2/12/2018 Weekly Market Commentary

  Back to reality… After months of eerie calm, stock market volatility has returned. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – a measure of how turbulent investors expect stock markets to be during the next 30 days – appeared to fall asleep in November 2016. For more than a year, a level of serenity that is rarely associated with stock markets prevailed and U.S. share prices moved steadily higher. 2,3 It appears that time is behind […]

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2/5/2018 Weekly Market Commentary

  It was not a good week for stocks. Last week, stock markets around the world lost value. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), Dow Jones Industrial Index (Dow), and NASDAQ all finished lower.1 Some pundits have been drawing comparisons between the performance of the Dow last Friday and Black Monday, the memorable day in 1987 when the index shed 508 points in a single day.2 They may be […]

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1/22/2018 Weekly Market Commentary

  Last week, the United States government might as well have hung a sign on the front door of the Capitol that read, “Gone negotiating. We’ll be back in…however long it takes.” In 2013, the U.S. government closed for 16 days. About 850,000 federal workers were furloughed and 6.6 million workdays lost. The shutdown affected private companies that worked with the government, too, and the U.S. economy took a hit.1 The prospect of kicking off […]

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January is the 20th Anniversary of the Roth IRA

This January marks the 20th anniversary of the Roth IRA. First made available to American investors in January of 1998, a Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that is funded with after-tax dollars and provides tax-free growth and income for retirement. “The 20th anniversary of the Roth IRA serves as a good reminder to examine why this type of retirement account might be right for you,” said Jeff Kowal, President, Kowal Investment Group. “There […]

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1/16/2018 Weekly Market Commentary

  Inflation, inflation, where’s the inflation? The U.S. Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates in anticipation of higher inflation.1 In its 2018 forecast, Goldman Sachs indicated it expected to see “a gradual increase in global core inflation, albeit to levels that are still below central bank targets in most places.”2 At year-end 2017, Barron’s wrote:3 “Economists have raised the specter of inflation for several years, only to be disproved time and again. There’s reason […]

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1/9/2018 Weekly Market Commentary

  Whoosh! Bang! Flash! Fizz! Whistle! U.S. stock markets delivered their own version of fireworks to celebrate the New Year. During the first week of 2018, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new all-time high, moving above 25,000 for the first time ever. The NASDAQ Composite and Standard & Poor’s 500 Indices also rose to new highs.1 2018 is off to an impressive start, but let’s pause for a moment and take a look […]

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Tax Reform Bill Highlights

It’s official. After some back and forth, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate finalized the tax reform bill and President Trump signed it into law on December 22, 2017. We have been monitoring the progression of the new legislation since early this year, and we wanted to share some highlights about the bill that was passed. First, let’s look at what the tax proposal is generally NOT changing: Capital Gains Retain long-term capital gains […]

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1/3/2018 Weekly Market Commentary

  How good was 2017? It was so good, the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index finished in positive territory every month for the first time ever (on a total return basis), reported Barron’s. All major U.S. indices finished the year with double-digit gains.1 As we enter 2018, keep an eye on investor sentiment. “History has shown us that the crowd can be right during trends, but it also tends to be wrong at extremes. […]

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12/11/2017 Weekly Market Commentary

  “It’s the hap- happiest season of all.”1 While holidays don’t make everyone happy, investors should be feeling festive. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is up more than 18 percent year-to-date. The Dow Jones Global ex U.S. Index is up about 21 percent year-to-date (refer to the table), and Treasury bond yields are lower than they were at the start of the year. 2 In addition, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a measure of […]

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11/27/2017 Weekly Market Commentary

  There was a lot to be thankful for last week. Stock markets around the world may have ripened to full-slip sweetness this year. Emerging markets have delivered the most attractive returns year-to-date. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was up 34 percent year-to-date, last week. The United States and Europe have marched higher, too. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up about 16 percent year-to-date, while the Euro Stoxx Index was up 11.3 percent, […]

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