Markets Increase

Weekly Update – April 2, 2018

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

 

Markets were closed on March 30 for Good Friday, but in the four days of trading, stocks recovered some of this year’s losses.[1] For the week, the S&P 500 added 2.09%, the Dow gained 2.67%, and the NASDAQ increased by 1.03%.[2] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE grew 0.81%.[3]

 

Last week also marked the end of the year’s 1st quarter. Our next market update will share a recap of key performance details and events from January through March.

 

In this report, we will consider findings from last week and offer some perspective on the data.

 

What We Learned Last Week

 

The Economy Expanded More Than Thought

We received the final reading of 4th quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the numbers were higher than expected. Between October and December last year, GDP grew at a 2.9% annualized rate. In particular, consumer spending contributed significantly to our economic growth.[4]

 

Consumers Remained Confident

Consumer Sentiment readings reached a 14-year high in March and may be a sign that spending was also on the rise last month.[5] Meanwhile, the Consumer Confidence report showed slightly lower readings than in February but continued to stay high. Though respondents’ confidence in the stock market wavered, their strong assessments of the labor market helped maintain solid numbers.[6]

 

Personal Incomes Rose

Personal income grew 0.4% in February and has increased 3.7% over the past 12 months. Consumers also spent more money, and data on personal debt and financial obligations indicates that they still have more room to spend.[7]

 

The Takeaway

Examined together, this data seems to indicate that consumers are confident about the economy and their job prospects – and are continuing to earn and spend more. Considering that approximately 69% of the U.S. economy comes from consumer spending, these developments should be positive news.[8]

 

That said, every market environment has risks, and no economy is perfect. We are here to help you navigate your finances and make sense of developing news. If you have any questions, contact us any time.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Monday: PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg Index, Construction Spending

Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales

Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, Factory Orders, ISM Non-Mfg Index

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: Employment Situation

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 Morningstar.com 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.

 

 

Berry Coconut Crumble

 

Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup room temperature unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 4 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Apply butter to a 2-quart casserole dish or 6 mini dishes.
  3. Create the crumble by mixing almond flour, oats, pecans, cinnamon, and salt with maple syrup and ¼ cup butter in a large bowl until the mixture is no longer dry and forms large clumps. Set aside.
  4. In a second bowl, toss together raspberries, pomegranate seeds, cornstarch, and sugar. Transfer the mix to the prepared dish.
  5. Put the crumble mix on top and sprinkle with coconut flakes.
  6. Bake. Rotate the dish halfway through. Crumble is done when it is bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown, 35-40 minutes.

 

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping[9]

 

 

How to Never Miss the Short Putt

 

You’re 6 inches from the hole. Easy, right? No problem. One little tap, and you’re done, and on to the next hole. But oops! There goes the ball, rounding the lip of the hole, seemingly defying gravity, only to remain above ground. It was the easiest shot in the world, and you missed it! Your first thought: You’ll never golf again. Your second thought: How do you avoid this mistake in the future?

 

Here are 4 tips from the pros on how to avoid the most obvious blunder:

 

  1. Take a marker and draw a dot on the ball large enough so you can see it easily.
  2. Place the ball back on the green so that the dot faces up. Focus solely on the dot as you prepare to putt.
  3. Don’t let the backstroke go more than a few inches away from the ball before striking. This produces acceleration at the point of the strike.
  4. If you quickly turn your head to watch the ball roll, you’ll change the direction of the putter face, and miss the shot. Listen instead to the ball dropping in the hole.

 

Putting that extra effort into the short putts can save you from those disastrous occasions of missing the easiest shots.

 

Tip adapted from Golf Digest[10]

 

 

How to Get Your Kids Exercising

 

The electronic age may have made life easier and more convenient for you and your children or grandchildren. But it also has made a lot of us more sedentary.

 

You know what it takes to get exercising: a plan and a little initiative. But how do you get the little ones moving?

 

Here are some tips to get the children (or grandchildren) exercising and, at the same time, loving it:

 

  • Get a move on together. Instead of watching TV or playing video games after dinner, go outside for a walk or a bike ride. You can go play basketball or catch.
  • An hour of power. OK. You’re outside. Your next goal is to stay out there and moving for at least 60 minutes. Performing a variety of activities – running, walking, skipping rope, or playing at the playground – may help you put in the time.
  • Your children love gadgets. So, why not get them a step counter? They can measure how many steps to the playground slide, to the telephone pole, or to their friend’s house. They can see how fast they can take 50 steps.
  • On the other side, you don’t have to go high tech. Low tech will do. How about a tennis racket, a jump rope, a hula hoop, or skates? Just some good, old-fashioned fun.
  • Sometimes it’s all about location, location, location. Go to the park. Do a picnic at the lake. How about going to the baseball field? Kind of like taking a very short vacation.
  • “Kiai!” Enrolling in activity classes – karate, tennis, or dance – is a great way to get your children moving and excited about exercising.
  • Go back to the video games. But use the ones with motion sensors.
  • Make exercise fun. How about building a snowman or jumping in the leaves? You can walk (or skip) to the library or the park. Or you can go plant some flowers. You’re taking “exercise” out of the equation and putting in “fun.”

 

A few simple steps can get you and your children moving and create healthy habits.

 

Tip adapted from WebMD[11]

 

 

 

Going Kitchen Green: How to Save Energy While Cooking

 

Cooking and becoming environmentally friendly don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A simple change of approach and equipment can transform cooking into a more earth-friendly endeavor and save money at the same time.

 

Consider your energy use. Cooking in a standard electric oven for an hour generates 2.7 pounds of CO2. Using a toaster oven for nearly the same amount of time generates 1.3 pounds of CO2.

 

A microwave, however, generates 0.5 pounds of CO2 in more than 15 minutes of cooking.

 

Microwave ovens save energy. Compared to conventional units, they use about half the energy. That translates into less time in the kitchen, faster meals, lower energy bills, and becoming more environmentally sensitive and responsible.
Tip adapted from WWF[12]

 

Disclaimer:
Edward Storer & Associates’ The Tax Advisory Group LLC, is an independent tax preparation and planning firm. Tax services offered are to help business owner and individuals create sound tax strategies that are custom suited to their needs and objectives.
Edward Storer & Associates’ Independent Financial Services LLC, is an independent investment firm.  Investment Advisory Services offered are through Financial Gravity Wealth.  All investments carry a certain risk and there is no assurance that an investment will provide positive performance over any period of time. Information obtained from third party resources are believed to be reliable but not guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Edward Storer & Associates’ Independent Insurance Advisors LLC is an independent insurance firm. Insurance Services offered are to help business owners and individuals create insurance strategies using a variety of insurance products custom suited to their needs and objectives.
Edward Storer & Associates in association with our attorney groups can help assist with various legal matters – all under one roof. Edward Storer & Associates themselves are not attorneys.
[1] www.cnbc.com/2018/03/29/us-stock-futures-dow-data-tech-and-politics-on-the-agenda.html
[2] http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX®ion=usa&culture=en-US
http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=%21DJI®ion=usa&culture=en-US
http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO
[3] www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search
[4] wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=485677&cust=wsj-us&year=2018&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top
[5] wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=485847&cust=wsj-us&year=2018&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top
[6] wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=485916&cust=wsj-us&year=2018&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top
[7] www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2018/3/29/personal-income-rose-0.4percent-in-february
[8] www.thebalance.com/consumer-spending-trends-and-current-statistics-3305916
[9] www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/dessert/a47526/berry-coconut-crumble-recipe/
[10] www.golfdigest.com/story/how-to-hole-all-the-short-ones
[11] www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/move/ss/slideshow-kids-love-exercise
[12] www.worldwildlife.org/pages/green-tips

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