Rallies and Retreats – March 9, 2020
The Week on Wall Street
Heightened coronavirus fears, falling yields, and Super Tuesday primary results sent stocks on a rollercoaster ride of sharp price swings, leaving stocks marginally higher for the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average improved 1.79%; the S&P 500, 0.61%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.10%. Outside the U.S., developed equity markets tracked by the MSCI EAFE Index rose 2.60%.1https://www.wsj.com/market-data,2https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/index/XX/MSCI%20GLOBAL/990300/historical-prices
A Swift Fed Decision
Wednesday morning, the Federal Reserve lowered its short-term interest rate by 0.5% to a range of 1.00%-1.25%, making its biggest cut since 2008. Addressing the media, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the move was made to give the economy a “meaningful” lift and “help boost household and business confidence.”
The question is whether reducing borrowing costs can effectively address growing business and consumer anxieties about shopping, traveling, and gathering.3https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/03/economy-coronavirus-rate-cuts/
A Push Toward Treasuries
The uncertainty on Wall Street has heightened demand for Treasury bonds. Their yields typically fall as their prices rise, and fall they did last week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped under 0.70% during Friday’s market day, an all-time low.4https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/the-plunge-in-bond-yields-is-scary-now-but-could-be-helpful-later.html
Winter Hiring Surge Continues
The Department of Labor’s latest employment report showed companies adding 273,000 net new hires last month. Net monthly payroll growth has averaged 243,000 since December.5https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nonfarm-payrolls-reach-peak-273k-151603832.html
The Fed’s 50-basis-points cut in the federal funds rate has now shifted the sights of investors toward the European Central Bank, which is expected to make a policy announcement on March 12. The ECB has less room to maneuver than the Fed, since its key interest rate currently stands at -0.5%. Negative interest rates have done little to lift eurozone economies, which may necessitate more-creative monetary policy accommodation from the ECB’s new president, Christine Lagarde.
Traders are also focused on whether the Federal Reserve will make another rate cut on March 18, when its next meeting concludes. The half-point rate cut this past week did little to soothe stock market concerns; opinions vary about what the central bank might choose to do next.6https://www.fxstreet.com/macroeconomics/central-banks/fed
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THE WEEK AHEAD:
KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Wednesday: The Census Bureau publishes a new Consumer Price Index, showing monthly and yearly inflation.
Friday: The University of Michigan presents its initial Consumer Sentiment Index for March, measuring consumer confidence.
Source: MarketWatch, March 6, 2020
The MarketWatch 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.
THE WEEK AHEAD:
COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Monday: Thor Industries (THO)
Tuesday: Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS)
Thursday: Adobe (ADBE), Broadcom (AVGO), Dollar General (DG), Oracle (ORCL), Ulta Beauty (ULTA)
Source: Zacks, March 6, 2020
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.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
– C.S. Lewis
Tips for Gift Taxes
If you gave someone money or property, you may owe taxes on the gift. Here are some tips to help you determine if your gift is taxable:
Nontaxable Gifts. While the default assumption is that gifts are taxable, the following are nontaxable gifts:
- Gifts that do not exceed the annual exclusion for the calendar year ($15,000 in 2019)
- Tuition or medical expenses you paid directly to a medical or educational institution for someone
- Gifts to your spouse
- Gifts to a political organization for qualified uses
- Gifts to qualifying charities
Annual Exclusion. For 2019, the annual exclusion is $15,000. Gifts under that amount are not subject to the gift tax, even if they don’t fall into one of the categories above. If you give a gift to someone else, the gift tax usually does not apply until the value of the gift exceeds the annual exclusion for the year.
For more information on gifts and taxes, speak to a qualified tax professional.
* 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.
Simply Visualizing a Successful Putt
How can you step up to a putt of some distance with confidence and without taking so much time that you seem like a snail to your playing partners? Try this simple routine.
Stand a bit back from your ball (not over it), and take two practice strokes that mimic what you want the real stroke to feel like. Address the ball, look down the line of the putt, and visualize the putt going into the hole. Now, take a second look from where your ball lies to the apex of the putt’s break and look further down the line of the putt to the hole. Then, hit your putt.
Tip adapted from U.S. Sports Camps8https://www.ussportscamps.com/tips/golf/4-easy-ways-to-read-greens-and-start-sinking-more-putts
Choose to Make Your Plate “MyPlate”
Ah, the Food Pyramid. It had a lot of flaws. Its major weaknesses were that it generalized recommended servings per day and poorly defined portion sizes. So, in 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented a user-friendly redesign: the pyramid was transformed into a plate.
The concept behind the MyPlate design was somehow both revolutionary and seemingly obvious. After all, we eat off a plate, not a pyramid. Portions are easier to visualize and compose the following ratio: half the plate, fruits and vegetables; the other half, grains and protein. A serving of dairy (or non-dairy alternative) on the side. Easy, right?
Take advantage of this method the next time you sit down for a meal and see what adjustments you can make to make your plate even healthier.
Tip adapted from ChooseMyPlate.gov9https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/WhatIsMyPlate
Turn Your Lawn(care) Green
Spring is right around the corner, meaning it’s time to think about taking care of your lawn and garden.
This year, consider what you can do to add some healthy and green alternatives to your usual lawn treatments. If you’re new to organic law treatments, the first swap you can make is to use organic soil for your flower beds. No matter what type or mixture of soil you have, there’s an organic system that will help keep your lawn green all spring long.
Adding some flowers to your yard? Use coconut fiber biodegradable seed starter pots. Peat pots are biodegradable, but have a tendency to mold, killing off the flowers at the roots. The coconut fiber pots can be planted right in the ground and provide nutrients to your growing plants.
Tip adapted from RealSimple10https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/gardening/outdoor/lawn-care-products-eco-friendly
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