Market Update News
December 12, 2017
Presented By:  Todd Day, Portfolio Manager

Will the Tax Bill Come?
Stocks Hope So.....

December has gotten off to a pretty good start - the first few days not so much for the tech heavy NASDAQ, but it regained its footing as the week drew to a close. As of this writing, the Dow, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are sitting at new all-time highs.

Many will point to the increased likelihood of a tax bill on the President's desk by Christmas, but I suggest that there is nothing in the "market's way". Earnings have been strong, the economy is chugging along the best it has in a while, the labor market is about as solid as it's been in years, if not decades, and the geopolitical landscape has not provided a "shock" to the markets - so investors just keep buying. 

It has not come without some volatility over the last two weeks - traders are going to get motion sickness trying to keep up with these sector driven rotations - they better be on Dramamine.  What I mean by that is that we've seen incredible rotation out of tech and financials and into retail and transportation. Macy's and Norfolk Southern have been up some incredible 30% and 20% respective.  It is like I said in the last market update; investors were taking profit out of this year's high flyers and buying names that were left for dead. Sell Amazon and buy Macy's - no thank you....


The big economic news last week was the November jobs report, and it did not disappoint. The November non-farm payrolls showed we added 228,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%. The weakest component of this report was the lack of growth in the average hourly earnings, meaning no wage inflation.

The consumer sentiment index remains elevated though it continues to edge back from October's expansion peak high. Immediate indications on consumer spirits, in what is a positive for the holiday shopping outlook are in fact very positive as the current conditions component actually rose sharply to a 17 year high. 

Elsewhere, we saw U.S. factory orders fall slightly in October yet still  looking good.

And, Markit Services PMI was at the lowest since June and ISM non-manufacturing index was the lowest number since August, but we've gotten a bit spoiled by the strength in these numbers.


Across the pond, European stocks forged higher, helped by positive economic data and positive comments from the ECB. Across the other pond, Asian markets were off their November highs, some indices by as much as 5%-7%.  


2017 is the twenty-seventh time that the S&P 500 has been up 20% through November. In the previous 26 instances, December has gone on to average an even stronger 1.95% return - but - this week, historically, has seasonally been a weak period for stocks, so we'll see....I'm not calling for a correction, just noting the seasonality.

All eyes will be on FED Chair Yellen's probable final meeting and she will go out on a high note, actually a higher note, as she is widely expected to raise rates in her probable final meeting as FED Chair. We also will get a rate decision out of the ECB as well. The economists will be pouring through their comments on what to expect in 2018. 

Other than that, the markets will be watching to see if there is any progress on a tax bill and we'll be dissecting the economic data; inflation, retail sales and industrial production... so join me next week and I'll bring you up to date.  

"If you can't do great things, do small things in
great ways."
 - Napoleon Hill
Flank Steak Panzanella Salad

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground and divided in half
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound multicolored heirloom tomatoes, sliced in wedges
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into lengthwise halves and sliced
  • 3 ounces whole wheat baguette, cut into cubes and toasted

     1. Prep grill by preheating it to medium high.

     2. Cover grill rack with cooking spray.

     3. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper on the steak.

4.  Grill steak 3 to 4 minutes on each side or to preferred temperature.

5.  Remove steak from grill and let sit for 5 minutes.

6.  Cut steak into thin slices, going across the grain.
7.  Combine olive oil, vinegar, and remaining salt and pepper in a large bowl.

8.  Toss together arugula, basil, tomatoes, and cucumbers in bowl with olive
   oil mixture.

9.  Mix the steak and bread cubes into the salad, and let sit for 10 minutes 
  before serving.

Recipe adapted from MyRecipes
Reconstruct After a Natural Disaster
If you've experienced a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, you may have to recover records in order to prove your losses. Doing so could help you receive federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. You may also need these files to help manage your taxes. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you reconstruct your records:
1. Free Tax Transcripts: For those who completely lost their tax records, you can get free transcripts from the IRS. You can request them on the IRS website or by calling 800-908-9946.
2. Mortgage and Other Home Documents: You may have to recover the documents proving your home ownership. You can request these documents from your escrow company, bank, or title company.
3. Trust or Estate Documents: In order to recover trust or estate information, contact the trust attorney who supported these planning strategies.

  4. Damage Proof: If you experienced any damage to your home, it's important that you document the damage as soon as possible. Take pictures or videos of all damaged rooms and home items.

Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website .
* 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 advisor.

Tip courtesy of

Try the Chunk-and-Roll to Improve Height
No one likes landing in a sandtrap, but a greenside bunker shot makes a bad lie even worse. If you want to recover from this situation, you need to have the skill-and nerve-to hit the ball just right.
Hitting a greenside bunker shot successfully requires you to address two key factors:

1. How much speed is in your swing.

2. Where you enter the sand with your clubface.

If you're staring at an upslope or your ball is stuck in the sand, try the "chunk-and-roll" to get the height you need. With this approach, you're trying to make your ball pop out high, travel with no spin, and follow the green's break. The ultimate goal is to have your clubhead blast the sand 2- to 3 inches behind the ball, so you have no chance of hitting it thin.

To set up the shot:
    1. Distribute your weight evenly across the slope by favoring your
      front foot.
    2. Open your stance a bit and swing along your foot line.
    3. Make sure you swing hard, using a downward driving motion.
    4. Keep the slope from stopping your club's momentum by exploding through the shot with your arms and shoulders strong.  
Tip courtesy of Golf Digest

Understand Prediabetes
Prediabetes is a medical condition where you have higher than normal blood sugar levels-but haven't yet developed type 2 diabetes. Typically, unless someone with prediabetes makes lifestyle changes, they will end up developing diabetes. And the long-term effects on your heart, blood vessels, and kidney could start before you even develop the disease.
Does prediabetes have symptoms? 

People usually show little to no signs of prediabetes. One potential signal that you may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes are darkened patches of skin around your:  
  • Armpits
  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Knuckles
  • Neck
What risk factors exist for prediabetes?

Similar factors that can lead to diabetes can also increase your chance of developing prediabetes. A few of these include:  
  • Overweight: When you have more fatty tissue, in particular around your abdomen, your cells become more resistant to insulin.  
  • Dietary Habits:Specific foods can increase your chance of developing prediabetes when eaten regularly. These include red meat, processed meat, and sugar-rich foods and drinks.
  • Exercise: You are more at risk the less physically active you are. By not exercising regularly, you don't burn up the glucose you'd otherwise use for energy.  
Tips adapted from Mayo Clinic

Go Plastic-Free With These Kitchen Items
Choosing to ditch plastic in your home is a great way to support a green lifestyle. And with the plethora of household items made from plastic, you can make a real difference with some relatively easy tweaks. A great starting point is to replace plastic kitchen items made with eco-friendly alternatives.  
  • Plastic containers: Instead of storing food in plastic containers, like Tupperware, use glass jars or metal containers instead.  
  • Plastic sandwich and snack bags: You can swap plastic bags in your lunch with glass or metal containers.  
  • Dishwashing detergent in plastic bottles: You can buy powdered detergent that comes in a cardboard container, and then recycle the box once you're done with the product.  
  • Nonstick pans: The ingredient that makes those pans nonstick is actually plastic, which you can avoid by using cast iron skillets or stainless steel pans.  
Tip adapted from

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