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Investment Newsletter - Q2 2017 

Welcome Spring and warmer days ahead (at least, eventually)!  

A brief overview of recent market activity and expectations follows below. Our current investment topic is: " How to Understand the Gift Tax" .   We also have a recap of the performance of major market indices from the past quarter and for the year, some financial quotes through the years you may find of interest below, as well as the upcoming economic calendar. 

The beginning of 2017 in the stock market was much different than how 2016 started. How so, and what are our thoughts on it? We put in Our Perspective... in more detail below

You will find past investment articles , and recent stock market commentary and outlook , by clicking on the relevant Quick Links on the right , or peruse past investment topics by clicking the  Articles tab above or directly on our website. 

If there is a topic of interest you would like to see covered in the future, please reply back to this email to let us know, or click here . Likewise, i f you have any questions on this or anything else, feel free to reply back.
Our Annual ADV

As per Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements, attached is our annual ADV form.  To access the form, please  click here . If you would like us to email or mail a hard copy, please feel free to call or email us to let us know.
Investment Topic: How to Understand the Gift Tax
For our investment topic, " How To Understand the Gift Tax", we attempt to give a high-level overview of the topic in less than 2 pages. To learn more, please click here

Our Perspective on Recent Market News and Activity

Our synopsis of the past quarter, a look ahead, and putting it all in perspective:

What a difference a year makes.  The first quarter of 2017 was a much smoother ride for most investors in comparison to the first quarter of 2016.  In case your memory needs refreshing, the first quarter of 2016 saw the Dow bottoming at 15,660, down 10% from the end of 2015.  To date, 2017 has been much kinder, with the Dow up 4.56% and the S&P 500 up 5.53% in the first quarter. Of course, no portfolio should ever be just in Large Cap US stocks, and some key asset classes such as bonds continued to deliver modest returns.  The Barclay's US Aggregate Bond Index was up only 0.12% and the Barclay's Municipal Bond Index was up 0.50%.  In March, the U.S. central bank raised the target range for the federal funds rate to 0.75 to 1 percent.  This is the third time the Fed has raised interest rates in the last decade; the last time the U.S. central bank voted to raise interest rates was in December of last year. At a press conference following the decision, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said, "Our decision to make another gradual reduction in the amount of policy accommodation reflects the economy's continued progress toward the employment and price-stability objectives assigned to us by law."

The question that remains to be answered is: Has the "Trump Effect" rally runs its course or does it still have room to grow?  Our opinion on this is that for long-term investors, it really does not matter.  Any attempts to try and rationalize or base investment decisions upon short-term expectations, historically proves to be an unwise decision. 
The stock market is one of the best leading indicators and hopefully it is forecasting an improving investment climate and re-affirming a continuation of the long-term secular bull market that began in 2009.  That being said, sometimes the market does get a little ahead of the fundamental value of the underlying securities, and we get a pull-back.  It is extremely important to be fully diversified at all times within and across asset classes, and in many cases, have some hedges in place to help protect against short-term volatility.  That is why we routinely re-balance client accounts - to take profit from those assets that have shown growth, while adding to those asset classes that have under-performed. It is an emotionless process which allows us in essence to buy low and sell high.  Done consistently and over time, this disciplined approach works very well for long-term investors.

While it does not appear that a recession is in the near-term future, the stock market does not always get it right however, and recent stagnation has been driven by concern regarding the ability of the current administration to get through many of the agenda items that had caused the rally since the election.   Key initiatives still on the block are:
  • Health care reform
  • Corporate tax cuts to 15%
  • Capital gain rates cut to 15%
  • Repatriation tax cut to 10%
  • Major reduction in business regulations
  • Major new fiscal spending programs: Infrastructure, (roads, bridges, airports)
  • Military spending
Will the new administration be able to maneuver around the traditional gridlock of Washington and get things done or will they find themselves in a quagmire?  That remains to be seen, and we remain cautious.  Compromises will be needed and major new spending, if it passes the Republican Congress, could have very long lead times.  What if a miscalculation sparks a trade war?  As we saw in the 1930's, a breakdown in global trade can have profound consequences.  The infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act passed as the Great Depression was getting under way, created new barriers to imports.  Unfortunately, it was met by retaliation, and the trade war that enveloped the world worsened the Depression.  We do not envision this to be the case, but it bears watching.
As the old adage goes, "Bull Markets do not die of old age".  Recessions and bear markets are all inevitable, just as are economic recoveries and the start of new bull markets.  Trying to predict when any of these events will occur is a lesson in futility.  What is important to remember is that as changes occur in your own personal situation, that we revisit your plan, and maintain a disciplined approach which has historically provided the greatest dividends.

Major Market Indices


Below is the Q1 '17 price return performance of some of the major indices:


Index Q1 2017 YTD (same as Q1)
US Treasury 3 Month T-Bill
0.15% 0.15%
Barclay's US Aggregate Bond Index
Barclay's Municipal Bond Index
0.50% 0.50%
S&P 500 Index
Dow Jones Industrial Average 4.56% 4.56%
MSCI EAFE (International Equities) 6.47%  6.47%
MSCI Emerging Markets  11.14% 11.14%
Russell Mid Cap 
4.70% 4.70%
Russell 2000 Index (Small-Cap Stocks)
2.12% 2.12%
Bloomberg Commodity Index
-2.47% -2.47%
Credit Suisse Long/Short Equity*
*this data is as of 2/28/17
-0.20% -0.20%
Morningstar REIT Index -1.18% -1.18%

Quick Links

Our current investment topic: 

How to Understand the Gift Tax

Stay Connected
IRA Contribution?
If you are eligible to make IRA contributions for 2016 (Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP-IRA), and have not done so, the deadline of April 18th, is fast approaching.  If you are unsure about your eligibility to contribute, or feel that you cannot contribute, please let us know and we will explore your individual circumstance.
  Spring Cleanup

The Spring is a great time of year to go through your file folders, and eliminate old papers that you may no longer need to hold onto (make sure to shred anything with personal information). For instance, the IRS requires you to keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return. You need to keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction. For more information on this subject from the IRS, click here.
On the Investment Horizon
Upcoming Key Dates on the Economic Calendar 

  • First Friday of each month: Unemployment report for the prior month, released at 8:30AM.

  • Wednesday, April 5: Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) releases minutes of previous meeting at 2PM.
  • Friday, April 14: Good Friday - Markets are closed (banks are open). 
  • Friday, April 28 at 8:30AM: GDP, 1st quarter advance estimate. 

  • Tuesday May 10 - Wednesday, May 11: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets, and releases their announcement on Wednesday at 2PM. 
  • Friday, May 26 at 8:30AM: GDP, 1st quarter preliminary estimate. 
  •  Monday, May 29: Memorial Day - Markets are closed. 

  • Tuesday June 13 - Wednesday, June 14: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets, and releases their announcement on Wednesday at 2PM.
  • Wednesday, June 14 at 2:30PM: Fed Chair Janet Yellen to hold her quarterly press conference to explain the FOMC's latest quarterly economic projections.
  • Thursday, June 29 at 8:30AM: GDP, 1st quarter final. 

  • Tuesday, July 4: Independence Day - Markets are closed. 

If you desire an appointment, have any questions on any of this material, or any other financial subjects may relate to your own financial circumstance, please reach out to us at the contact information below:






Brian Cohen, CCO; email:; phone: 631-923-2487
Joe Favorito, CFP®; email:; phone: 631-930-5336

Direct office email: 

This communication is from   Landmark Wealth Management, LLC , a Securities and Exchange Commission Registered Investment Advisory firm. The information in this email is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax, legal, or investment advice from an independent professional / financial advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Information and use of materials contained in this email, including text and attachments, is confidential and is for the use of the intended recipient(s) only. If received in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication, or any of its contents, is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please reply to the sender and delete the original message and any copy of it from your systems. Be also advised that email communications are not secure. All e-mail sent to or from this address will be recorded by the Landmark Wealth Management, LLC email system and is subject to archival, monitoring, and inspection pursuant to securities regulations. Please direct any matters regarding this policy to