Weekly Market Insights: Market Retreats on Inflation, Economic Reports

Weekly Market Insights: Market Retreats on Inflation, Economic Reports

Stocks fell last week as investors reacted to disappointing inflation updates and other economic reports that fell short of estimates.

Stocks Snap Winning Streak

Markets were quiet Monday but opened lower Tuesday in response to the January inflation report that showed higher-than-expected consumer prices. But stocks regained some momentum on Wednesday and rallied Thursday despite disappointing reports on both retail sales and industrial production for January.1,2

News of higher-than-expected wholesale prices on Friday put investors back on edge and kept stocks from ending the week on a positive note. The weekly loss broke a five-week winning streak.3

Inflated Perspective

Consumer Price Index data was one of the big pieces of news driving markets last week, with January’s numbers coming in at 3.1 percent compared to a year prior—cooler than December’s 3.4 percent year-over-year gain but warmer than the 2.9 percent consensus. Jittery Investors focused on the hotter-than-expected part.4

With the consumer report closely followed by disappointing inflation news on the producer level, attention quickly shifted to the Fed and what’s next for interest rates. While the Fed has indicated short-term rates may trend lower in 2024, the January inflation reports support Fed Chair Powell’s recent comments that the Fed is in no hurry to cut rates.4

This Week: Key Economic Data

Tuesday: Leading Indicators.

Wednesday: FOMC Meeting Minutes.

Thursday: Jobless Claims. Existing Home Sales. U.S. Fed Balance Sheet.

Source: Investors Business Daily – Econoday economic calendar; February 15, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Tuesday: Walmart Inc. (WMT), The Home Depot, Inc. (HD), Palo Alto Networks, Inc. (PANW)

Wednesday: NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA)

Thursday: Intuit Inc. (INTU), Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG)

Friday: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A, BRK.B)

Source: Zacks, February 15, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

– Wayne Gretzky

Taking a Side Gig? Here’s How It May Affect Your Taxes

Taxpayers who work in the gig economy may benefit from a better understanding of how their work affects their taxes. 

Here are some things taxpayers should know about the gig economy and taxes:

  • Money earned through this work may be taxable.
  • There are tax implications for the company providing the platform and the individual performing the services. 

This income may be taxable even if the taxpayer providing the service doesn’t receive a Form 1099-MISC, Form 1099-K, or Form W-2. This income may also be taxable if the activity is only part-time or side work or paid in cash. 

*This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific, individualized tax advice. Please discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov5

Show Your Heart Some Love 

February is American Heart Month. While genetics and family history are primary factors in disease development and survival, some lifestyle factors are associated with better heart health. However, make sure to discuss any medical concerns with your health care provider before beginning any dietary and fitness regimen. The following information is not a substitute for medical advice.

  • Manage your blood pressure: Make sure to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Hypertension is often asymptomatic.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese may increase disease risk.
  • Eat well and exercise: These two activities are associated with a lower incidence of heart disease.
  • Drink less alcohol and don’t smoke: These habits are seen more frequently in heart disease patients.
  • Sleep well and reduce stress: Lower cortisol levels may reduce your risk for heart disease. 

While not all risk factors are controllable, some are. The list above is not comprehensive. Give your heart some love this month and talk to your doctor about the best ways to care for it. 

Tip adapted from MedlinePlus.gov6

What can explode slowly, with no smoke or flame?

 

Last week’s riddle: If a single-engine airplane taxied not onto a runway but onto an enormous conveyor belt whose speed precisely equaled that of the plane in the opposite direction, could the plane still manage to take off? Answer: Yes, eventually. A plane’s wheels roll freely, and the thrust generated by the prop or jet engine will still be greater than drag, and the lift created by air flowing over the wing will still be greater than the aircraft’s weight.

A freediver swimming in a Mexican cenote

 

Footnotes and Sources

1. The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2024.

2. CNBC, February 16, 2024.

3. The Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2024.

4. The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2024.

5. IRS.gov, April 7, 2023.

6. MedlinePlus.gov, December 12, 2023.

Weekly Market Insights: Market Retreats on Inflation, Economic Reports

Weekly Market Insights: S&P Hits Record High

The stock market experienced solid gains last week, concluding the trading week on a positive note, thanks to robust corporate reports and favorable inflation news; this propelled the S&P 500 Index to achieve a new record high at the end of the week.

S&P Tops 5,000

At the start of last week’s trading, stocks faced downward pressure due to comments by Fed Chair Powell over the weekend, signaling that the Federal Reserve had no immediate plans to initiate interest rate cuts. Consequently, the yield on the two-year U.S. Treasury note, highly influenced by monetary policy, increased to its highest level in two months.1

By the end of trading on Monday, stocks had regained a significant portion of their previous losses. Influencing this market rally were positive corporate earnings reports. This trend continued throughout the week, contributing to the overall market momentum. By Friday, 67% of the companies listed in the S&P 500 had released their Q4 results, and an impressive 77% of those companies exceeded earnings expectations.2

Investors expressed enthusiasm on Friday after a report indicating that December’s inflation was lower than initially anticipated. This positive news revitalized buying activity, resulting in the S&P 500 surpassing 5,000 for the first time.3

Economic Strength

The strength of the U.S. economy has come into the spotlight. An analysis conducted by The Wall Street Journal recently proposed that the economy’s resilience could be attributed, at least in part, to the productivity driven by the technology sector.4

What might rein in that productivity? One possible influence could be the increase in oil prices witnessed last week. Additionally, shipping companies have been imposing surcharges for several months to mitigate recent conflict, and these charges may contribute to global inflation this year, potentially dampening investor enthusiasm.5

This Week: Key Economic Data

Tuesday: Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Report.

Thursday: Industrial Production. Retail Sales. Jobless Claims. 

Friday: Housing Starts. Producer Price Index (PPI). Consumer Sentiment. 

Source: Investors Business Daily – Econoday economic calendar; February 8, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Monday: Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET), Waste Management, Inc. (WM)

Tuesday: The CocaCola Company (KO), Shopify Inc. (SHOP), AirBnB, Inc. (ABNB), Moody’s Corporation (MCO)

Wednesday: Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), Sony Corporation (SONY), Kraft Heinz Company (KHC)

Thursday: Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT), Deere & Company (DE)

Source: Zacks, February 8, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

– Walter Winchell

Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster? 

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or fires, can happen anytime, so preparing before disaster strikes is essential. Here are a few tips to help you prepare in case anything happens: 

  • Update Your Family’s Emergency Plans: Your emergency plans can include knowing where to go, where you keep all necessary documents and possessions, and what you need to be prepared for. Check up on the emergency plans for your home or business frequently because things can change.

  • Create Digital Copies Of Important Documents: Most financial organizations, such as banks and insurance companies, provide digital copies of bank statements, tax returns, and insurance policies anyway, and keeping all these digital copies saved and organized is an excellent practice to get into. If you only have paper copies of important documents, scan them and save them securely to access them in an emergency.
  • Document Valuables: Documenting valuables makes it easier to claim insurance and tax benefits after a natural disaster. A disaster loss workbook will help you compile a list of belongings and photographs that can make this process even more accessible for both the IRS and your insurance provider. 

These tips may help you have everything you need ready in the case of a natural disaster or other emergency.

*This tax tip is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice. Consult your tax, legal, and accounting professionals for more specific information.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov6

Picking Up a Creative Hobby Is About More Than Passing the Time  

Creative hobbies like writing, knitting, and making clothes are about more than just passing time. Creative hobbies and side projects can make you happier, healthier, and more productive.

When considering a side project or hobby, experts suggest picking something low-risk, low-pressure, and a labor of love. The difference between a creative hobby and a side project is that creative hobbies are ongoing and don’t have a dedicated end goal. Side projects have a goal at the end of the tunnel. For example, your creative hobby could be writing, and your side project could be writing a book.

Coming up with a project or hobby can provide a big psychological lift and a boost to work productivity.

Tip adapted from Fast Company7

If a single-engine airplane taxied not onto a runway but onto an enormous conveyor belt whose speed precisely equaled that of the plane in the opposite direction, could the plane still manage to take off?

 

Last week’s riddle: Two men played five games of chess in the park. They both won the same number of games, yet none of the games they played ended in a draw. So how could this be? Answer: They were not playing each other.

A view of Mont-Saint-Michel at sunrise

 

Footnotes and Sources


1. The Wall Street Journal,February 4, 2024

2. FactSet.com, February 9, 2024

3. CNBC.com, February 9, 2024

4. WSJ.com, February 8, 2024

5. CNBC, February 9, 2024

6. IRS.gov, March 8, 2023

7. Fastcompany.com, October 9, 2023 

Weekly Market Insights: Market Retreats on Inflation, Economic Reports

Weekly Market Insights: Investors Move Past Mixed Fed Message

Stocks pushed higher last week as investors cheered mega-cap tech corporate reports and a better-than-expected employment report.

Stocks At New Highs

At the beginning of the week, stocks surged, anticipating fourth-quarter corporate updates from tech companies and the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting; this led to the S&P 500 Index reaching a new record high on Monday.

The market remained relatively stable for the rest of the week until Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve announced its decision to maintain interest rates within the 5.25-5.50 percent target range. The Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) news unsettled investors, who anticipated that rates would remain unchanged but expected more specific guidance on the Fed’s plan to lower interest rates.1

On Friday, the job report for January revealed the addition of 353,000 new jobs, surpassing the forecast of 185,000. This strong report did not negatively impact the markets. Instead, investors interpreted it as confirmation of a robust economy.2

 
 

Fed’s Mixed Signals

The Fed’s decision to keep rates steady left some investors disappointed, as they had been hoping for indications of rate cuts in the coming months; this led to a decline in stock prices on Wednesday, with increased selling towards the end of the trading day.

The Wall Street Journal’s headline after the FOMC meeting on Wednesday suggested that rate cuts were possible but not expected immediately. The FOMC’s policy language, released after the meeting, indicated a subtle shift from considering rate cuts to proposing they could be possible unless inflation became a concern.3

This Week: Key Economic Data

Monday: ISM Services Index.

Wednesday: International Trade in Goods & Services. EIA Petroleum Report.

Thursday: Jobless Claims. Fed Balance Sheet.

Source: Investors Business Daily – Econoday economic calendar; February 2, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Monday: McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), Caterpillar (CPL)

Tuesday: Eli Lilly and Company (LLY), Amgen Inc. (AMGN), Fiserv, Inc. (FI)

Wednesday: The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Uber Technologies Inc. (UBER), PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL)

Thursday: AstraZeneca Plc (AZN), S&P Global Inc. (SPGI), Philip Morris International Inc. (PM)

Friday: PepsiCo Inc. (PEP)

Source: Zacks, February 2, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”

– Jim Rohn

Vacation Home Rentals

If you receive money for the use of your primary residence, you may have to report this rental income on your tax return; this means that the “vacation home rental” classification can apply to your home, even if you don’t own multiple short-term rental properties. The rental expense deduction is limited in the case of a property used as a home; the rental expenses can’t be more than the rent received. The rental income may not require reporting if you rent the house to your tenant for fewer than 15 days during the year.

A vacation home is a house, apartment, condominium, or other dwelling that you use to generate income, but you can also use it as a residence during the year. For tax purposes, it’s critical to divide the expenses of a property into personal and business purposes.

To report rental income and rental expenses, use Schedule E. In addition, rental income may be subject to a net investment income tax.

*This tax tip is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice. Consult your tax, legal, and accounting professionals for more specific information.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov4

Taking Care Of Your Mental Health 

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health—if not more so. Your mental health influences how you communicate with others, perform at work, and feel about yourself.

Here are some tips to help you focus on your mental health and understand what you need to be the best version of yourself:

  • Start your day with coffee or tea and enjoy the warm drink without thinking about what’s ahead.
  • Set up a getaway, even if you don’t go far. It could even be camping in your backyard.
  • Think of something in your life you want to improve and figure out what you can do to take a step in the right direction.
  • Learn something new, whether that’s a recipe, a song, a poem, or a skill.
  • Show some love to someone in your life. Write a letter, send a text, or give a loved one a phone call.
  • Go off the grid and leave your smartphone at home for a day (or a few hours).


Tip adapted from Mental Health America5

Two men played five games of chess in the park. They both won the same number of games, yet none of the games they played ended in a draw. So how could this be?

  

Last week’s riddle: What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? Answer: Short.

A camel caravan in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

 

Footnotes And Sources


1. CNBC.com, January 29, 2024

2. The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2024

3. CNBC.com, February 2, 2024

4. IRS.gov, September 25, 2023 

5. Mhanational.org, October 9, 2023

Weekly Market Insights: Market Retreats on Inflation, Economic Reports

Weekly Market Insights: Excitement Around Big Tech Continues

Stocks continued their upward climb last week as excitement around big tech continued; positive economic reports stoked investors’ belief that the Federal Reserve has pulled off a soft landing.

Stocks Power Ahead

Big tech was back last week, pushing the Dow and the S&P 500 to new highs early in the week as markets resumed the late Q4 rally.

The so-called “Magnificent Seven” stocks—comprising 28% of the S&P 500 Index—resumed their pole position at the head of the pack as investors maintained their artificial intelligence (AI)-related bullishness and rewarded widespread cost-cutting at many tech giants. While the rally fizzled on Friday, the week’s gains were slow but steady.1,2,3

The big economic news last week was better-than-expected economic growth and inflation news. Real Gross Domestic Product grew at a 3.3% annualized clip in Q4 2023, ahead of Wall Street consensus expectations of 2%.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index, one of the Fed’s most favored inflation gauges, showed core inflation (excluding food and energy) cooled in December, with an annualized rate of 2.9%, beating consensus expectations. Core inflation was 3.2% on an annualized basis—its lowest level since March 2021. While the inflation update didn’t move markets much, it helped validate investors’ optimism that Fed policy has maintained economic growth while bringing inflation down.4

Earnings Season Feeds FOMO

The market digested Q4 earnings news from some of the largest companies, with enthusiasm feeling like FOMO. The “fear of missing out” drove much investor sentiment and seemed to build market momentum.

While the enthusiasm for AI continues to be one driver of technology stock prices, the spotlight last week was on layoffs. Over 23,000 workers at 85 tech companies have lost their jobs this month. The market appears to be rewarding the cost-cutting measures, with many tech giants repositioning themselves with AI in mind, and some analysts inferring that this emphasis on efficiency may encourage investors.5,6

This Week: Key Economic Data

Tuesday: FOMC Meeting. Consumer Confidence. Home Price Index.

Wednesday: FOMC Announcement/Fed Chair Press Conference.

Thursday: Jobless Claims. ISM Manufacturing Index. Fed Balance Sheet.

Friday: Employment Situation.

Source: Investors Business Daily – Econoday economic calendar; January 26, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Tuesday: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (GOOG, GOOGL), United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), Starbucks Corporation (SBUX)

Wednesday: Mastercard Incorporated (MA), The Boeing Company (BA), Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP)

Thursday: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Friday: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY)

Source: Zacks, January 26, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am.”

– Albert Einstein

Couples Who Work Together, Tax Together  

As more households decide to start a business, many couples learn about the tax responsibilities related to such businesses. Here are some things to consider when working together:

  • You should establish whether you have a partnership business (in which both spouses have an equal say in business affairs, services, and capital) or an employee/employer relationship (with one spouse substantially controlling management decisions). These relationships involve different tax situations.

  • If an employee/employer relationship exists, the second spouse (employee) may be subject to income, Social Security, and Medicare tax.
  • If there is a partnership relationship, you may need to report the business income on Form 1065, US Return of Partnership Income.

*This information is not intended to substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov7

Four Tips to Help You Sleep Better  

Sleep is one of the most important things we do to stay healthy and energized. Much more goes into getting a good night’s sleep than simply resting your head on the pillow, so here are some tips for getting your shut-eye:

  • Increase bright light exposure during the day. You probably already know that it helps to keep your room dark while you sleep, but did you know it’s also beneficial to get enough bright light during the day? These contrasts tell your body when it’s time to go to sleep. This natural clock is called your circadian rhythm.

  • Reduce blue light exposure in the evening. The luminance from our devices (smartphones, tablets, and TVs) is called blue light and can disrupt your sleep cycle. Try to limit blue light at least two hours before bedtime. Some devices offer a setting that automatically “warms” the light to limit these blue hues.
  • Try to wake up and sleep consistently, even on weekends, as this is another way to set up your body’s circadian rhythm for success.
  • Adjust your bedroom temperature. Did you know that the temperature in your bedroom can affect your sleep? Some studies show that temperature matters even more than noise, and some sleep experts recommend keeping your bedroom at around 70 degrees.

Tip adapted from Healthline8

What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?

 

Last week’s riddle: I am gentle enough to soothe the skin, light enough to reflect the sky, yet hard enough to crack rocks. What am I? Answer: Water.

Sleepy koala on a eucalyptus tree

 

Footnotes and Sources


1. The Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2024

2. CNBC.com, January 22, 2024

3. The Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2024

4. CNBC.com, January 25, 2024

5. Slickcharts.com, January 26, 2024

6. CNBC.com, January 26, 2024

7. IRS.gov, July 27, 2023

8. Healthline.com, October 9, 2023

Weekly Market Insights: Market Retreats on Inflation, Economic Reports

Weekly Market Insights: Big Win For Big Tech

Stocks finished higher last week, with big tech again leading amid lingering uncertainty over how continued economic strength would influence the Fed’s rate decision.

Stocks Dip, Then Rally 

Stock prices dropped early in the week before rising to new highs as the week ended. The four-day trading week began with more Q4 bank earnings, which disappointed. The news pushed the financial sector and the broader S&P 500 Index lower on Tuesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed after a Fed Governor said the central bank may not adjust rates as much as markets expect. That and a stronger-than-expected holiday retail sales report put pressure on stock prices.1,2,3

Tech stocks drove the Thursday rally, with the S&P and Nasdaq recouping their 2024 losses. Stocks continued their tech-led climb on Friday, with the S&P 500 rising to an all-time high—its first record close in over two years. The Nasdaq gained 1.70% on Friday, capping a solid week for the tech-heavy index.

Navigating the Middle

Sentiment see-sawed last week as investors tried to anticipate the Fed’s next move. The week was full of economic news that suggested continued resilience in the economy, which may add complexity to the Fed’s next decision.

December retail sales came in strong, +0.6% for the month, besting economists’ expectations of +0.4%. November and December combined to depict a robust holiday shopping season. Unemployment dipped unexpectedly for the second week of January–a sign of a resilient U.S. labor market. That labor news and hotter-than-expected housing starts pushed the yield on the 10-year Treasury to 4.14%, its highest level in more than a month.4,5,6,7

This Week: Key Economic Data

Tuesday: US Two-Year Note Auction.

Wednesday: PMI Composite. Petroleum Status Report. 

Thursday: Gross Domestic Product, Advance estimate of Q4 and Year 2023. Durable Goods Orders. Jobless Claims. Housing Starts.

Friday: Personal Income and Outlays.

Source: Investor’s Business Daily, Econoday economic calendar; January 19, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Monday: United Airlines Holdings Inc. (UAL)

Tuesday: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), The Procter & Gamble Company (PG), Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)

Wednesday: Tesla, Inc. (TSLA), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), AT&T Inc. (T)

Thursday: Visa Inc. (V), Intel Corporation (INTC), T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS), Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC)

Friday: American Express Company (AXP), Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL)

Source: Zacks, January 19, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“Thus every action must be due to one or other of seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reasoning, anger, or appetite.”

– Aristotle

Keep These Tips in Mind When Selling a Home 

If you are selling your home, you may be able to exclude the sale’s capital gain from your tax return. The first thing to consider is the home’s ownership and use. To claim the exclusion, you must have owned the home and used it as your primary residence for at least two years.

If you are selling your main home, you may be able to exclude from your return the sale’s capital gain of up to $250,000 for single filers and up to $500,000 on joint returns. If you own more than one home, you can exclude only the gains on selling your main home. However, the loss may not be deductible if you experience a loss in selling your home. You can also choose not to claim exclusion, in which case you must report the gain on your tax return.

Some taxpayers must also report forgiven or canceled debt as income on their tax return, including foreclosure or other processes in which a lender forgives or cancels mortgage debt on the home.

*This information is not intended to substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov8

Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal  

A gratitude journal is a great way to practice giving thanks for even the small things in life. We all have things we’re thankful for, and regularly acknowledging them helps us stay present and gracious. 

 Are you looking to start a gratitude journal? These tips will help you get started and love the practice. 

  • The first thing to do is to get some beautiful stationery and pens that make you happy every time you look at them.

  • Once you have suitable materials, start with a prompt. Most people initially writing a gratitude journal don’t know where to start. Using a simple prompt will get your gratitude juices flowing.
  • When thinking about things you’re grateful for, focus on depth over breadth. Rather than listing several small items, detail the things you’re more grateful for.
  • Try subtraction, not just addition, when considering things you’re grateful for. Reflect on what your life would be like without them.
  • Don’t overdo it and burn yourself out. Journaling once or twice a week rather than every day may be more effective, especially as you build the habit. 

Keeping a gratitude journal encourages us to pay attention to the good things we’d otherwise take for granted.

Tip adapted from Greater Good Magazine9

I am gentle enough to soothe the skin, light enough to reflect the sky, yet hard enough to crack rocks. What am I?

 

Last week’s riddle: You can rearrange the letters in insatiable to make another ten-letter word that starts with the letter b. What is this ten-letter word? Answer: Banalities.

Man inside an ice cave in Iceland

 

Footnotes and Sources


1. CNBC.com, January  16, 2024.

2. CNBC.com, January 17, 2024.

3. CNBC.com, January 17, 2024.

4. CNBC.com, January 16, 2024.

5. MarketWatch.com, January 17, 2024

6. CNBC.com, January 18, 2024. 

7. The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2024.

8. IRS.gov, March 8, 2023

9. Greatergood.berkeley.edu, October 9, 2023

Weekly Market Insights: Market Retreats on Inflation, Economic Reports

Weekly Market Insights: Investors Begin to See the Light in Upbeat Week

Stocks pushed higher last week, led by big tech names and boosted by December inflation reports that were mixed but positive enough to shore up investor confidence in Fed rate cuts this year.

Stocks Rock and Roll

It was a rocky week that ended on a high note. Stocks rallied Monday after the prior week’s decline. Tech shares led, with the Nasdaq posting its best day since November 14.

On Tuesday, stocks initially tumbled but recovered most of their losses late in the session. Stocks rallied on Wednesday ahead of inflation news the following two trading days. Stocks fell initially on Thursday in response to a hotter-than-expected inflation report, reflecting investor concerns about the certainty, timing, and extent of Fed rate cuts later this year.

On Friday, the start of earnings season brought mixed results from a handful of major banks. By close, stocks had recovered most of their losses, ending the week with solid gains.1,2,3,4,5

A Tale of Two Inflation Reports

The biggest economic news last week was fresh inflation data. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in December over the prior month and 3.4 percent compared with a year prior. That number was higher than the 3.2 percent increase economists expected and a few ticks elevated from the 3.1 percent figure in November.6,7

Core CPI for December, which excludes volatile food and energy components, rose 3.9%, a slight decrease from November’s 4.0% gain.

On Friday, the Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures inflation by domestic producers, showed a drop of 0.1% for December, possibly suggesting that the CPI’s uptick may have been an anomaly.6,7,8

This Week: Key Economic Data

Tuesday: Empire State Manufacturing Index.

Wednesday: Retail Sales. Industrial Production.

Thursday: Jobless Claims. Housing Starts. Petroleum Status Report.

Friday: Existing Home Sales.

Source: Investor’s Business Daily, Econoday economic calendar; January 10, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Tuesday: Morgan Stanley (MS), The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS), Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IBKR)

Wednesday:  The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW), U.S. Bancorp (USB), Alcoa (AA)

Thursday: M&T Bank Corporation (MTB), Northern Trust Corporation (NTRS)

Friday: Schlumberger Limited (SLB), The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV), State Street Corporation (STT)

Source: Zacks, January 10, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.”

– Paul Saffo

Know and Understand Your Correct Filing Status 

Taxpayers must know their correct filing status and be familiar with each choice. When preparing and filing a tax return, the filing status affects:

  • whether taxpayers are required to file a federal tax return
  • whether they should file a return to receive a refund
  • their standard deduction amount
  • whether they can claim certain credits
  • the amount of tax they pay

Here are the five filing statuses:

Single: Normally, this status is for taxpayers who are unmarried, divorced, or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree governed by state law.

Married filing jointly: Taxpayers who are married can file a joint tax return with their spouse. When a spouse passes away, the widowed spouse can usually file a joint return for that year.

Married filing separately: Married couples can choose to file separate tax returns when doing so results in a smaller tax burden than filing a joint tax return.

Head of household: Unmarried taxpayers may be able to file under this status, but special rules apply. For example, they must have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for themselves and a qualifying person living in the home for half the year.

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child: This status may apply to taxpayers whose spouse died during one of the previous two years and who have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply.

*This information is not intended to substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov9

Keeping Your Heart Rate Up (When Temperatures Are Down) 

Colder weather can sap our motivation to leave the warmth of home unless we must, but you don’t need to stop working out in winter. Here are a few ways to feel the burn indoors while Mother Nature keeps it cool outside.

Hop to it with a rebounder (a mini-trampoline) or a jump rope. If you have neither, fake the latter by keeping your hands at your sides and rotating them as you mimic the rest of the exercise sans equipment.

Find a YouTube video or other streaming guided workout. Can’t squeeze in a full half hour at one go? Pause it and return when you’re ready.

If you can afford it, invest in workout equipment you know you’ll use. If you run or hike, consider a treadmill with an adjustable incline. Like to ride your bike? Consider getting a stationary one.

There are many ways to stay fit while winter rages outside, but remember to discuss any medical concerns with your healthcare provider before beginning a fitness routine. The information provided here is not a substitute for medical advice.

Tip adapted from Real Simple10

You can rearrange the letters in insatiable to make another ten-letter word that starts with the letter b. What is this ten-letter word?

 

Last week’s riddle: It has avenues, rivers, and parks, but no grass, water, or asphalt. What is it? Answer: A map.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

 

Footnotes and Sources


1. CNBC.com, January 8, 2024.

2. CNBC.com, January 9, 2024.

3. CNBC.com, January 10, 2024.

4. The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2024.

5. The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2024.

6. The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2024.

7. The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2024.

8. The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2024.

9. IRS.gov, May 1, 2023.

10. RealSimple.com, December 12, 2023.

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