WEEKLY UPDATE – February 19, 2019
The Week on Wall Street
Stocks ended a good week on a high note, as hints of progress in U.S.-China trade talks encouraged investors.
When the closing bell rang Friday, the S&P 500 settled at 2,775.60, after rising 2.50% in five days. The Dow Industrials gained 3.09%, to close Friday at 25,883.25. The Nasdaq Composite improved 2.39% to 7,472.41.
Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief late last week as Congress passed a bill to keep the federal government funded. President Trump signed the measure on Friday.
The development is expected to have a positive effect on consumer sentiment, which may influence the financial markets. During the shutdown, consumer confidence hit an 18-month low.
Retail Sales Unexpectedly Slip
Thursday, the Census Bureau announced that retail sales fell 1.2% in December. This was the largest monthly decline in more than nine years and fell short of expectations. Economists polled by Bloomberg anticipated a small gain.
Was the slow December mostly a reflection of consumer anxieties about the shutdown and the stock market? If so, it is possible that retail spending may see an uptick. (It should be noted that these monthly numbers are often revised later.)
Inflation Holds Steady
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most widely followed measure of inflation, was flat in January for a third consecutive month. Year-over-year, overall inflation is running at just 1.6%.
The CPI is one of the key factors the Fed considers when assessing the economy and determining what lies ahead for interest rates.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators face a March 1 deadline to reach a deal to extend the current tariff truce. In March, tariffs on many Chinese imports could rise to 25% from 10%. President Trump said Friday that he is open to postponing the March deadline if it appears an agreement may be near.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Monday: Presidents’ Day holiday (U.S. financial markets closed).
Wednesday: Minutes of the January Federal Reserve policy meeting are released.
Thursday: January existing home sales.
Friday: Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida speaks in New York.
Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, February 15, 2019
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 release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: Devon Energy (DVN), Walmart (WMT)
Wednesday: Analog Devices (ADI), CVS Health (CVS)
Thursday: Dominos (DPZ), Fluor (FLR), Intuit (INTU), Kraft Heinz (KHZ)
Source: Morningstar.com, February 15, 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
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Avocado Toast with Chèvre and Chives
1 piece thick-cut bread
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. goat cheese
1 tsp. freshly chopped chives
1. Toast the piece of bread until it’s golden brown.
2. Use the avocado half without the pit and store the half with the pit (this will help maintain freshness).
3. Remove the avocado from the skin, place the avocado flesh with a squeeze of the fresh lemon juice into a medium bowl, and mash it with a fork.
4. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
5. Spread the mashed avocado on top of the toast, followed by the crumbled goat cheese and chopped chives.
6. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from https://whatsgabycooking.com
Donating Property for Deductions*
You can make charitable donations to nonprofits, like Goodwill and Salvation Army, for tax deductions. Clothing often comes to mind when donating, but other items are also in demand. So, next time you’re ready to unload some items, consider these:
Furniture: That “slightly used” couch or armchair is donatable and could become someone else’s treasure. Be sure your donations are still in “good” used condition in order to capitalize on your deduction.
Artwork: Paintings and other artwork can be donated, but you may need to obtain an appraisal in advance to determine fair market value. The IRS has an Art Advisory Panel for pieces that are claimed at a value of $50,000 or more. The panel is composed of up to 25 renowned art experts, and their service is voluntary and without compensation. Check the guidelines on www.irs.gov for more information.
Your car: You can donate your car for a deduction of the fair market value of the vehicle. The charity receiving the item must repurpose the vehicle in one or more of the following ways: keeping the vehicle for the organization to use, improving the vehicle, or donating the vehicle to an individual in need. Check www.irs.gov for more details.
*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 courtesy IRS.gov
Get Out of the Rough
Even the best golfers can find themselves lost in the rough sometimes. Anytime you’re lost in the weeds, remember two, two, and two. Make sure to choke down on the club 2 inches, stand so the ball is back 2 inches when in your normal stance, and drop your front foot back 2 inches.
By choking down on your club, you lower the trajectory of the shot, and gain much needed control. Moving the ball back helps you hit at a steeper angle, which you need to get out of those weeds. Finally, opening up your stance restricts you from swinging too far back and grants you extra command by squaring your shoulders up.
Tip courtesy of Michael Easter | Men’s Health 
Take a Smart Break – from your Smartphone
It’s not just millennials who are attached and addicted to their phones. Smartphone addiction can affect just about anyone, and it’s really a “thing.” Unplugging is the answer – taking a break from social media, apps, games, calendars, and videos. Here are a few suggestions to help you detox from your phone:
Another app. This seems counterintuitive; however, there are apps that help control, or at least notify you about, how much time you’re spending online. The app Moment allows you to set a limit on how many times you can check your device. Apps like Dinner Mode and Flipd let you choose the amount of time to unplug, and you even get rewarded for it when you do.
Face time. The real “face time” – person-to-person social interactions. If you work from home, try doing your work in a cafe or join a co-working space to interact with others. Also, be sure to schedule in social time with family and friends and leave your phone behind.
Research has shown that the more time we spend plugged in, the more stress we have. So, unplug and chill; you’ll be glad you did!
Tips adapted from https://www.mindbodygreen.com
The Art of Thrifting
Thrift store shopping is not only fun (think: treasure hunting), but it’s a great way to recycle clothing, housewares, and other items. True, there can be a lot of clutter to sort through, but with a few tips, you’ll be thrifting with the best of them.
You might just find that perfect denim jacket or pair of jeans to embroider, bedazzle, or alter, creating an entirely new look. Furniture can be transformed and upcycled to make into functional (and stylish) decor.
You may be tempted to go to more upscale neighborhoods, but you never know where you’ll score great stuff, so try varying where you scout.
When you thrift makes a difference. Skip Halloween and back-to-school time. The stores are usually picked over.
Know when to fold ’em.
Say no to sweat-stained and odor-laden clothing, and definitely, say no to moth holes. A bit of sewing, or even springing for new soles on a pair of amazing shoes, is doable – and worth it.
Tip adapted from Elle
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