oil-106913_960_720With the first quarter of 2017 now behind us, we have seen the three major indexes all gain more than 4.5% so far this year.[i] In fact, the NASDAQ just experienced its best quarter since 2013 due to tech stocks driving growth.[ii]

Despite closing down on Friday, the indexes added to their quarterly gains last week.  The S&P 500 grew by 0.80%, the Dow was up 0.32%, and the NASDAQ gained 1.42%.[iii] At the same time, international stocks in the MSCI EAFE lost 0.26% for the week.[iv]

What else happened last week?

  • Oil gained on word from OPEC

Oil prices experienced their largest weekly gains in 2017, ending above $50 a barrel.[v] This growth is largely a result of speculation that OPEC (an intergovernmental organization of 13 oil-producing countries) will continue its agreement to curb oil output.[vi] By reducing supply, the nations aim to reduce the supply glut that drives prices down.

  • Q4 GDP increased with revisions

The final revisions for fourth quarter GDP beat expectations, coming in at 2.1%—up from the previous estimates of 1.9% growth.[vii] This plodding growth is in keeping with the economic recovery we have experienced the past several years.

  • Inflation hit a key Fed benchmark

When deciding on monetary policy, the Federal Reserve pays close attention to the PCE deflator, an inflation measurement from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.[viii] They want to see this data above 2%. We learned last week that in February the PCE deflator hit this level for the first time since 2012.[ix] If this trend continues, we could see additional interest rate increases this year.[x]

  • Consumer confidence and sentiment remained high

The Conference Board’s March readings for consumer confidence jumped to the highest levels since December 2000, surprising economists who expected the reading to decline from February.[xi] The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment readings also showed an increase for March.[xii] However, the Michigan survey’s chief economist pointed out that participants’ sentiment showed a deep partisan divide.[xiii] With confidence and uncertainty seemingly split along party lines, the effect on spending behaviors remains to be seen.[xiv]

So far, the first quarter of 2017 has brought market growth and several positive economic data reports—coupled with heated policy debates occurring in government and the media. Moving forward, we will continue to seek the best opportunities to pursue your goals and keep you informed with the information you need to help make solid decisions.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

Monday: PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending

Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales, Factory Orders

Wednesday: ISM Non-Manufacturing Index

Friday: Employment Situation

Data as of 3/31/2017 1-Week Since 1/1/17 1-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor’s 500 0.80% 5.53% 14.71% 13.55% 6.63%
DOW 0.32% 4.56% 16.84% 11.28% 6.73%
NASDAQ 1.42% 9.82% 21.39% 18.24% 14.41%
International -0.26% 6.47% 8.53% 2.91% -1.79%
Data as of 3/31/2017 1 mo. 6 mo. 1 yr. 5 yr. 10 yr.
Treasury Yields (CMT) 0.74% 0.91% 1.03% 1.93% 2.40%

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, S&P Dow Jones Indices and Treasury.gov. 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.

olive-oil-968657_960_720Green Olive Tapenade
Make a simple, savory appetizer guests will love!

Makes about 3 cups

 

 

Ingredients:

  •  10 oil-packed anchovy filets, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and crushed*
  • 1 cup Cerignola olives, pitted and crushed*
  • 1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup drained capers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 TBSP lemon zest, finely grated
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • If you are unable to find either of these briny, meaty olives, you can substitute with other varieties or use just one kind.

Directions:

  1.  Set aside a large jar or medium bowl.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the container you choose.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve immediately on crostini or cover and chill for up to 1 week.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetite | Epicurious[i]

cloud-709095_960_720Tips for the Sharing Economy

Do you rent a spare room in your house, provide car rides for a fee, or earn money from other nontraditional arrangements? You may be a part of the sharing economy. And if you made any income from such platforms, you have some key financial details to address when filing your taxes.

Is the income taxable?

Yes. No matter if you made money part or full time, the IRS taxes the income you make. This rule applies if you received payments in cash or if you received a return such as Form 1099 or Form W2.

Can you take deductions?

Some business-expenses deductions may apply for taxpayers who qualify. A deduction for a business expense could be an item such as claiming the standard mileage rate (54 cents a mile in 2016) if you use your car for business.

Do taxes apply if you rent a home you also live in?

You will generally have to account for specific tax rules if you rent a home that you live in at any point throughout the year, called the “Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes).” You can identify the status of taxable rental income using the IRS tax assistant tool.

Other factors do apply, and you can learn more on the IRS website. You can also explore the agency’s Sharing Economy Tax Center to understand other tax details that may affect what you owe or the steps you need to take.

*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.

Tip courtesy of IRS.gov[1]

[1] https://www.irs.gov/uac/keep-in-mind-these-basic-tax-tips-for-the-sharing-economy

[i] htp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-olive-tapenade

1 http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/31/us-markets.html

[ii] http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/31/us-markets.html

[iii] http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/%5EGSPC/history?period1=1490328000&period2=1490932800&interval=1d&filter=history&frequency=1d

http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/%5EDJI/history?period1=1490328000&period2=1490932800&interval=1d&filter=history&frequency=1d

http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/%5EIXIC/history?period1=1490328000&period2=1490932800&interval=1d&filter=history&frequency=1d

[iv] https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

[v] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-31/oil-holds-rebound-above-50-amid-opec-led-cut-extension-momentum

[vi] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-31/oil-holds-rebound-above-50-amid-opec-led-cut-extension-momentum

[vii] http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2017/3/30/real-gdp-growth-in-q4-was-revised-up-to-a-2.1percent-annual-rate

[viii] http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2017/3/31/personal-income-increased-0.4percent-in-february

[ix] http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2017/3/31/personal-income-increased-0.4percent-in-february

[x] http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2017/3/31/personal-income-increased-0.4percent-in-february

[xi] http://finance.yahoo.com/news/comes-consumer-confidence-133841167.html

[xii] http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/

[xiii] http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/

[xiv] http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/

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