Markets Ignore the Politics
In This Issue
Markets tuned out noise from Washington last week and continued to focus on economic fundamentals. Mildly rebounding retail sales and strong consumer sentiment seem to point toward a modestly stronger second quarter. [1]

After a three-week winning streak, both the Dow and S&P 500 reported slight losses. [2] The Dow closed with a 0.53% loss, and the S&P 500 reported a 0.35% decline for the week. [3] The NASDAQ, however, rose 0.34% while the MSCI EAFE reported a modest 0.16% gain. [4]
  • Soft retail earnings
Consumer retail purchases were up after a first-quarter decline. Sales rose by 0.4% (just shy of the 0.6% consensus), and 9 of the 13 retail categories posted gains. [5]   As expected, early second-quarter gains suggest the first-quarter decline was just a blip. [6]
  • Continuing concerns over store closings
A report last month concluded that in excess of 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores could close in 2017 due to poor sales. Last year, at least 2,000 stores shut their doors, while just over 5,000 closed in 2015. The record for store closings occurred in 2008 when over 6,000 stores closed. [7]
  • Strong consumer sentiment
Despite modest retail sales, consumer confidence reached a 4-month high. [8] Consumer expectations are positive regarding job growth, income, and low inflation. [9] Furthermore, 44% of surveyed consumers expressed optimism in their financial prospects - the highest percentage since 2004. [10]
  • U.S. consumer prices rise in line with expectations
The consumer price index rose 0.2% in April, in line with expectations for the month. [11] However, the medical care and communications sectors saw continuing price weakness. [12]


This week, we will look forward to data regarding the strength of the housing market. Though the highest percent of consumers in over 10 years report positive opinions on selling homes, next week's numbers will give us a better idea of where the markets stand. [13] Finally, the market will continue to watch oil prices, which steadied this week after three weeks of decline. [14] 

In the weeks ahead, possible corporate tax rate reductions and potential trade policy changes will remain in focus for markets. In addition, markets will remain interested in the Fed's interest rate plans and its plan to reduce its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. [15]

As always, we will continue to track the impact of international and domestic political news on the markets and the economy.

Monday: Housing Market Index
Tuesday: Housing Starts, Industrial Production
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report
Friday: Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5- year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on  and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

"Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down."

- Ray Bradbury

Spanish Garlic Shrimp
A zesty take on a seafood favorite!
Serves 4 


2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 TBSP garlic, minced
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP sherry or water, with 2 TBSP flour added
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled
  1. Heat olive oil in large nonstick pan on medium-high.
  2. Mix in onion and bell peppers, and sauté for 4 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except the shrimp.
  4. Bring ingredients to simmer, cooking for 2 minutes.
  5. Toss shrimp into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes (or until shrimp are no longer transparent), stirring constantly.
  6. Serve shrimp dish over saffron risotto or yellow rice.


Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping [16]

Tips for Managing a Cough

Trying to keep a cough at bay can be incredibly challenging and debilitating, no matter how intense the cough is. You usually can manage a cough from things like seasonal allergies and common colds at home. Here are some key ways to control your cough and find some relief.
  • Consume enough water: If you have mucous when you cough, you probably have postnasal drip. You can thin the mucous by drinking more water. Doing so also helps moisten your mucous membranes, which can further help you control your cough.
  • Drink warm tea with honey: Some clinical research suggests that drinking warm tea with honey will help soothe your throat from coughing.
  • Use a humidifier: If your home is particularly dry, having a humidifier running can help you add important moisture back into the air. You'll want to make sure you clean it out regularly though, as they can breed fungus, mold, and bacteria, and pump these back into the air.

Tip courtesy of WebMD [19]
Don't Dump These Items Down the Drain

Pouring leftover items down the drain can be tempting, since it's easy to dump and watch the flow go down. Flushing things down the toilet and pouring liquids into sinks can introduce a slew of toxins into our streams and waterways. You can help the environment by avoiding dumping these common items down the drain: 

Greasy foods to avoid in your sink drains
  • Meat fats
  • Cooking oils
  • Butter or margarine
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products
Other items to avoid in your sink drains and toilets
  • Coffee grounds
  • Prescription pills
  • Flushable cat litter
  • Motor oils or transmission fluids
  • Nail polish and polish remover

Tip courtesy of [20]
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