Weekly Market Update – 2/19/19
The Week on Wall Street
Stocks ended a good week on a high note, as hints of progress in U.S.-China trade talks encouraged investors.
When the closing bell rang Friday, the S&P 500 settled at 2,775.60, after rising 2.50% in five days. The Dow Industrials gained 3.09%, to close Friday at 25,883.25. The Nasdaq Composite improved 2.39% to 7,472.41.[i],[ii]
Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief late last week as Congress passed a bill to keep the federal government funded. President Trump signed the measure on Friday.
Retail Sales Unexpectedly Slip
Thursday, the Census Bureau announced that retail sales fell 1.2% in December. This was the largest monthly decline in more than nine years and fell short of expectations. Economists polled by Bloomberg anticipated a small gain.
Was the slow December mostly a reflection of consumer anxieties about the shutdown and the stock market? If so, it is possible that retail spending may see an uptick. (It should be noted that these monthly numbers are often revised later.)[v]
Inflation Holds Steady
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most widely followed measure of inflation, was flat in January for a third consecutive month. Year-over-year, overall inflation is running at just 1.6%.
The CPI is one of the key factors the Fed considers when assessing the economy and determining what lies ahead for interest rates.[vi]
U.S. and Chinese negotiators face a March 1 deadline to reach a deal to extend the current tariff truce. In March, tariffs on many Chinese imports could rise to 25% from 10%. President Trump said Friday that he is open to postponing the March deadline if it appears an agreement may be near.[vii]
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Monday: Presidents’Day holiday (U.S. financial markets closed).
Wednesday: Minutes of the JanuaryFederal Reserve policy meeting are released.
Thursday: January existing home sales.
Friday: Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida speaks in New York.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: Devon Energy (DVN), Walmart (WMT)
Wednesday: Analog Devices (ADI), CVS Health (CVS)
Thursday: Dominos (DPZ), Fluor (FLR), Intuit (INTU), Kraft Heinz (KHZ)
“What we think we become.”
Donating Property for Deductions
You can make charitable donations to nonprofits, like Goodwill and Salvation Army, for tax deductions. Clothing often comes to mind when donating, but other items are also in demand. So, next time you’re ready to unload some items, consider these:
Furniture: That “slightly used” couch or armchair is donatable and could become someone else’s treasure. Be sure your donations are still in “good” used condition in order to capitalize on your deduction.
Artwork: Paintings and other artwork can be donated, but you may need to obtain an appraisal in advance to determine fair market value. The IRS has an Art Advisory Panel for pieces that are claimed at a value of $50,000 or more. The panel is composed of up to 25 renowned art experts, and their service is voluntary and without compensation. Check the guidelines on www.irs.govfor more information.
Your car: You can donate your car for a deduction of the fair market value of the vehicle. The charity receiving the item must repurpose the vehicle in one or more of the following ways: keeping the vehicle for the organization to use, improving the vehicle, or donating the vehicle to an individual in need. Check www.irs.govfor more details.
*This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov[viii]
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