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Have you noticed that you’re paying more for certain items lately? Price hikes on many consumer goods tend to occur in the summer. Gas prices tend to spike, and that affects the cost of everything from your overall vacation budget to a simple gallon of milk. And, this year’s severe weather events have impacted farmers and triggered a shortage of many crops, so you might also notice a difference in the cost of fruits, vegetables, and other food staples.

Of course, many of these price hikes are temporary, with prices often stabilizing when a season (or particular crisis) is over. They affect your spending power in the short term, but it’s usually not enough to trigger disaster for your budget.

On the other hand, long-term rises in prices are more gradual, but will most certainly impact your budget in your later retirement years. The overall inflation rate for 2018 was measured at 2.44 percent, and it’s holding steady at 1.79 percent now. That doesn’t sound like much, but keep in mind that these days, retirement is commonly lasting twenty years or more. Your budget might not feel too squeezed by a spike in prices this summer, but what about in twenty years, when prices have nearly doubled? That is actually a realistic scenario, and a concern for those living on a fixed income.

And those numbers just cover overall inflation; basically, just an average. Rising costs in certain categories tend to impact some groups more than others. Retirees, for example, are more likely to be impacted by the cost of healthcare. And we know that healthcare is outpacing general inflation every year for the past few years.

Our point is this: If you’ve planned for retirement income that matches your expected budget after retirement, great. But you should also consider how that budget will change over the years. Will your retirement income be structured to increase slightly each year? We can show you how to do that. Call us to schedule an appointment, and we’ll review all of the different retirement planning vehicles at your disposal, including those that could provide for a gradually increasing income to compensate for inflation.

The post How Will Inflation Affect Your Retirement Plan? appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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Angela Market Minute 7.11.19 - YouTube

Investment Commentary – July 9, 2019

Year to Date Market Indices as of Market Close July 9, 2019
Dow 26,783 (14.82%)
S&P 2,979 (18.86%)
NASDAQ 8,143 (22.70%)
Gold $1386 (8.94%)
OIL $58.04 (27.53%)
Barclay Bond Aggregate (6.06%)
All World Index (15.52%)

US stocks mixed on trade concerns

U.S. stocks Opens a New Window. Traded in a tight range Tuesday, buoyed by rising tech stocks but burdened by concerns about the effect on earnings of a protracted U.S.-China trade dispute will have.

Traders also expect the Federal Reserve Opens a New Window. To forgo an interest rate cut.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will present his semi-annual testimony to the Congress on Wednesday and Thursday. His appearance will give investors an opportunity to gauge near-term monetary policy thinking. Also, the Fed will release the central bank’s June meeting minutes on Wednesday.

Top U.S. and Chinese Opens a New Window. Officials are expected to speak this week in an attempt to jump-start stalled trade negotiations Opens a New Window. Between the two nations, but many of the same tensions Opens a New Window. That undermined talks previously remain.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged up to 2.06 percent.

Crude oil prices rose: U.S. benchmark crude oil West Texas Intermediate climbed 22 cents to $57.88 per barrel.

Stocks with exposure to China traded lower including 3M, Boeing and Caterpillar.

PepsiCo reported better-than-expected profit and revenue as the company continues its shift to healthier snacks and drinks under a new CEO.

Gains in tech titans such as Amazon.com, Facebook and Netflix kept the Nasdaq positive through the day.

These S&P 500 sectors show this bull market has more to run

The U.S. stock market is telling a bullish story now. That’s because the sectors which typically perform best near the end of a bull market are showing weakness, while many of the sectors that usually perform the worst are doing quite well.

That’s what emerged from a comparison of S&P 500 SPX, +0.12% sectors’ recent behavior, with a ranking of sector performance over the last three months of past bull markets (back to 1970) that was compiled by Ned Davis Research. The best-performing S&P 500 sector over those months, on average, was Consumer Discretionary, according to that firm, followed by Health Care and Consumer Staples. The worst performers over those same months, on average, were Communication Services, Utilities and Energy.

(Note that “Communication Services” is a recently created category. For purposes of drawing historical parallels, I assumed it to be the successor to the now-defunct sector category of “Telecommunication Services.”)

It makes sense that different sectors would fare better or worse in the months immediately prior to a bear market beginning. Financials and Utilities suffer, for example, because interest rates typically rise over a bull market’s final stretch. At that same time, Consumer Staples stocks discount the relative strength they are likely to enjoy during the resulting economic downturn.

Around the Web:

Jobs rebound: After May’s weak jobs gain of 72,000, the 224,000 increase in the June report exceeded expectations, topping the average monthly increase so far this year. The latest monthly gain led analysts to suggest that the U.S. Federal Reserve could be less aggressive about cutting interest rates when it concludes its next policy meeting on July 31.

Fed chair in spotlight: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to make his semiannual monetary policy report to a House committee on Wednesday; the following day, he’ll appear before a Senate panel. Powell is likely to face questions about signals the Fed has recently sent about the potential for interest-rate cuts.

U.S.-China truce: Stocks got a strong start to the week after a meeting at the G20 summit in Japan eased tensions in the trade conflict between the United States and China. The countries agreed to resume negotiations, with the United States holding off on further tariff increases for now and China pledging to purchase additional U.S. goods.

Upcoming Events: Thursday: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before Senate Banking Committee

Other Notable Indices (YTD)
Russell 2000 (small caps) 16.62
EAFE International 14.07
Emerging Markets 8.33

The views presented are not intended to be relied on as a forecast, research or investment advice and are the opinions of the sources cited and are subject to change based on subsequent developments. They are not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investments.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/us-stocks-wall-street-july-9-2019
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/these-sp-500-sectors-show-this-bull-market-has-more-to-run-2019-07-09?mod=mw_latestnews

The post Affinity “Mark” et Minute – July 9,2019 appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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We tend to think of parenthood as an 18-year experience; at the end, the kids leave the nest, we congratulate ourselves for a job well done, and we’re finished teaching and raising them. Right?

Well… Not exactly. Just ask anyone whose college graduate has now moved back home, due to high rent or other life circumstances! Most parents find that their jobs are never really “done”, but that the job description simply shifts with time.

That’s definitely the case with regard to financial planning. We’ve long known that the financial decisions of parents influence their children’s own decisions well into adulthood. Now, a study by TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America) has examined how parents’ retirement planning decisions help to shape the way millenials think about, and plan for, their own retirement years.

In many cases, parents have led by setting a “bad” example! Millennial respondents reported learning from their parents’ mistakes, with 61 percent saying they will take a different approach to financial planning in order to avoid the same blunders. About half say they avoid significant debt, while 38 percent are consciously limiting their spending.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to make mistakes in order to help your kids learn! If we examine these situations more closely, millenials who avoid making mistakes (such as taking on high debt loads) are often following the regretful lessons their parents have communicated to them. Meanwhile, those who are enjoying stable finances in retirement often share their wisdom with adult children, who then mimic the behavior.

In other words, it is communication that is the key here. If you’ve made mistakes, share those with your kids. But if you’ve been successful at financial planning, share that too. The important thing here is to teach by example, and you can do that in numerous ways. Just keep the lines of communication open.

We can help with that, too. Refer your adult children to us as they begin planning for their own retirements, and we can help them carry on a family tradition of wise preparation for the future.

The post Things Retirees Should Teach Their Adult Children appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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Angela Market Minute 7.4.19 - YouTube

Investment Commentary – July 1, 2019

Year to Date Market Indices as of Market Close July 1, 2019
Dow 26,717 (13.81%)
S&P 2,964 (16.38%)
NASDA 8,091 (18.83%)
Gold $1386 (7.92%)
OIL $57.92 (28.84%)
Barclay Bond Aggregate (6.11%)
All World Index (14.88%)

U.S. Stocks Hit Record on Trade Truce; Bonds Drop: Markets Wrap

U.S. stocks rallied to all-time highs after a trade truce with China, though finished well of highs of the day as measures of manufacturing activity showed growth slowing in the world’s largest economy. Treasuries fell with gold

The S&P 500 ended at a record for the first time in 10 days, led by a surge in chipmakers after President Donald Trump agreed to ease a ban on American companies supplying Chinese tech giant Huawei. The Nasdaq 100 hit a two-month high. Industrial shares underperformed, as a U.S. manufacturing gauge showed orders stalled last month.

“The rally on this news will probably be short-lived and then we’ll go back to worrying about very weak growth data,” Ed Campbell, portfolio manager and managing director at QMA, said in an interview.

The U.S. data came after a series of weak factory reports from major economies around world reaffirmed speculation that global central banks will remain on track with easier monetary policy. The 10-year Treasury yield climbed even as futures traders still priced in almost 75 basis points of rate cuts this year by the Federal Reserve. Gold slid 1.4%.

Crude advanced toward $60 a barrel, after major producers agreed to extend output cuts. Stocks in Shanghai and Tokyo led Asian gains, while markets in Hong Kong were closed for a holiday as a new wave of unrest hit the city.

Traders seem cautiously optimistic in the wake of the G-20 gathering, though the move to delay further tariffs and resume talks doesn’t offer much clarity on the critical issues. Investors have also been assessing global growth as a series of major purchasing manager readings on Monday morning showed declines. U.S. factory data are also due today.

In Europe, the euro trimmed a decline and European bonds were mixed as data showed manufacturers in the region remained firmly stuck in a slump last month, and as leaders failed again to agree who will fill key European Union roles, including the presidency of the central bank. Italian bonds surged, reflecting optimism that the European Commission won’t penalize the nation this summer over its budget deficit. The pound weakened as a U.K. factory gauge contracted.

Elsewhere, the lira rallied after Trump indicated he may reassess his threats to sanction Turkey if it goes ahead with a Russian missile purchase. Swiss stocks rose as much as 1.3% as never-before-tested provisions to safeguard liquidity kicked in following a showdown with the European Union. Gold dropped the most in a year.

When do markets close for the Fourth of July?

U.S. financial markets will be closed in observance of Independence Day but back to normal hours on Friday

Major U.S. exchanges will close early on Wednesday and be closed on Thursday in observance of Independence Day.

But it will be back to normal hours on Friday, even if staffing (and trading) is expected to be light.

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will both close at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday and remain closed on Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

Some CME Globex futures and options, including U.S. equity futures ESU19, +0.81% and bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.06% futures, will close early on Wednesday afternoon as well, while markets commodities such as crude oil CLQ19, +1.23% and gold GCQ19, -1.89% will remain open until 5 p.m., before closing for the holiday.

Markets for government bonds TMUBMUSD10Y, +1.03% and other fixed-income securities will also close early on Wednesday, at 2 p.m. Eastern, and will remain closed over the holiday, per the recommendation of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Around the Web:

Jobs ahead: The most closely watched economic report in the holiday-shortened week is likely to be Friday’s labor market release, which is expected to show that the pace of jobs growth in June picked up from May’s lower-than-expected figure of 75,000. On average, economists expect the economy generated around 170,000 jobs in June

Midyear checkup: June’s results extended a strong run through the first six months of 2019, maintaining the momentum from a record-length bull market that’s more than a decade old. The S&P 500’s total return through Friday was nearly 19%, the Dow’s gain was more than 15%, and the NASDAQ was up more than 21%.

V-shaped recovery: June’s strongly positive results for stocks marked a sharp reversal from May, as the major indexes’ June gains were roughly equal in magnitude to the previous month’s losses. The S&P 500, the Dow, and the NASDAQ all gained around 7% on a price basis; it was the best June since 1955 for the S&P 500, and the best since 1938 for the Dow.

Other Notable Indices (YTD)
Russell 2000 (small caps) 16.98
EAFE International 14.03
Emerging Markets 9.22

The views presented are not intended to be relied on as a forecast, research or investment advice and are the opinions of the sources cited and are subject to change based on subsequent developments. They are not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investments.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-30/yuan-climbs-dollar-dips-on-trade-truce-yen-falls-markets-wrap?srnd=premium
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/which-markets-are-closed-for-july-4th-independence-day-2019-07-01?mod=markets&mod=mw_theo_homepage
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/yuan-climbs-dollar-dips-trade-212127628.html

The post Affinity “Mark” et Minute – July 1, 2019 appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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Estate planning forces us to consider some uncomfortable topics, but many people would never dream that they will continue to pay taxes after death! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens sometimes (or more correctly, it’s your heirs who will pay the taxes). But because you would prefer to leave your estate to your loved ones, and not to Uncle Sam, estate planning becomes an important part of financial planning. This is true at any age, but especially as we transition into retirement.

Also called the “death tax”, the estate tax was first created by the Stamp Tax of 1797. As you might imagine, the tax has been quite unpopular throughout our legal history. It has been repealed and reinstated throughout the years, often in response to political pressures or as a bargaining chip attached to other Congressional actions.

Currently, we are subject to estate taxes, as created by 1916’s Revenue Act. But every few years, the tax is changed somewhat, often with regard to exemption amounts. For 2019, the IRS bumped the estate tax exemption to $11.4 million for an individual, or $22.8 million for couples. That means the first 11.8 million of an inheritance can be shielded from taxes, or couples together can shield up to $22.8 million. But once an inheritance exceeds those amounts, the entire estate is taxed at a rate of 40 percent.

Granted, a relatively small proportion of the population will ever have to worry about this type of tax. But it is important to remember that “estate” does not refer only to the cash value of financial accounts. Real property, stocks and bonds, and pretty much anything else that you pass on to your loved ones is considered part of your estate, and therefore your estate plan.

Theoretically, one could assume that their estate planning does not need to account for estate taxes. But then, upon their death twelve years later, certain assets have increased in value dramatically, and the estate is taxed. This could be a problem for those with considerable non-cash assets, because heirs could be forced to come up with some way to pay the taxes on the estate.

Even if your estate is not subject to estate taxes, consider other forms of taxes that might apply. For example, if you leave a real estate property to a loved one, can they afford the annual taxes? Estate planning can help you ask these questions, and answer them in a way that benefits you and your heirs.

As you continue to plan for your financial future, remember that estate planning is part of the complete package. Talk to us about your concerns at our next meeting, and then meet with an estate planning professional to learn methods of protecting your property and passing it to the individuals of your choice.

The post Estate and Inheritance Tax Facts You Should Know appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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Angela Market Minute 6.27.19 - YouTube

Investment Commentary – June 25, 2019

Year to Date Market Indices as of Market Close June 25, 2019
Dow26,548 (13.81%)
S&P 2,917 (16.38%)
NASDAQ 7,884 (18.83%)
Gold $1426 (11.05%)
OIL $57.92 (26.41%)
Barclay Bond Aggregate (5.95%)
All World Index (14.84%)

Powell, Bullard dampen market hopes that Fed will deliver half-point interest-rate cut

Fed chairman says the central bank is grappling with need to cut interest rates

Comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on Tuesday dampened hopes by some investors that the central bank would deliver a half-point interest-rate cut in July.

In comments at the Council of Foreign Relations, Powell stuck close to comments he made at his press conference last week, saying that while there is greater uncertainty about trade and worries about the global economy, officials don’t know how long this may last or how serious the drag might be.

“The question my colleagues and I are grappling with is whether these uncertainties will continue to weigh on the outlook and thus call for additional policy accommodation,” Powell said in brief remarks ahead of a moderated discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who dissented from the Fed decision to hold rates steady last week in favor of a quarter-point rate cut, repeated in an interview Tuesday that he thought a quarter-point cut would be a wise “insurance” move. But Bullard said he didn’t see the need for a half-point cut.

“I think 50 basis points would be overdone,” Bullard said on Bloomberg Television.

Powell said that “many FOMC participants” judge that the case for somewhat more-accommodative policy has strengthened.

Only 10 of the 17 Fed participants are voters. The committee voted 9-1 to hold rates steady last week.

Since that meeting, Bullard and two other Fed officials have publicly made the case for easier policy, while Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan took a wait-and-see approach similar to Powell’s.
Stocks sank after Powell and Bullard spoke, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.67% finishing down close to 180 points.

Krishna Guha, a former Fed staffer and now vice chairman of Evercore ISI, said he thought investors were worried that “the Fed may not be as far ahead of the curve as it thinks, with incoming data suggesting that economic weakness may be spreading broader and deeper that the Fed has yet recognized.”

Powell said Fed officials are mindful that monetary policy “should not overreact to any individual data point or short-term swing in sentiment.”

“Doing so would risk adding more uncertainty to the outlook,” he added.

At the same time, Powell said he agreed with the “general principle” that it is better for central banks to act preemptively and not let a downturn “gather steam.”

“The thought being, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he said.

Around the Web:

Fed outlook: The U.S. Federal Reserve Board kept interest rates unchanged, but comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell lifted market expectations that a potential rate cut could come as soon as July 31, when the Fed concludes its next policy meeting. Powell said, “The case for somewhat more accommodative policy has strengthened.”

Talking again: U.S. stock indexes jumped more than 1% on Tuesday after the leaders of the United States and China agreed to meet at the G20 global economic summit scheduled for June 28–29 in Japan. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping planned to make a fresh attempt to reverse the recent escalation in the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Return to record territory: U.S. stock indexes climbed more than 2%, with the S&P 500 eclipsing a record high that it had set in late April and the Dow just shy of its historic peak. The latest weekly results extended the market’s strong run in June, which has seen stocks post a V-shaped recovery in the wake of May’s steep decline.

Performance by Sector

Performance by Country

Other Notable Indices (YTD)
Russell 2000 (small caps) 14.19
EAFE International 13.75
Emerging Markets 9.04

The views presented are not intended to be relied on as a forecast, research or investment advice and are the opinions of the sources cited and are subject to change based on subsequent developments. They are not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investments.

https://finviz.com/groups.ashx
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/powell-says-the-fed-is-grappling-with-whether-to-cut-interest-rates-2019-06-25?mod=mw_latestnews

The post Affinity “Mark” et Minute – June 25, 2019 appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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For Mark Roberts’ Use: Financial scams sound like something that only happen to television characters, or the young and inexperienced. Most of us believe we couldn’t possibly become a victim of a con artist, because we’re generally well educated on financial issues. And besides, these things are super rare, right?

Unfortunately, no, financial scams are not nearly as rare as you might think. In fact, a study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation found that 84 percent of Americans age 40 and older have been solicited to take part in a fraudulent financial scam at some point during their lives. And sadly, 11 percent of survey respondents said that they had lost money to such a financial scheme. Not only are these scams more common than you believe; a significant number of people have fallen for them.

So how, and why, does this happen? The FINRA study found that the following sales pitches aren’t as obviously fraudulent as you might expect:

  • “This investment has made hundreds of people extremely wealthy” – 30 percent of survey respondents thought this statement was reasonable
  • “The lowest return you could possibly get on this investment is 50 percent annually, but most investors are making upwards of 110 percent per year” – 42 percent of people responded favorably to this statement
  • “There is no way to lose on this investment; it’s fully guaranteed” – 43 percent thought this statement sounded legitimate!

All of these sales pitches have one thing in common: They set forth unreasonable expectations regarding your potential return. Hearing such promises should be a red flag, but retirees who are worried about their future incomes tend to fall for them. It might even be a case of believing what they hope is true, because they’re desperate to boost their retirement savings at this time in their lives.

So, how can you keep a level head when approached about an investment opportunity? Just remember these rules:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true.
  • Never provide your bank account information or send money without proof of someone’s legitimacy.
  • Remember that schemes won’t be obvious; con artists work hard to make everything look legitimate.
  • Exercise skepticism in every situation.

And if you’re feeling concerned about your retirement savings or income, there are more productive ways to address that anxiety. Remember to meet with us regularly to discuss your concerns, and we can help you identify legitimate opportunities to address your budget concerns.

The post Financial Scams are More Common Than You Think appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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Investment Commentary – June 18, 2019

Year to Date Market Indices as of Market Close June 18, 2019
Dow26,465 (13.45%)
S&P 2,017 (16.39%)
NASDAQ 7,953 (19.87%)
Gold $1349 (5.06%)
OIL $54.08 (18.05%)
Barclay Bond Aggregate (5.25%)
All World Index (12.10%)

Dow surges more than 350 points on hopes for a China trade deal and an easy Fed

Stocks surged on Tuesday as Wall Street increased bets on a U.S.-China trade deal after President Donald Trump said he will be meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the upcoming G-20 summit. Sentiment was also lifted by hope that the Fed will ease monetary policy later this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 353.01 points to 26,465.54 as 3M and Boeing outperformed. The S&P 500 climbed 1% to 2,917.75 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.4% 7,953.88. The S&P 500 also closed 1.2% from its all-time intraday high of 2,954.13, which was reached May 1.

Trump said in a tweet he “had a very good telephone conversation ” with Xi. He added: “We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.” The summit will start on June 28.

Boeing and Caterpillar shares, two trade bellwethers, rose 5.4% and 2.4%, respectively. Deere shares also gained more than 3%. Semiconductor stocks jumped on Trump’s tweet. The VanEck Vector Semiconductor ETF (SMH) surged more than 4%, led by strong gains from Nvidia and Micron Technology.

“Certainly, there’s ground for optimism,” said Michael Geraghty, equity strategist at Cornerstone Capital Group. “However, we have to remember there have been a lot of negotiations between China and the U.S. where they seem to be close to a deal and then things fell apart.”

Hope for a U.S.-China trade deal diminished last month after both countries raised tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods. Trump also floated the possibility of imposing tariffs on more Chinese imports.

Trade tensions weigh on Fed meeting this week

Expectations grow that US central bank will move towards monetary easing

Federal Reserve policymakers are set to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday for a gathering that is laden with anticipation because of the possibility that Chairman Jay Powell could start steering the US central bank towards monetary easing.

Few economists expect the Fed to cut interest rates from their current level of 2.25-2.5 per cent, but they do believe Mr. Powell and his colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee could send strong signals about the conditions under which they might do so later in the year.

In the run-up to the meeting, Fed officials have suggested they were ready to act to sustain the economic expansion due to the growing risk of damage from President Donald Trump’s trade policies. But the case for such a move is hardly a slam dunk, with unemployment at record lows and few signs that a serious downturn or recession is around the corner. Here are five things to watch in a pivotal week for the Fed.

Tracking the dots

The Fed is keen to point out that the direction of monetary policy should not be deduced from its economic projections, which are released at every other FOMC meeting. But analysts and investors will nonetheless pay close attention to the so-called dotplot — in which individual Fed officials map their forecasts for interest rates. In December, they were projecting two interest rate increases this year. But by March, they were forecasting none this year, and just one in 2020, as Mr Powell slammed the brakes on his tightening cycle. Some Fed officials will almost certainly chart interest rate cuts this year at the June meeting, completing the shift. The question is whether the median forecast will be one notch lower than it is today, or more.

Around the Web:

Eyes on the Fed: The U.S. Federal Reserve will open a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday amid market expectations that at least one interest-rate cut could come this year, given recent softness in employment growth and inflation data. If the Fed doesn’t announce a rate cut at its June meeting, it will have another opportunity at its July 30–31 session.

Industrial slowdown: China’s growth in industrial output was just 5% in May, the slowest pace in more than 17 years for the world’s second-largest economy. The government data was released on Friday as policymakers consider whether to take further steps to stimulate China’s economy amid a trade war with the United States.

Tech lift: Technology stocks have been a big source of the broad market’s gains so far in June. The six-day stretch that ended on Tuesday, June 11, marked the best such period in more than seven years for the S&P 500 Index’s information technology sector, as those stocks posted a nearly 9% gain, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Other Notable Indices (YTD)
Russell 2000 (small caps) 13.30
EAFE International 10.57
Emerging Markets 4.68

The views presented are not intended to be relied on as a forecast, research or investment advice and are the opinions of the sources cited and are subject to change based on subsequent developments. They are not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investments.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/18/stock-market-wall-street-monitors-federal-reserve-meeting.html
https://www.ft.com/content/6b6405da-9142-11e9-aea1-2b1d33ac3271

The post Affinity “Mark” et Minute – June 18, 2019 appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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For Mark Roberts’ Use: They say hindsight is 20/20, meaning it is always easier to look back at the past and see things more clearly. Most of us have experienced situations in which life experience illuminates the reality of past mistakes. That’s why many retirees often preface statements with the words, ‘If I could do it over, I would…”.

So, how exactly do those sentences end? If you’d like to learn from the experiences of those who have gone before you, check out these four common retirement “do-over” statements.

“I would start saving sooner”. In a recent poll, more than half (52 percent) of soon-to-retire respondents said they wish they had started saving sooner. This makes sense, because many younger workers focus on saving for a home or growing their families throughout their twenties and thirties, only to play catch-up later. The problem is, you really can’t make up for lost time, with regard to years of compounding interest on investment funds.

“I would save more of my paychecks”. In response to the same survey, 47 percent said they wish they had saved more of their paychecks for retirement. If even a small lifestyle change allows you to contribute more to your retirement account, it’s worth it. It’s hard to predict the exact impact of inflation in years to come, but we know that no one has ever wished they had saved less!

“I should have better prepared for emergencies”. Recent research from the National Endowment for Financial Education** shows that the vast majority of workers encounter a major financial setback at least once during their careers. Unfortunately, these setbacks, such as serious illness or job loss, often derail retirement plans. Those who plan for the possibility of these setbacks usually won’t suffer the same level of remorse.

“I wish I had planned for the personal side of things”. As retirement planners, we’ve found that people often focus on the financial side of retirement planning, but often fail to plan for their daily lives after retirement. When your identity and daily purpose are tied up in your career, it can be surprisingly difficult to give that up. Make sure you’ve planned for hobbies or activities that excite you, so that you continue to enjoy a sense of purpose after retirement.

Your retirement plan is worth a second look, to feel certain that you’re on the right track. Give us a call and we’ll review your plans with you, and hopefully help you avoid these types of retirement regret in the future.

The post The Top Four Retirement “Do-Overs” appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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Angela Market Minute 6.13.19 - YouTube

Investment Commentary – June 12, 2019

Year to Date Market Indices as of Market Close June 12, 2019
Dow 26,048 (11.66%)
S&P 2,885 (15.11%)
NASDAQ 7,822 (17.89%)
Gold $1339 (4.27%)
OIL $51.78 (13.05%)
Barclay Bond Aggregate (4.97%)
All World Index (12.78%)

JP Morgan: Thought of the week

Trade tensions weighed heavily on global activity in may as indicated by the Global PMI indicies. The manufacturing index fell below the key 50 level to 49.8, hitting its lowest level since October 2012 and indicating that manufacturing contracted in May. Similarly the services index fell 1.2 pts, hitting its lowest level since August 2016, but remained in expansion territory at 51.6. In aggregate, the decline in these two indicies reflects a slowing in economic activity across geographies and sectors, with the manufacturing sector continuing to struggle while services, which had been more resilient until recently, is beginning to be negatively impacted by the manufacturing slowdown. While labor markets continue to tighten in the developed world, which should provide support for the consumer, and stimulus out of China should support the emerging world broadly, the global slowdown has been led by a slowdown in business investment, which is likely to continue as long as trade tension remain elevated. Furthermore, the pressure on the services index confirms that the global slowdown is not solely concentrated in manufacturing as previous months’ reading had suggested. The slowing in global activity, escalating trade tension and uncertainty around global central bank policy all suggest volatility is like to increase. As a result, a more balanced approach to asset allocation, with a focus on income, seems warranted at this point in the cycle.

U.S. Core Inflation Cools, Bolstering Case for Fed Rate Cut

A closely watched measure of U.S. inflation trailed forecasts in May as prices fell for used vehicles, reinforcing the case among investors for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.
The core consumer price index, which removes energy and food costs, rose 2% from a year earlier, below forecasts, according to a Labor Department report Wednesday. The figure rose 0.1% from the prior month for a fourth-straight time and missed estimates. The broader CPI increased an annual 1.8%, less than projected.

Cooling Prices

U.S. core and headline inflation both eased in May, missing forecasts. U.S. stock futures briefly advanced and Treasury yields dipped as below-forecast inflation followed signs of slower economic growth that stands to bolster investor expectations for Fed rate cuts this year. Weighing even heavier are signs of lackluster expansions at home and abroad, along with President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods.

Around the Web:

Roaring back: Stock indexes soared to weekly gains of more than 4% as the market recovered most—but not all—of the ground lost in May’s sell-off. For the Dow, the positive result snapped a string of six consecutive weekly declines; the S&P 500 had declined four straight weeks.

Fuel from the Fed: Stock indexes surged more than 2% on Tuesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed is closely watching the negative impact that trade wars could have on the economy. He said the Fed “will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion”—a comment that was seen as increasing the potential that an interest-rate cut could come later this year.
Oil bear: Concerns about growing oil inventories sent crude prices into a bear market on Wednesday, as the price of U.S. crude fell more than 20% below a recent high in April. Oil closed below $52 per barrel on Wednesday, although prices recorded gains on Thursday and Friday.

Other Notable Indices (YTD)
Russell 2000 (small caps) 13.30
EAFE International 12.19
Emerging Markets 7.45

The views presented are not intended to be relied on as a forecast, research or investment advice and are the opinions of the sources cited and are subject to change based on subsequent developments. They are not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investments.
https://am.jpmorgan.com/us/en/asset-management/gim/adv/insights/weekly-strategy-report
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-12/u-s-core-inflation-cools-bolstering-case-for-fed-rate-cut?srnd=premium

The post Affinity “Mark” et Minute – June 12, 2019 appeared first on Affinity Asset Management.

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