Special Update: Quarterly Report
In This Issue
The Week on Wall Street
Modest declines in stock prices this week masked the volatile inter- and intraday price swings as investors digested poor economic data and a warning from the president that the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic may still lie ahead. 
The Quarter in Brief
The spread of COVID-19 sent stocks tumbling in the first quarter as health and economic costs of the pandemic began to mount. Stocks remained under pressure, despite the Federal Reserve's lowering of short-term interest rates and the government's stimulus efforts through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act. The DJIA sank 23.2% and the S&P 500 dropped 20% on the quarter. The COVID-19-related volatility in the market has left all but a handful of sectors in a prolonged period of uncertainty. With millions of Americans staying at home in an effort to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's impact on people, businesses are coping with closing for the duration, altering practices, or facing staffing issues. [4]

Oil Turbulence
The oil market dominated the commodities headlines during the first quarter. The failure of Russia to join Saudi Arabia in supporting lower oil production targets left Saudi Arabia fuming and responding with an announcement of its intention to raise oil output. Oil prices plummeted on the news, contributing to the stock market's woes. While lower oil prices represent a boon to consumers in the form of lower gasoline prices and a relief to companies with high energy consumption (e.g., airlines, chemical), they also pose a risk to the American energy industry.

Should low oil prices persist, it may lead to lower capital expenditures, labor force reductions, and troubles in the credit markets as less-capitalized companies struggle to meet their debt obligations. As the quarter came to a close, there was some speculation that President Trump would take a larger role in working with Russia and Saudi Arabia on production targets.

What's Next
It is difficult to see, in the middle of the COVID-19 epidemic, exactly what the full impact will be. Suffice it to say, the cost in human terms has been staggering so far and seems certain to affect at least part of the coming quarter. As people and businesses adapt to extended periods of quarantine, the only thing that seems clear is that no aspect of American life will be unchanged. CARES Act stimulus checks are on the way for millions of Americans. The Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates. Further measures are being considered at the state and federal levels. The only two things that seem truly certain are that action is being taken and that we'll all breathe a sigh of relief once this crisis subsides.

Blattel News
Notes From Our Office

New Voice.  We are excited to welcome Sarah Williams as our new administrative assistant and receptionist. She has many years of customer service and bookkeeping experience at local small businesses. Sarah has embraced her remote training and is eager to start getting to know our clients.
Moving Up. We would like to announce the promotion of Erin Peterson. She will be joining the financial planning team as an advisor assistant. Erin has been a great asset to our office the last year and a half, and we know she will continue to thrive as a member of the financial planning team.
Working-From-Home. The Blattel & Associates team is operating remotely. We have our computers and phones at home, so please continue to contact us through email and phone. 
Electronic Signatures. We are now encouraging you to embrace signing and submitting paperwork electronically as much as possible.  We will talk you through the process if it is something you haven't tried before.
All Remote Meetings. As we have previously announced, we have changed all of our in-office meetings to remote. We have now extended this through April. We will continue to confirm how we will be meeting on an individual basis, as we do not know when we will end this meeting protocol.

Highlights From the CARES Act

RMDs are Waived in 2020. The CARES Act suspends Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) during 2020. This relief applies to both retirement account owners, themselves, as well as to beneficiaries taking stretch distributions.
Unwanted RMDs can be Returned. If you already took your 'RMD' distribution and it was within the last 60 days, an individual can simply write a check, or otherwise transfer an amount equal to the 'RMD' back into a retirement account before the end of the 60-day rollover window.
Contribution Deadline Extended. Although the federal and state tax filing deadline delays have made the news, you may not realize that the delay also means that the IRA and Roth IRA contribution deadline is also extended until July. If you haven't made your contribution yet, you should consider making one in the next couple months and taking advantage of the stock market being "on sale."
If you do not need your RMD for 2020, please contact our office to see if waiving your RMD, or returning your RMD, is a good strategic move for you. If you are interested in making an IRA contribution, please contact our office to determine your best next steps.

New SEI Statements

Your SEI statements will have a new look this quarter. This redesign's goal is to enhance the client experience by giving statements a consistent look and feel with AccessMyPortfolio, as well as address client feedback.
Your statement will now share some of the same graphs and labelling, like the "How My Money is Invested" doughnut chart, as AccessMyPortfolio. It will also be shorter and simpler - both important aspects that clients requested.
SEI was able to shorten the statement by changing the orientation to portrait so that they could fit more on one page. By summarizing different sections or using graphs instead of tables, SEI was able to reduce complexity and redundancy as well.
SEI has provided a New Statement Guide to help you read your newly format statement. We will also be available to answer any questions you may have. Please note that, if a particular section or detail is missing from the new statement, it will be available on AccessMyPortfolio.
We are excited that SEI continues to enhance its offerings. Please call or email us with any questions.

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. "

Ayn Rand
Mozzarella Party Skewers

Serves 12

  • 24 red and yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 24 bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1 jar of green olives (24 olives, stuffed with pimentos or garlic, as preferred)
  1. Thread 6-inch skewers with tomatoes, olives, and mozzarella onto the skewers.
  2. Create a domed shape with loosely crumpled aluminum foil. Poke spears in to arrange.

Recipe adapted from DinnerAtTheZoo.com[5]

Staying Close While Social Distancing

Over the past few weeks, the world has entered into uncharted territory. Many of us have rapidly transitioned from seeing and interacting with dozens of people on a regular basis to much fewer each day. While some people are more introverted than others, even the greatest solitude seekers have social needs. So, how can we stay connected while remaining far apart?
  • Prioritize initiating interactions with your friends and family who are far away. Send an email, text, or direct message. Call them, and maybe even send a letter via snail mail. If you have the technology available, have a virtual, face-to-face conversation. There are many free apps available for video conferencing.
  • Spend quality time with those in quarantine with you. Whether they're your parents, children, siblings, other relatives, or friends, find activities, like games and family meals, to nurture the bonds you have with the people sharing your home.
  • Seek out group activities online. Stream a class or lecture series. Join an online forum or message board. Attend an online watch party for a movie or show. Take a virtual museum tour. You might be surprised by what's available.
Being distant doesn't have to mean being isolated. There are ways for us to be close to one another, even when we're not.
Tip adapted from Success.com[8]

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 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 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 the links 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.

[4] CNN.com, March 31, 2020.

[5] DinnerAtTheZoo.com, April 3, 2020.

[8] Success.com, April 3, 2020.

Visit My Site