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The Northern Star Newsletter 12/12/19 - Stocks Ride Out a Choppy Week


Message from Jon

Back in the saddle from my stay-cation last week and playing catch up to emails and to-do lists is on the agenda for the next couple of weeks.

Market Update:

At some point, this party is going to come to a close, but now does not seem like that time! According to Eric Kuby of North Star, last Friday we had the unemployment numbers reach a 50-year low with the help of 266,000 payrolls added to the economy. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose to an all-time high of 99.2 from the end of November's reading of 96.8.1 

For me, it is a challenge to be excited about the future in the markets when all I read seems to be stating nearly the opposite. Remaining in the moment, letting the data speak for itself, and trying to remain unbiased to opinions can be more difficult than it sounds, and this year has proved that true for sure.

In my opinion, we are not seeing data supporting a recession on the horizon in the near future.

We have Brexit voting in December in yet another attempt to get their approval to leave the EU.2 We have a series of tariffs to be levied on the 13th which may or may not go through.3 We have a Presidential Impeachment unfolding as well as numerous protests and instances of civil unrest around the world.4 There are more headlines and potential headwinds to pay attention to-but not necessarily react to.

The NYSE Advance Decline Line is still strong with no divergence, and the NYSE new lows index has shown a very low level recently. These are both signs of continued rally in the markets going forward.



Remaining invested is the approach at present, but diligence and caution are prudent ingredients at the moment as well. 

Year-End planning

Take a moment in December to evaluate 529's accounts, tax harvesting strategies, and also ROTH contributions, Charitable Donations, and Retirement plan contributions.


Till we speak again-Enjoy the lights!



  1. https://nsinvest.com/consumers-party-on/
  2. https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-election-numbers-factbox/factbox-how-will-britains-dec-12-brexit-election-work-idUSKBN1XL112
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/03/investors-fear-repeat-of-last-decembers-sell-off-if-trump-lets-tariffs-take-effect-dec-15.html
  4. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/impeachment-process-works/story?id=51202880
  5. https://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=!NEWLONYA
  6. https://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=!adlinenya

Stocks Ride Out a Choppy Week


The Week on Wall Street
Key Wall Street benchmarks were up and down last week - or rather down and then up. A Tuesday retreat was offset by a Friday rally spurred by the Department of Labor's November jobs report.

While the S&P 500 managed to rise 0.16% for the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.13%, and the Nasdaq Composite ceded 0.10%. MSCI's EAFE benchmark for international stocks retreated 0.25%.[1][2]

Hiring Surpasses Expectations
Employers added 266,000 net new jobs last month, 79,000 more than economists surveyed by Dow Jones had projected. The main jobless rate ticked down 0.1% to 3.5%. The U-6 rate, counting both the unemployed and underemployed, also declined 0.1% to 6.9%. Wages grew 3.1% year-over-year, above the 3.0% Dow Jones estimate.

These numbers do not indicate an economy cooling off. While they were influenced by the return of striking General Motors workers to their jobs, November hiring gains were spread across several categories.[3]

Markets Might Wait Well into 2020 for a China Trade Deal
The U.S.-China trade dispute has gone on for 21 months. Wall Street would like to see a new phase-one trade agreement signed this month, but the timeline could lengthen. On Tuesday, President Trump said that he was considering the option of waiting until after the 2020 election to sign off on such a pact.

On December 15, the U.S. is slated to impose a new set of tariffs on around $160 billion of Chinese products. Tech companies are eyeing this date with concern.[4] 

Final Thought
Holiday shopping is critical to the economy, accounting for about 20% of annual retail sales. This year's calendar, however, does not favor retailers. The 2019 holiday shopping season is six days shorter than last year's, as Thanksgiving fell on November 28. So, expect traders to keep close tabs on the pace of holiday spending, even with consumer confidence indices and stock benchmarks at high levels.[5]

Wednesday: The Federal Reserve makes its latest monetary policy statement, followed by a press conference featuring Fed Chairman Jerome Powell; also, the November Consumer Price Index appears.
Thursday: The Department of Commerce releases its November retail sales report.

Source: Econoday, December 6, 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: AutoZone (AZO)
Wednesday: Lululemon Athletica (LULU)
Thursday: Adobe Systems (ADBE), Broadcom (AVGO), Costco (COST)

Source: Zacks, December 6, 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

"So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow."

-Rainbow Rowell

Recipe Of The Week

Fork and Knife

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bread Bowls

The weather outside is frightful, but this warm soup is so delightful. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a match made in heaven, so why not combine them?

[4 servings]


For the tomato soup:

  • 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-oz. can of plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Parsley, salt, and pepper, to taste (and additional parsley to garnish)

For the bread bowls:

  • 4 small, round sourdough bread loaves
  • 16 slices of American cheese
  • 6 Tbsp. of butter


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and lightly crush them. Stir in the broth and heavy cream. Add the bay leaf, salt, pepper, and parsley, to taste. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
  3. To make the bread bowls, preheat the oven to 400° F.
  4. Slice off the tops of the loaves and use a small knife to cut around the inside of each loaf. Set these pieces aside.
  5. Rub the inside of the bread bowls with butter and line 3 or 4 slices of cheese in each.
  6. Slice the leftover bread circles in half, horizontally. Butter one side of each and put a slice of cheese in the middle.
  7. Heat the mini sandwiches on medium until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.
  8. Put both the bread bowls and the sandwiches on the baking sheet and bake until the cheese in the bread bowls has melted, about 4 minutes.
  9. Garnish with parsley.

Recipe adapted from Pure Wow[6]


Tax Tips


What to Know About Flexible Spending Accounts at the End of the Year

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are savings accounts reserved for out-of-pocket health care costs. They are offered through an employee benefit plan and allow you to use pretax dollars to pay for medical costs that insurance might not cover. 

FSAs can save you money because they are funded with pretax dollars, but they are "use it or lose it," meaning that if you don't use the funds by the end of the year, they don't roll over into the next. There is some flexibility, and employers may extend the deadline to use funds until March 15, but participants might want to aim for the end-of-year deadline to be safe. That means, come December, you should have a plan of how to maximize your FSA funds.

Not sure how to spend your remaining FSA dollars? FSA Store has thousands of items that are eligible, including first aid items, travel essentials, pain relief items, and much more. 

* 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 TurboTax[7]

Golf Tip


Tips on Traveling with Your Clubs

Planning a holiday golf getaway? Travel with your clubs easily with these tips:
  • Try to get a nonstop flight because the fewer times your bag and clubs have to be handled, the better.
  • Make sure you have a durable bag. Hard-shell bags are the most protective.
  • Use a golf club protection device, which sits higher than your driver (your longest club) and protects the shafts in case your bag gets dropped upside down.
  • Golf bags are considered oversized baggage, so expect to drop them off or pick them up in a designated area. Check with your airline to see about any extra fees or weight allowances before you board your flight.
  • Make sure to add a tag with your contact information to the bag in case your clubs get misplaced.
  • Pack your clubs so they won't move around much in the bag. You can even pack extra sweaters and jackets in the bag if you're golfing in a colder area.
Tip adapted from PGA[8]

Healthy Lifestyle

Medical Cross

Get Started with Yoga

Yoga has a number of health benefits. It can help manage stress, depression, and anxiety, it can improve your mood, and it can even help you sleep better. Not sure where to start? Here are some highlights of this practice to help you feel more comfortable in your first class. 

  • Hatha yoga is slower than other types, so it's a good choice for beginners. Vinyasa is the most common type of yoga and can be easy or more difficult, depending on the class. Power yoga usually includes weights and is a high-intensity workout, in addition to yoga. 
  • A lot of yoga classes focus on breathing exercises, which is one of the reasons why it's so relaxing. Even simple poses can be extremely beneficial when you coordinate them with your breath. 
  • Some common poses include child's posedownward-facing dogwarrior poses, and sun salutations
  • You don't need fancy yoga gear to get started! All you need are some comfy clothes, a mat, and some water.

Tip adapted from Very Well Fit[9]

Green Living


Zero-Waste Experiential Gifts

When shopping for gifts this year, ask yourself: does the person you're shopping for really need more stuff? Many of the well-intentioned gifts we give end up collecting dust in the closet or being donated (or worse, thrown out) a few years later. If you want to take up less space this holiday season, consider giving experiential gifts to the ones you love. They are a great way to get them to do something new and don't involve a product that's going to take up space.

Some ideas for experiential gifts include a voucher for a coffee date or a nice meal out together, a cooking class, a hobby class (like a pottery or art class), a foreign language lesson, or even skydiving! Think of something your loved one has always wanted to do and find an experience that fits. It could be something as simple as some live music or as involved as a dream vacation.

Tip adapted from Going Zero Waste[10]

Share the Wealth of Knowledge!


Please share this market update with family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our list, simply click on the "Forward email" link below. We love being introduced!



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.

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 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/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices

[3] www.cnbc.com/2019/12/06/us-nonfarm-payrolls-november-2019.html

[4] www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2019/12/03/trump-says-trade-deal-with-china-could-wait-until-after-election/

[5] www.jsonline.com/story/money/2019/11/26/black-friday-tv-sales-deals-best-buy-target-walmart-kohls-still-good/4254241002/

[6] www.purewow.com/recipes/tomato-soup-in-grilled-cheese-bread-bowls

[7] turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/health-care/flexible-spending-accounts-a-once-a-year-tax-break/L8hwzKu7r

[8] www.pga.com/golf-travel/travel-feature/tips-traveling-your-golf-clubs

[9] www.verywellfit.com/how-to-get-started-with-yoga-4165462

[10] www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/50-of-the-best-experience-gifts

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