S&P 500 Reaches a New Peak

The Week on Wall Street

S&P 500Stocks returned to record territory, with both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closing at historic highs. The S&P gained 1.20% for the week; the Nasdaq, 1.85%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged, losing 0.06%. The MSCI EAFE index of international stocks lost 0.52%.[1][2]

The S&P took only 17 weeks to fully rebound from its December low.[3]

A Shift in Focus

Last month, Wall Street fixated on trade, reacting to even the slightest hint of progress in U.S.-China negotiations. This month, the trade talks have taken a back seat, and the fixation is on earnings.

Anxieties about a possible earnings recession may be fading. So far, first quarter results for S&P 500 firms are 5.3% above expectations; that compares to a 5-year average of 4.8%.[4]

At some point, trade talk will come back, or other developments will lead Wall Street to chase other trends. The thing to remember is that Wall Street is fickle: what preoccupies it one week may be shrugged off the next. Short-term trends ultimately amount to background noise during the long-term pursuit of your financial goals.

A Strong First Quarter

Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the economy expanded at a 3.2% pace in Q1. The number surprised to the upside. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated Q1 gross domestic product would increase 2.5%.[5]

What’s Ahead

Investors have all kinds of news to consider this week. There will be a plethora of earnings calls, plus important reports on consumer spending and hiring. Also, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference following the central bank’s May meeting.

The Week Ahead: Key Economic Data

  • Monday: March personal spending figures from the Department of Commerce.

  • Tuesday: The Conference Board’s April consumer confidence index.

  • Wednesday: The Federal Reserve announces its latest interest rate decision.

  • Friday: The April jobs report from the Department of Labor.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, April 26, 2019
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. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material.

The Week Ahead: Companies Reporting Earnings

  • Monday: Alphabet (GOOGL), Kemper (KMPR)

  • Tuesday: Amgen (AMGN), Apple (AAPL), Cum mins (CMI), McDonalds (MCD)

  • Wednesday: Allstate (ALL), CVS Health (CVS), Humana (HUM), Public Storage (PSA)

  • Thursday: CB S (CBS), Cigna (CI), Dunkin’ Brands (DNKN), Gilead Sciences (GILD)

  • Friday: Fiat Chrysler (FCAU)

Source: Morningstar.com, April 26, 2019
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. 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.



“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

– Mark Twain

Recipe of the Week

The Best Cream of Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup

Serves 8


  • 4 Tbsp. butter

  • 1½ pound mushrooms, sliced

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

  • 3 Tbsp. flour

  • ¾ cup dry white wine or sherry

  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar


  1. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in an enameled, cast-iron Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add ⅓ of the mushrooms and sauté until dark golden brown. Stir occasionally and cook about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper the mushrooms, then remove them from the pot and set aside.

  2. Melt the remaining butter in the same pot, then add the remaining mushrooms, onion, celery, and thyme. Stir frequently until the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.

  3. Add the flour by sprinkling over the contents of the pot. Add salt and pepper and stir constantly for 3 minutes, until the flour cooks. Slowly adding the wine or sherry, continue stirring until you reach a slow boil, then slowly pour in the stock. Keep stirring to avoid lumps from the flour.

  4. Bring the soup to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, so it doesn’t stick. Let the soup cool for 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until mushrooms are mostly broken up into small bits. Pour the soup back into the pot, add the cream, and heat it to a simmer. Add balsamic and serve.

  5. Top the soup with the reserved mushrooms and serve with warm sourdough bread.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman[6]

Tax Tips

Tax Credit for the Elderly or Disabled

You may be able to take the credit if you are 65 years of age or older or if you retired on total and permanent disability and have taxable disability income. There are certain limits that your income cannot exceed.

Claiming the Senior Tax Credit if You’re 65 Years or Older

Based on your filing status, there are certain qualifications. If you are married, you and your spouse must file a joint return to claim the credit.

Claims for Those Under 65 and Permanently Disabled

You’ll need to procure a physician’s certification stating that you cannot engage in gainful activity due to your mental or physical condition, and in addition, that the condition has existed or is expected to exist continuously for a minimum of 12 months or if it is expected to result in your death.

You May Not Qualify Due to Taxable Income

You may meet the above qualifications detailed above and may still be ineligible for the credit if your taxable income exceeds certain limitations. To find out more visit https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p524.pdf.

* 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

Fades and Draws Made Easy

This decades-old trick is a simple way to shape shots, and it is every bit as valid today.

To hit a fade – Jack Nicklaus’ preferred shot – make sure to aim the face of your club where you want the ball to land. Next, align your body to the left (or right, for left-handers). To hit a draw, just do the opposite: aim the clubface where you want the ball to land. Align your body to the right (or left, for left-handers). For both fades and draws, swing the club where your body is aimed.

Tip courtesy of Golf Digest[8]

Healthy Lifestyle

The Benefits of Journaling Your Meals

One of the first things you should do if you want to change your diet is to start a food journal – before you make any dietary changes. That way, you or a registered dietitian nutritionist can examine your food choices, times you eat during the day, and gauge your overall eating habits. All of these variables make a difference. You’ll write down the date, what you ate, and the time you ate. Here are more benefits to keeping a food journal:

  • Weight loss: According to a 2008 study by Kaiser Center for Health Research, those who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. Jotting down your food intake can make you more accountable for your food choices.
  • Planned fasting periods: The lapses in time between meals can help you with metabolism and weight loss. Depending on the time frame, there could be advantages for your blood sugar, cellular activity, and metabolism.
  • Noting in your journal how you feel can help too. You can help to rule out food intolerances by noting if you’re bloated, gassy, or have other digestive discomfort. You may also be able to identify if you’re eating for emotional reasons, which may help you to change your behavior.

Tip adapted from SFGate[9]

Green Living

What if You Can’t Recycle It?

You may have all good intentions to recycle, but there are so many rules, regulations, and multi-material consumer items, it can be hard to keep up. Here are a few tips about what to do when some of those items come into question:

  • Glass kitchenware: If these items are in good condition, you can donate them. Otherwise, if they are broken, they should go in the trash.
  • Mirrors: Forget about seven years bad luck with that broken mirror. Put it in the trash and be done with it! (This glass cannot be recycled since it is treated.)
  • Packing materials: Try taking these to a local shipping store or a small business that can use them.
  • Plastic bags: These grocery bags can be returned to some grocery stores for special handling and recycling.
  • Shredded paper: Once paper has gone through the shredder, it is too small to be recycled. You can check to see if your municipality has a local drop-off location.

Tip adapted from Real Simple[10]

[1] markets.wsj.com/usoverview
[2] quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices
[3] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-23/abyss-averted-in-stocks-as-valuations-and-rates-restore-bull-run
[4] insight.factset.com/earnings-season-update-april-26-2019
[5] www.cnbc.com/2019/04/26/gdp-q1-2019-first-read.html
[6] thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/creamy-mushroom-soup/
[7] www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p524.pdf
[8] www.golfdigest.com/story/how-to-make-the-ball-curve
[9] healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-food-diary-7685.html
[10] www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/green-living/how-to-recycle-everything