Special Update: Quarterly Report
In This Issue
The Week on Wall Street
Stocks just posted their second straight weekly gain. Investors were encouraged by the latest jobs report and new signs of progress on a U.S.-China trade deal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.17% in five trading days; the S&P 500, 1.27%; the Nasdaq Composite, 1.72%. The MSCI EAFE index of international stocks improved 1.84%.[1][2][3][4]
The economy generated 196,000 net new jobs in March, according to the Department of Labor. Monthly job growth averaged 180,000 in the first quarter. Both President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He told the media last week that the U.S. and China were getting closer to a new trade accord.[5][6]

Meanwhile, a week into the second quarter, another earnings season is about to unfold. As we await results, we will take a brief look back at what happened in the first quarter.

Quarterly Update
Stocks staged an impressive comeback in Q1, recovering nearly all of the losses incurred in the last three months of 2018.

Bullish Sentiment Increased
Investors were able to set some of their recent concerns aside, at least temporarily. The Federal Reserve indicated that it would pause interest rate hikes, and while no U.S.-China trade deal was completed during the quarter, the ongoing trade dispute cooled. The economy seemed healthy: the jobless rate was under 4%, hourly pay was rising at more than 3% a year, and inflation was tame.[7]

Add in some upside from corporate earnings, and a recipe for gains emerged.

Stocks Had Their Best Quarter Since 2009
The Dow rose 11.15%; the S&P 500, 13.07%; the Nasdaq Composite, 16.49%. Additionally, this was the best first quarter seen on Wall Street since 1998.[8]

The Fed Held Interest Rates Steady
In March, the Federal Reserve left the benchmark interest rate alone and indicated that it would not make a rate hike this year. As recently as December, the Fed had forecast two hikes for 2019.[9]

What's Ahead
The first-quarter earnings season kicks off this week with three big banks reporting results. The question is whether stocks in the S&P 500 will post earnings that beat analyst expectations to the degree they have in the past few quarters. Other questions: how will consumer confidence, wage growth, and job creation fare in Q2? Will there be a Brexit or a new U.S.-China trade pact this quarter, and if so, how will global markets react? If you have questions of your own as this quarter unfolds, remember that we are always here to talk.

Wednesday: Minutes from the March Federal Reserve meeting, plus the latest Consumer Price Index, tracking monthly and yearly inflation.
Friday: The initial University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for April, which assesses consumer confidence.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, March 5, 2019
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. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material.

Blattel News

April 15: Tax Day
April 19: Stock Market Closed
Our office will be open, but the stock market will be closed on Good Friday.
May 27: Office Closed
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For the 2018 tax year, the dates for printing and mailing recipient copies are as follows:
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Blattel & Associates does not provide tax advice.  Please consult with your tax advisor with regard to your personal situation.

Please note that in 2019, many of the contribution limits have increased. You still have until April 15 to contribute under the 2018 tax year, so please be clear as to which year you intend your contribution for. Any contributions for 2018 should be given to our office this week to ensure they are processed prior to April 15. Contact our office if you have any questions.

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Abraham Lincoln

Salty/Sour Preserved Lemons

Serves 6

  • 5 lemons
  • ¼ cup salt or more, if desired
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, if needed
Optional add-ins
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 to 6 coriander seeds
  • 3 to 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Soak the lemons in lukewarm water for 3 days to soften the peels. Be sure to change the water every day.
  2. With a sharp knife, quarter the lemons from the top to within ½ inch of the bottom. Dust salt on the fruit, then reshape.
  3. Put a Tbsp. of salt at the bottom of a mason jar. Start layering and packing the lemons, adding salt in between each layer. Push the lemons down and sprinkle in the add-in spices between layers if you're using them. Pushing the lemons down will release their juice; add additional lemon juice, if needed. When the jar is full, leave some air space before sealing the jar.
  4. Put the jar of lemons in a warm place and shake the jar at least once a day to mix the salt, lemon juice, and spices. Leave the lemons to ripen for 30 days. 
To use the lemons, rinse them and remove the pulp. The preserved lemons don't need to be refrigerated and will keep up to a year.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious[10]

Diet Soda: Risks and Replacements

Recent research from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicates that drinking even one diet soda a day can increase your risk of heart disease or heart attack by 35%. That one diet soda a day is probably not worth it. These drinks are also loaded with chemicals that are potentially carcinogenic and wreak havoc on your insulin because they trick your body into reacting in similar ways to sugar, releasing insulin in your gut and signaling your body to hold onto extra fat.

The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to this seemingly harmless habit. The best choice is water. Drink the best water you have access to. If your city has great water, use it! If not, there are plenty of places to fill up on filtered water. Then, try some variations on infused flavors. Just add fruits, vegetables, and herbs to your liking, and sip away throughout the day! Here are a few ideas:
  • Orange Fennel
  • Pineapple-Mint-Ginger
  • Tomato-Celery-Bell Pepper
  • Strawberry Cucumber


Tip adapted from The Washington Post and Food Network[13]

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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.

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Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

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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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[1] quotes.wsj.com/index/SPX

[2] quotes.wsj.com/index/DJIA

[3] quotes.wsj.com/index/COMP

[4] quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices

[5] www.cnn.com/2019/04/05/economy/march-jobs-report/index.html

[6] www.cnbc.com/2019/04/05/stock-market-us-china-trade-nonfarm-payrolls-in-focus.html

[7] www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/29/dow-stocks-pace-best-quarter-decade-good-times-last/3311639002/

[8] www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/29/dow-stocks-pace-best-quarter-decade-good-times-last/3311639002/

[9] www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/29/dow-stocks-pace-best-quarter-decade-good-times-last/3311639002/

[10] www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/preserved-lemons-231570

[11] www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc602

[12] golfdiehard.com/6-ways-to-hit-your-irons-solid/

[13] www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/diet-drinks-may-seem-like-a-good-idea-but-their-effects-may-surprise-you/2018/06/01/85859710-5d06-11e8-a4a4-c070ef53f315_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fb45ba47ae9c


[14] blog.constellation.com/2018/11/27/smart-kitchen-gadgets/

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