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China Announces More Tariffs – August 26, 2019

The Week on Wall Street

Traders assumed that the week’s biggest news event would be Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech at the annual Jackson Hole banking conference. Instead, China seized the headlines by announcing new tariffs on U.S. goods.

Domestic stocks ended up lower for the week. The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.83%; the S&P 500, 1.44%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 0.99%. International stocks posted a weekly gain: the MSCI EAFE benchmark rose 0.96%.1https://www.wsj.com/market-data,2https://quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices

Beijing Plans New Tariffs

Friday morning, China’s finance ministry stated it would levy import taxes of 5-10% on an additional $75 billion of American imports. One set of tariffs is slated to start September 1, targeting U.S. crops, meats, and seafood. A second set, effective December 15, will put tariffs on U.S.-made cars and car parts. In total, these taxes are scheduled for more than 5,000 American products.

Friday evening, the White House announced two rounds of 5% increases on existing U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, to be successively implemented on September 1 and October 1.3https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/23/business/china-tariff-products-soybeans-oil/index.html,4https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-says-us-tariffs-will-increase-on-chinese-goods-2019-08-23

Powell Reflects at Jackson Hole

Friday, Jerome Powell delivered an address on monetary policy at the Kansas City Fed’s annual Jackson Hole symposium. He noted that the global economy currently presented a “complex, turbulent picture,” and added that the Fed was “carefully watching developments” and would “act as appropriate.”

Investors wonder if the central bank will consider another rate cut at its September meeting. Comments from other Fed officials at Jackson Hole did not indicate a consensus on that matter.5https://www.marketwatch.com/story/powell-says-fed-carefully-watching-developments-and-will-act-as-appropriate-2019-08-23-10103027

Leading Indicators Rise

The Conference Board, the business research group known for its monthly Consumer Confidence Index, also publishes a monthly Leading Economic Indicator (LEI) Index. The Conference Board LEI provides a forward-looking analysis of the health of the business cycle, looking at ten factors ranging from consumer expectations to stock prices to construction activity.

In July, the LEI rose 0.5%, following 0.1% descents in May and June. This sudden increase offers optimism at a time when investors are wondering about the momentum of the economy.6https://www.conference-board.org/data/bcicountry.cfm?cid=1

Final Thought

Bond prices have risen around the world, leading to lower bond yields. In some instances, yields have turned negative. While the yield on the 10-year Treasury has also declined, it is still above 1.5%, notably exceeding the yields of similar-duration bonds in France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.7https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/20/investing-in-the-strange-negative-yield-world-its-very-hard-to-wrap-your-arms-around.html

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director
MGO | Wealth Advisors

THE WEEK AHEAD:

KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: The Conference Board’s July Consumer Confidence Index.

Thursday: The Bureau of Economic Analysis presents the second estimate of second-quarter economic growth, and the National Association of Realtors publishes new data on pending home sales.

Friday: July consumer spending data from the Department of Commerce, and July’s final University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (a gauge of consumer confidence levels).

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, August 23, 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.

THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Tuesday: Autodesk (ADSK)

Thursday: Abercrombie & Fitch (ABF), Best Buy (BBS), Lululemon Athletica (LULU)

Source: Zacks, August 23, 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.

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“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.
The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
– Winston Churchill

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Protect Your Financial Safety in the Case of a Natural Disaster

We never want to think of a natural disaster happening, but the truth is that floods, fires, hurricanes, and tornadoes can happen at any time, especially during the summer. No matter where you live, you should be aware of the possible natural disasters in your area and plan accordingly. Prepare for these natural disasters by considering the following tax tips:

  • Update your emergency plan.
  • Create electronic copies of all important documents.
  • Document your valuables. Documenting these items ahead of time makes it easier to claim insurance and tax benefits if a disaster strikes.
  • You can call the IRS at 866-562-5227 with any natural disaster-related questions. They can provide copies of previous tax returns, order transcripts showing most line items, and more.
  • Net personal, casualty, and theft losses may be deductible if they’re attributable to a federally declared disaster.

The IRS also has a video all about preparing for disasters. In it, it includes more tax tips for planning ahead.

* 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.gov8https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/all-taxpayers-should-plan-ahead-for-natural-disasters

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Don’t Accelerate When Putting

Many golf instructors teach novice (and advanced) golfers to accelerate when putting, meaning that the front of their swing has more power than the back of their swing. While this might work well in some situations; for example, when you’re in a setup that requires two putts, not accelerating might be a better bet.

Instead, try to let the length of your backswing dictate the length of the front of your swing. To practice this, try just moving the club in a constant pace, almost like a pendulum. The momentum of this constant pace should be the same throughout the swing.

Now, try it during a putt. You might notice that you’re able to be more consistent, which sets you up for success for your second putt. It almost feels like instead of hitting the golf ball, the ball is interrupting your club’s forward momentum. Hitting harder isn’t always your best option, but hitting evenly might be.

Tip adapted from Me and My Golf9https://youtu.be/De9DgJ3qKdM

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The Scale Isn’t Everything:
More Comprehensive Ways to Measure Your Health

    We live in a world driven by data, and if you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds, you might turn to the scale to watch those numbers drop. But the scale doesn’t tell the full story. Neither do stats like BMI (body mass index) because these calculations don’t consider muscle mass, water weight, or other fluctuations.

    Luckily, there are many other ways to measure your health. Put the scale away for a little while, and try these techniques to focus on your overall health rather than just a number:

    • Keep a journal and track your healthy habits, such as working out or eating veggies with every meal. Celebrate these small victories!
    • Take progress photos and compare them throughout your journey. Take your photos in the same pose, wearing the same outfit, at the same time every week (preferably in the morning before you’ve had breakfast).
    • Check in on other parts of your health, such as your energy levels, skin, tummy health, and more. Developing a healthy routine does so much more for your body than just lower the number on the scale.

    These are just a few of the ways you can check in with yourself on your fitness and wellness journey without the scale.

    Tip adapted from Daily Burn10https://dailyburn.com/life/health/weight-loss-success-non-scale-victories/

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    Supporting Environmentally Friendly Companies

    Our purchases are our vote, which is why many people choose to support environmentally conscious companies to share the green love. Here is a list of some of the biggest companies in the world that are choosing to be green in 2019:

    • IKEA – The Swedish furniture manufacturer is taking steps to be environmentally friendly in multiple ways, including sourcing nearly half their wood from sustainable foresters, all their cotton from Better Cotton farms, and having solar panels powering their stores.
    • Allergan – Allergan is the parent company of many cosmetic brands, including Botox. They’ve taken great strides to reduce water and energy consumption, waste, and emissions. In 2016, they won the EPA’s Energy STAR award for the 5th time.
    • Seventh Generation – Seventh Generation creates environmentally friendly household cleaners and other products. Not only has Seventh Generation done their part, but they’ve also pressured other brands to do the same.

    Tip adapted from Virgin11https://www.virgin.com/virgin-unite/10-global-companies-are-environmentally-friendly

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    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.

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