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Taxes

February 2019 Economic Update

In this month’s recap: equities rally here and around the world, economic fundamentals look solid, the pace of home sales slows, and oil surges.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

During a month marked by political impasses in the United States and United Kingdom, equities performed well around most of the world. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 advanced 7.87% in January, with a new earnings season as well as trade and monetary policy developments providing tailwinds. Most of the economic data that rolled in was good; the partial federal government shutdown may have negatively impacted some of the numbers. Home sales fell off abruptly. Many commodities advanced. All in all, investors focused on the potential of the markets more than disputes.1

January 2019 Economic Update

In this month’s recap: equity and commodity markets experience major losses, the Fed sends a hawkish message, home sales improve, and the economy maintains its momentum.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

December 2018 will be remembered for its volatility and its challenges. The S&P 500 flirted with bear market territory, dropping 10.16% for the month. Appetite for risk declined here and abroad in the face of tariffs, concerns about the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, a federal government shutdown, and questions about the Brexit. It was also a difficult month for commodities. In contrast, Main Street seemed in good shape: low unemployment, high consumer confidence, and strong consumer spending were all evident.1

 

Watch Out for the Top 12 Tax Scams & Schemes

The “dirty dozen” favored by criminals & cheats.

Year after year, criminals try to scam certain taxpayers. Year after year, certain taxpayers resort to schemes in an effort to put one over on the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.). These cons occur year-round, not just during tax season. In response to their frequency, the I.R.S. has listed the 12 biggest offenses – scams that you should recognize, schemes that warrant penalties and/or punishment.

The Steward Approach to Managing Market Volatility

Over the past few months, investor concerns about rising interest rates, oil prices, tech stocks, trade wars and a variety of other daily “headline issues” have resulted in significant market volatility. Looking ahead, volatility may continue as markets adjust to potentially higher inflation and interest rates. To help frame the current market volatility, we offer the following reminders:

Economic Update November 2018

In this month’s recap: another correction hits Wall Street, housing indicators raise questions, but consumer confidence, consumer spending, and GDP look healthy.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

October certainly lived up to its reputation for volatility. The S&P 500 suffered its second correction of the year as investors wondered if they were seeing early signs of the peak of the current business cycle, absorbing news of moderating corporate earnings, while also considering the potential impact of higher interest rates and tariffs. Real estate indicators, for the most part, left much to be desired; labor, manufacturing, and consumer spending and confidence indicators were in better shape. Overseas, major and minor reductions in economic growth were forecast for various nations. In the commodities sector, oil and gasoline posted major losses.1

Why Taking a Loan from Your Retirement Plan is a Bad Idea

Thinking about borrowing money from your 401(k), 403(b), or 457 account? Think twice about that because these loans are not only risky, but injurious, to your retirement planning.

Economic Update for October 2018

Wall Street maintained its optimism in September. While trade worries were top of mind for economists and investors overseas, bulls largely shrugged at the prospect of tariffs and the probability of another interest rate hike. The S&P 500 rose 0.43% for the month. On the whole, U.S. economic indicators were quite good, and some offered pleasant surprises.1

Economic Update for October 2018

Wall Street maintained its optimism in September. While trade worries were top of mind for economists and investors overseas, bulls largely shrugged at the prospect of tariffs and the probability of another interest rate hike. The S&P 500 rose 0.43% for the month. On the whole, U.S. economic indicators were quite good, and some offered pleasant surprises.1

Economic Update September 2018

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Wall Street had much to celebrate in August. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both reached historic heights, with the Nasdaq crossing two 1,000-point milestones in a calendar year for the first time since 1999. The current bull market became the longest on record. U.S. stock exchanges outperformed many others around the world, as imposed tariffs and currency troubles in the emerging markets gave overseas investors pause. Major commodities largely lost ground. U.S. economic indicators were again strong for the most part, aside from those in the housing sector.1

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