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The Northern Star Newsletter 12/2/19 - Major Indices Move Lower


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Office Hours:

We will be closed this Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.



Major Indices Move Lower


The Week on Wall Street
Stocks declined last week as mixed signals emerged about the progress of U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The three major Wall Street benchmarks all took weekly losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.46%; the S&P 500, 0.33%, the Nasdaq Composite, 0.25%. Also pulling back, the MSCI EAFE index, tracking developed stock markets outside the U.S. and Canada, retreated 0.69%.[1][2]

Nothing Conclusive Regarding Trade
As the market week ended, there was still haziness surrounding the state of U.S.-China trade discussions. Were negotiators on the cusp of a phase-one deal or further away?

Friday, President Trump told reporters that a deal was "very close," but Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country could decide to "fight back" against certain terms. Last week, a bill intended to support Hong Kong protesters advanced through Congress, and that development was not taken well in Beijing.[3][4]

The Fed Assesses the Economy
Federal Reserve officials gathered for their October meeting "generally saw the economic outlook as positive" according to minutes from the central bank's October monetary policy meeting released Wednesday. Some of them termed the economy "resilient."

The minutes also noted that the Fed would wait to assess the impact of its recent interest rate cuts and that any upcoming policy decisions might be data dependent.[5]

Strength in the Housing Sector
Existing home sales improved 1.9% last month, by the estimation of the National Association of Realtors. Year-over-year, sales were up 4.6% through October, and the median sale price was $270,900, 6.2% above where it was 12 months earlier.

Wednesday, the Census Bureau said that single-family home construction increased for a fifth straight month in October. In addition, the pace of building permits for new homes hit a level unseen since 2007.[6][7]

What's Ahead
This will be an abbreviated trading week on Wall Street. U.S. stock and bond markets are closed on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday), and then reopen for a half-day session on Friday.

Tuesday: The Census Bureau issues its latest new home sales snapshot, and the Conference Board releases its November Consumer Confidence Index.
Wednesday: October consumer spending numbers appear from the Department of Commerce, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes a new estimate of third-quarter economic expansion.

Source: Econoday, November 22, 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.

Monday: Agilent (A), Hewlett-Packard (HPE), Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
Tuesday: Analog Devices (ADI), Dell Technologies (DELL), Vmware (VMW)
Wednesday: Deere & Co. (DE)

Source: Zacks, November 22, 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

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."

-Oprah Winfrey

Recipe Of The Week

Fork and Knife

Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is here! If you still need a last-minute dish, this sweet potato casserole is sure to be a hit with any crowd. 
[6 to 8 servings]
For the Filling:
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1¾ pounds of sweet potatoes (approximately 3 or 4 whole potatoes)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • 2 large eggs
For the Topping:
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  1. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes and add them to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let them simmer until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Mash the sweet potatoes.
  3. For the filling, preheat the oven to 350° F. Whisk together the butter, mashed sweet potatoes, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs. Transfer to a baking dish.
  4. For the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt, and mix until the ingredients clump together. Stir in pecans and spread evenly over the sweet potato mixture in the baking dish. Bake until the top is golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. 
Recipe adapted from The Food Network[8]


Tax Tips


End-of-the-Year Tax Tips

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, taxes are likely the last thing on your mind. You have until April, right? Well, there are a few end-of-year tips that you should get ahead on now to save yourself time (and money) come April. 

  • Donate stock that has appreciated in value - You can donate stock that has appreciated in value that you've had for at least a year. This can result in significant income tax savings. Also, donating stock saves you more on taxes than donating cash because there's no capital gains tax when these stocks are given to a nonprofit. You also save on future capital gains taxes.
  • Increase your 401(k) contributions - You're allowed to contribute up to $19,000 this year if you're under 50 and $25,000 if you're 50 and older, and contributing more to your 401(k) by the end of the year means that you will have a lower income tax. This is especially beneficial if you're between tax brackets.

* 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 Kiplinger[9]

Golf Tip


Tips for Cleaning Your Grips

Lots of golfers make cleaning their grips a priority in the summer because their hands are sweating in the heat, but cleaning your grips in the winter is just as important because your hands may actually be drier than normal. Here are some easy tips when cleaning your grips:
  • There are fancy solutions on the market that will help you clean your club grips, but all you really need is some good, old-fashioned soap and water. Dawn liquid soap is one of the best for getting off grease and grime.

  • Make sure your water is super-sudsy. This will help you clean your grips more easily.
  • Simply fill a bucket with sudsy soap and water, then use a clean cloth to collect some suds and rub them into your grip.
  • Try to get more soap than water on the grip.
  • Once you've scrubbed, run the grip under warm water. Don't make the water too hot, as this can destroy the glue underneath your grip.
Cleaning your grips this time of year will help if your hands are dry while playing.

Tip adapted from Golf Monthly[10]

Healthy Lifestyle

Medical Cross

Healthy Holiday Eating: Part 2

We're back with more healthy holiday eating tips to help you navigate all the delicious food, without adding inches to your waistline. 

  • Take 10 - Before you go back for seconds, take a 10-minute break. It can take close to 20 minutes for your stomach to inform your brain you've reached satiety, so if you eat too quickly or go back for that second helping right after you're done with your first, you might end up overeating. Instead, get up, walk around, and maybe even mingle for 10 minutes, then see if you're still hungry.
  • Eat a Pre-Party Snack - If you're on your way to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack before you go, so you don't arrive famished and want to eat everything in sight. The best pre-party snacks combine lean protein with complex carbohydrates, such as an apple and peanut butter, a turkey sandwich, or a couple hardboiled eggs.
  • Dust Off Your Dancing Shoes - One of the most fun ways to work off a few extra calories is to hit the dance floor! After you're done eating, take some time to get moving and enjoy the music. If you're at a party without dancing, go for a walk with friends and family between dinner and dessert.

Tip adapted from Harvard Health[11]

Green Living


Have a Green Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, think about the environment when you prepare your meal and have people over. Here are some tips on how to reduce waste, energy, and resources needed:
  • Use reusable dinnerware instead of disposable options.
  • Purchase the food locally when possible, and choose organic options when available. By using mostly local food, you reduce the energy needed to transport food. Plus, locally grown produce and meat tastes better!
  • Speaking of meat, eat less of it when possible. The meat industry is the number one source of methane gas in our environment, and eating less meat can have a positive environmental impact in many ways.

  • Get outside and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. This holiday is all about giving thanks, so step outside and show gratitude to Mother Nature for all her beauty. Even if you're in the heart of the city, a walk outside does the body good.
Tip adapted from Harvard University[12]

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

[3] www.cnbc.com/2019/11/22/dow-futures-amid-us-china-trade-uncertainty.html

[4] www.cnbc.com/2019/11/22/hong-kong-rights-bill-unlikely-to-derail-us-china-trade-talks.html

[5] www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-minutes-show-worries-about-economy-had-eased-a-bit-2019-11-20

[6] www.inman.com/2019/11/21/existing-home-sales-pick-up-in-october-after-slump-nar/

[7] www.marketwatch.com/story/permits-for-new-home-construction-hits-post-recession-record-high-in-october-2019-11-19

[8] www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/sweet-potato-casserole-3364945

[9] www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/saving/T023-S002-money-moves-to-make-now-to-prepare-for-2020/index.html

[10] www.golf-monthly.co.uk/features/the-game/how-to-clean-your-golf-clubs-and-grips-69550

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

[12] green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/green-tip/tips-green-thanksgiving

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Summit Financial Group of Indiana
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