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Stocks Up, Signals Mixed
Geopolitical uncertainty affected stocks last week, as the historic summit between the U.S. and North Korea began to look less likely. On Thursday, May 24, President Trump announced that the summit was off, and stocks stumbled in reaction. The next day, Trump said the meeting might still occur next month, leaving investors questioning the eventual outcome.[i]
Also, on the geopolitical front, an announcement that Saudi Arabia and Russia would consider easing back oil supply restrictions affected stocks. U.S. crude oil prices dropped in response, pulling energy stocks down with them.[ii]
Despite these developments, major domestic indexes increased last week. The S&P 500 gained 0.31%, the Dow added 0.15%, and the NASDAQ grew by 1.08%.[iii] International stocks dropped, with the MSCI EAFE decreasing by 1.60%.[iv]
What kept U.S. stocks in positive territory for the week?
Solid corporate earnings helped drive upward movement.
A number of companies experienced double-digit stock growth last week after releasing their latest data. This strong performance helped balance the declines and uncertainty that the week’s geopolitical headlines created.[v]
What other economic perspectives did we receive?
From durable goods to home sales, various data came out last week:[vi]
- The factory sector could drive economic growth, as steel and aluminum tariffs are contributing to rising value of orders and inventories for metals.
- Business confidence and 2nd-quarter investment could increase, as strong core durable goods orders may indicate good news for companies.
- Housing is underperforming, as growth in home sales volume and prices have softened recently.
Overall, last week provided a mix of insight about the current economic strength and geopolitical environment. In this week’s 4 trading days, we’ll gain more perspectives on consumer confidence, Gross Domestic Product, manufacturing, and employment. We will use this data to continue building our understanding of what may lie ahead in the markets—and how to prepare our clients for the future. If you have any questions, we are here to talk.
Monday: U.S. Markets Closed for Memorial Day
Tuesday: Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: GDP, ADP Employment Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Employment Situation, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg Index, Construction Spending
Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
|“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him”|
Philly Cheese Steak
(Yields 4 )
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping[vii]
Who Collects an IRS Debt?
The IRS launched a program authorizing private agencies to collect certain overdue tax debts.
A federal law, passed by Congress in December 2015, grants the tax agency the authority to contract collections to outside companies.
Taxpayers whose accounts have been assigned to collections will only be contacted by 1 of the companies, not all of them. No other private groups are authorized to represent the agency for collecting overdue taxes.
The IRS always attempts to notify taxpayers before their accounts are transferred to private debt collectors. IRS notification letters include names and contact information of the debt collector, and a copy of Publication 4518.
Private collectors are required to identify themselves as IRS contractors attempting to collect tax debts. The private collectors may discuss payment options. Any payment arrangements, however, must be made payable to the U.S. Treasury.
The contractors will also only discuss ongoing IRS tax issues. The tax agency will have previously attempted to collect the debt with the taxpayer.
Additional information can be found on the IRS website.
* 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 advisor.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov[Viii]
*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 advisor.
How to Begin Your Golf Swing
Everyone knows you have to start at the tee to play a round of golf. It’s where the game begins. It’s the same with your swing. Players don’t just grab a club, step up, and whack the ball, hoping it lands in a nice place.
The golf swing takes some planning and some focus.
Here is a good exercise to get you thinking about one of the most important aspects of golf:
Take a club, lay it on the ground, and point it in the direction of your swing.
This part of the exercise helps you align your swing with your target. Since you won’t actually be hitting a ball in this part of the exercise, you may choose whatever target you’d like.
Put your feet in line with your club. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. After grabbing another club with both hands, extend your arms fully and stand up straight. Bend your knees to lower the club as if you were preparing to address the ball.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Don’t move for a few moments. Listen to your breathing and your heartbeat.
Are you breathing too quickly? Is your heart racing? Now inhale deeply; close your eyes. Why monitor your breathing? Slow, steady breathing helps you maintain your tempo.
Open your eyes. Focus on the spot you were expecting to address the ball. This is the point where you can start thinking about your swing—the quiet, confident moment.
Professionals understand—almost intuitively—when the time comes to hit the ball. Amateurs, on the other hand, spend too much time staring at the ball and overanalyzing the swing.
When the time comes, hit the ball. Don’t second-guess yourself.
Tip adapted from Golfweek[ix]
How to Protect Your Health as You Get Older
David Bowie may have sung about the “Golden Years” in 1975 when he was 28. But the late English rocker’s funk ballad stills echoes an endearing truth for those heading into their golden years today. How do you protect yourself from the injuries and illnesses that afflict us as we age?
Here are some quick tips to help keep you healthy, strong, and independent:
- Keep your mind and body active.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Discuss your health with your doctor.
- Take precautions to prevent accidents and falls.
Regular exercise and physical activity:
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
- Helps you to avoid falling.
- Enables you to live independently longer.
- Improves your mood.
- Helps you feel better.
- Improves your ability to think and learn.
Tips adapted from Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion[x]
The Secrets to a Green Picnic
Looking to have a green picnic—under a bright, blue sky, against the backdrop of a lush, green landscape?
How do you make that outdoor meal more environmentally sensitive? Here are 8 steps for making your picnic fit perfectly into Mother Nature:
- Pack lots of local, in-season fruits, vegetables, and organic meats.
- Make your canvas grocery tote into a picnic basket.
- Find a picnic site accessible by biking, walking, or public transportation.
- Toss the bottles or cans and go with a cooler or a keg. Take along cups, reusable tins, or canisters.
- Take along washable cloth napkins or tablecloths. Old bed sheets work well.
- Use sunscreen and insect repellents made with fewer chemicals.
- Turn your picnic plans green. Take along nature and wildlife field guides and some binoculars.
- Take your waste with you. Park animals may be attracted to leftover food in trashcans.
Tip adapted from EarthShare[xi]
This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.
The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.
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 Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative. Please consult your financial advisor for further information. Member FINRA/SIPC.