Stocks Bounce Back
BI-WEEKLY UPDATE - FEBRUARY  10, 2020
In This Issue
The Week on Wall Street
Stocks advanced four days out of five during the past market week, erasing the losses of the week before. 
China Plans to Halve Some Tariffs
Thursday, investors woke up to the news that China would be lowering import taxes on about $75 billion of U.S. products. Later this week, a set of 10% tariffs is slated to drop to 5%, and a group of 5% tariffs is scheduled to fall to 2.5%.
  
This reduction is part of the phase-one trade deal that China agreed to last month, a pact which may be a step toward a trade truce with the U.S.[3]
   
January's Net Job Gain: 225,000
The Department of Labor's latest employment report exceeded expectations. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 165,000 net new hires last month. The main jobless rate ticked north to 3.6%; the U-6 rate including the underemployed rose 0.2% to 6.9%.
  
This upside surprise points to ongoing strength in the economy. Stocks declined Friday after the report's release, however, as traders viewing the data saw less reason for a Federal Reserve rate cut in the near future.[4]
   
A Manufacturing Positive
The U.S. factory sector grew last month, for the first time since July. The Institute for Supply Management's purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector, which traders view as a fundamental economic indicator, came in at 50.9 in January; any reading above 50 indicates sector expansion.[5]
  
What's Ahead
Investors should note that U.S. stock and bond markets will be closed on Monday, February 17 for Presidents Day.
   
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell begins two days of testimony in Congress on U.S. monetary policy.
Thursday: The federal government's January Consumer Price Index, measuring monthly and yearly inflation.
Friday: January retail sales data from the Census Bureau, and the University of Michigan's preliminary February consumer sentiment index, an evaluation of consumer confidence levels.
  
Source: MarketWatch, February 7, 2020
The MarketWatch economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
 

Blattel & Associates
Calendar

February 17: Office Closed
Our office will be closed for President's Day. Markets are also closed.
 
March 4: Client Event
We are hosting a special client lunch seminar featuring guest speak Dean Mioli with his presentation, "How the SECURE Act Impacts You." This event is designed specifically for clients most affected by the new law, and event invitations will be mailed to those people first. Call our office for more information.
 
March 28: Client Event
Save the date for our semi-annual client breakfast seminar. More information to follow.
 
April 10: Office Closed
Our office will be closed for Good Friday. Markets are also closed.
Tax Document Dates
For the 2019 tax year, the dates for printing and mailing recipient copies are as follows:
  • 1099-Rs (IRAs) available on:
    • SEI mail date: January 31
    • FCC mail date: January 31
    • 1099-Bs (non-Qualified) available on:
      • SEI mail date: February 14 &/or February 28
        • Will be produced & mailed in 2 batches; your mail date will depend on when SEI receives the information on the holdings within your account.
  • FCC mail date: February 18
Helpful phone numbers:
  • SEI - Call Us - 636-397-8303
  • First Clearing 1-800-727-0304
  • IRS help line 1-800-829-1040
 
If you or your tax preparer need us to help gather any information, please give us sufficient notice to fulfill your request. Do not hesitate to call our office at 636-397-8303 with any questions.
 
Blattel & Associates does not provide tax advice.  Please consult with your tax advisor with regard to your personal situation.

Qualified Charitable Distribution Reminder
Some of our clients took a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) in 2019. For those of you that did, make sure to give your tax preparer your 2019 QCD amount, whether or not they specifically ask for it. Please contact our office if you have any questions.


" What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

Jane Goodall
Pesto Perfecto Sauce

Makes 16 servings
 
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1½ cups pinenuts
  • 4 peeled cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan 
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Directions:
  1. Add basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and cheese to food processor. Blend thoroughly.
  2. Add oil slowly as you pulse the food processor
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Great on pasta or as a pizza sauce. Use wherever you might use marinara or alfredo sauce.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com[6]

Be On Alert for IRS Scams

This tax season, the IRS expects an uptick in tax-related scams. In most cases, IRS "phishing" scams are bogus phone calls and emails that claim to come from the IRS. Fraudsters use fake refunds or threats of a tax bill or audit to convince recipients to give up their personal and financial information. They then use it to steal a victim's money or identity. The IRS has the following tips:
  • Fraudsters may know a lot about you when they call and may be able to spoof your caller ID to show that they are calling from an official number. Don't be fooled.
  • If you don't answer the phone, they may leave an urgent callback request.
  • If you receive a call that you think might be from the IRS, take down the agent's information and call them back at the official IRS hotline: 1-800-829-1040.
Remember, the IRS will never:
  • Call you without mailing an official notice first.
  • Demand that you immediately pay your taxes over the phone.
  • Take a debit or credit card number over the phone.
  • Threaten to call law enforcement or immigration services to arrest you for failure to pay.
* 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 professional.


Tip adapted from IRS.gov[7]

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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 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.
 
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