A Difficult Week for Stocks

The Week on Wall Street

Stocks drop during COVID-19 pandemicStocks treaded water last week amid fading prospects for a stimulus bill, fears of a second wave of COVID-19 cases, and increasing political and regulatory pressures on Big Tech companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added just 0.07% while the Standard & Poor’s 500 eked out a gain of 0.19%. The Nasdaq Composite index picked up 0.79% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slid 2.08%.[1][2][3]

Rocky Week

The stock market began the week by posting strong gains on hopes of a fiscal stimulus bill. Also, investors were optimistic that earnings season would reflect an improving picture of corporate performance.

But stocks stumbled midweek on a mixed bag of early earnings results, and an increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe. Disappointing news on some key COVID-19 treatment trials also weighed on the market, as did a jump in new jobless claims and a continued stalemate on a fiscal stimulus package.

Stocks attempted to rally on Friday, emboldened by strong retail sales, but lost momentum as trading came to a close.

Earnings Season Kicks Off

Earnings season began on an upbeat note as major banks mostly beat on revenue and profit expectations. Banks attributed the strength to rising consumer deposits, a drop in the amount of money set aside for failing loans, and strong results from their investment banking and trading units.[4]

Airlines fared less well. Investors were disappointed with the quarterly reports even though the average daily cash burn at these companies generally improved. Airline management uniformly accompanied their earnings announcements with warnings of continued near-term weakness due to COVID-19.[5]

THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

  • Tuesday: Housing Starts.
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims. Existing Home Sales. Index of Leading Economic Indicators.
Source: Econoday, October 16, 2020
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: Halliburton (HAL), PPG Industries (PPG), International Business Machines (IBM)
  • Tuesday: Netflix (NFLX), Lockheed Martin (LMT), Procter & Gamble (PG), Snap (SNAP), Texas Instruments (TXN)
  • Wednesday: Verizon (VZ), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), CSX Corp. (CSX), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)
  • Thursday: AT&T (T), Intel Corp. (INTC), Coca Cola Co. (KO), American Airlines (AAL), Southwest Airlines (LUV)
  • Friday: American Express (AXP)
Source: Zacks, October 16, 2020
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.


“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.”

– Amelia Barr


Recipe of the Week

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

36 servings
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon natural sea salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or more for your preference!)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
  5. Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of dough into balls on a lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. They are done when the edges are just turning brown.
  7. Let sit for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
Recipe adapted from Joy Food Sunshine[6]

Tax Tips

Deductions for Teachers

School may look a little different this year, but eligible teachers can still deduct certain unreimbursed expenses on their tax return next year.
The taxpayer must be a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide. They must also work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under state law.
Educators can deduct up to $250 of trade or business expenses that were not reimbursed. As teachers prepare for the school year, they should remember to keep receipts after making any purchase to support claiming this deduction.

Examples of expenses the educator can deduct include:

  • Professional development course fees
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Computer equipment, including related software and services
  • Other equipment and materials used in the classroom

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

Tip adapted from IRS.gov[7]

Golf Tip

The Golden Rules of Putting

Putting is one of the most important aspects of the game and these “golden rules” will stop you from all those “gimme” putts you’ve been calling at the end of the game (we’re all guilty of it!).
Here are some tips to get you started:
  • Make sure you have your thumbs down the shaft. This helps keep both your putter and your wrists straight.
  • Have your eyes directly over the ball. In fact, if you were to drop another golf ball from where your eyes are in a straight line down, the ball should land directly on the ball you’re about to put. That’s one drill to know whether your eyes are really directly over the ball.
  • Make sure to keep your wrists and arms straight, even during the follow through. When you’re able to hold this straight angle, you’ll be able to do more consistent putts.

Tip adapted from Today’s Golfer[8]


Healthy Lifestyle

The Health Benefits of Writing

Tomorrow is National Day on Writing! This national holiday was designated by The National Council of Teachers of English and is used to celebrate writing, storytelling, and creativity. Even if you’re not a writer, everyone can enjoy the potential health benefits of this therapeutic hobby.
Here are some potential health benefits of writing:
  • Writing about emotionally-charged events may help put the events behind you and relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
  • Writing may help provide mental clarity when making other decisions and dealing with emotions.
  • Writing may reduce stress and improve sleep.
The best thing about writing is that you don’t need a lot to get started. Grab a notebook and your favorite pen and journal for 5-10 minutes a day. As you get more comfortable, you can write more, or just save it for a quick decompress after the day.
Tip adapted from US News & World Report[9]

Green Living

Energy Saving Tips in the Kitchen

Appliances and hot water account for a big part of energy use in your home. So, the kitchen is a great place to start saving energy. Here are a few kitchen energy saving tips:
  • Leave the faucet on the cold side when using small amounts of water. When the lever is in the “hot” position, it still draws hot water, even though it may not reach the faucet.
  • If you’re shopping for a new stove, look for a natural gas model with an automatic, electric ignition system. It saves gas since a pilot light is not burning continuously.
  • Your natural gas appliances should have blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently. If you see yellow flames, consult the manufacturer or your local utility provider.
  • Be sure to keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, while saving energy.
  • Cover your kettle or pan or use an electric kettle to boil water. It’ll brew faster and will use less energy.
  • Eating for one? Use a toaster, microwave, or convection oven rather than your large stove or oven. Doing this will save up to half the energy of a full-sized oven.

Tip adapted from Energy.gov[10]


[1] The Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2020
[2] The Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2020
[3] The Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2020
[4] CNBC.com, October 13, 2020
[5] CNBC.com, October 14, 2020
[6] Joyfoodsunshine.com, October 16, 2020
[7] IRS.gov, March 11, 2020
[8] Todaysgolfer.co.uk, October 16, 2020
[9] Health.usnews.com, October 16, 2020
[10] Energy.gov, October 16, 2020