WEEKLY UPDATE – December 18, 2017
Domestic markets were up last week as tax reform became more likely. On Friday, multiple previously undecided Senators announced they would back the combined House and Senate bill, and stocks reacted by hitting new record highs. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.92%, the Dow added 1.33%, and the NASDAQ grew by 1.41%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE increased 0.13%.
The House and Senate may vote on the tax plan this week, and if it passes, a number of changes will be on the horizon. In particular, the corporate tax rate would drop from 35% to 21% in 2018. Anticipation of this change has contributed to the many record highs we’ve seen in the domestic markets this year.
However, while tax reform was a major topic last week, we also received a number of other economic updates. Two key events are worth noting: increasing interest rates and soaring retail sales.
• The Federal Reserve Raised Rates
The Fed increased the benchmark interest rate for the third time this year, raising it a quarter percent to be between 1.25% and 1.5%. Credit cards, home equity lines of credit, and adjustable-rate mortgages could all become more expensive as a result of the latest increase.
• Retail Sales Soared
Consumer spending was far higher than expected in November, growing 0.8% over the previous month’s numbers. This increase could contribute to strong economic growth in the fourth quarter.
Together, this week’s market performance and economic updates may paint a picture of a healthy end to a year of significant growth. We will continue to monitor both geopolitical developments and economic data as they emerge. We look forward to seeing what is on the horizon for the rest of 2017 – and for the year ahead. As always, if you have any questions, we’re here to talk.
Monday: Housing Market Index
Tuesday: Housing Starts
Wednesday: Existing Home Sales
Thursday: GDP,Jobless Claims
Friday: Durable Goods Orders, New Home Sales, Consumer Sentiment
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.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Lamb Sausage With Confetti Couscous
1 ¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound sausage links, lamb, pork, or chicken
1 cup couscous, cooked
2 medium carrots, chopped finely
2 small sweet peppers, chopped finely
½ cup fresh mint, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 475ºF, and coat Brussels sprouts with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
2. Place prepared Brussels sprouts on a greased, rimmed baking sheet, and put into oven. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until they tenderize and brown.
3. Cover another baking sheet with aluminum foil, and put the sausage links on the sheet while the Brussels sprouts cook. Place baking sheet with sausage in oven and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until links reach 165ºF.
4. Mix the finely chopped carrots, peppers, and fresh mint into the cooked couscous. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss until thoroughly combined.
5. Top couscous with cooked sausage and serve with a side of Brussels sprouts.
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping
Protect Your Small Business From Identity Theft*
- • You receive a rejected e-file return from the IRS, stating they already have one for your identification number.
- • The IRS turns down your extension request, stating they already have one for your identification number.
- • The IRS sends you a notice on a detail you have not submitted to them.
- • You receive a tax transcript you didn’t request or expect.
Practice With a Paddle to Improve Your Swing
- 1. Hold the paddle in one hand with the paddle face perpendicular to the ground.
- 2. Keep your hand in the same grip position, which will reflect where you need your clubface during a swing. This should mimic having your bottom hand’s position square to the clubface.
- 3. Practice swinging the paddle like you are going to hit a ball.
- 4. Repeat multiple times until you feel comfortable with the grip.
Tip adapted from Chris Johnston | Golf Tips Magazine 
Know the Signs of Osteomalacia
- • Legs
- • Lower back
- • Hips
- • Pelvis
- • Ribs
Tip courtesy of Mayo Clinic
Foods That Contribute to Deforestation
Tip adapted from One Green Planet
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