The Week on Wall Street
Stocks fell sharply last week as Wall Street considered how the coronavirus outbreak might influence global business activity and household spending.
The selloff became a correction for the U.S. markets. The S&P 500 retreated 11.49%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 12.36%; the Nasdaq Composite, 10.54%. The MSCI EAFE, tracking developed stock markets outside North America, had fallen 6.75% week-over-week by Friday’s closing bell.
On Friday afternoon, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stated that central bank officials were willing to “use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy.”
Strong Consumer Confidence, Plus a Boost for Incomes
A trio of economic indicators pertaining to U.S. households looked solid last week. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index notched consecutive months above 130 for the first time since July-August 2019, posting a 130.7 February mark. The University of Michigan’s final February Consumer Sentiment Index came in at 101.0, ticking up from a preliminary 100.9.
Friday, the Department of Commerce reported that Americans increased their personal spending by 0.2% in January, while personal incomes improved 0.6%.
Buyers Have Flocked to New Homes
New home sales, according to the Census Bureau, improved 7.9% in January; the annualized pace of new home buying was the best seen since July 2007. Year-over-year, sales were up 18.6%. Housing market analysts cited a favorable economy and favorable weather as factors.
Right now, there is no forecast for how the coronavirus outbreak may affect consumer demand or supply chains. The impact may not be known for months. But remember, your investment strategy should reflect your risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals, and it also should take into consideration periods of market volatility. Fear is driving decisions in the financial markets. Nobody would blame you if this uncertainty gave you a bit of anxiety as well.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Monday: The Institute for Supply Management’s latest factory activity index arrives.
Wednesday: Automatic Data Processing (ADP) publishes its February private payrolls report, and ISM’s index of February service-sector business activity appears.
Friday: The Department of Labor presents its February employment report.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: AutoZone (AZO), Ross Stores (ROST), Target (TGT)
Thursday: Costco (COST), Kroger (KR)
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein
Recipe of the Week
Curry in a Hurry
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 large diced onions
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 can coconut milk, unsweetened
- 1½ pounds of your preferred meat (peeled shrimp or diced boneless chicken)
- 1 cup diced tomato, no peel or seeds
- Peel and dice onions.
- Oil skillet and place over medium-high heat.
- Add onions with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir until very soft, 15 minutes or more.
- Mix in curry powder, stir for one minute.
- Pour in coconut milk and cook for two minutes, stirring lightly.
- Add meat of choice and cook for another 3 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in tomato and cook for another minute.
- Serve over rice.
Recipe adapted from cooking.nytimes.com
Rules for Home Office Deductions
- The IRS requires you to use your office (or a part of your home) for “regular and exclusive use.” The part of the house should be your principal place of business, a place where you meet customers, or a separate structure dedicated to the business, like a garage or studio.
- To calculate your deduction, you can use two methods:
- The simplified option allows you to multiply the allowable square footage of your office by $5 up to a maximum of 300 square feet.
- The regular method allows you to specifically calculate the actual expenses like rent, mortgage interest, taxes, repairs, depreciation, and utilities you pay for the portion of your home used for the business. If you use only part of a space for your business, you’ll need to figure out the percentage devoted to business activities.
* 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
This Grip – or That Grip?
Tip adapted from Golf Distillery
Avoid Falling Back When Springing Forward
- Gradually prepare for the time change the week before. Try to shift as much as your routine “forward” by 10 minutes each day.
- Manage your environmental lighting as much as possible. Try to get more light in the morning (to suppress your body’s natural sleep hormones) and as little in the evening as possible, especially approaching bedtime and during the night.
- Try to avoid napping, if possible. While it can be really tempting to “catch up” with your lost hour, until you’re adjusted, napping could slow your period of adapting to the new schedule.
Tip adapted from WebMD.com
Choosing Sustainable Seafood
Tip adapted from HuffPost