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The Northern Star Newsletter 5/23/19 - Trade News Moves the Market


Message from Jon

Sometimes you can't see the forest through all the trees...

This past week I was down in Texas (Austin to be exact) where we had opened up an office to help service and support the University of Texas as well as St. Edwards University. While the city was nice-and so was my attempt at riding a scooter through downtown-there was an exchange with a professor who became a client that stuck with me.

We were discussing what we do, what the markets are doing, and her accounts. She interrupted me when I got on a soapbox about the volatility and how that impacts returns and so on... "I can tell you have been doing this a while, which is why I am hiring you to help me, but really, the only thing I want to know is how much I need to retire and what I have to do to get to that." I got down off my soapbox, walked her through what she needed and where she was at, which lead us to how much more she needed to contribute. When we were finished, she was relieved and "invigorated" that she now had a plan and a target to aim for going forward.

On the plane ride home, I began reflecting about how everything I do on a daily basis boiled down to a relatively simple set of questions and answers. It helped me consider what is most important to clients...and that is...will I have enough, and what must I do to get there?

Spend some time talking with current clients that have "enough" about what keeps them up at night and you may get this. I don't want to lose what we have, or I want to create a plan to pass on what we have in the most efficient way possible. Risk levels, returns, market projections, inflation, etc. are all factors that will influence decisions, but ultimately, they are not leading the discussion...or should not be leading it anyway.

An investor is going to have good weeks, months, and years where they feel like they are in the best investments, and months and years where they want to find something better. The reality is that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Your goal is to have enough in the pot to cover your needs, your wants, and your wishes when you retire. Knowing what those are is the first step of any plan.

Today, I think we are asking the wrong questions about investing. Like MPG on a car, rates of return are but very small parts of the overall answer to the basic 2-part question that everyone should be asking themselves. We should be asking what the professor asked...how much do I need, and how do I get there?

Focus on what matters most, and you will achieve all you need, want, and require with your money and your investments.

Till we speak again, enjoy your week!


PS: I have no idea what went wrong last week that cut off my thoughts but this week, I hope it is resolved.

Trade News Moves the Market


The Week on Wall Street
Stocks fell sharply at the start of last week over trade tensions, then recovered with help from strong earnings and indications that U.S.-China trade talks would continue. Even so, the major indices had a down week. The S&P 500 lost 0.76%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.27%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.69%. 

In contrast, the MSCI EAFE benchmark for international stocks rose 0.19%.[1][2]

The Latest Trade Developments
A broad selloff occurred Monday after China announced it would respond to increased U.S. tariffs by boosting its own import taxes on $60 billion of U.S. products. Friday morning, the Street breathed a sigh of relief as the Trump administration decided to delay 25% tariffs planned for imported cars and car parts; they had been slated to take effect on May 18. Just hours later, President Trump announced an end to U.S. tariffs on metals coming from Canada and Mexico. 

At midweek, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin told reporters that he expected the U.S. to resume trade negotiations with China in "the near future."[3][4][5] 

Earnings Season Winds Down
The first-quarter earnings scorecard is nearly complete, as more than 90% of S&P 500 companies have reported actual Q1 results. 

Stock market analytics firm FactSet notes that 76% of these firms have beaten consensus earnings-per-share estimates. Overall earnings for S&P 500 components have surpassed expectations by 5.4%. Both these percentages are above 5-year averages.[6]

Final Thought
The market is quite sensitive to trade developments at the moment, and it is unclear whether this will be a short-term trend or a long-term influence on prices. While the U.S. prepares its next moves, China also is preparing its response to any new U.S. tariffs, which could include manipulating its currency.

Tuesday: The April existing home sales report from the National Association of Realtors.
Wednesday: Minutes from the Federal Reserve's May policy meeting.
Thursday: April new home sales figures from the Census Bureau.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, May 17, 2019
The Econoday and MarketWatch economic calendars list 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), Home Depot (HD), Kohl's (KSS), Nordstrom (JWN)
Wednesday: Analog Devices (ADI), Lowe's (LOW), Target (TGT)
Thursday: Best Buy (BBY), Intuit (INTU), TD Bank (TD)
Friday: Foot Locker (FL)

Source: Morningstar.com, May 17, 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

"Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door."

- Coco Chanel

Recipe Of The Week

Fork and Knife

Red and White Roasted Potatoes

Serves 8

  • 3 lbs. small, similar-sized red and white potatoes
  • ¼ cup good olive oil (can use avocado or a vegetable oil)
  • 1 to 2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt, to taste
  • 1 to 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp. garlic, minced (6 to 8 cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
  1. Set the oven to 400°F. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters, keeping them the same size.
  2. Toss them in a stainless-steel bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic until the potatoes are evenly coated.
  3. Scatter the potatoes on a sheet pan in one layer, making sure the potatoes are not touching each other.
  4. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Remove the potatoes from the oven a few times to toss so that they brown evenly.
  5. Once the potatoes are done roasting, season more, if needed, then sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Food Network[7]


Tax Tips


Like, Hashtag, and Follow Tax Tips on Social Media

Social media is a great way to get tax tips and helpful news from the IRS. The agency uses a variety of social media platforms to share tips and information with taxpayers:
  • YouTube: Get video tax tips in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.
  • Instagram: Follow the official IRS Instagram account @IRSNews for the latest tax scam information to help keep your personal data secure.
  • Facebook: The IRS posts useful news and information for taxpayers and tax return preparers.
  • Twitter: Follow @IRSnews for tax-related announcements and tips. @IRStaxpros tweets news and guidance for tax professionals. Tweets from @IRSenEspanol have the latest tax information in Spanish. @IRSTaxSecurity tweets tax scam alerts.
  • LinkedIn: The IRS shares agency updates and job opportunities.

You can also access IRS information and your tax status with the IRS app, IRS2Go. Use the app to check your refund status, pay taxes, and find free tax help.


* 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[8]


Golf Tip


Don't Let Your Lie Angles Lie to You

If you haven't checked the lie angle on your clubs, your golf game may be suffering. The lie angle is the angle of the shaft relative to the floor, when the bottom of the club is flat on the ground.

If you're a taller player with an upright swing, a club with a steeper angle is for you. A flatter or lower angle is always a great choice for players who are shorter or who have problems with hooking the ball. It's important to remember that normal use can cause the lie angle of a club to change, which will also make your swings less dependable. 

One way to check is by looking at where on the ball you're hitting. If you notice you're hitting the ball close to the toe, your lie angle is probably too flat. If you strike closer to the heel, the angle might be too steep, and your club, too upright.

Adjusting the lie angle on a club is something a club fitter or pro shop can handle for you. 

Tip adapted from Golf Tips Magazine[9]

Healthy Lifestyle

Medical Cross

Sweet Tips to Reduce Sugar Intake

Consuming excess sugar can pose all sorts of health problems, including weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, inflammation - the list goes on and on. If you're eating a balanced diet, then food items with added sugar should be consumed sparingly because if you're eating an adequate, well-balanced diet, you should be getting enough carbohydrates (including sugar) from your daily intake. If you'd like to reduce your sugar intake, here are some tips:

  1. Skip low-fat options: Low-fat snacks and yogurt products may be lower in fat, but they might also be higher in added sugar. If this is the case, choose full-fat versions with lower sugar, instead. You might feel fuller longer, too.
  2. Eat whole foods: Eating a diet that is mostly fruits, vegetable, meats, nuts, and grains in their most natural state with minimal processing will ensure that you're getting less added sugar and more of the good stuff - like the vitamins, minerals, and a better balance of fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
  3. Saucy, but sweet: Condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, hoisin, and sweet chili sauces have added sugar. Herbs, spices, mustard, mayonnaise, and vinegar-based dressings with olive or avocado oil are great replacements. 

Tip adapted from Healthline[10]

Green Living


Save Paper, Print Less, Scan, and Store More

It's no surprise: it's a digital world. But are you truly "digital"? It is a definitely a paradigm shift to be "paperless," but it's a reality for many and a wonderful possibility for the rest. Instead of supplying paper, we need trees to produce oxygen and shade, provide habitats for animals, and reduce greenhouse gases. So, why not go digital using some of these tips?
  • Scan when you can. Most printers have a scanning bed, which makes it easy to scan and keep a digital file.
  • The cloud. Cloud storage apps like Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive will hold your data for you. It's not really a cloud; it just means it's stored over the internet in logical pools spanning multiple servers, possibly in multiple locations.
  • Storage devices. Thumb drives and external hard drives will store documents, images, photos, and videos, and you have something tangible (not a "cloud") to keep.
  • Paper and fonts. When you do need to print, consider this: choosing a font like Century Gothic uses less ink. Also, check your paper weight. You may be able to use thinner paper, which can help save money and trees.
Tip adapted from Laserfiche[11]

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.

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/990300/historical-prices

[3] www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-china/tough-talk-from-china-leaves-trade-talks-with-u-s-in-limbo-idUSKCN1SN207

[4] www.marketwatch.com/story/mnuchin-says-he-expects-to-go-to-beijing-to-continue-trade-talks-in-the-near-future-2019-05-15

[5] www.npr.org/2019/05/17/724357441/u-s-to-lift-tariffs-on-canadas-and-mexico-s-steel-and-aluminum

[6] insight.factset.com/market-punished-sp-500-companies-reporting-negative-eps-surprises-in-q1

[7] www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/garlic-roasted-potatoes-recipe-1913067

[8] www.irs.gov/newsroom/taxpayers-can-now-instantly-get-tax-info-on-instagram

[9] www.golftipsmag.com/instruction/quick-tips/posture-perfection/

[10] www.healthline.com/nutrition/14-ways-to-eat-less-sugar

[11] www.laserfiche.com/ecmblog/9-sneaky-ways-to-get-employees-to-print-less/

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