Data Drives More Growth
WEEKLY UPDATE - OCTOBER 30, 2017
In This Issue
Another week, another round of positive market performance. The 3 major domestic indexes again ended the week with gains and new record highs. The S&P 500 rose 0.23% and marked a 7 th-straight week of increases - its longest string of weekly gains in almost 3 years. [1] The Dow added 0.45%, and the NASDAQ grew by 1.09%. [2] Meanwhile, international stocks in the MSCI EAFE slipped slightly, losing 0.35% for the week. [3]
On October 25, we learned that September home sales were higher than anticipated and durable goods orders grew by 2.2% in the same month. This data provided more evidence that the economy is on solid ground. However, two other occurrences last week contributed even more to the continuing market gains: 1) Q3 GDP numbers and 2) tech companies' corporate earnings reports. [4]  

What Drove Markets Last Week?

1. Economic growth beat expectations.
We received the first 3 rd-quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) readings, and the results strongly beat expectations. Despite hurricanes Harvey and Irma causing billions of dollars of damage, the U.S. economy grew by 3% between July and September. [5] Combined with the 3.1% growth in Q2, the economy has now experienced its best 6 months since 2014. [6]

2. Tech stocks surged.
Last week, 180 companies in the S&P 500 released their 3 rd-quarter earnings data - marking the busiest week of this earnings season. [7] Among the releases, several major tech companies reported much higher-than-expected earnings, contributing to the NASDAQ's biggest daily gain since 2016. With approximately 30% growth so far this year, the tech sector has grown at around twice the rate of 2017's overall market. [8]  

What is on the Horizon?

This week, the Federal Reserve has two milestones ahead:
1. On Wednesday, we will learn whether the Fed plans to raise benchmark interest rates in November.  

2. On Friday, President Trump will name a new head of the central bank. Janet Yellen's term expires in early February 2018, and the new Fed Chair will affect monetary policy for at least the next 4 years. [9]  

Now that we are 8 years into the economic recovery, we understand that people are looking for reasons to doubt how long this stage will go on. As we saw last week, earnings growth and solid economic data are continuing to emerge, contributing to positive market performance. [10]  

If you have any questions about what you are reading in the headlines or experiencing in your own financial life, we are always here to talk.  

ECONOMIC CALENDAR
Tuesday: Employment Cost Index, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg Index, Construction Spending
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Productivity and Costs
Friday: Employment Situation, PMI Services Index, Factory Orders, ISM Non-Mfg Index




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.



"The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up."
 
- Mark Twain

Penne With Spinach and Sausage

Serves 6

Ingredients:
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans tomatoes, diced (with juice)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra for serving)
Directions:
  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add penne pasta, and cook until al dente (or still firm); roughly 11 minutes. Drain pasta once done.
  3. Sauté sausage in skillet over medium-high heat until it browns, breaking up sausage in small chunks as you cook.
  4. Add minced garlic to sausage, and sauté for 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the two cans of tomatoes with juice into the sausage, and add the oregano and basil.
  6. Bring tomato-sausage mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to medium and simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens slightly. 
  7. Add cooked pasta into sauce, and stir until combined. 
  8. Toss in the baby spinach, and cook until just wilted.
  9. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and remove skillet from the heat.
  10. Add shredded mozzarella, and combine into pasta.
  11. Serve and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from My Recipes [11]

Prepare for 2018 Tax Filing*

With the 2016 filing extension behind us, now is the time to start prepping your 2017 taxes files. Here are a couple items you can prepare for now:
  • Name Changes: Taxpayers that had legal name changes in 2017 should make sure they report their new names to the Social Security Administration. You also need to update name changes for any dependents. If your legal names differs than the SSA has on file, tax delays can emerge.
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Renewal: If you are one of the taxpayers who use an ITIN provided by the IRS for filing taxes, be sure to check whether yours expired in 2016. You can renew your ITIN today online.
Other details may apply, and you can find more information 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 courtesy of IRS.gov [12]
How to Have More Energy as You Age

As we age, our energy levels tend to decrease. But that does not mean we have to stop feeling energetic. With some tweaks to our lifestyles, we can improve energy levels and boost our mood along the way. Follow these tips to get started:

 

1. Diet: Avoid eating high-glycemic foods, including rice, white bread, and sugar sweetened beverages. These foods can spike blood sugar levels and cause energy crashes. You also want to eat the right amount of calories for your energy output. Talking with a dietician can help you properly manage your diet.

 

2. Exercise: Physical activity is important for maintaining proper health as you age. While you may not be able to do the same activities as before, you can still stay active - whether through walking regularly, going to the gym, or other activities. Be sure to consult your doctor before doing any new exercise.

 

3. Sleep: Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep each night to feel energized the next day. If you are having trouble sleeping, try to change your routine - go to bed and wake up at the same times each night and morning. You may also want to avoid caffeine in the evening and keep your bedroom cool and dark.


Tip adapted from WebMD [14]
Share the Wealth of Knowledge!
 
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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.

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 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

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.

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Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

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[3] www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search









[14] www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/tips-more-energy#1

[15] www.earthshare.org/2008/09/shhhhhhh.html

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