Rallies and Retreats
In This Issue
The Week on Wall Street
Heightened coronavirus fears, falling yields, and Super Tuesday primary results sent stocks on a rollercoaster ride of sharp price swings, leaving stocks marginally higher for the week.
A Swift Fed Decision
Wednesday morning, the Federal Reserve lowered its short-term interest rate by 0.5% to a range of 1.00%-1.25%, making its biggest cut since 2008. Addressing the media, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the move was made to give the economy a "meaningful" lift and "help boost household and business confidence." 

The question is whether reducing borrowing costs can effectively address growing business and consumer anxieties about shopping, traveling, and gathering. [3]
A Push Toward Treasuries
The uncertainty on Wall Street has heightened demand for Treasury bonds. Their yields typically fall as their prices rise, and fall they did last week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped under 0.70% during Friday's market day, an all-time low.[4]
Winter Hiring Surge Continues
The Department of Labor's latest employment report showed companies adding 273,000 net new hires last month. Net monthly payroll growth has averaged 243,000 since December.[5]
Today on Wall Street
When the S&P 500 fell quickly this morning, it caused the temporary halt in trading. The market stopped trading for 15 minutes. The NYSE then resumed trading as expected. The New York Stock Exchange has protocols in place to calm investors' nerves when they're panicked. For the full CNN article, click here
What's Ahead
The Fed's 50-basis-points cut in the federal funds rate has now shifted the sights of investors toward the European Central Bank, which is expected to make a policy announcement on March 12. The ECB has less room to maneuver than the Fed, since its key interest rate currently stands at -0.5%. Negative interest rates have done little to lift eurozone economies, which may necessitate more-creative monetary policy accommodation from the ECB's new president, Christine Lagarde.
Traders are also focused on whether the Federal Reserve will make another rate cut on March 18, when its next meeting concludes. The half-point rate cut this past week did little to soothe stock market concerns; opinions vary about what the central bank might choose to do next.[6]
Wednesday: The Census Bureau publishes a new Consumer Price Index, showing monthly and yearly inflation. 
Friday: The University of Michigan presents its initial Consumer Sentiment Index for March, measuring consumer confidence.
Source: MarketWatch, March 6, 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
As we battle through flu and cold season, and the spread of coronavirus, 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.

Mailing Checks
March is a popular time to make IRA contributions ahead of the April 15th deadline. This March is no exception; in fact, market volatility can be a buying opportunity. If you choose to mail your contribution check to our office, please notify us by phone or email to expect that check. If you haven't heard from our office within 3 to 5 days of mailing your check, please contact us. Due to the important deadlines associated with IRA contributions, we want to ensure that we are receiving your checks in a timely manner. You are also always welcome to drop by our office to drop off your check. Please note that we typically have our doors locked for security reasons and you will need to knock.

Keeping You Informed
For those of you who would like to read up on what SEI is saying to regarding the recent market volatility, we have summarized the SEI Commentaries from last week below and included links to the full articles.

Main Points From SEI Commentary
  • It's useful to realize that volatility has been higher in the past and can still increase from here.
  • It's also helpful to understand that it is normal for market declines to occur at some point almost every year.
  • Global equity markets tumbled into correction territory in late February as cases of the coronavirus continued to spread and investors fretted about the potential fallout.
  • A look back at the performance of financial markets over the past five years highlights that sharp spikes in volatility often coincide with inflection points.
Click here for the full SEI Commentary, "Volatility: What's Normal?"
Click here for the full SEI Commentary, "Tracking the Coronavirus"

Additional Notes From Blattel & Associates
  • We have portfolios that 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 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:
March 28: Client Event
Save the date for our semi-annual client breakfast seminar. Invitations have been sent out.

April 10: Office Closed
Our office will be closed for Good Friday. Markets are also closed.
April 15: Tax Day

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. "

C.S. Lewis
Knockout Spicy Chicken Strips

Serves 4-6
  • 1½ lbs. chicken, cut into small strips
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. your preferred hot sauce

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Additional salt, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F, with center rack in place.
  2. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Mix flour with salt in bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs and hot sauce in separate bowl.
  5. Combine cornmeal, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in third bowl.
  6. Take each chicken strip, in turn, and dip into flour and then egg.
  7. Once egg mixture stops dripping, cover each chicken strip through cornmeal mixture.
  8. As you finish breading chicken strips, place them evenly on the baking sheet.

  9. Spray or drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with additional salt, to taste.
  10. Bake until fully cooked, 15 to 17 minutes.


Recipe adapted from FoodNetwork.com[7]

Tips for Gift Taxes

If you gave someone money or property, you may owe taxes on the gift. Here are some tips to help you determine if your gift is taxable:
Nontaxable Gifts. While the default assumption is that gifts are taxable, the following are nontaxable gifts:
  • Gifts that do not exceed the annual exclusion for the calendar year ($15,000 in 2019)
  • Tuition or medical expenses you paid directly to a medical or educational institution for someone
  • Gifts to your spouse
  • Gifts to a political organization for qualified uses
  • Gifts to qualifying charities
Annual Exclusion . For 2019, the annual exclusion is $15,000. Gifts under that amount are not subject to the gift tax, even if they don't fall into one of the categories above. If you give a gift to someone else, the gift tax usually does not apply until the value of the gift exceeds the annual exclusion for the year.
For more information on gifts and taxes, speak to a qualified tax professional.
* 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 [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.
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