The Week on Wall Street
Heightened coronavirus fears, falling yields, and Super Tuesday primary results sent stocks on a rollercoaster ride of sharp price swings, leaving stocks marginally higher for the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average improved 1.79%; the S&P 500, 0.61%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.10%. Outside the U.S., developed equity markets tracked by the MSCI EAFE Index rose 2.60%.
A Swift Fed Decision
Wednesday morning, the Federal Reserve lowered its short-term interest rate by 0.5% to a range of 1.00%-1.25%, making its biggest cut since 2008. Addressing the media, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the move was made to give the economy a “meaningful” lift and “help boost household and business confidence.”
The question is whether reducing borrowing costs can effectively address growing business and consumer anxieties about shopping, traveling, and gathering.
A Push Toward Treasuries
The uncertainty on Wall Street has heightened demand for Treasury bonds. Their yields typically fall as their prices rise, and fall they did last week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped under 0.70% during Friday’s market day, an all-time low.
Winter Hiring Surge Continues
The Department of Labor’s latest employment report showed companies adding 273,000 net new hires last month. Net monthly payroll growth has averaged 243,000 since December.
The Fed’s 50-basis-points cut in the federal funds rate has now shifted the sights of investors toward the European Central Bank, which is expected to make a policy announcement on March 12. The ECB has less room to maneuver than the Fed, since its key interest rate currently stands at -0.5%. Negative interest rates have done little to lift eurozone economies, which may necessitate more-creative monetary policy accommodation from the ECB’s new president, Christine Lagarde.
Traders are also focused on whether the Federal Reserve will make another rate cut on March 18, when its next meeting concludes. The half-point rate cut this past week did little to soothe stock market concerns; opinions vary about what the central bank might choose to do next.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Wednesday: The Census Bureau publishes a new Consumer Price Index, showing monthly and yearly inflation.
Friday: The University of Michigan presents its initial Consumer Sentiment Index for March, measuring consumer confidence.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Monday: Thor Industries (THO)
Tuesday: Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS)
Thursday: Adobe (ADBE), Broadcom (AVGO), Dollar General (DG), Oracle (ORCL), Ulta Beauty (ULTA)
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
– C.S. Lewis
Recipe of the Week
Knockout Spicy Chicken Strips
- 1½ lbs. chicken, cut into small strips
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 Tbsp. your preferred hot sauce
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Additional salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425° F, with center rack in place.
- Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Mix flour with salt in bowl.
- Whisk eggs and hot sauce in separate bowl.
- Combine cornmeal, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in third bowl.
- Take each chicken strip, in turn, and dip into flour and then egg.
- Once egg mixture stops dripping, cover each chicken strip through cornmeal mixture.
- As you finish breading chicken strips, place them evenly on the baking sheet.
- Spray or drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with additional salt, to taste.
- Bake until fully cooked, 15 to 17 minutes.
Recipe adapted from FoodNetwork.com
Tips for Gift Taxes
- Gifts that do not exceed the annual exclusion for the calendar year ($15,000 in 2019)
- Tuition or medical expenses you paid directly to a medical or educational institution for someone
- Gifts to your spouse
- Gifts to a political organization for qualified uses
- Gifts to qualifying charities
Simply Visualizing a Successful Putt
Choose to Make Your Plate “MyPlate”
Ah, the Food Pyramid. It had a lot of flaws. Its major weaknesses were that it generalized recommended servings per day and poorly defined portion sizes. So, in 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented a user-friendly redesign: the pyramid was transformed into a plate.
The concept behind the MyPlate design was somehow both revolutionary and seemingly obvious. After all, we eat off a plate, not a pyramid. Portions are easier to visualize and compose the following ratio: half the plate, fruits and vegetables; the other half, grains and protein. A serving of dairy (or non-dairy alternative) on the side. Easy, right?
Take advantage of this method the next time you sit down for a meal and see what adjustments you can make to make your plate even healthier.
Tip adapted from ChooseMyPlate.gov