Wednesday: Lowe's (LOW), Target (TGT)
Thursday: Intuit (INTU), Ross Stores (ROST)

Source: Zacks, November 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.


Quote Of The Week

Fountain Pen

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

-George Bernard Shaw

Recipe Of The Week

Fork and Knife

The World's Easiest Fish Tacos

Who says it needs to be summer to enjoy some delicious fish tacos? Bring the beach in with these tasty treats!
[4 servings]
  • Frozen, prepared fish sticks (8 pieces)
  • 8 small tortillas (flour or corn)
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado
For the sauce:
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup mayo
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning

For the bean salsa:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cook fish sticks according to the package instructions.
  2. While the fish is cooking, mix all the sauce ingredients together.
  3. For the bean salsa, mix all the ingredients together.
  4. To assemble, place one piece of fish onto a tortilla and top with bean salsa, taco sauce, lettuce, and avocado. Garnish with the remaining cilantro. 
Recipe adapted from Lauren's Latest[6]


Tax Tips


It's Never Too Early to Start Thinking About 2020 Taxes

Even though it's only November, it's never too early to start thinking about your
2020 taxes in April. There are a few things you can do to prepare early, including:

  • Doing a paycheck checkup. We've recently talked about the importance of making sure your withholding status is correct, and if you haven't already done so, now's the time.
  • Gathering your documents. You'll need your W-2 and Form 1099 from any other payer (and if you're self-employed).
  • Confirming that your employer and bank have the accurate addresses. You should start to receive tax documentation in January.
  • Setting up an e-Filing profile and signing up for direct deposit for a faster refund.

Remember, even though the filing deadline is April 15, you can always file your taxes before then as soon as you have all your documentation. The sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your tax refund. How early do you plan for the next year's filing?

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov[7]

Golf Tip


This Simple Trick Will Help You Eliminate Half of the Hole

Whether you tend to slice or hook your drives, where and how you set up your ball matters. You may not put much thought into where and how you tee up, but this tip will encourage you to think more about your setup.

To eliminate half the hole and improve your chances of hitting a good shot, play off the tee in a way that will compensate for your swing trend. In other words, if you tend to hit a slice, tee your ball up near the right tee marker and address the ball so that both your stance and clubface point to ten o'clock. This effectively opens up the left side of the fairway visually for you and orients you toward that direction. Before you employ this tip, know your shot trend for the day. On the practice tee, for example, were you tending to slice or hook today? This way, you'll have an idea of which side to set up on. It's also important to note that with this tip, you're not trying to force a different swing (aka stop slicing). You are recognizing your swing trend for the day and wisely playing to that.

Tip adapted from Golf Tips Magazine[8]

Healthy Lifestyle

Medical Cross

Healthy Holiday Eating: Part 1

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas close behind, it's that time of year to think about healthy holiday eating. It seems like everywhere you turn there's a dessert tray, beautiful spread, or cocktail waiting to be enjoyed. During the holidays, it's important to enjoy yourself and spend quality time with friends and family, but not overindulge. These tips can help!

  • Budget wisely. If you think about calories like a budget, you'll better understand when to splurge and when to save. If you have a dish you absolutely love, save your calories and indulge in the dishes you really enjoy.
  • Distance makes the stomach grow stronger. If you're at a holiday party, try not to position yourself right next to the food station. Standing too closely to a display of delicious holiday delights makes it easier to mindlessly eat. Instead, stand farther away and make a trip to the food only once or twice, filling most of your plate with healthier choices (like fresh fruit or raw vegetables) and only a couple small treats.This extra effort will help you to not overeat. 

We'll have more holiday eating tips coming your way in the next few weeks!

Tip adapted from Harvard Medical School[9]

Green Living


DIY Rain Harvesting

Did you know that about 600 gallons of rainwater can be harvested from about one inch of rain if it falls on a thousand square foot roof? Harvesting rainwater is a great way to save water and take full advantage of Mother Nature this fall. Plus, you don't even need fancy equipment to get started. This article shares some DIY options. Here's what you need to know:
  • You can calculate how much rainwater you'll harvest by using data points like how much it rains where you live and the length and width of your roof.

  • Rainwater tanks can be as small as 55 gallons.
  • Make sure to place your rainwater reservoir underneath a downspout.
  • The main components of a rainwater harvesting system are a barrel, a transportation system for the water, and a filter.

  • Even if you're not the handiest, some rain catchers are as simple as a garbage bin, a lid, and a filter.
Tip adapted from Morning Chores[10]

Share the Wealth of Knowledge!


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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 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.

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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 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.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as the links are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

[1] www.wsj.com/market-data
[2] quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices

[3] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-15/kudlow-says-phase-one-china-deal-down-to-the-short-strokes-k2zgbx0k

[4] www.foxbusiness.com/politics/u-s-china-trade-deal-near-but-trump-not-signing-yet

[5] www.marketwatch.com/story/us-retail-sales-rebound-in-october-but-a-small-group-of-stores-reap-most-of-the-gains-2019-11-15

[6] laurenslatest.com/the-easiest-fish-tacos/

[7] www.irs.gov/newsroom/not-too-early-here-are-steps-taxpayers-can-take-now-to-get-ready-to-file-their-taxes-in-2019

[8] www.golftipsmag.com/video/driving/eliminate-half-the-golf-hole/

[9] www.health.harvard.edu/blog/12-tips-for-holiday-eating-201212245718

[10] morningchores.com/rainwater-harvesting/

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