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February 25, 2018
Markets rebounded last week, posting sizable gains and moving back into positive territory for the year. All three domestic indexes experienced their largest weekly growth in years, despite losing some ground on Friday after news of additional indictments in the Russia investigation.[i]
By markets’ close on February 16, the S&P 500 added 4.30%, the Dow was up 4.25%, and the NASDAQ increased 5.31%.[ii] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also gained 4.18% for the week.[iii]
This performance, however, did not come from simple, straightforward increases. Instead, the volatility from recent weeks continued. In fact, the S&P 500 lost or gained at least 1% on 8 of the past 10 trading days. The index only experienced that movement level 8 times throughout 2017.[iv]
Key Economic Findings
We received a wealth of data last week, and the readings helped deepen our understanding of the economy. The reports showed some mixed results, but much of the information continues to indicate that the economy is on solid ground.
Housing starts jumped 9.7%, beating expectations and reaching the 2nd-fastest rate since the recession. Even with mortgage rates increasing and tax reform affecting some buyers’ mortgage interest deductions, the data shows positive news for future homebuilding as well.[v]
Consumer price index increased 0.5%, rising 2.1% in the past year. This reading indicates that prices are continuing to rise faster than the Federal Reserve’s target rate.[vi]
Retail sales fell, dropping 0.3% in part due to slow motor vehicle sales. In addition, negative updates to December’s readings could affect 4th-quarter Gross Domestic Product results.[vii]
Consumer sentiment beat expectations, coming in at 99.9—its 2nd-highest reading in 14 years. The movement came as tax-cut optimism outweighed stock-market concerns.[viii]
Many reports show that the economy is strong, so watching for inflation will remain important as the markets keep moving. The combination of growing inflation and a strong labor market means the Fed is still likely to hike rates 3 times this year, with a 4th increase very possible.[ix]
Looking ahead, volatility may continue, so keep this on your radar. Investors caught between conflicting concerns about missing the bull market and losing money may contribute to ongoing uncertainty.[x] Remember, stock fluctuations are normal. We are here to help you understand what’s happening in the markets and how to position yourself for the financial life you desire.
“If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.”
Cherry Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Basil
Lemony Salmon Piccata
4 (6-oz) skinless salmon fillets
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
¼ cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons), plus lemon slices for garnish
2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Season the salmon with the salt and pepper.
Coat the salmon with the flour in a shallow bowl. Shake off excess.
Heat the olive oil at medium-high in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet.
Cook the salmon for about 2 minutes until golden, turning once.
Lower the heat to medium. Add garlic and cook for about another minute.
Add the wine, lemon juice, capers, and parsley and let simmer 5-6 minutes on medium-low heat until fish fillets are cooked through.
Add butter after removing the pan from the heat. Stir for about 30 seconds until the butter is melted.
It may sound like a joke, but the CRA warns taxpayers of potential scammers posing as representatives of the taxing agency in person, on the phone, and by email.
Before opening the door, first read these 5 facts about how or when CRA makes in-person contacts.
The agency initiates most of its taxpayer contacts by regular mail.
The CRA will only visit your home or business when you have an overdue tax bill, when the agency must secure a delinquent tax return or employment tax payment, to tour a business as part of an audit, or to conduct a criminal investigation.
CRA officers carry identification with serial numbers.
CRA collections officers will never visit your home or business.
CRA will not ask you to make payments to anyone except CRA
If you believe you’ve been visited by someone impersonating a CRA agent, visit cra.gov.ca for information about reporting the incident.
*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.
Fixing Your Golf Swing
It’s the single most important part of golf: the swing. Besides learning to hold a club, it’s the first lesson you learned about the game. But occasionally something goes awry—even among seasoned players.
It may be minor or something so outrageous as missing the ball altogether. How do you fix your swing?
Here are 2 ways to get you back into the swing of things:
First things first: Golfers occasionally make adjustments over time to develop power, to add more distance, or to achieve other game goals. While the changes may feel subtle and produce other desirable gains, other parts of your game begin to deteriorate, sometimes very slowly. You change your shoulder positioning, for example, to gain lift or to obtain some other objective.
What should you do to regain that initial finesse? Go back to square 1. Do what you did in the beginning; return to the same parallel-shoulder-to-target-line stance you learned at first.
Get a grip: How are you holding your club? If you’re squeezing your club too tightly, you’re going to lose the club release or not produce adequate club speed. Pros recommend holding the club at a force of 4 out of 10 with 10 being the strongest.
Restoring your game to full potential (or its former luster) can be as easy as returning to the basics and adopting a few simple techniques.
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is credited with saying: “You are what you eat.” But the 19th century French physician’s observation provides little comfort when you find yourself suffering from food poisoning.
More than 3 million Americans suffer from food poisoning every year, which is considered an extremely common ailment. Symptoms vary from mild intestinal discomfort to severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea. Treatment involves drinking plenty of fluids and close monitoring of symptoms.
Stay away from sports drinks, fruit juices, and soda, which have too much sugar and lack adequate electrolyte levels.
Medical authorities recommend returning to your normal diet when you’re able to tolerate solid foods, which will help restore adequate nutrition levels.
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