Monthly Market Update
December 4, 2017
Presented By:  Todd Day, Portfolio Manager

Click on the Arrow Below
Hear Todd's Recap of November


Tax Reform 2017?

If you have been keeping up with the markets, then you know tax reform is all the markets care about right now!  There's no question!

The Dow closed out November with a bang - having the best day of the year.  The Dow, S&P and NASDAQ were all marking new highs.  The Dow broke through 24,000 for the first time ever and the S&P shot through 2600.  The NASDAQ was the laggard as investors pulled money from the big winners of the year to add to those names gone unnoticed during this year's rally.  Tax reform prospects have been the latest fuel for investors and the fear of missing out has also brought cash in from the sidelines.  

Some other pretty good things have been happening too - Jerome Powell, who is nominated to be the next FED Chair, testified before Senate confirmation hearings, and his testimony went well, as many expect he'll not make any major changes to the FED's current projected path on rates.  The Senate forwarded the tax bill and we are waiting for a vote, which now, we know we got, and there was some good news on the Brexit, which eased some fears.  Around the globe, we are seeing economic expansion - our own GDP for the 3rd quarter was revised higher to 3.3%.

However, November did provide some excitement.  The markets pivoted on every news headline about the tax bill and that caused a lot of angst, but still we pushed higher.  North Korea's latest missile launch bothered the markets for about 15 minutes - not much standing in the way of these markets - still we have the usual talking heads that twist themselves into pretzels to come up with something negative to say.  You know they will....But you can't deny it has been a really good year.

Earnings season is pretty much over,  and by far, we saw very good growth, and even from a couple of retailers.  Also, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were big positives for many retailers.  Even Sears reported less of a loss than expected. 

On the economic front, as I said, we have seen marked improvement over the last year and November wasn't any different. 

  • The latest jobs report showed we added 261,000 which was quiet a good bounce after the hurricane impacted numbers earlier. 

  • The index of leading economic indicators surged up 1.2%.

  • Existing-home, pending home and new home sales rebounded although the inventory crunch worsened. 

  • Richmond Fed reported: "The Fifth District Manufacturing Activity Saw Robust Growth in November".

  • U.S. Chicago FED National Activity Index and the U.S. Philly FED index both surged forward. 

  • Jobless claims continue to fall to historically lows levels. 

  • Consumer confidence rose for a fifth straight month as the Conference Board's index jumped and remains at a 17-year high.

A lot of good things are happening for the economy, we just need fiscal reform that would probably give us the next leg higher for stocks. 

Across the pond, European stocks once again hit the pause button, but we got some good news on the Brexit deal that helped markets, oil prices rose and we got the best European factory data in 17 years, but the markets ignored all of this.   
Across the other pond, Asian stocks were mixed on the month, but only slightly, even though North Korea launched a new ballistic missile.  This only had a very short impact on the averages. 

As we head into December which has been the most consistently positive month for the Dow over the last 100 years, with gains 74% of the time, Wall Street will continue to focus on the prospects of a tax bill on the President's desk by Christmas; this would certainly help the markets out.  And, don't forget - too - about the Santa Claus rally - that always helps the Dow. 

Most expect the Federal Reserve to hike rates during this month's FOMC meeting which could be FED Chair Yellen's last meeting.  Many believe the current nominee, Jerome Powell, will maintain the FED's current path to gradually raise rates in 2018, provided the economy allows. 

We will keep an eye of the Korean peninsula for more saber-rattling, but, for now, the markets shrug it off - let's keep this up. 

Stay tuned and we'll keep you posted.   

"Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way."
 - Abraham Lincoln
Smothered Pork Chops


      • 1-1/2 cup flour, plus 3 extra tablespoons
      • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
      • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
      • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      • Pinch of salt
      • Ground black pepper, to taste
      • 8 thin, bone-in pork chops
      • 1/4 cup olive oil
      • 7 tablespoons butter
      • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
      • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
      • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
      • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
      • 2 cups chicken broth, plus extra on hand for thinning (if needed)
      • 2 tablespoons cream


1.      Combine flour, seasoned salt, lemon pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a pie plate.


2.      Dredge each pork chop in flour mixture.


3.      Add olive oil and 4 tablespoons of butter to a heavy skillet, and

 heat on medium.


4.      Fry each pork chop until browned, about 2 minutes on each side, and remove seared chops from skillet. Cover the pork chops to keep them warm.


5.      Toss onions and peppers in the same skillet and cook them for about 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Once cooked, remove from skillet and set aside.


6.      Place 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons flour in the same skillet, and whisk together until they form a paste (roux).


7.      Cook the roux until it becomes a dark gold, stirring consistently for 

about 2 minutes.


8.      Add stock to the roux by gradually whisking in small amounts in batches. Whisk out the lumps and then add the 2 tablespoons of cream.


9.      Pour in more stock to thin out the gravy if it becomes too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.


10.  Toss the cooked onions and peppers in the gravy, coating them completely.


11.  Serve pork chops and spoon the gravy on top.


Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Deducting Moving Expenses Related to a New Job
Moving into a new home can bring many expenses that quickly add up. But, if you had to relocate for a new job, you may be able to deduct some of your moving costs.
What homes can you deduct?
You can only deduct moving expenses related to your main home. Seasonal- or second homes that taxpayer or family members own aren't included in the possible deductions.
How far must you travel to be able to claim deductions?
To be eligible for deductions, your new job must be at least 50 miles farther away from your previous home than your former job.
What expenses can you claim?
You can only claim expenses that the IRS deems as "reasonable" and related to moving for a new job. These costs can include:
  • Lodging you needed when traveling to your new home
  • Items your employer did not reimburse you for that relate to packing, shipping, storing, and insuring your household goods while moving
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

Find the Fairway by Tidying Up Your Grip
If you want to keep your score low, hitting the fairway is key-especially if you have a high handicap. But, golfers who have difficulty driving tend to have an outside-in swing, which can cause everything from pop-ups to slices to cuts. One way you can overcome this challenge is by tidying up your grip.
Consistent swings rely on your hands' position on the handle. You can tidy up your grip by doing the following:
  • Focus on keeping your grip more in your fingers.
  • Check that your thumb and index finger on each hand form a V-shape that points at your right shoulder.
Setting up your grip in this manner does three things for your swing. You will:

1.  Create the proper position at address.

2.  Control how your hands move through impact by governing your release, turn, and roll.

3.  Avoid collapsing your wrist, which keeps you from over- or under-rotating your handle.

Tip courtesy of Chuck Winstead | Golf Tips Magazine

Tips to Help Manage Insomnia

Insomnia is a medical condition that leaves people unable to fall asleep, which can lead to a variety of other health problems such as high blood pressure and heart attacks. While a sleep specialist can help you troubleshoot how to medically manage insomnia, you can also do some things at home to encourage a restful night sleep.

Here are three self-care techniques to help you manage your insomnia:
  • Exercise Earlier in the Day: Getting regular exercise can help you sleep better, but is more beneficial when you do so earlier in the day. Since you mentally stimulate your brain, you'll become more alert after exercising. Your body temperature also increases-and can stay that way for up to 6 hours. As a general rule, aim to exercise at least 2 to 3 hours before your normal bedtime.
  •  Leave the Bed: If you're tossing and turning, staying in bed can often continue the cycle. Instead, try leaving your bedroom and doing a quiet activity, such as reading or listening to calm music. This choice can both help you wind down while keeping you from associating your bedroom with wakefulness.
  •  Avoid the TV and Computer:  At bedtime, your melatonin levels should rise and help you feel tired. But, when you watch TV or work on a computer, the noise and light can decrease the amount of melatonin in your brain. By turning off the screens, you will help your body create the hormones you need to feel fatigue and fall asleep.
Tips courtesy of WebMD

Bathroom Items to Swap for Zero Waste
The average American throws away 4.5 pounds of trash every single day.
This garbage easily piles up in our landfills and is unable to break down (or needs hundreds of years to do so). You can make simple swaps in your bathroom items that will help you support a zero-waste lifestyle and avoid sending trash to the landfill.

Here are some common bathroom items you can swap today:
  • Handkerchiefs Instead of Tissues: Rather than using disposable tissues, use a handkerchief instead. You can reuse them by boiling them in hot water to kill any bacteria and drying them afterward.
  •  Bamboo Toothbrush Instead of Plastic Toothbrush: The standard toothbrush on the market relies on plastic, which will never biodegrade. So, opt for a bamboo toothbrush instead, which is 100% biodegradable and also eco-friendly.
  • Bulk Shampoo Instead of Packaged Shampoo:   Your local health food store will typically sell shampoo in bulk. When buying, you can fill a reusable container and ditch the single-use plastic bottles necessary for packaged shampoo.  
Tip courtesy of
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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 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.


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.


The Housing Market Index (HMI) is a weighted average of separate diffusion indices based on a monthly survey of NAHB members designed to take the pulse of the single-family housing market. Each resulting index is then seasonally adjusted and weighted to produce the HMI.


The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator of housing activity,  measures housing contract activity, and is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos and co-ops.  The PHSI looks at the monthly relationship between existing-home sale contracts and transaction closings over the last four years. The results are weighted to produce the index.


The Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index (VIX) is a weighted measure of the implied S&P 500 volatility. VIX is quoted in percentage points and translates, roughly, to the expected movement in the S&P 500 index over the upcoming 30-day period, which is then annualized.


The BLS Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services. Survey responses are seasonally adjusted and weighted to produce a composite index.


The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) is a composite economic index formed by averages of several individual leading economic indicators, which are weighted to produce the complete index.


Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.


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 Horizon Financial Services, LLC, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither Horizon Financial Services, LLC nor its Investment Advisor Representatives or Associates 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. 

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Certified Retirement Financial Advisor
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(336) 659-7060


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