Stocks Mixed, Fed Changes Policy
In This Issue
Domestic indexes were mixed last week, as the Dow gained 0.36%, the S&P 500 eked out a 0.08% increase, and the NASDAQ lost 0.33%. [1] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE added a solid 0.68%. [2]

Three stories that have dominated conversations and driven investor attention in 2017 continued last week:
  • Healthcare policy: The Senate's continuing discussion of healthcare reform impacted stock performance in connected industries.
  • Tension with North Korea: The markets responded quietly to continuing conflict between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, although some investments saw a bump later in the week.[3]  
  • Interest rate updates: While the Fed chose not to raise interest rates in its most recent meeting, it indicated that a December hike is definitely still on the table.[4]
When announcing its latest interest rate perspectives, the Federal Reserve also indicated that it would begin to reduce its balance sheet next month.[5]  

But, what does that really mean - and why does the Fed have a $4.2 trillion balance sheet, anyway?

A Look Back on Quantitative Easing

During the financial crisis and recession, the Fed took an unprecedented and controversial approach to stabilizing our economy and the world's markets. By buying trillions of dollars of Treasury and mortgage bonds between 2008 and 2014, it aimed to encourage hiring, economic growth, and investing. This action is commonly known as Quantitative Easing (QE). [6]  

Through the three rounds of QE, the Fed added trillions of dollars of new money to the financial markets. Since QE first began almost a decade ago, we have seen unemployment reach a 16-year low and the S&P 500 more than triple from its bottom in 2009. Although economic growth is still slower than before the recession, the Fed believes the economy is now strong enough to handle more normal monetary policy. [7]   

In October, the Fed will start the gradual process of lowering its balance sheet - currently equal to about a quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Thus far, investors have had a mild response to this plan. As the Fed begins slowly allowing billions of dollars of bonds to roll off, we will closely monitor the economic impact. [8]

We know that monetary policy can seem like an incredibly complex topic - and, frankly, it is. However, we think you deserve to understand the large forces at play in your financial life. If you have any questions about the Fed's latest announcement, or any other financial details, we're always here to talk.  

Tuesday: New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders
Thursday: GDP
Friday: Personal Income and Outlays, 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  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.

"Never mind what others do; do better than yourself,
beat your own record from day to day, and you are a success."

- William J. H. Boetcker

Salty (and Other) Caramel Apples

Serves 8

  • 8 whole apples, more if using small apples
  • 4 11-oz packages of caramel melts
  • 2 TBSP heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • Toppings: mini chocolate candies (like M&Ms), crushed pretzels, kosher salt, chocolate chips, coconut, crushed pecans, crushed salted cracker (like Saltines)
  • Chopsticks
  1. Melt cream and caramels together in a double boiler (or glass bowl set on top of a simmering saucepot of water).
  2. Add salt and vanilla to melted caramel mixture, stirring until smooth.
  3. Turn apples upside down, and insert a chopstick into the bottom of each apple.
  4. Dip each apple into the melted caramel mixture, completely covering the apple up to the chopstick's base.
  5. Let excess caramel drip off of apple before rolling the caramel apple into whatever toppings you want to use (make sure you do this step carefully and quickly, before the caramel cools).
  6. Repeat process for each apple, placing coated apples on wax paper.
  7. Cool apples in refrigerator, and cover them in plastic wrap or cellophane. 


Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman [9]

Square Your Putterface

Accurately aligning your putter is critical if you want to consistently sink your shot. However, even if you read the line perfectly, you can end up seriously missing the hole if you open or close your putter's face at impact.  

To identify whether you are accidentally shifting your putter, practice putting two balls at the same time:
  1. Place two balls next to each other on a green. 
  2. Square your club behind both balls. 
  3. Try striking the balls at precisely the same time.
  4. Note how the balls move: 
    • Outside balls that roll farther mean you closed your face at impact. 
    • Inside balls that roll farther mean you opened the face. 
    • Balls that move the same distance mean you hit them squarely.
Continue practicing the above exercise until you can successfully square your putterface.  

Tip courtesy of Golf Digest [11]
Share the Wealth of Knowledge!
Please share this market update with family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our list, simply click on the "Forward email" link below. We love being introduced!



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.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site. 

Visit My Site