The Virus Becomes the Focus
In This Issue
The Week on Wall Street
Stocks fell sharply last week as Wall Street considered how the coronavirus outbreak might influence global business activity and household spending.  The selloff became a correction for the U.S. markets. 
On Friday afternoon, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that central bank officials were willing to "use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy."[3]
Strong Consumer Confidence, Plus a Boost for Incomes
A trio of economic indicators pertaining to U.S. households looked solid last week. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index notched consecutive months above 130 for the first time since July-August 2019, posting a 130.7 February mark. The University of Michigan's final February Consumer Sentiment Index came in at 101.0, ticking up from a preliminary 100.9.   
Friday, the Department of Commerce reported that Americans increased their personal spending by 0.2% in January, while personal incomes improved 0.6%.[4][5]
Buyers Have Flocked to New Homes
New home sales, according to the Census Bureau, improved 7.9% in January; the annualized pace of new home buying was the best seen since July 2007. Year-over-year, sales were up 18.6%. Housing market analysts cited a favorable economy and favorable weather as factors.[6]
Final Thought
Right now, there is no forecast for how the coronavirus outbreak may affect consumer demand or supply chains. The impact may not be known for months. But remember, your investment strategy should reflect your risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals, and it also should take into consideration periods of market volatility. Fear is driving decisions in the financial markets. Nobody would blame you if this uncertainty gave you a bit of anxiety as well.
Monday: The Institute for Supply Management's latest factory activity index arrives.
Wednesday: Automatic Data Processing (ADP) publishes its February private payrolls report, and ISM's index of February service-sector business activity appears. 
Friday: The Department of Labor presents its February employment report.
Source: MarketWatch, February 28, 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 News
Keeping you Informed

For those of you who may have missed our recent communications, we have summarized them below and included links to the SEI Commentaries that we are referencing.
Emailed February 26... With the coronavirus and market headlines this week, we found this commentary from SEI particularly appropriate and would like to share it with you. The piece titled, "A Reminder on the Big Moves: It's the percent (Not the Points) That Count," covers the following main points:
  • A 1,000 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial average draws attention because it's a big, round number.
  • Looking at it from a percentage perspective, it's about a 3.5% move in one day--notable but not extraordinary.
  • While large moves are often unsettling for investors, history shows us that such periods of uncertainty are not unusual.
Emailed February 27...

Main Points From SEI Commentary
  • The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated, amplifying concerns about global growth and corporate earnings.
  • We anticipate short-term market volatility due to uncertainties related to the virus and its global economic impact.
  • Longer term, we expect business activity will return to normal.

Additional Notes From Blattel & Associates
  • Our portfolios are created with defensive and stability "buckets" to weather market volatility and corrections. This is where withdrawals come from when markets are down.
  • Long-term investing, diversification, and personal goals are still key ideas that shouldn't be forgotten when headlines seem grim. Market volatility can create a buying opportunity.  If you haven't maxed out your IRA or ROTH IRA, this could be a good time to do it.
As always, we will keep you informed and will be working behind the scenes to make sure your goals stay on track. Please contact us with any questions.

Tax Document Dates

For the 2019 tax year, the dates for printing and mailing recipient copies are as follows:
  • 1099-Rs (IRAs) now available.
  • 1099-Bs (non-Qualified) available on:
    • SEI: Arriving by mail this week
      • Now available online
  • FCC: Now Available
    • Please be aware some amended 1099s are possible
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. For those clients who took a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) last year, make sure to give your tax preparer your 2019 QCD amount, whether or not they specifically ask for it. 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.


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."
March 18 & 25; March 24 & 31: Retirement Class
Bob is teaching the Passport to Retirement courses at the St. Charles Community College. If you have a family member, friend or coworker who'd benefit from attending, please call our office for a brochure or share these links to register: Wednesday session or Tuesday session.
March 28: Client Event
Our semi-annual client breakfast seminar will be an informative event filled with timely information on the markets and outlook for the rest of 2020. Invitations will be mailed and emailed shortly.

April 10: Office Closed
Our office will be closed for Good Friday. Markets are also closed.

As we battle through flu and cold season, please note that your health is our priority. Do not hesitate to call at the last minute to reschedule a meeting. We understand. Also, we are always happy to do phone meetings instead of in-office meetings, if that works better for you. For phone meetings, we can simply call you, or we can also set up a link to share our screens if you are a more visual person. Hopefully, warmer weather and less germs are around the corner.

On the Ice
Scott Blattel and Scott Kincaid skated to victory at a recent hockey tournament.

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. "

Albert Einstein
Curry in a Hurry

Serves 2
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large diced onions

  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 can coconut milk, unsweetened

  • 1½ pounds of your preferred meat (peeled shrimp or diced boneless chicken)
  • 1 cup diced tomato, no peel or seeds
  1. Peel and dice onions.
  2. Oil skillet and place over medium-high heat.

  3. Add onions with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir until very soft, 15 minutes or more.
  4. Mix in curry powder, stir for one minute.
  5. Pour in coconut milk and cook for two minutes, stirring lightly.
  6. Add meat of choice and cook for another 3 to 6 minutes.

  7. Stir in tomato and cook for another minute.
  8. Serve over rice.

Recipe adapted from[7]

Avoid Falling Back When Springing Forward

Getting used to the clocks shifting back and forth during the onset and conclusion of daylight saving time can throw many of us for a loop, not to mention that "springing forward" tends to be more difficult than "falling back." It can take longer than we expect to adjust not only a one-hour time change, but also disruptions to our meal, fitness, work, social, and sleep routines. So, how can you combat this? Here are a few tips that may help.
  • Gradually prepare for the time change the week before. Try to shift as much as your routine "forward" by 10 minutes each day.
  • Manage your environmental lighting as much as possible. Try to get more light in the morning (to suppress your body's natural sleep hormones) and as little in the evening as possible, especially approaching bedtime and during the night.
  • Try to avoid napping, if possible. While it can be really tempting to "catch up" with your lost hour, until you're adjusted, napping could slow your period of adapting to the new schedule.
Don't let losing an hour slow you down. Taking some proactive measures may just help you ease into the transition better than you think.
Tip adapted from[10]

Share the Wealth of Knowledge!
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