Economic Normalization Near?
In This Issue
The Week on Wall Street
Stock prices ended the week slightly lower, despite news of positive results from a test trial of a COVID-19 drug treatment and several states easing their economic lockdowns. 
Light at the End of the Tunnel?
Investors were emboldened last week by two significant developments: a quickening in the pace of state re-openings and positive results from a clinical trial of pandemic treatment. These developments turned investor focus toward economic normalization and away from the economic destruction that has occurred.
Market optimism was also supported by earnings reports early in the week, which showed that some companies were navigating reasonably well through the crisis. But stocks retreated on Friday as traders reacted to mixed earnings from two tech titans. The two firms offered a reminder that even the strongest companies have not escaped the economic impact of the pandemic.
Worries over possible new China trade tariffs also weighed on stocks as the trading week came to a close.
Corporate Earnings
It was a busy week for corporate earnings reports. So far, the earnings season has been mixed; it has provided some clarity, though, about the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. 
With 193 of S&P 500 companies reporting, 65% have checked in with results ahead of consensus Wall Street estimates. Among the better-performing sectors to date were Technology and Consumer Staples. Financials were among the laggards.[4]
Final Thought
Despite the continued shutdown of businesses nationwide, stocks staged a powerful rebound in April, leading some to wonder if Wall Street is disconnected from Main Street. But market watchers are quick to point out that Main Street may not be as disconnected as it appears. April's rally was led by a group of very large companies, with over 75% of stocks in the S&P 500 trading below their 200-day moving average.[7]

Blattel News

We hope this newsletter finds you safe, healthy, and in good spirits. We have enjoyed hearing your stories of staying at home. From sewing masks for others to gardening to zoom meetings with family, you all seem to be keeping busy. We are also keeping active during our down times:

* Scott bought a new grill and is back cooking again. Click here for a jalapeno popper recipe. For an extra kick, Scott uses spicy jalapeno cream cheese.

* Bob has performed two magic shows on Zoom for family with only a few mishaps. He is also doing regular video chats with his grandchildren.

* Kate has been playing in the backyard with her kids most evenings. She even dumped ice cold water on her daughter for the Ice Bucket Challenge.

* Kincaid has been spending time helping his son with schoolwork and finding new shows to watch.

* Erin has been focused on home improvements. From painting to gardening, she is transforming her house.

* Adam has been keeping healthy by riding his bike and taking advantage of time at home to eat well.

* Sarah has been binging on short stories and has read almost 200 in the last month.

Have a great week!

The Shape of the Recovery: V, W or L?
Looking Beyond the Letters

SEI's most recent commentary looks at what may be in store for the financial markets and economic recovery. It looks at possible clues, as well as discusses the ever changing COVID-19 forecasts and their effect on a recovery. Here are a few takeaways:
  • It's challenging to make accurate economic calls under normal circumstances.
  • Add in the uncertainty around oil prices, interest rates and epidemiological models and there's a serious lack of clarity about the future.
  • While we believe that another significant pullback is likely, we also believe that long-term investors will be rewarded for their patience.
Click here to read the full article.

Office Notes

Helping You Remotely. Although St. Charles County is starting to open back up, the governor has recommended that, anybody who can still work from home, do so. Blattel & Associates has decided to continue to work from home during May. We are available by phone or email to help our clients. Do not hesitate to contact us.
All Virtual Meetings . We are still meeting with clients during this time. As we have previously announced, we have changed all of our in-office meetings to phone calls. We have now extended this through June.
Electronic Signatures. We encourage you to embrace signing and submitting paperwork electronically as much as possible. We will talk you through the process if it is something you haven't tried before.

"Inspiration comes from within yourself. One has to be positive. When you're positive, good things happen."
- Deep Roy
Celebration Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 to 14 servings
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • Frosting of choice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Between two muffin pans, line them with 14 cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  4. Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together in a second bowl until combined and smooth.
  5. Add half of the egg mixture into the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk, then mix.
  6. Add the rest of the egg mixture and buttermilk, then stir, but do not overmix. If you do, this will thin the batter.
  7. Carefully add the batter into the liners with a spoon, only halfway.
  8. Bake for 18 to 21 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely.
  10. Add preferred frosting and sprinkles, or otherwise, decorate to taste. 

Recipe adapted from[8]

Preparation is Key

With this year's tax deadline moved to July 15th, you might be tempted to push your taxes to the back of your mind. Now is a good time, however, to set up a system that will keep your tax records safe and easy to find. Here's how to make organizing your taxes even easier:
  • Speak to a professional about tax minimization strategies you can employ.
  • Already worried about next year's tax burden? Adjust your withholding to avoid a big bill at tax time.
  • Take action when your life changes. Getting married or divorced, having a child, incorporating a business - these are all life changes that may affect your taxes. Speak to a professional about updating your tax information.
  • Keep all your tax documents organized in one place. Add files, documents, and receipts as they arrive.
  • Find a tax specialist. If you're not currently working with a tax professional, now is a good time to interview one.
* 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 [9]

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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 professional for further information.
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The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost.

[4] NASDAQ, April 30, 2020

[7] Index Indicators, May 1, 2020

[8], May 1, 2020

[9], December 16, 2019

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