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The Northern Star Newsletter 7/18/19 - S&P 500 Tops 3,000


Message from Jon

Market Update:

At present, the markets seem poised to remain in a positive trend. The FED has made it clear that they are not opposed to cutting interest rates, and the tensions on trade seem to have relaxed.1 Short of Presidential spats with the Democrats on Capitol Hill, we seem to have hit a quiet period of time in terms of headwinds, tensions, and landmines that have to be navigated.2

We are entering into the second half of the year where the days are shorter, and the setting of the sun seems to be approaching sooner. The VIX at this writing is around a 12, showing little concern for risk at present.3 At the risk of sounding too Pollyannaish at the moment, the markets seem to be hitting their stride or second wind, but for how long is anyone's guess in our opinion.

I do think that whenever the general population is expressing interest in investing in the markets it's normally a sign that we are nearing an end of a rally, not the beginning of one.

Personal Update:

We have gotten to talk with Devin twice in 5 weeks with as many letters exchanged between us. His "flight" group began with 60 is now down to 48. He misses mom's cooking and listening to music the most, and according to him, they are all humming their favorite songs, but none of them can remember the lyrics! As soon as he gets some liberty on base, he is going to kill a SUBWAY footlong sandwich. Ah, the things you end up missing the most when you are separated from home and what matters most.

Till we speak again-stay cool and enjoy your week!



  1. https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/24/investing/fed-rate-cut-goldman-sachs/index.html
  2. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/house-democrats-prepare-condemn-trumps-twitter-attacks-congresswomen/story?id=64365956
  3. https://elite.finviz.com/futures.ashx

S&P 500 Tops 3,000


The Week on Wall Street
Friday, the S&P 500 settled above 3,000 for the first time, after rising 0.78% for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average chalked up a milestone of its own: the blue chips ended the week above 27,000, gaining 1.52% on the way. Additionally, the Nasdaq Composite wrapped up the week 1.01% higher. The MSCI EAFE index, a gauge of overseas developed markets, fell 0.65%.[1][2][3]

Stocks rallied at midweek with help from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's congressional testimony on monetary policy, plus the latest Fed meeting minutes.

Jerome Powell's Statements
Wednesday, Chairman Powell told Capitol Hill lawmakers that "uncertainties around global growth and trade continue to weigh on the outlook" of the Federal Open Market Committee. He also noted that "manufacturing, trade, and investment are weak all around the world."[4]

On the same day, the Fed presented the minutes of its June policy meeting. The record shared the belief of some Fed officials that "a near-term cut in the target range for the federal funds rate could help cushion the effects of possible future adverse shocks to the economy."[5]

Overall Inflation Remains Muted
The June Consumer Price Index, released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, measured only 1.6% yearly inflation. The Federal Reserve uses the Bureau of Economic Analysis' Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index as its inflation barometer; in its latest edition, it showed just a 1.5% year-over-year rise.[6]

Currently, the Fed has a yearly inflation target of 2.0%. In the past, it has often raised interest rates in response to increasing inflation, which can potentially slow growth and affect hiring and employment levels. Absent significant inflation pressure, such a response may not be forthcoming.[7]

Final Thought
All eyes are on corporate earnings this week, as prominent banks and about two dozen other S&P 500 firms report second-quarter results. Market participants have much to consider in terms of profits, revenue, and guidance.

Tuesday: Fed chair Jerome Powell delivers a speech on monetary policy at the G7 summit in France, and the Census Bureau releases its June retail sales report.
Friday: The University of Michigan presents its preliminary July consumer sentiment index, measuring consumer confidence and perceptions of the economy.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, July 12, 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.

Monday: Citigroup (C), J.B. Hunt (JBHT)
Tuesday: Goldman Sachs (GS), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC)
Wednesday: Bank of America (BAC), Netflix (NFLX), Novartis (NVS), Abbott Labs (ABT)
Thursday: Microsoft (MSFT), UnitedHealth (UNH)
Friday: American Express (AXP)

Source: Zacks, July 12, 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

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

-Anatole France

Recipe Of The Week

Fork and Knife

Strawberry & Barley Summer Salad

[4 Servings]



  • 1 cup quick-cooking barley, quinoa, or other grain
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Edamame (soybeans)
  • 5 oz. (or more) of spinach
  • 1 lb. of strawberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. Dijon or honey mustard
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds

Embrace the warm weather with this summer salad. Going vegetarian for a few meals a week helps both your health and the environment, and salads, like these, make it easy and delicious!
  1. Cook the quick-cooking barley (or other grain) according to the package.
  2. Cook the soybeans according to the package.
  3. Whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, mustard, poppy seeds, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper until mixed thoroughly.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the barley, soybeans, dressing, spinach, sliced strawberries, and Parmesan cheese, then toss.
Recipe adapted from Woman's Day[8]


Tax Tips


Potential, Pet-Related Tax Deductions

Because this week's tips are all about our furry friends, we thought we'd share some potential pet-related tax deductions. Tax law is always changing, so these deductions may no longer be relevant if new developments arise, but they're things to consider if you have four-legged friends at home. 
  • Business animals, or animals that live at a trade or business, can be a potential deduction. This would include animals that primarily live at a business, such as a dog that serves as a security measure or a cat that keeps the rodent population at bay. You may be able to deduct expenses, like food, vet visits, and training associated with the job.

  • Donations to pet-related charity or organization may be deductible. This is different, though, than adopting a pet, which isn't tax deductible.
  • Fostering pets can also be a tax write-off. This is considered a charitable contribution, and expenses for fostering a pet for an IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) organization can be deducted.
  • If you have a service dog, these expenses are also tax deductible. According to IRS Publication 502, deductions are available for individuals requiring a guide dog for vision or hearing impairments.
* 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 ThinkAdvisor[9]

Golf Tip


Aim Your Ball Flight, Not Your Body

One of the most-common mistakes that beginning golfers (and even seasoned veterans) make on the course is aiming straight down the fairway. This would make sense in an ideal situation, but many golfers tend toward a different ball flight. For example, you might slice right or left, and if you're aiming for the middle of the fairway, the ball might veer to the side.


Rather than aim your body toward the middle of the fairway, aim it toward your most-common ball flight. That way, if the shot overcompensates to the right or to the left, you're still closer to center. Not sure where your ball flight curves? Practice in the driving range to see where your balls end up. Another way to compensate for this curve is to place your tee to the right or left rather than the middle. This will also help you start your drive in the correct position.


Tip adapted from Me and My Golf[10]

Healthy Lifestyle

Medical Cross

The Health Benefits of a Meat-Free Day

There's no denying the overwhelming health benefits of a plant-based diet. But going completely vegetarian or vegan isn't realistic for everyone. Luckily, you can still enjoy the many health benefits by going "meat free" for just one day a week. Here are some of the main benefits of this healthy lifestyle swap:


  • You'll be decreasing your risk of heart disease - Coronary heart disease is linked to a meat-based diet, and the majority of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by switching to a plant-based diet.
  • You'll be getting more vitamins, minerals, and fiber - When you don't turn to meat on your meat-free day, you'll likely turn to other foods such as veggies, fruits, whole grains, and other plant-based products. This variety helps you round out your diet!


These are just a few of the many benefits of going meat-free for a day. Want more inspiration? Just Google "Meatless Monday" for recipe suggestions.



Tip adapted from Hello Magazine[11]

Green Living


Be an Eco-Friendly Pet Parent

Going green can extend to your furry friend, too! There are many ways to be an eco-friendly pet parent and reduce your carbon footprint (or pawprint). Below are some easy ways you and your pet can be environmentally friendly:


  • Adopt; don't shop - Not only does adopting a pet from a local shelter help save the life of one of the millions of animals looking for a loving home, but it can also help overburdened shelters reduce their overhead, like electricity and water.
  • Make your own treats - Commercial dog and cat treats often come in wasteful plastic packaging, only to be thrown away when the treats are gone. Avoid this by making your own dog or cat treats! Dog Treat Kitchenhas tons of delicious recipes, and this website has some easy DIY cat treats.
  • Use compostable pet products - When possible, look for a compostable option for your favorite pet products. There are many choices for compostable doggie waste bags, and cat litter made out of corn, pine, or wheat is usually biodegradable.


Even small swaps like these can help you (and your pets) live more environmentally friendly.



Tip adapted from Healthy Pets[12]

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.cnbc.com/2019/07/12/stock-market-dow-futures-rise-after-fed-hints-at-rate-cut-ahead.html [2] www.wsj.com/market-data [3] quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [4] www.investopedia.com/markets-cheer-lower-interest-rate-outlook-4692639 [5] www.investopedia.com/markets-cheer-lower-interest-rate-outlook-4692639 [6] www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-inflation/u-s-core-cpi-posts-biggest-gain-in-nearly-1-1-2-years-idUSKCN1U61NR?il=0 [7] www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-inflation/u-s-core-cpi-posts-biggest-gain-in-nearly-1-1-2-years-idUSKCN1U61NR?il=0 [8] www.womansday.com/food-recipes/food-drinks/a27285750/barley-salad-with-strawberries-and-buttermilk-dressing/ [9] www.thinkadvisor.com/2018/04/03/6-potential-pet-related-tax-deductions/?slreturn=20190421211413
[10] www.youtube.com/watch?v=De9DgJ3qKdM [11] www.hellomagazine.com/cuisine/2017061339754/health-benefits-vegetarian-once-a-week/ [12] healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2015/02/07/top-10-green-pet-tips.aspx

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