Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: January 13, 2020 – Further Gains for Stocks

January 13, 2020


Table of Contents



Featured Article: Further Gains for Stocks


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Hummus


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


Further Gains for Stocks

The market had a choppy five days, with traders reacting to geopolitical developments and weaker-than-expected jobs data. Even so, the three major U.S. equity indices posted weekly gains and continued their strong start to the new year. During Friday’s trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 29,000 for the first time.

Rising 1.75% for the week, the Nasdaq Composite outgained both the Dow (up 0.66%) and the S&P 500 (up 0.94%). The story for foreign stocks was different: the MSCI EAFE index declined 0.30%.

Wall Street was unimpressed by the latest jobs report from…

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Weekly Update: January 6, 2020 – Concerns About Oil

January 6, 2020


Table of Contents



Featured Article: Concerns About Oil


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Cauliflower Pizza


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


Concerns About Oil

Stocks descended from record highs Friday, as traders reacted to a U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top military officer. Oil prices rose more than 3% following the breaking news.

Wall Street benchmarks ended up having a sideways week, shortened by the New Year’s Day holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.04% across four trading sessions; the S&P 500, 0.16%. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.16%. The MSCI EAFE index, benchmarking developed overseas stock markets, added 0.30%.

WTI crude oil settled at $63.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday, down from…

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Weekly Update: December 30, 2019 – The Year in Review

December 30, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: What Drove the Markets?


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Champagne Gummy Bears


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


What Drove the Markets

Four factors influenced investment performance in 2019: a shift in U.S. monetary policy, the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, earnings, and the economy.

Stocks reached record highs in 2019. The S&P 500 climbed above 3,000 for the first time. The benchmark ended Friday’s trading session up 29.25% for the year. At Friday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average showed a year-to-date advance of 22.95%, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 35.74% YTD. The MSCI EAFE index, representing foreign stocks, was up 18.10% YTD through December 27.

The central bank made three quarter-point cuts to the…

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Weekly Update: December 16, 2019 – Phase-One Trade Deal Reached

December 17, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: Phase-One Trade Deal Reached


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Bacon Egg Cups


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


Phase-One Trade Deal Reached

The U.S. and China announced a limited trade agreement last week. That news lifted U.S. and foreign stocks, leading to weekly gains. Advancing 0.91% on the week, the Nasdaq Composite outperformed the S&P 500 (up 0.73%) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (up 0.43%). The MSCI EAFE index, measuring the performance of developed markets overseas, improved 0.42%.

Friday, White House and Chinese officials confirmed an agreement on what has been characterized as an initial step toward a larger trade pact. As a result of this phase-one deal, new U.S. tariffs (slated to go into effect on December 15) were canceled. The 15% tariffs (imposed on $110 billion of Chinese goods in September) now fall to 7.5%.

In return, China commits to buy…

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Weekly Update: December 9, 2019 – Stocks Ride Out a Choppy Week

December 11, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: Stocks Ride Out a Choppy Week


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Bread Bowls


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


Stocks Ride Out a Choppy Week

Key Wall Street benchmarks were up and down last week – or rather down and then up. A Tuesday retreat was offset by a Friday rally spurred by the Department of Labor’s November jobs report.
While the S&P 500 managed to rise 0.16% for the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.13%, and the Nasdaq Composite ceded 0.10%. MSCI’s EAFE benchmark for international stocks retreated 0.25%.

Employers added 266,000 net new jobs last month, 79,000 more than economists surveyed by Dow Jones had projected. The main jobless rate ticked down 0.1% to 3.5%. The U-6 rate, counting both the unemployed and underemployed, also declined 0.1% to 6.9%. Wages grew 3.1% year-over-year, above the 3.0% Dow Jones estimate.
These numbers do not indicate an economy cooling off. While they were influenced by the return of striking General Motors workers to their jobs, November hiring gains were spread across several categories.

The U.S.-China trade dispute has gone on for 21 months. Wall Street would like to…

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Weekly Update: December 2, 2019 – November Concludes with Gains

December 2, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: November Concludes with Gains


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Super-Gooey Cinnamon Rolls


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


November Concludes with Gains

As November wrapped up, U.S. equity benchmarks advanced. Stocks were again aided by a sense of optimism that a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal could be near.

For the week, the Nasdaq Composite added 1.87%; the S&P 500, 1.21%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1.03%. The MSCI EAFE index, which measures the performance of developed stock markets outside North America, gained 0.89%.

Markets Wait for News of a Trade Pact
Wednesday, a senior White House official told Politico that the U.S. was “millimeters away” from a phase-one trade agreement with China, a deal that might involve the removal of certain tariffs.
Still, friction remains within the Sino-American relationship. Last week, President Trump signed two bills into law backing pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly reacted, stating that American lawmakers had “sinister intentions” and adding that China would take “strong counter-measures” in return.

The Latest on Consumer Spending and Consumer Confidence
Personal spending was up 0.3% in October, according to…

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Weekly Update: November 25, 2019 – Major Indices Move Lower

November 26, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: Major Indices Move Lower


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Sweet Potato Casserole


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


Major Indices Move Lower

Stocks declined last week as mixed signals emerged about the progress of U.S.-China trade negotiations.
The three major Wall Street benchmarks all took weekly losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.46%; the S&P 500, 0.33%, the Nasdaq Composite, 0.25%. Also pulling back, the MSCI EAFE index, tracking developed stock markets outside the U.S. and Canada, retreated 0.69%.

Nothing Conclusive Regarding Trade
As the market week ended, there was still haziness surrounding the state of U.S.-China trade discussions. Were negotiators on the cusp of a phase-one deal or further away?
Friday, President Trump told reporters that a deal was “very close,” but Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country could decide to “fight back” against certain terms. Last week, a bill intended to support Hong Kong protesters advanced through Congress, and that development was not taken well in Beijing.

The Fed Assesses the Economy
Federal Reserve officials gathered for their October meeting “generally saw the economic outlook as positive” according to…

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Weekly Update: November 18, 2019 – A New Dow Milestone

November 18, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: A New Dow Milestone


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: The World’s Easiest Fish Tacos


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


A New Dow Milestone

Stock benchmarks were little changed for much of last week, but a rally occurred Friday after news broke that the U.S. and China could be closing in on the first phase of a new trade pact.

At Friday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 28,000 level. The Dow rose 1.17% for the week, outgaining the S&P 500 (which advanced 0.89%) and the Nasdaq Composite (which added 0.77%). The MSCI EAFE index, representing developed overseas stock markets, fell 0.77%.

Will There Be a Trade Breakthrough?

Friday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told the media that “in all likelihood,” a phase-one trade deal between China and the U.S. would presently happen, stating that the talks were…

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Weekly Update: November 11, 2019-Dow, S&P 500 Extend Win Streaks

November 11, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: Dow, S&P 500 Extend Win Streaks


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: WWII “Soldier Kisses” Cookies


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


Dow, S&P 500 Extend Win Streaks

Domestic and international stocks rose last week. Risk appetite outweighed concerns about the state of U.S.-China trade discussions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500, and MSCI EAFE all ended the week with gains. Blue chips led the way, as the Dow added 1.22%. The Nasdaq improved 1.06%; the S&P, 0.85%. The EAFE, tracking developed stock markets away from North America, was up 0.76%. The Dow recorded its third straight weekly gain; the S&P, its fifth.

Will Tariffs Phase Out or Remain?
Thursday, a spokesman for China’s commerce ministry said that U.S. and Chinese trade representatives had “agreed to remove” existing tariffs in “phases,” while working toward a new trade deal.

On Friday morning, President Trump told the media …

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Weekly Update: November 4, 2019 – More Historic Highs

November 5, 2019


Table of Contents



Featured Article: More Historic Highs


Economic Calendar


Quote of the Week


Recipe of the Week: Brunch Frittata


Tax Tips


Golf Tips


Healthy Lifestyle


Green Living


More Historic Highs

A better-than-forecast jobs report prompted a stock market rally Friday, two days after traders witnessed another interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended the week at historic peaks, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average settled less than 12 points under its all-time record close. The Nasdaq rose 1.74% for the week; the S&P gained 1.47%. The Dow added 1.44%. MSCI’s EAFE benchmark, which measures developed stock market performance outside the U.S. and Canada, improved 0.58%.

This net increase far surpassed the gain of 85,000 projected by a Bloomberg poll of economists. These job gains occurred even as last month’s General Motors strike impacted hiring in the manufacturing sector. Unemployment rose slightly to 3.6% in October, an effect of more people entering the job market. Likewise, the U-6 rate, counting both unemployed and underemployed, Americans ticked up to 7.0%.

Last week, the central bank made its third quarter-point rate cut since July, leaving the target range for…

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