Stocks Dip on Growth Concerns
In This Issue
The Week on Wall Street
As in February, investors spent most of the first full trading week of March hoping for new details in U.S.-China trade negotiations. While they waited, stock benchmarks drifted downward. From Monday's open to Friday's close, the S&P 500 lost 2.53%, while the Dow Industrials took a 2.57% fall, and the Nasdaq Composite weakened 2.99%. The MSCI EAFE index tracking developed markets outside the U.S. and Canada fell 2.17%.[1][2][3][4]
Why did stocks lose momentum? In a hint that global economic growth might be slowing, the European Central Bank abruptly reduced its 2019 Gross Domestic Product forecast for the eurozone from 1.7% to 1.1%. A disappointing reading on U.S. hiring also raised questions.[5] 

Perplexing Jobs Data
According to the Department of Labor, the economy generated only 20,000 net new jobs in February. This was the smallest monthly gain since September 2017. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, while underemployment declined sharply to 7.3%. (These decreases could reflect furloughed federal employees returning to work.) The average wage rose 3.4% in 12 months, the largest year-over-year increase in a decade.

Harsh winter weather may have impeded hiring last month, and February's payroll growth could be revised in the Department of Labor's next report.[6]   

Earnings Season Recap
The fourth-quarter reporting season is all but over. FactSet notes that the S&P 500 has seen earnings growth of 13.4% in Q4, marking the fifth straight quarter with a double-digit rise.[7] 

Final Thought
Stocks lost ground last week, breaking a long string of weekly advances. The extended rally partly reflected optimism that the U.S.-China trade dispute would soon be resolved, but a deal may or may not happen. The week offered a reminder that Wall Street sees both ups and downs. Day-to-day market fluctuations should not cause you to alter your long-term approach.

Monday: January retail sales.
Tuesday: The Consumer Price Index, tracking monthly and yearly inflation.
Thursday: January new home sales and February retail sales.
Friday: The University of Michigan's initial March consumer sentiment index, measuring consumer confidence.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, March 8, 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.

Blattel News

This week we will be celebrating the one-year anniversary of our office move. It's hard to believe that it was only a year ago this Thursday that we packed up our old office suite and moved to our own building at 1258 Jungermann Road. Nowadays, it seems like we always had a conference room and a meeting room. We hope you have had a chance to visit us. If not, please come by and see our "newish" home. We look forward to many more years here.


March 19 & 26: Retirement Class
There are still spots left at the second Passport to Retirement course that Bob is teaching this spring at St. Charles Community College. Call our office if you'd like us to send you a brochure to share with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Suggesting this class is a great way for you to help others become more knowledgeable about retirement and investments
March 15: Workshop
Join us for our Retire on Purpose workshop at 1 pm. You will receive actionable
tips on what you can start doing today to enrich your life in retirement. Throughout the Retire on Purpose workshop, you will engage in thought-provoking exercises specifically designed to create the life you envision. Call to reserve your seat by Thursday. Only 4 spots left!
April 15: Tax Day
May 27: Office Closed
Our office, and the stock market, will be closed on Memorial Day.

Tax Dates

For the 2018 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 15 &/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 15
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. Please note that the new 2018 tax laws will mean a few new do's and don'ts, such as you do need to report your Qualified Charitable Distribution amount, but you don't need to report your advisory fees. Check with your tax preparers to make sure you understand what is needed for your specific situation this year. 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.

Contribution Limits

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. Contact our office if you have any questions.
Qualified Charitable Distribution Reminder

Some of our clients took a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) in 2018. For those of you that did, make sure to give your tax preparer your 2018 QCD amount, whether or not they specifically ask for it. Please contact our office if you have any questions.

"I'm a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."
- Thomas Jefferson

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
Serves 9

  • 2 cups Southern all-purpose flour (White Lily or other brand), plus more for kneading
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • ¾ to 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 500°F. Use a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick, silicone baking sheet lining the pan.

  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the dry mixture using two knives or a pastry cutter. Once the contents in the bowl resemble coarse meal, pour in the buttermilk and mix until it's just combined. You don't want to overwork it.
  3. Begin by lightly kneading the dough on a sparsely floured surface. Keep turning the dough; do this about 8 times. You don't want to knead for too long, or you'll overwork the dough. Lightly flour a rolling pin, then roll the dough to ½-inch thick. Cut the biscuits with a 2¼-inch round cutter dipped in flour. Be sure to press the biscuit cutter straight down (avoid twisting it). This way, the biscuits will rise evenly while baking.
  4. Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Look for a golden-brown color. Cool on a rack and serve the biscuits warm with plenty of butter and honey.
Recipe adapted from Southern Kitchen [8]

  You're a Natural Beauty

Beauty products can be a source of toxic chemicals in your home you may not have thought about. Minimize the toxins with DIY, natural formulas to replace some of the products you're using. Here are a few you can make with items you may already have:

Apple Cider Vinegar (to clarify your hair)
Use ¼ cup of organic apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water and follow with conditioner. It will remove any build up you may have from hair products like gel or hairspray.

Body Scrub
For a quick body scrub, mix olive oil and kosher salt (in a 2:1 oil-to-salt ratio). It will exfoliate your skin, leaving you soft and glowing.

Honey Face Mask
Just honey! Use organic, if you can. Measure about 1 Tbsp. and smooth it over your face, leaving it on for 10 minutes. Honey is naturally antimicrobial and will cleanse and soften your face.

Deep-Conditioning Hair Treatment
Massage melted coconut oil into your hair and scalp, leaving the oil on for 1 to 2 hours. When you're ready, wash out the coconut oil with shampoo and skip the conditioner.

Tips adapted from Thank Your Body[11]
Share the Wealth of Knowledge!
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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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