WEEKLY UPDATE – February 11, 2019
The Week on Wall Street
Major U.S. stock benchmarks eked out slight gains last week, with corporate profit reports and news about U.S.-China trade negotiations vying for investor attention over five trading sessions.
The big three ended the week little changed from where they settled the previous Friday. The Dow Jones Industrials rose 0.17% percent, while the S&P 500 Index gained 0.05% percent. The NASDAQ Composite ended the week up 0.47%. Looking at international stocks, the MSCI EAFE index retreated 0.47%.
As of last Friday, 66% of all S&P 500 companies had reported fourth-quarter earnings. So far, 71% of these firms have announced earnings exceeding estimates, and 62% have seen revenues top projections.
Halfway through earnings season, 2019 future guidance has been a mixed bag for S&P 500 companies. For Wall Street, future earnings can be just as important as current earnings. We keep a close eye on both.
March 1 is the 90-day deadline set by President Trump for a trade deal with China. If no agreement is reached, the U.S. may consider a new round of tariffs. On Thursday, news that President Trump and Chinese President Xi may not meet before the March 1 deadline added to the market volatility.
The decision by the U.S. on new tariffs may hinge on how much progress has been made toward a new agreement. We don’t expect that to become clear until the deadline nears.
State of the Service Sector
Many indicators help economists take the pulse of the overall economy. The Institute for Supply Management keeps a critical, but not widely followed, index, which helps gauge the health of the service sector.
The January reading on this index came in at 56.7. Any reading above 50 shows that the service industry is seeing solid growth.
Over the next several weeks, we’re expecting more volatility as the markets digest economic news, a new wave of corporate earnings, and twists and turns on the geopolitical front. We will be watching to see if anything changes our short-term and long-term view. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Wednesday: January’s Consumer Price Index, which measures monthly and yearly inflation.
Thursday: December retail sales figures (a delayed release due to the government shutdown).
Friday: January’s preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, a gauge of consumer confidence levels.
Notes: Source: Morningstar.com, February 8, 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
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
½ Tbsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. canola oil
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
⅔ cup boiling water
1½ cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
4½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup fresh, ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed, and hulled
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. First, butter three 9″, round cake pans and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer and beat on low speed. Increase speed to medium and add eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, then beat about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add boiling water. Beat on high for approximately 1 minute.
3. Pour batter evenly among the pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
4. To make the frosting, purée the strawberries in a food processor and set aside. Using the paddle attachment, cream the room-temperature butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is smooth. Combine with the strawberry purée and add the vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy (approximately 3 to 5 minutes).
5. Frost and stack the cakes; decorate with fresh strawberries. Try adding a dollop of fresh, whipped cream upon serving.
Recipe adapted from Cake n’ Knife
Married Couples in Business*
Under the provision of the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007, a qualified joint venture by a married couple filing a joint return is not treated as a partnership for federal tax purposes. Income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits are divided between the spouses, depending on their interest in the business. Each spouse accounts for their share of these items as a sole proprietor.
A qualified joint venture involves the conduct of a trade or business if:
1.The only members of the joint venture are a married couple who file a joint tax return
2.Both spouses materially participate in the trade or business
3.Both spouses elect to have the provision apply, and the business is co-owned by both spouses
4.The business isn’t held in the name of a state law entity, such as a partnership or limited liability company (LLC)
If one spouse is employed by the other (as an employee – not an equal business partner), then you’ll probably need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for them.
* 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
Control Your Breathing
You might not know it, but golf can create so much stress that it triggers the “fight or flight” response in your body. Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases, and your mind begins to race. These are all things that make it harder to focus and stay in the moment. Here is a simple breathing exercise you can do on the course to calm down and relax:
1. Inhale very slowly through your nose.
2. Exhale just as slowly through your mouth.
After doing this for a brief period of time, your body will start to get the message, and you will send a signal to your nervous system to activate calming hormones, which will slow down your heart rate and relax your muscles.
Tip adapted from Jon Sherman | practical-golf.com 
Find Your Soulmate with Positive Thinking
Among countless dead-end connections from potential prospects on dating sites, speed dating, and blind date suggestions from well-meaning friends, your frame of mind could be your biggest obstacle to finding your soulmate. In addition to your dating “game,” consider working on your mental game too. By putting the power of positive thought toward attracting your desires, you can eliminate what you don’t want and focus on the good stuff. Try defining your ideal relationship starting with a list:
• Draw a line down the middle of a page, and on one side, write “what I don’t want.” On the other side, write “what I do want.” Just writing this list will get you more focused.
• Cross off the “don’t want” side off your list. Not needed!
• Give your attention and energy to the “what you do want” list.
This exercise is great for thinking about and attracting your dreams, goals, and desires you want in your life. Give it a try and see what comes your way!
Tips adapted from jackcanfield.com
Egg-Citing News About Chickens
Backyard chickens boast benefits beyond the barnyard. With concerns about our food sources, fresh eggs may be higher quality, better tasting, and more nutritious. Some other benefits of chicken ownership:
Pest control. Chickens eat small bugs and worms. They hunt and peck for little critters and insects.
Compost. The waste from your coop can be used in the garden as compost, which nourishes the soil as natural, environmentally friendly fertilizer.
Less food waste. Chickens eat scraps, so you can add scraps of bread, fruit, or veggies to their feed. Be sure to feed scraps in moderation and to check guidelines on what they can and can’t eat before sharing your leftovers.
Companionship. Tending chickens can help you to de-stress, unwind, and get outdoors.
Check to see if your city supports backyard chickens before you build your coop. Many communities allow chickens, but not roosters.
Tip adapted from USA Today
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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.
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 indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
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