Weekly Market Insights

Rising bond yields dampened investor enthusiasm for high-multiple growth companies last week, sending market averages mostly lower in a holiday-shortened week of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.11% for the week. But the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.71% and the Nasdaq Composite index slid 1.57%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, declined 0.26%.1,2,3

Mixed Signals

The 10-year Treasury Note yield hit its highest level in a year last week on worries of a pick-up in inflation, while the 30-year Treasury Bond yield ticked over 2.0%. Rising yields weighed on the high-valuation growth stocks, most specifically the big tech names, in addition to dragging down interest rate sensitive sectors, like utilities and real estate investment trusts (REITs).4

Economic data painted a mixed picture of the economy. Jobless claims reflected a still-struggling labor market while a strong retail sales number and an above-consensus PPI (Producer Price Index) reflected strong consumer spending and building inflationary pressures.5,6,7

Stocks were flat as the week came to a close, as traders wrestled with the crosscurrents of positive economic data and a further rise in yields.

Inflation Worries

After a long period of low inflation, concerns are growing that higher consumer prices may return as a result of an accommodative Federal Reserve monetary policy and fiscal spending in response to the pandemic. Tensions heightened last week with the release of January’s PPI report, which saw a jump of 1.7%, the biggest monthly increase since 2009.8

While the Fed believes that any price increases will be fleeting, the market appears to view inflation a bit differently. The prospect of further stimulus and more reopenings are adding to investors’ unease, which may revive an old Wall Street practice—inflation watching.

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Monday: Index of Leading Economic Indicators.
Tuesday: Consumer Confidence.
Wednesday: New Home Sales.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Durable Goods Orders. GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
Friday: Consumer Sentiment.

Source: Econoday, February 19, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Palo Alto Networks (PANW).
Tuesday: Home Depot (HD), Intuit, Inc. (INTU), Ingersoll Rand, Inc. (IR).
Wednesday: Nvidia (NVDA), Etsy, Inc. (ETSY), Lowe’s Companies (LOW), TJX Companies (TJX), Teledoc Health, Inc. (TDOC).
Thursday: Salesforce.com (CRM), Best Buy (BBY), Workday, Inc. (WDAY), Dell Technologies (DELL), VMware (VMW), American Tower Corp. (AMT).
Friday: Draftkings, Inc. (DKNG).

Source: Zacks, February 19, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

“The fire is winter’s fruit.”
– Arabian Proverb

Do You Know the Difference Between Taxable and Nontaxable Income?

All income you receive is taxable unless the rules explicitly state that it isn’t. According to the IRS, taxable income includes earned income like wages as well as any income earned by bartering or the exchange of property or services. Rental income is taxable as are other forms of unearned income like interest and dividends or Social Security.

Some income is not taxable unless certain conditions are met. For example, life insurance proceeds are usually not taxable to the beneficiary unless you redeem a life insurance policy for cash. Any amount you receive above the cost of the policy is taxable. State and local income tax refunds may be taxable and should be reported on your federal taxes.

There are also some forms of income that are usually not taxable, like:

  • Gifts and inheritances.
  • Child support payments.
  • Welfare benefits.
  • Damage awards for physical injury or sickness.
  • Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy.
  • Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses.

* 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.

**Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov9


Choose to Make Your Plate “MyPlate”

Ah, the Food Pyramid. It had a lot of flaws, but we’re not going to address them all right now. 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 see. Make 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.gov10


What appears once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a decade?

Last week’s riddle: Two fathers and two sons went truffle hunting. Each found a truffle yet they found only three in all. Why?  Answer: The truffle-hunting party was made up three people – a man, his son and his grandson.


Happy snowy owl on Jones Beach, Long Island, New York.

Footnotes and Sources


1. The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021

2. The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021

3. The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021

4. CNBC, February 16, 2021

5. The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2021

6. FoxBusiness.com, February 17, 2021

7. CNBC.com, February 17, 2021

8. CNBC, February 17, 2021

9. IRS.gov, September 19, 2020

10. ChooseMyPlate.gov, 2020

Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of large-capitalization companies on the U.S. stock market. Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of technology and growth companies. The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and serves as a benchmark of the performance of major international equity markets, as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

U.S. Treasury Notes are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury Note prior to maturity, it may be worth more or less than the original price paid. Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

International investments carry additional risks, which include differences in financial reporting standards, currency exchange rates, political risks unique to a specific country, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. These factors may result in greater share price volatility.

Please consult your financial professional for additional information.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG is not affiliated with the named representative, financial professional, Registered Investment Advisor, Broker-Dealer, nor state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

Weekly Market Insights

Stock prices inched higher last week amid declining COVID-19 cases, a pick-up in vaccinations, and progress on a fiscal relief bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.00%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.23%. The Nasdaq Composite index climbed 1.73% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 1.80%.1,2,3

Stocks Post Gains

Stocks powered higher to begin the week, buoyed by rising confidence in economic recovery and the potential for another round of fiscal stimulus. Small cap stocks continued their 2021 rally as investors looked for out-of-favor names that might benefit from an economic rebound.

Stocks traded in a tight range through the remainder of the week. Investors appeared to digest current stock price valuations, wondering if the market had already “priced in” the optimism of a rebounding economy.

On Wednesday, Fed Chair Powell gave assurances that the Fed’s rate policy would remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Some fear that inflation may pick up with broader reopenings and additional fiscal stimulus.4

On Thursday and Friday, stocks drifted mostly higher in quiet trading, managing to set some new all-time highs.5

Economic Expectations Rising

A survey by The Wall Street Journal showed increasing optimism among economists about economic growth for this year.6

Among the survey’s findings, economists, on average, now expect the economy to expand by 4.9%, an increase from their average estimate of 4.3% last month. They are, however, somewhat less sanguine about employment as they now expect 4.8 million jobs to be added this year, versus an earlier expectation of 5.0 million.6

Economists are forecasting accelerating inflation as a consequence of economic growth and fiscal stimulus, but believe that there is only a 17.5% probability of an economic downturn in the next 12 months, an improvement from its 21.2% risk estimate in January.6

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Wednesday: Retail Sales. Industrial Production. Federal Open Market
Committee (FOMC) Minutes.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Housing Starts.
Friday: Existing Homes Sales. Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)
Composite Flash.

Source: Econoday, February 12, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Tuesday: CVS Health Corp. (CVS), Agilent Technologies (A), Palantir
Technologies, Inc. (PLTR).
Wednesday: Twilio, Inc. (TWLO), Shopify, Inc. (SHOP), Baidu (BIDU).
Thursday: Walmart (WMT), Albemarle (ALB), Roku (ROKU), Waste
Management (WM), Ventas (VTR), Marriott International (MAR).

Source: Zacks, February 12, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be
considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

“The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.”
– Blaise Pascal

Owe the IRS Money? Here’s How to Pay

If you owe federal taxes, you are required to pay by the April deadline. Remember, if you get an extension to file your taxes, payment is still due by the April deadline. If you can’t pay the full amount that you owe now, you may be able to set up a payment plan.

Here are some choices for making your payment:

  • Use Direct Pay: IRS Direct Pay is a free and secure way to pay directly from your checking or savings account.
  • Pay by Debit or Credit Card: If you don’t want to link a bank account, you can use your credit or debit card. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a processing fee and may incur interest charges.
  • Pay When You E-File: If you file your federal tax return electronically, you can pay directly from your bank account using Electronic Funds Withdrawal.

* 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.gov7


Eating To Your Heart’s Content

Deciding to change your diet can feel daunting. It can be difficult to figure out which one is “best” for you. Many fad diets come and go, but there are a few that have stuck around, the most popular being the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet is less of a traditional diet and more of a lifestyle shift toward healthier eating patterns. It’s modeled after principles of Italian and Greek cuisine, which have remained relatively unchanged since the 1960s. Consuming this diet has been correlated with lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. The diet emphasizes eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, whole grains, and olive oil and fewer meats and dairy products. The diet is flexible. Elimination isn’t the intention rather balance more toward nutrient-rich foods versus energy-dense ones.

Food is life, and making healthy choices can help support a healthier life. While the Mediterranean diet could be a good option for someone, no single diet will fit everyone’s lifestyle, preferences, and health needs perfectly. So, be sure to discuss any dietary choices you make with your physician or registered dietitian first.

Tip adapted from Healthline.com8


Two fathers and two sons went truffle hunting. Each found a truffle yet they found only three in all. Why?

Last week’s riddle: Six cups are lined up in a row. Cups 1-3 on the left are full of juice; cups 4-6 on the right are empty. How can you arrange this row so empty and full glasses alternate while moving only one cup in the process?  Answer: Pour the juice from the second cup into the fifth cup.


Coastal Brown Bear, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Footnotes and Sources

1. The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021

2. The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021

3. The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021

4. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, February 19, 2021

5. CNBC.com, February 12, 2021

6. The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2021

7. IRS.gov, June 5, 2020

8. Healthline.com, July 24, 2018

Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of large-capitalization companies on the U.S. stock market. Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of technology and growth companies. The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and serves as a benchmark of the performance of major international equity markets, as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

U.S. Treasury Notes are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury Note prior to maturity, it may be worth more or less than the original price paid. Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

International investments carry additional risks, which include differences in financial reporting standards, currency exchange rates, political risks unique to a specific country, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. These factors may result in greater share price volatility.

Please consult your financial professional for additional information.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG is not affiliated with the named representative, financial professional, Registered Investment Advisor, Broker-Dealer, nor state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

Weekly Market Insights

Stocks notched strong gains last week, paced by a string of solid economic reports and consensus-beating corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.89%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 4.65%. The Nasdaq Composite index jumped 6.01% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, climbed 1.96%.1,2,3

Bull Story Remains Intact

As the social media trading frenzy fizzled, investors were able to focus on more fundamental issues, like economic data and a fresh batch of corporate earnings. Pleased by an economy that appeared to be growing stronger, coronavirus cases in decline, and an improving vaccine rollout, investors bought stocks with enthusiasm.

The rally last week was broadly based, with the Energy, Financial, Communication Services, and Technology sectors posting gains.

The stock market’s optimism on an improving economy was seconded by the bond market as the 30-year Treasury rate rose to nearly 2.0% by Friday. When yields rise, bond prices fall. Falling bond prices may indicate that investors are less interested in Treasuries and more interested in other investments that benefit from a stronger economy. Rising yields may also reflect worries that a growing economy may spark inflation that may lead the Fed to rethink its zero-rate policy.4

The Inevitable Denouement

It was just two weeks ago that a social media chat forum appeared to contribute to a buying frenzy in a handful of struggling companies, unsettling Wall Street and capturing the nation’s attention.

These stocks staged a broad retreat last week as more was learned about the trading activity.

A similar social media-inspired buying effort was also initiated on silver. But silver prices experienced a modest gain before quickly reversing direction just days later.5

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report.
Wednesday: Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Thursday: Jobless Claims.
Friday: Consumer Sentiment.

Source: Econoday, February 5, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Simon Property Group (SPG).
Tuesday: Twitter (TWTR), Welltower, Inc. (WELL), KKR & Co. (KKR),
Martin Marietta (MLM), Fiserv (FISV).
Wednesday: Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO), General Motors (GM), Coca Cola (KO).
Thursday: Walt Disney (DIS), AstraZeneca (AZN).
Friday: Dominion Energy (D).

Source: Zacks, February 5, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

“Love recognizes no barriers.”
– Maya Angelou

Be On Alert for IRS Scams

This tax season, the IRS expects an uptick in tax-related scams. In most cases, IRS “phishing” scams are bogus phone calls and emails that claim to come from the IRS.

Remember, the IRS will never:

  • Call you without mailing an official notice first.
  • Demand that you immediately pay your taxes over the phone.
  • Take a debit or credit card number over the phone.
  • Threaten to call law enforcement or immigration services to arrest you for failure to pay.

* 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.gov6


Loving Yourself First

February is a month that many associate with love. Romance, in particular. The rise of self-care over the past decade has brought attention to the concept of loving oneself – the basic philosophy behind it being that if we love and take care of ourselves, with intention, the happier and healthier we’ll be, and all the people in our lives will benefit, including our romantic partners.

Loving ourselves isn’t always easy. And it doesn’t mean always being overly indulgent, but rather making choices that help support our overall well-being. For some people, that may look like taking time to relax if they have a lot of stress in their lives. For others, it can be making a to-do list to organize and accomplish tasks if they tend toward procrastination. Being more self-aware and cheering ourselves on more if we’re often overly harsh or being more introspective and searching for ways to improve if we are myopic to our own shortcomings. All these things and many more not mentioned are intentional actions we can take to be our best selves.

This February, take some time to reflect on the ones you love. Just make sure you don’t forget about the one you should love the most.

Tip adapted from PsychCentral.com7

Six cups are lined up in a row. Cups 1-3 on the left are full of juice; cups 4-6 on the right are empty. How can you arrange this row so empty and full glasses alternate while moving only one cup in the process?

Last week’s riddle: It can certainly be measured, yet it has no length, width, or height. What is it?  Answer: The temperature.


Sea Lions at sunset, San Diego, California.

Footnotes and Sources


1. The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2021

2. The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2021

3. The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2021

4. The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2021

5. CNBC, February 4, 2021

6. IRS.gov, October 7, 2020

7. PsychCentral.com, July 8, 2018

Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of large-capitalization companies on the U.S. stock market. Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of technology and growth companies. The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and serves as a benchmark of the performance of major international equity markets, as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

U.S. Treasury Notes are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury Note prior to maturity, it may be worth more or less than the original price paid. Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

International investments carry additional risks, which include differences in financial reporting standards, currency exchange rates, political risks unique to a specific country, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. These factors may result in greater share price volatility.

Please consult your financial professional for additional information.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG is not affiliated with the named representative, financial professional, Registered Investment Advisor, Broker-Dealer, nor state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

Weekly Market Insights

Despite strong corporate earnings, stock prices closed lower after a volatile week of trading triggered by unprecedented activity in a handful of companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3.27%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 3.31%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 3.49% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 1.83%.1,2,3

Bull Market Takes a Breather

On Monday, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite overcame early losses to post new all-time highs.4

Stocks rode a roller coaster on Wednesday, falling sharply despite above-consensus earnings results, only to come roaring back the following day. Stocks suffered another broad retreat on Friday, sending the major indices to their worst weekly performance since October.4,5

Earnings continued to surprise to the upside, with 81% of companies in the S&P 500 that reported results by last Thursday morning exceeding analysts’ expectations.6

Shorts Come Into Focus

The ability of social media to stoke passions and provide a catalyst to herd behavior made itself evident on Wall Street last week.

A chat forum became the central hub for motivating individual investors to trade certain stocks with large short positions. This unexpected buying activity roiled markets and fueled a sharp rise in their stock prices. The sudden surge higher forced some fund managers to buy stocks in these companies at higher prices, resulting in substantial losses for the firms.

It’s difficult to say whether this social media phenomenon has long-term implications, though it is likely to change how professional investors evaluate trading strategies in the future.

In order to sell short, you are required to open a margin account. Selling short is not suitable for all investors. Margin trading entails greater risk, including the risk of unlimited losses in a position and incurrence of margin interest debt. You should consider your financial situation and risk tolerance before trading on margin.

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Monday: Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Index.
Wednesday: Automated Data Processing (ADP) Employment Report. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Services Index.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Factory Orders.
Friday: Employment Situation Report.

Source: Econoday, January 29, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. (TMO).
Tuesday: Amazon.com (AMZN), Alibaba Group (BABA), Alphabet, Inc.(GOOG), ExxonMobil (XOM), Pfizer (PFE), Amgen (AMGN), United ParcelService, Inc. (UPS), Electronic Arts (EA), Emerson Electric (EMR),Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG).
Wednesday: Abbvie (ABBV), Qualcomm (QCOM), PayPal Holdings (PYPL), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Thursday: Ford Motor Company (F), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY), Merck (MRK), Snap, Inc. (SNAP), Prudential Financial (PRU), Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APD), Penn National Gaming (PENN).
Friday: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN), Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW).

Source: Zacks, January 22, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

“They who sing through the summer must dance in the winter.”
– Italian Proverb

Taking A Side Gig? Here’s How It May Affect Your Taxes

Taxpayers who work in the gig economy may benefit from having a better understanding of how their work affects their taxes.

What exactly is the gig economy? The gig economy also is referred to as the on-demand, sharing, or access economy. People involved in the gig economy earn income as a freelancer, independent worker, or employee. They use technology to provide goods or services. This includes activities like renting out a home or spare bedroom and providing car rides.

Here are some things taxpayers should know about the gig economy and taxes:

  • Money earned through this work may be taxable.
  • There are tax implications for both the company providing the platform and the individual performing the services.

This income may be taxable even if the taxpayer providing the service doesn’t receive a Form 1099-MISC, Form 1099-K, or Form W-2. This income may also be taxable if the activity is only part-time or a side work, or if you’re paid in cash.

* 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.gov7


Show Your Heart Some Love

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S., accounting for 25% of all deaths. While genetics and family history are primary risk factors of disease development and survival, some lifestyle factors are associated with better heart health. But first, make sure to discuss any medical concerns with your health care provider before beginning any dietary and fitness regimen. The following information is not a substitute for medical advice:

  • Manage your blood pressure: Make sure to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Hypertension is often asymptomatic.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese may increase disease risk.
  • Eat well and exercise: These two activities are associated with a lower incidence of heart diseases.
  • Drink less alcohol and don’t smoke: These habits are seen more frequently in heart disease patients.
  • Sleep well and reduce stress: Lower cortisol levels may reduce your risk for heart diseases.

While not all risk factors are controllable, some are. The list above is not comprehensive. Give your heart some love this month and talk to your doctor about the best ways to care for it.

Tip adapted from MedlinePlus.gov8

It can certainly be measured, yet it has no length, width, or height. What is it?

Last week’s riddle: A man claims he was 88 years old two days ago, and yet he also tells you that he will turn 91 next year. How can this be?  Answer: The man talks to you on New Year’s Day (1/1), and his birthday is on December 31. So two days ago (12/30), he was 88. On 12/31, he turned 89. His 90th birthday will fall on 12/31 of this year, and he will turn 91 next year.


Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Footnotes and Sources

  1. The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2021
  2. The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2021
  3. The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2021
  4. The Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2021
  5. CNBC, January 29, 2021
  6. The Wall Street Journal, January, 28, 2021
  7. IRS.gov, January 22, 2020
  8. MedlinePlus.gov, October 21, 2020

Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of large-capitalization companies on the U.S. stock market. Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of technology and growth companies. The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and serves as a benchmark of the performance of major international equity markets, as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

U.S. Treasury Notes are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury Note prior to maturity, it may be worth more or less than the original price paid. Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

International investments carry additional risks, which include differences in financial reporting standards, currency exchange rates, political risks unique to a specific country, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. These factors may result in greater share price volatility.

Please consult your financial professional for additional information.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG is not affiliated with the named representative, financial professional, Registered Investment Advisor, Broker-Dealer, nor state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

Weekly Market Insights

Anticipation of a new fiscal stimulus and improved vaccine distribution powered stocks to fresh record highs last week with technology stocks leading the way.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.59%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 1.94%. The Nasdaq Composite index led, gaining 4.19% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose by 1.15%.1,2,3

Stocks Scale New Heights

In a holiday-shortened week, stocks rallied as investors welcomed testimony from incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to the Senate Finance Committee that suggested lawmakers needed to “act big” on fiscal stimulus, raising hopes for a new round of federal spending.

An orderly presidential transition and the anticipation of a more effective vaccine distribution plan contributed to stocks touching multiple new highs last week. Investor enthusiasm was further supported by a strong start to the fourth-quarter earnings season.

Mega-cap technology companies resumed their market leadership ahead of a full calendar of big tech earnings reports this week. Market momentum stalled a bit into the close on concerns that any stimulus spending bill might come in lower than expected.

Earnings Beating Expectations

One of the concerns of market watchers has been the valuations of stocks. Stocks are currently trading at about 23 times 2021 earnings, above the historical range of 15 to 17 times forward earnings.4

Today’s valuations may be explained by expectations of a strong economic rebound and a concomitant rise in corporate profits. So far, this earnings season appears to vindicate the optimism; With 41 of S&P 500 companies reporting through last Thursday, 91% of them have exceeded estimates by an average of 18.5%.5

Investors are expected to continue to watch company earnings in the weeks ahead to see whether these consensus-beating results continue.

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: Consumer Confidence.
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders. FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) Announcement.
Thursday: Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Jobless Claims. New Home Sales.

Source: Econoday, January 22, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: KimberlyClark (KMB).
Tuesday: Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Verizon (VZ), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Lockheed Martin (LMT), Starbucks (SBUX), 3M Company (MMM), Texas Instruments (TXN), Novartis (NVS), D.R. Horton (DHI).
Wednesday: Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), AT&T (T), Boeing (BA), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), ServiceNow, Inc. (NOW), General Dynamics (GD), Norfolk Southern (NSC).
Thursday: McDonalds (MCD), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), Southwest Airlines (LUV).
Friday: Caterpillar (CAT), Chevron (CVX), Eli Lilly (LLY), Honeywell International (HON), Charter Communications (CHTR).

Source: Zacks, January 22, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

– Albert Camus

Know and Understand Your Correct Filing Status

Taxpayers need to know their correct filing status and be familiar with each choice.

When preparing and filing a tax return, the filing status affects:

  • If the taxpayer is required to file a federal tax return
  • If they should file a return in order to receive a refund
  • Their standard deduction amount
  • If they can claim certain credits
  • The amount of tax they should pay

Here are the five filing statuses:

Single: Normally, this status is for taxpayers who are unmarried, divorced, or legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree governed by the state law.

Married filing jointly: If a taxpayer is married, they can file a joint tax return with their spouse. When a spouse passes away, the widowed spouse can usually file a joint return for that year. 

Married filing separately: Married couples can choose to file separate tax returns, when doing so results in less tax owed than filing a joint tax return. 

Head of household: Unmarried taxpayers may be able to file using this status, but special rules apply. For example, the taxpayer must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for themself and a qualifying person living in the home for half of the year.

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child: This status may apply to a taxpayer if their spouse died during one of the previous two years and they have a dependent child. Other conditions also apply.

* 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.gov6


Keeping Your Heart Rate Up (When Temperatures Are Down)

Colder weather can steal our motivation to leave the warmth of our homes unless we have to. But your workouts don’t need to stop during the winter. Here are a few ways you can feel the burn indoors, while Mother Nature keeps it cool outside.

Hop to it with a rebounder (a mini trampoline) or a jump rope. If you have neither, fake it by keeping your hands to your sides and rotate them as you mimic the rest of the exercise sans equipment.

Find a YouTube video or other streaming guided workout. Can’t squeeze in a full half hour at once? Pause it and return when you’re ready.

If you can afford it, invest in a piece of workout equipment you know you’ll use. If you run or hike, consider a treadmill with an adjustable incline. Like to ride your bike? Consider getting a stationary one.

There are lots of ways to stay fit while winter rages on outside. But don’t forget to always make sure to discuss any medical concerns with your health care provider before beginning any fitness routine; the information provided is not a substitute for medical advice.

Tip adapted from Real Simple7


A man claims he was 88 years old two days ago, and yet he also tells you that he will turn 91 next year. How can this be?


Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, Washington State.

Footnotes and Sources

  1. The Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2021
  2. The Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2021
  3. The Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2021
  4. CNBC, January 21, 2021
  5. Earnings Scout, January 21, 2021
  6. IRS.gov, October 1, 2020
  7. RealSimple.com, December 12, 2018

Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of large-capitalization companies on the U.S. stock market. Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of technology and growth companies. The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and serves as a benchmark of the performance of major international equity markets, as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

U.S. Treasury Notes are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury Note prior to maturity, it may be worth more or less than the original price paid. Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

International investments carry additional risks, which include differences in financial reporting standards, currency exchange rates, political risks unique to a specific country, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. These factors may result in greater share price volatility.

Please consult your financial professional for additional information.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG is not affiliated with the named representative, financial professional, Registered Investment Advisor, Broker-Dealer, nor state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

Markets Start 2021 on a High

Shrugging off COVID-19 infections and the disruption at the Capitol on January 6, stocks powered higher to kick off a new year of trading. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.61%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 increased by 1.83%. The Nasdaq Composite index, which led throughout 2020, picked up 2.43%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 1.45%.[1],[2],[3]

Fireworks to Start the New Year

Stocks got off to an inauspicious start amid the stuttering pace of vaccine distribution and concern that the economic recovery might take longer than anticipated. Uncertainty over the looming Senate runoff election in Georgia added to the broad retreat that marked the first day of 2021 trading.

From there markets turned higher, aided by firming oil prices with subsequent support provided by the Georgia Senate election results, which lifted hopes of additional fiscal stimulus. Stocks managed through political unrest mid-week, with banks, economically sensitive stocks, and technology shares leading the way.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose above 1% for the first time since March as investors fled bonds in anticipation of new federal borrowing.[4]

Stocks touched all-time highs on the final trading day, capping a strong week of performance.[5]

Employment Picture 

The U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, confirming fears of economic slowdown brought on by a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. 

Not surprisingly, it was restaurants and bars that saw the greatest job losses, with the larger hospitality sector accounting for nearly all the job losses last month. Meanwhile, November job creation was revised upward, from 245,000 to 336,000.[6]

To help put the pandemic in perspective, December’s job report capped the worst year for job losses since the tracking began in 1939. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%.[7]

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).
Wednesday:  Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims.
Friday: Retail Sales, Consumer Sentiment, Industrial Production.

Source: Econoday, January 8, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Tuesday: KB Home (KBH)
Thursday: Blackrock (BLK)
Friday: JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), PNC Financial (PNC)

Source: Zacks, January 8, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.

“Fun is a good thing, but only when it spoils nothing better.”

– George Santayana

Tax Tips for Those in the Military

The Internal Revenue Service has certain special tax breaks and programs for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Here are just a few.

Earned Income Tax Credit

If you get nontaxable combat pay, you may choose to include it in your taxable income. Including it may boost your earned income tax credit, meaning you may owe less tax and could get a larger refund. In 2015, the maximum credit for taxpayers was $6,242. The average amount of EITC claimed was more than $2,400. You may want to consider running both calculations to see what choice best benefits you. 

Signing Joint Returns

As a rule, both spouses normally must sign a joint income tax return. If your spouse is absent due to military duty, you may be able to sign for your spouse. Keep in mind, however, that you may need a power of attorney to file a joint return. 

Job Search

If you leave the military and look for work, you may be able to deduct some job search expenses. You may be able to include the costs of travel, preparing a resume and job placement agency fees. 

*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[8]


What Does a Chip Have in Common With a Putt?

At first glance, seemingly little. Yet, these two types of golf shots share something in common: a lack of “moving parts.”

A good chip starts with a narrow stance, with about 60% of your weight on your left leg (assuming you play right-handed). You play the ball back in your stance, which promotes your club shaft to lean forward. Your stroke is like a putting stroke: you keep your hands locked and steady. You are not trying to use your hands to make the shot work, you are letting the loft of the club do the work. These are the fundamentals of a good chip.

Tip adapted from YourTahoePlace[9]


Stay Healthy During Flu Season

This flu season, it’s more important than ever to stay healthy. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you may reduce your risk this flu season.

  • Get the flu vaccination: The Centers for Disease Control estimates that last year, fewer than half of all Americans got the flu vaccine. While getting the vaccine may not prevent you from getting a strain of the flu, it may help you avoid one of the other strains. This is especially important for anyone with a chronic health condition, and for those who are 65 years of age and older.
  • Wash your hands: Handwashing remains one of the most effective ways to prevent the flu. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and wash your hands often.
  • Disinfect: Disinfect objects that you touch every day, like doorknobs, your car’s steering wheel, and other household items that you use regularly.

While this information should not substitute for medical advice from your healthcare provider, implementing better habits, like frequent handwashing, wearing a face mask, and avoiding anyone who is ill, may help you and your loved ones stay healthy this flu season.

Tip adapted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[10]


Clean Out Electronic Clutter

If you were lucky enough to get an upgraded phone or computer this holiday season, you might not know what to do with the old one. Fortunately, there are many options to get rid of your old electronics that are also good for the environment.

Old electronics that are still in good working order can be cleaned out of personal information and either donated or passed on to someone else who can use them.

Electronics not working well enough to be donated? Check out your local area for scheduled electronic waste recycling days. Special recycling centers in your area might also specifically deal with recycling electronics, too.

Tip adapted from TheSpruce[11]


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative,

Broker dealer or Investment Advisor and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial professional for further information.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 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.


  1. The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
  2. The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
  3. The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
  4. The Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2021
  5. CNBC, January 8, 2021
  6. The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
  7. The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2021
  8. IRS.gov, January 8, 2021
  9. YourTahoePlace.com, January 8, 2021
  10. CDC.gov, September 25, 2020
  11. TheSpruce.com, October 12, 2019

The Year in Review

Stocks moved higher during a holiday-shortened week of trading, capping off a turbulent, but otherwise strong year for equity investors. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.35%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 increased by 1.43%. The Nasdaq Composite index, which led all year, added 0.65%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 2.02%.[i],[ii],[iii]

The Year in Brief

The global pandemic disrupted economies, financial markets, and daily life in 2020. Households and businesses were put to the test during the toughest and grimmest years in decades. The winter brought a resolution to the U.S.-China tariff dispute, the Brexit referendum, and the first U.S. appearance of the novel coronavirus. As spring started, abrupt stay-at-home orders in response to COVID-19 curtailed business activity, which dampened consumer spending. The federal government responded, arranging stimulus payments for millions of Americans.  

Wall Street bounced back from its March downturn, but the economy limped along. The pandemic entered its worst phase in fall, but two highly promising vaccines were announced in November, and as winter started, they began to roll out to the public. On the cusp of 2021, Congress approved a second national economic stimulus, and the European Union and United Kingdom signed off on a post-Brexit trade deal.

There are many unanswered questions as we enter 2021. Will mass vaccination happen as quickly as we anticipate? Will a successful vaccination program lead to more hiring, more travel, more in-store shopping, and more confidence? The financial markets will be watching progress on this effort.

The U.S. Economy
The pandemic sent the U.S. economy into an abnormal phase, and so our fundamental economic indicators displayed atypical readings.

The Department of Labor’s main jobless rate, 3.5% in February, hit 14.7% by April. Headline unemployment declined for the next seven months, to 6.7% by November. The U-6 unemployment rate, measuring unemployment and underemployment, peaked at 22.8% in April.[iv],[v]

As people stayed home, consumer spending trended lower, falling 6.9% in March and 12.6% in April.[vi]

The federal government moved to boost economic activity. As March ended, a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill became law, featuring cash payments to households, temporary increases in federal unemployment benefits, and a Small Business Administration program pledging to offer distressed companies funds equivalent to 8 weeks of payroll costs. The aid began rolling out in April, and in May, the White House unveiled Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership intended to produce COVID-19 vaccines in record time. Two vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration by fall.[vii],[viii]

The Federal Reserve took the benchmark federal funds interest rate down to a target range of 0-0.25%, and revived emergency loan programs first introduced in 2008. It collaborated with the Department of the Treasury on efforts to buy corporate bonds and encourage business loans. In a monetary policy shift, the central bank said in August that it would accept average inflation of 2% for the near term, and was willing to tolerate a little more inflation in the economy while pursuing the goal of full employment.[ix],[x]

As stay-at-home orders lifted, the economy rebounded. Gross domestic product, which the Bureau of Economic Analysis said had contracted 31.4% in the second quarter, grew 33.4% in Q3. The BEA also recorded a 41.0% Q3 climb for consumer spending. Stay-at-home orders returned in Q4, however, prompting another federal economic stimulus in December.[xi]

The housing market stayed strong. By November, existing home sales were up 25.8% year-over-year, according to the National Association of Realtors; Census Bureau data showed a 20.8% annualized improvement for new home buying.[xii],[xiii]

The U.S.-China tariff dispute eased throughout the year. In the January 2020 trade talks, the U.S. promised to lessen import taxes on Chinese goods, and China agreed to buy more American exports.[xiv]

The Global Economy

The International Monetary Fund expects the world economy will contract 4.4% in 2020. If that estimate holds, 2020 will be the worst year for global growth since the 1930s.

The U.S. economy shrank 4.3% in 2020, according to the IMF’s forecast. That is better than the 8.3% setback estimated for the eurozone. The IMF projects that China’s economy grew 1.9% last year. As for 2021, it sees GDP advances of 8.2% for China, 5.2% for the eurozone, and 3.1% for the U.S.[xv],[xvi]

The European Union and United Kingdom agreed to a post-Brexit trade deal on December 24. This completed the Brexit process, which began with the 2016 leave vote and included the U.K.’s formal exit from the E.U. last January. Businesses and financial firms based in the U.K. now face new trade rules and costs, even with the new pact in place.[xvii]

Looking at stock benchmarks around the world, there were more ups than downs. South Korea’s Kospi Composite stood out with a 30.75% 2020 gain. Argentina’s MERVAL climbed 22.93%, Taiwan’s TWII 22.80%. Two other notable 2020 advances: Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 16.01%, and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 13.87%. There were also notable retreats: Indonesia’s IDX Composite lost 5.09%, France’s CAC 40 7.14%, Russia’s RTS 10.42%, and Spain’s IBEX 15.45%. The MSCI EAFE index, a broad benchmark tracking developed-economy stock market performance in Europe and Asia, rose 5.43%.[xviii],[xix]

Final Thoughts

We join all Americans in happily drawing the curtain on 2020. Though it was a challenging and tragic year for so many, there are good reasons to believe that 2021 will be a year of progress in returning to our pre-pandemic normal. We wish you and your family a healthy and happy new year!

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers Index).
Wednesday:  Automated Data Processing (ADP) Employment Change, Factory Orders.
Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims, ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI.
Friday: Employment Report.

Source: Econoday, December 31, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Thursday: Micron Technologies (MU), Constellation Brands (STZ), Walgreens Boots (WBA), Conagra Brands (CAG)

Source: Zacks, December 31, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.


“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.”

– Reba McEntire


Tax Benefit and Credits: FAQs for Retirees

Lots of questions can come up about income taxes after one has retired. Listed are answers to just a few common questions from retired taxpayers.

What types of income are taxable?
Some common types of taxable income include military retirement pay, all or part of pensions and annuities, all or part of individual retirement accounts (IRA), unemployment compensation, gambling income, bonuses and awards for outstanding work, and alimony or prizes.

What types of income are non-taxable?
A few examples of non-taxable income are veteran’s benefits, disability pay for certain military or government-related incidents, worker’s compensation, and cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer of an item you purchased.

Why is my pension taxed?
It depends on how the money was put into the pension plan. For example, if all the money were contributed by the employer or the money was not taxed before going into the plan, it would be taxable. When your contribution is from already-taxed dollars, that portion of the pension is not taxed, but must be recovered over your life expectancy.

* 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[xx]


Working On Your Golf Game In Winter

It can be frustrating to make great strides in your golf game during the golf season only to see it come to an end due to the weather. You end up sitting inside all winter, letting your swing digress and your body lose its flexibility.

One of the best ways to keep your golf game up to par is to work on your flexibility. Flexibility is often overlooked as one of the more important centerpieces to a well-rounded golf game. Stretching is one way to preserve flexibility as well as increase it.

Flexibility is important because it contributes to a fluid golf swing, allowing the body to turn as needed during a swing. It can even add distance to your golf clubs when improved as well as maintain distance as you age.

Focus on hip-flexor stretches as well as hamstring stretches.

You can also work on your shoulder turn by sitting in a chair and twisting your body as far as possible without risking injury. Use the chair as leverage by grabbing it to hold your turn for a few seconds, stretching your back and core muscles.


Tip adapted from GolfPracticeGuides[xxi]


Practicing Gratitude in the New Year

Instead of beginning the new year with a list of resolutions, start by examining the good things that are already in your life by practicing gratitude.

Psychologists have defined gratitude as a positive emotional response to receiving a benefit from someone. In positive psychology, gratitude is the human way of acknowledging the good things in life. Thankfully, gratitude is something you can learn if it does not come innately.

There are benefits to practicing gratitude, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. Gratitude invites positive emotions that can have physical benefits, through the immune and/or endocrine systems. Research shows that when we think about what we appreciate, the parasympathetic or calming part of the nervous system is triggered, which can have protective benefits for the body—including decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increasing oxytocin, the bonding hormone involved in relationships that make us feel good.

There are a few great ways to get started today and practice gratitude in your own life:

  • Write thank you notes
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Follow-up with family and friends
  • Give back to your family, friends, and community
  • Pay kindnesses forward

Tip adapted from PsychologyToday[xxii]


Next Stop for Your Christmas Tree: Recycling

Once your tree has brought cheer during the holiday season, you can help the environment by recycling your tree in one of several different ways. If you purchased a live-rooted tree, then you can plant it after the holidays. Otherwise, check out these recycling options.

  • Curbside service: Many municipalities offer curbside collection of Christmas trees. You will need to remove decorations and stands, and there may be restrictions on size and flocking, so be sure to check with the Environmental Services division in your town.
  • Drop-off centers: Right after Christmas, look for Christmas tree recycling drop-off locations. Just drop and go! The trees will likely be brought to your local landfill and chipped into mulch and compost for public use.
  • Nonprofits and Boy Scouts: You can call to schedule a pickup of your used Christmas tree by local nonprofits or Boy Scouts, which may require a small donation that goes to a good cause.
  • Yard waste pick-up: If you have yard waste pick-up in your neighborhood, you can cut up your tree into pieces that will fit into the bin.

Christmas trees are the gifts that keep on giving because they are biodegradable for recycling and reuse.

Tip adapted from RealChristmasTrees[xxiii]

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative,

Broker dealer or Investment Advisor and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial professional for further information.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 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.


  1. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2020
  2. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2020
  3. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2020
  4. Trading Economics, January 2, 2021
  5. CNN Business, May 8, 2020
  6. Investing.com, January 2, 2021
  7. Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2020
  8. Treasury.gov, January 2, 2021
  9. New York Times, December 23, 2020
  10. Reuters, August 27, 2020
  11. The Balance, December 27, 2020
  12. Reuters, December 22, 2020
  13. Census Bureau, December 23, 2020
  14. NPR, January 15, 2020
  15. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 31, 2020
  16. CNN Business, October 13, 2020
  17. The Week U.K., December 23, 2020
  18. Barchart.com, December 31, 2020
  19. Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2021
  20. IRS.gov, January 1, 2021
  21. GolfPracticeGuides.com, January 29, 2020
  22. PsychologyToday.com, October 10, 2020
  23. RealChristmasTrees.org, January 1, 2021

Vaccine Rollout Spurs Markets

Stocks climbed higher amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and an improving outlook for a fiscal stimulus bill. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has lagged all year, gained 0.44%. The Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 1.25% while the Nasdaq Composite index surged 3.05%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 2.44%.[i],[ii],[iii]

Stocks Climb Higher

In a week that celebrated the national rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, market enthusiasm was tempered by worries of infection caseload and fresh economic lockdowns.

Investors turned their focus to the fiscal stimulus negotiations in Washington, D.C., with the hope that a relief bill may be the bridge that gets the economy over its near-term troubles until vaccine distribution grows more widespread.

These negotiations were not smooth sailing. When a compromise bill appeared to gather support, markets quickly moved higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ Composite all setting new record high closes on Thursday.[iv]

Stocks slipped in the final day of trading as stimulus hopes wavered.

Fed Outlook on Economy Improves

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday concluded its last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee for 2020. Fed officials provided more detail for its monthly bond purchase program and reiterated their commitment to a monthly purchase of $120 billion of Treasury and mortgage-back securities until its inflation and employment goals are met.[v]

The Federal Reserve also raised its outlook on the U.S. economy. It revised its September forecast of a 3.7% decline in GDP in 2020 to a 2.4% decline, and increased its 2021 GDP growth forecast from 4.0% to 4.2%. It also expects unemployment at 2020 year-end would fall to 6.7%, substantially lower than its earlier estimate of 7.6%.[vi]

Final Thoughts

Our weekly market commentary will not be published next week. We would like to take this moment to wish you and your family a safe and joyous holiday season. 

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Consumer Confidence, Existing Home Sales. 
Wednesday: New Home Sales, Consumer Sentiment.  
Thursday: Durable Goods Orders, Jobless Claims.

Source: Econoday, December 18, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Tuesday: Cintas Corporation (CTAS), Carmax, Inc. (KMX)
Wednesday: Paychex, Inc. (PAYX)

Source: Zacks, December 18, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.


“Kindness is like snow, it beautifies everything it covers.”

– Kahlil Gibran


More Year-End Tax Tips

Here are a few year-end tax tips to consider as 2020 starts to wind down:

  • Some investors may want to consider selling certain investments in order to realize the capital loss. These losses may help offset taxable capital gains taken earlier in the year.
  • Look out for the “kiddie tax” rule, which may impact the rate at which a child’s stock or investment is taxed. If a child’s investment income is above $2,200, they may be taxed at the same rate as trusts or estates.

* 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 Turbo Tax[vii]  


Tips for Getting Out of the Divot

Knowing how to successfully get out of the divot is an important skill for any golfer to have. Here are some tips to help:

  • Make sure to hit the ball with a descending blow. To do this, put the ball further back in your stance, move your weight forward, and grip down on the club for more control.
  • Accept the rub of the green and focus on your process.
  • Know that the ball will come out lower and will run out longer than normal and take these facts into consideration when lining up your shot.
  • Take a practice swing or two to get the feeling of what you want to accomplish.
  • Focus on what you want to accomplish with your shot, not what you don’t want to happen.

Tip adapted from PGA[viii]


Keep Your Teeth Healthy This Holiday Season

Dental health is important all year long, but it’s especially important during the holidays when we are eating more goodies! Here are some tips to help keep your teeth and gums happy:

  • Don’t crack nuts with your teeth (there’s a reason why nutcrackers are so popular this season!)
  • Pass on chewy treats like caramel and taffy. This is especially important if you have fillings because these sticky treats can yank out those fillings.
  • Use proper tools to open packages and bottles. Reach for the scissors when tackling that tricky plastic packaging.
  • Avoid chewing on hard candy or even ice cubes. Or even better, avoid hard candy altogether to limit the risk of tooth decay.
  • Try not to bite your nails, no matter how stressful your family might be! If you feel the need to bite your nails, try to distract yourself so the feeling will go away.

Tip adapted from Delta Dental[ix]


Houseplant Care Tips for the Winter

It’s no secret that bringing plants into your home may come with many health benefits, including improved moods, cleaner air, and natural stress relief. If you’ve decided to bring some new plants into your home this winter season, here are some tips to help them thrive:

  • Adjust your watering schedule. Although winter air is drier, most houseplants aren’t putting out new growth during this season so they don’t need to be watered as frequently. Only water when the top 1-2 inches of soil is completely dry.
  • Increase humidity with a humidifier or take your plants in with you while you shower a few times a week! As mentioned, dry winter air is harsh on sensitive houseplants. You can also increase humidity by grouping plants together or resting them on a water tray with pebbles (but don’t let the roots sit in water).
  • Keep your plants at a constant temperature (between 65-75 degrees during the day and above 50 degrees at night). Keep them away from cold drafts or sources of heat.

Tip adapted from The Spruce[x]


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative,

Broker dealer or Investment Advisor and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial professional for further information.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 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.


  1. The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2020
  2. The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2020
  3. The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2020
  4. CNBC, December 17, 2020
  5. The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2020
  6. CNBC, December 16,2020
  7. Turbotax.intuit.com, December 18, 2020
  8. PGA.com, December 18, 2020
  9. Deltadental.com, December 18, 2020
  10. Thespruce.com, December 18, 2020

Cases Rise, Stocks Retreat

Stocks retreated last week on rising COVID-19 infections and slow progress on an economic relief bill. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.57%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 0.96%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.69% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, declined 0.05%.[i],[ii],[iii]

Stimulus Stalls, Stocks Stumble

The market grappled all week with worries over rising COVID-19 cases and the economic restrictions that followed. Nevertheless, there were moments of optimism— such as the starting of vaccinations in the U.K.— that drove markets to record highs.[iv]

But gains could not be sustained as an agreement on a fiscal stimulus bill remained elusive and daily news regarding COVID-19 cases undermined investor sentiment.

Markets were also challenged by having to absorb a number of new and secondary stock offerings last week, including two high-profile technology IPOs. The Energy sector continued its strong run, while small and mid-cap stocks posted another week of positive performance.[v]

A “No-Deal” Brexit More Likely

The prospects of an agreement to manage Britain’s exit from the European Union by year end dimmed as the two parties failed to narrow their differences in a meeting held last week.[vi]

Though primarily a European issue, a no-deal Brexit may hold consequences for U.S. businesses and investors. The failure to reach an agreement has the potential to disrupt an already fragile supply chain and cause issues in the financial markets. A supply chain disruption may weaken European economies (e.g., Germany) that are important to American companies. Another consequence may be a stronger U.S. dollar, which would make American exports more expensive and less competitive.

Little time remains in striking an agreement since the prevailing framework ends December 31, 2020.

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: Industrial Production. 
Wednesday: Retail Sales, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Announcement.  
Thursday: Housing Starts, Jobless Claims.
Friday: Index of Leading Economic Indicators.

Source: Econoday, December 11, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Thursday: General Mills (GIS)
Friday: Darden Restaurants (DRI)

Source: Zacks, December 11, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.


“You’re born an original. Don’t die a copy.”

– John Mason


Year-End Tax Tips

2020 is almost over, which means it’s time to start wrapping up those taxes for the year! There are lots of things to do to prepare for 2021. Here are some year-end tax tips to consider:

  • If you think you will be in the same or a lower tax bracket next year, it may be beneficial to defer income until 2021. This could include self-employment income or year-end bonuses.
  • You may be able to take some last-minute tax deductions, such as controlling when you contribute to charity.

The end of the year is the perfect time to talk with your tax professional on how to position yourself for 2021.

* 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 Turbo Tax[vii]


Try This Drill When Cold Weather Hits

When the weather outside is frightful, golfing isn’t as delightful! But that doesn’t mean that you have to lose your muscle memory just because you can’t get out to the course. This drill can help.

Find a place in your home where you can do a full swing without hitting anything. Or, you can go outside if the weather permits. Then, do 25 or more full swings with your heaviest club or add weight to your club. This will help loosen the muscles you use when you swing and retain positive muscle memory. Golf pros have seen their students gain 15-20 extra yards off the tee after doing this every day in the winter.
Tip adapted from PGA[viii]


Ways to Give Back This Season

The holiday season is a time to give back to our community. There are many service opportunities available, whether you seek out ones in your community or give back on your own. Here are some ideas:

  • Bake cookies or casseroles and pass them out at the local fire departments, police stations, hospitals, or to elderly neighbors or those in need.
  • Pack stockings for homeless people in your community. Include helpful goodies like water bottles, granola bars, hand sanitizer, toothpaste and a toothbrush, or warm gloves.
  • Clean out the toy box with your child or grandchildren and donate some toys or games that they don’t play with anymore. This is a great learning lesson for little ones!
  • “Adopt a family” during the holiday season and help them out with gifts or necessities. Churches and other local organizations often have a program where you can find families in need and help them out.
  • Donate to a food bank. You can either shop for nonperishables or donate your time!

Tip adapted from US News and World Report[ix]


Eco-Friendly Gift Guide

Still looking for the perfect gift for those on your list? There are plenty of ways to be green this holiday season, including shopping for gifts that are either sustainable or help give back to organizations that are helping take care of our planet. Here are some ideas:

  • Reusable water bottles make the perfect gift for that person who always has a plastic bottle with them. Help them drink more water and save plastic!
  • Reusable straws are a fun gift and are becoming easier to carry around. Look for reusable straws that are compact and go with you anywhere, from restaurants to coffee shops.
  • Amour Vert is a company that’s focused on creating sustainable fashion pieces. Plus, they plant a tree for every t-shirt bought!
  • Avocado produces healthy, non-toxic organic mattresses, pillows, and sleep accessories. Getting a good night’s sleep has never been greener!

Tip adapted from Scary Mommy[x]


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative,

Broker dealer or Investment Advisor and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial professional for further information.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 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.


  1. The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2020
  2. The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2020
  3. The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2020
  4. USAToday.com, December 8, 2020
  5. CNBC.com, December 10, 2020
  6. CNBC.com, December 9, 2020
  7. Cookieandkate.com, December 11, 2020
  8. Turbotax.intuit.com, December 11, 2020
  9. PGA.com, December 11, 2020
  10. Money.usnews.com, December 11, 2020
  11. Scarymommy.com, December 11, 2020

Dow Hits 30,000

Stocks surged last week, ignited by another COVID-19 vaccine announcement, encouraging economic data, and the easing of political uncertainty. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.21%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 2.27%. The Nasdaq Composite index, which has led all year, gained 2.96%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, climbed 1.54%.[i],[ii],[iii]

Dow Breaks 30,000

For the third consecutive week, markets opened on Monday to yet another announcement of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. 

Stock prices found additional support on news that President-elect Biden would be nominating Janet Yellen, the former Chair of the Federal Reserve, to be Secretary of the Treasury. Investors reacted well to the choice, encouraged by her previously voiced support for greater fiscal stimulus and relieved that a candidate less antagonistic to the industry was selected.

Positive momentum continued into the following day, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 index, and the Russell 2000 to record high levels, with the Dow closing above the 30,000 milestone.[iv]

Stocks eased off their highs in pre-Thanksgiving trading, though they recovered some of those losses on Friday, as the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite closed with fresh record highs.[v]

A Microcosm of the Economy

The economic outlook has been difficult to figure out due to conflicting signals. One day it’s a historic jump in economic growth; another day it’s a record high in new COVID-19 infections. Last week was a good illustration of this. Reports of healthy consumer spending, a solid rise in durable goods orders, and sales of new homes remaining near almost-14-year highs were balanced by a jump in new jobless claims, a decline in household income, and new state and local COVID-related restrictions.[vi]

Last week investors chose to see the glass half full and look past the near-term challenges the economy faces. 

Robert Roman
CEO, Managing Director


THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA

Tuesday: Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Index.
Wednesday: Automated Data Processing (ADP) Employment Report.  
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Services Index.
Friday: Employment Situation, Factory Orders.

Source: Econoday, November 27, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. 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.

THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS

Monday: Zoom Video Communications (ZM)
Tuesday: Salesforce.com (CRM)
Wednesday: Splunk (SPLK), Snowflake, Inc. (SNOW), Crowdstrike Holdings (CRWD) 
Thursday: Marvell Technologies (MRVL), Dollar General (DG), Docusign (DOCU)

Source: Zacks, November 27, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. 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.



“The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.”

– Ken Kesey


Stay Safe While Shopping Online

While online shopping can be a convenient way to do your holiday shopping, it’s important to keep your information safe. Here are some tips from the IRS to help:

  • Make sure the site you are shopping from is secure. You can tell by looking for “https” in the URL. If there isn’t an “s”, be weary of providing your credit card information. You can also look for a lock icon in the URL bar.
  • Make sure you are using a secure internet connection. Avoid shopping online if you’re using unprotected WiFi, including WiFi networks at the library, work, the mall, or other public places.
  • Look out for phishing emails, which are emails that come from spam accounts pretending to be from a legitimate business.
  • Use unique passwords for each of your accounts and make sure your passwords are strong (at least 12 characters, contain upper and lowercase letters, contain numbers, and contain special characters). Don’t use any personal information in your password, such as your name or family’s names.

* 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[vii]


Do You Still Need Your 3-Iron?

The 3-iron is known for its low loft, but it’s also known as one of the hardest clubs to master. In today’s game, more and more golf clubs have entered the market to try to eliminate the need for these low-lofted irons. So this begs the question: do you still need your 3-iron?

The answer depends on your game and preferences, so it might depend. But more golf pros are recommending choosing a hybrid, driving iron, or fairway wood because they are easier to hit and can provide supreme distance and accuracy. These alternatives make it possible to leave your 3-iron at home if you want! Enjoy improved distance and trajectory with today’s modern clubs.
Tip adapted from Daily Birdie[viii]


Give a Homemade Gift This Holiday Season

With all the buzz surrounding online shopping, it may seem like Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are the only option for holiday gifts. But, if you want to avoid the crazes at the mall and online and want to give a unique, meaningful gift, look no further than a homemade craft.

Even if you aren’t particularly crafty, some of these options are easy to make and will be a special gift for a loved one:

  • Homemade candles
  • Embroidered gift card holders (a perfect personal touch for a gift card)
  • Bath bombs
  • Arm-knitted blanket
  • Clay ring holder using oven-baked clay (no kiln required!)

Tip adapted from The Spruce Crafts[ix]


Eco-Friendly Shopping Tips

If you’re starting your holiday shopping already, you might be wondering how you can make your shopping trips a little greener. Here are some eco-friendly shopping tips!

  • When possible, shop secondhand. Some people might view secondhand gifts as taboo, but they’re just as thoughtful, if not more so, than new items because they are unique in their own way.
  • Shop local and shop small. Small businesses that are conscious of their environmental footprint are helping to do their part to create a more sustainable shopping landscape.
  • When shopping for clothes, look for items that are made from sustainable materials, such as cotton. Polyester is made from plastic and is non-biodegradable.
  • If you’re going out shopping, consolidate your trips so you don’t have to waste gas going to multiple stores.
  • Bring your own shopping bags to limit the use of paper and plastic bags.

Tip adapted from Independent[x]


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative,

Broker dealer or Investment Advisor and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial professional for further information.

The market indexes discussed are unmanaged and generally considered representative of their respective markets. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 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.


  1. The Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2020
  2. The Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2020
  3. The Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2020
  4. CNBC, November 24, 2020
  5. The Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2020
  6. The Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2020
  7. IRS.gov, December 18, 2017
  8. Dailybirdie.com, November 25, 2020
  9. Thesprucecrafts.com, November 25, 2020
  10. Independent.co.uk, November 25, 2020