paris-843229_1920Domestic stocks posted losses on Friday, April 21, largely due to investor concerns about the French election.[i] Despite these daily losses, U.S. indexes broke their two-week losing streak, with the S&P 500 adding 0.85%, the Dow gaining 0.46%, and the NASDAQ increasing 1.82%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE grew by 0.18%.[ii]

What Did We Learn Last Week?

  • The French Election Is Concerning Investors

Uncertainty surrounding France’s presidential election contributed to investor caution last week.[iii] After Sunday’s ballot, National Front candidate Marine Le Pen will advance to the second round of voting on May 7, which decides the new president.[iv] Le Pen has promised to remove France from the European Union if she wins, a choice that could affect markets and currencies.[v]

  • Quarterly Earnings Reports Are Mostly Strong

By Friday morning, 95 companies in the S&P 500 had reported their quarterly earnings; 77% of them beat earnings-per-share estimates.[vi]

  • Existing Home Sales Jumped 4.4% in March

Sales of existing homes hit levels not seen since 2007, and median home prices are up 6.8% over a year ago.[vii] Supply levels remain tight, and demand is high, as 48% of homes sold last month were on the market for less than a month.[viii]

  • Housing Starts Declined 6.8% in March

While the headline number for housing starts may seem pretty disappointing, it largely reflects the results of a return to typical March weather after unseasonably mild weather boosted starts in January and February.[ix] Overall, housing starts are up 9.2% over this time last year.[x]

  • The Consumer Price Index Missed Expectations

Declines in gas and other energy prices contributed to the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) falling 0.3% in March—its first monthly decline in more than a year.[xi]

  • Tax-Plan Information May Be on the Horizon

On April 20, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin indicated that tax reform remains important. The next day, President Trump said a tax plan should be coming this week.[xii]

  • Oil Prices Dropped

Crude oil prices fell below $50 a barrel after losing 2.15% on Friday.[xiii] Investors are showing concern about whether output decreases by OPEC can balance out against increasing U.S. production and prevent oversupply.[xiv]

What’s Ahead

Moving into the last week of April, we will learn both first quarter GDP readings and gain further insight into consumer confidence and housing performance. On Friday, April 28, initial readings for first quarter GDP will help deepen our understanding of where the economy stands right now. Consensus estimates are at a soft 1.1% growth, even lower than last quarter’s 2.1% increase.[xv] After seeing this week’s low CPI numbers, combined with retail and inventory data, Barclays decreased its GDP estimate to only 0.8%.[xvi]

Last week provided a variety of data and perspectives that are continuing to reveal themselves. As momentum from the French presidential outcomes and our own economic growth unfolds, we will watch these developments closely. Meanwhile, we encourage you to continue a long-term focus on your goals, and we are here to discuss any questions you may have along the way.


Tuesday: S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller HPI, New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence

Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Thursday: Durable Goods Orders, International Trade in Goods, Pending Home Sales Index

Friday: GDP, Employment Cost Index, Consumer Sentiment

DATA AS OF 4/21/2017 1 WEEK SINCE 1/1/17 1 YEAR 5 YEAR 10 YEAR
STANDARD & POOR’S 500 0.85% 4.91% 12.30% 11.25% 4.70%
DOW 0.46% 3.97% 14.27% 9.54% 4.72%
NASDAQ 1.82% 9.80% 19.50% 14.52% 8.87%
INTERNATIONAL 0.18% 5.75% 3.74% 3.34% -2.30%
DATA AS OF 4/21/2017 1  MONTH 6  MONTH 1  YEAR 5  YEAR 10  YEAR
TREASURY YIELDS (CMT) 0.72% 0.92% 0.99% 1.77% 2.24%

Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5- year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boatszucchini-1630518_1920

 Perfect as a main dish or to pair with pasta!

 Serves 4




  • 4 small zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 links sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • Parsley, chopped


  1. Cut zucchini lengthwise.
  2. Scrape out insides from the zucchini, creating a ¼-inch shell.
  3. Chop zucchini insides into pieces.
  4. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet on medium high.
  5. Add to the skillet chopped zucchini, Italian sausage, onion, and salt.
  6. Cook together for 8 minutes, breaking up pieces as you go along.
  7. Spread marinara into a 3-quart baking dish.
  8. Arrange the zucchini shells on top of sauce with hollow sides up.
  9. Fill the shells with your cooked sausage mixture.
  10. Top each zucchini with shredded mozzarella.
  11. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 450°.
  12. Uncover foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
  13. Garnish with parsley.
  14. Serve either as a main dish or paired with pasta.

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping[i]

Details About Filing Your Taxes Late*

the-eleventh-hour-1254213_1920Sometimes, being able to file your taxes on time can just be plain impossible. Whatever reason may cause you to file late, you have obligations you need to address as a result of your delayed filing status. Here are some important tax items to keep in mind.

If you expect to receive a refund, will the IRS penalize you for filing late?

No. The IRS doesn’t penalize taxpayers who expect to receive a refund.

What fees will you get if you file late?

Late filers may be stuck with two penalties:

  • Filing your taxes late: The minimum penalty for filing more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date is $205. You could receive a penalty of 5% of your unpaid taxes each month, and the maximum penalty is 25%. If you owe less than $205 in taxes, then you simply pay 100% of that tax.


  • Paying your taxes late: You also receive more fees when you pay your taxes late. Generally, this monthly fee is 0.5% of your unpaid taxes and can grow to become as high as 25% of the unpaid taxes.

You also accrue interest on these fees; the longer you wait, the more fees you may pay. Other filing details may apply, so be sure to check out further guidance on the IRS website.

*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 advisor.

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