Rates Expected To Stay Steady – Global Fixed Income Overview

Fixed income markets are expecting that the Federal Reserve will maintain interest rates steady through 2020, with no anticipated increases or decreases. Performance was positive across all bond sectors in 2019, with yields stabilizing towards the end of the year. Ending the year at 1.92%, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond is still the highest yield available among the …

Higher Home Prices For Decade Made Homes Unaffordable For Some – Housing Market

A decade ago when the financial crisis was still a recent threat, the Federal Reserve embarked on a massive stimulus campaign to fortify and expand the housing market for millions of Americans. The objective was to facilitate low mortgage rates that would make buying a home affordable for everyone. Even though mortgage rates dropped to unimaginably low levels of below …

Growth of Internet Over Decade Varied Among Global Regions – Global Commerce

The 2010 decade witnessed a dramatic increase in internet users worldwide. There were over 4.3 billion users of the internet globally in 2019, that’s nearly 56% of the earth’s total population. Limitations to internet expansion have primarily been infrastructure related. Remote regions with little or no electricity and connectivity have had the greatest challenges. Ironically, emerging countries with limited infrastructure …

Global Equities Advanced In 2019 – Stock Market Overview

In sharp contrast to 2018, equity markets advanced in 2019 with gains not seen since 2013. Technology, financials, and communications were the leading S&P 500 sectors in 2019. Total stock market value increased $7.5 trillion for the year. The equity market rebound from its topple in December 2018 was unexpected by many analysts, as 2019 began with expectations of a …

U.S. Agricultural Exports To China Decline – Trade Policy Review

China is the largest export market for U.S. agricultural products, with over $28 billion of exports in 2017. Agricultural exports to China have steadily increased over the past few years, with a 700% increase from 2000 to 2017. Agricultural products exported to China include soybeans, cotton, pork, corn, and wheat. Soybeans account for the single largest agricultural export, representing over …

Looks Like QE But It’s Not Says The Fed – Fixed Income Overview

The Federal Reserve is slowly re-expanding its balance sheet by currently buying $60 billion of Treasury bills each month. Reminiscent of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE) program, meant to stimulate economic activity, the Fed denies that it is QE, but rather just a buffer for any possible bond market volatility. Interest rates are believed to have stabilized for the time …

Global Growth Expected To Slow – World Economy

Every year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) releases a report on its outlook for worldwide economic growth. The IMF is an international organization consisting of 189 countries working to foster global financial cooperation. In its most recent report released in October, the IMF noted that the global economy is in a synchronized slowdown with a projected growth rate of 3.4% …

What It Takes To Be In the Top 1% Of Earners – Fiscal Policy

According to the most recent data released by the IRS, it took earnings of $515,371 to be part of the top 1% of earners in 2017. It took an additional 7.2% to crack the 1% mark from the prior year, equal to an additional $37,106 in income.  Of the 138,945,000 individual tax returns filed in 2017, 1,432,952 returns fell into …

Global Markets Elevate – Equity Review

Domestic equities finished November with gains not seen since the summer. Optimism surrounding U.S.-China trade discussions helped fuel equities higher, with technology, health care, and financials as the leading sectors in November. The absence of volatility, along with the Fed maintaining a steady rate environment, was also a catalyst for equities to climb in November. Stock market volatility, as measured by …

Presidential Candidate Tax Proposals Influence Voter Turnout

Taxes and income inequality have become a primary agenda topic for several presidential candidates. Various proposals from the candidates include repealing the Tax & Jobs Act, removing the step-up basis for inherited assets, increasing capital gains tax, imposing a financial transaction tax, and eliminating the tax deduction for mortgage interest on a second home. Presidential election voter turnout is tracked …

Medigap Plan F Phasing Out – Medicare Benefits Update

Of the ten Medicare supplemental plans, known also as Medigap, the single most popular plan, Plan F, will be eliminated at the end of the year to new subscribers.  Retirees who turn 65 after 2019 will no longer have Plan F as an option. Plan F is the most expensive supplemental option since there are no deductibles, no co-pays and …

Macro Overview

Markets have been undermined for weeks by the uncertainty of a phase-one trade deal outlined by U.S. and Chinese trade delegates. Optimism for a probable U.S.-China trade deal stemmed from the progression toward a phase-one deal that might include a rollback of certain tariffs by both the U.S. and China. Global equity markets continued to elevate in November against a …

Macro Overview

Equity markets defied the historically negative month of October with equity indices moving higher despite ongoing trade dispute uncertainty and growing concerns of global economic headwinds. Major domestic and international equity indices rose in sync as interest rates remained low worldwide, driving assets into stocks. Monetary policy that prompted rate cuts by central banks around the world are expected to …

Bond Yields Stabilize – Fixed Income Overview

The Federal Reserve injected additional amounts of funds into the overnight lending markets, also known as the repo market, in October. The move served to dampen concerns that a repeat of volatility that hit markets in December 2018 would occur again. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the third time this year but signaled that it would not cut …

What Prices Have Changed The Most – Consumer Markets

Government agencies compile and track prices on a multitude of products from various sources. Dramatic price swings help economists determine who may be influenced and how the overall economy may be affected. Price changes on certain products tend to affect a larger portion of the population more so than other products. Over the past year, the cost of health insurance …

Social Security Payments Increasing By 1.6% – Retirement Planning (chart)

Social Security recipients are due to receive a modest increase in benefit payments payable in 2020. But for many recipients, the increase in payments will go towards higher Medicare costs. The increase will affect over 63 million Americans receiving Social Security benefit payments. The Social Security Administration announced a 1.6% increase in benefit payments effective in late December 2019 for …

Japanese Exports Fall (chart)

One of the world’s biggest exporters, Japan, released data that showed a drop in its exports for the 10th consecutive month. Japanese exports include optical lenses, ships, automobiles, and  high-end machinery. Two major buyers of Japanese products, China and the United States, saw a decline in demand for Japan’s exports.  Data from the Japanese Ministry of Finance revealed a fall …

Tax Actions To Consider As The Year End Approaches – Tax Planning

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act passed in 2017, brought about various tax changes that affected most individual tax payers. Following are various changes to consider as we reach the end of the year. Withholdings & Estimates Withholdings and estimated taxes should be verified before year end, as the IRS withholding tables have been unclear since the tax law changes. …

Stock Indices Move Higher In October – Global Equity Review

Both domestic and international equity markets advanced in October, lodging new highs for various indices. The S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Index both closed at record levels as of November 1st. Developed and emerging market indices propelled higher in October buoyed by a continued low rate environment and a weaker dollar.  Volatility, as measured by the CBOE, (Chicago Board …

Equity Markets Advance In The 3rd Quarter – Domestic Equity Update

Despite ongoing trade tensions and concerns about a slowing economy, U.S. equities excelled in the third quarter, with technology, consumer staples, and utilities as the leading sectors for the S&P 500 Index. The energy and health care sectors were the under performers relative to the other 9 sectors. Equity markets are reacting more sensitively to economic indicators, such as unemployment, …