A report last month concluded that in excess of 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores could close in 2017 due to poor sales.

Markets tuned out noise from Washington last week and continued to focus on economic fundamentals. Mildly rebounding retail sales and strong consumer sentiment seem to point toward a modestly stronger second quarter.[i]

After a three-week winning streak, both the Dow and S&P 500 reported slight losses.[ii] The Dow closed with a 0.53% loss, and the S&P 500 reported a 0.35% decline for the week.[iii] The NASDAQ, however, rose 0.34% while the MSCI EAFE reported a modest 0.16% gain.[iv]


  • Soft retail earnings

Consumer retail purchases were up after a first-quarter decline. Sales rose by 0.4% (just shy of the 0.6% consensus), and 9 of the 13 retail categories posted gains.[v]  As expected, early second-quarter gains suggest the first-quarter decline was just a blip.[vi]

  • Continuing concerns over store closings

A report last month concluded that in excess of 8,600 brick-and-mortar stores could close in 2017 due to poor sales. Last year, at least 2,000 stores shut their doors, while just over 5,000 closed in 2015. The record for store closings occurred in 2008 when over 6,000 stores closed.[vii]

  • Strong consumer sentiment

Despite modest retail sales, consumer confidence reached a 4-month high.[viii] Consumer expectations are positive regarding job growth, income, and low inflation.[ix] Furthermore, 44% of surveyed consumers expressed optimism in their financial prospects—the highest percentage since 2004.[x]

  • S. consumer prices rise in line with expectations

The consumer price index rose 0.2% in April, in line with expectations for the month.[xi] However, the medical care and communications sectors saw continuing price weakness.[xii]


This week, we will look forward to data regarding the strength of the housing market. Though the highest percent of consumers in over 10 years report positive opinions on selling homes, next week’s numbers will give us a better idea of where the markets stand.[xiii] Finally, the market will continue to watch oil prices, which steadied this week after three weeks of decline.[xiv]

In the weeks ahead, possible corporate tax rate reductions and potential trade policy changes will remain in focus for markets. In addition, markets will remain interested in the Fed’s interest rate plans and its plan to reduce its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.[xv]
As always, we will continue to track the impact of international and domestic political news on the markets and the economy.


Monday: Housing Market Index

Tuesday: Housing Starts, Industrial Production

Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report

Friday: Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey

DATA AS OF 5/12/2017 1 WEEK SINCE 1/1/17 1 YEAR 5 YEAR 10 YEAR
STANDARD & POOR’S 500 -0.35% 6.79% 15.83% 12.05% 4.73%
DOW -0.53% 5.74% 17.92% 10.26% 4.60%
NASDAQ 0.34% 13.71% 29.21% 15.85% 9.10%
INTERNATIONAL 0.16% 10.92% 13.52% 5.28% -1.80%
DATA AS OF 5/12/2017 1  MONTH 6  MONTHS 1  YEAR 5  YEAR 10  YEAR
TREASURY YIELDS (CMT) 0.69% 1.03% 1.11% 1.85% 2.33%

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.

Recipe of the Week: Spanish Garlic Shrimpasian-1238725_1920

A zesty take on a seafood favorite!

 Serves 4




 2 TBSP olive oil

1 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 TBSP garlic, minced

2 TBSP lemon juice

2 TBSP sherry or water, with 2 TBSP flour added

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled


  1. Heat olive oil in large nonstick pan on medium-high.
  2. Mix in onion and bell peppers, and sauté for 4 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except the shrimp.
  4. Bring ingredients to simmer, cooking for 2 minutes.
  5. Toss shrimp into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes (or until shrimp are no longer transparent), stirring constantly.
  6. Serve shrimp dish over saffron risotto or yellow rice.

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping[i]

Tax Tips: Tips for Safeguarding Your Passwords*data-1590455_1920

As we do more of our daily activities online, including filing taxes, we become more vulnerable to security compromises, such as breached data and identify theft. A key item that can put you at risk is the vulnerability of your passwords. Here are tips for taking better steps to safeguard your passwords to protect your important data.

  1. Create long passwords

Breaking into a long password is more difficult to do than one with just a few characters and numbers. As such, you should create passwords that have a minimum of 8 characters.

  1. Use combinations of characters and capitalization


Sometimes companies will control what types of characters you can use. When you have the freedom to choose a variety of characters, you can create a secure password using a combination of the following:

  • letters
  • numbers
  • symbols


You also should vary using capitalized and lowercase letters. Be sure to include at minimum one uppercase and one lowercase letter.

  1. Avoid personal information

While details such as your children’s or pets’ names can be memorable, they make guessing your password easy for criminals. Avoid using any personally identifying information in your chosen password.

Other details apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

Tip courtesy of[ii]

tea-617279_1920Your Health: Tips for Managing a Cough

Trying to keep a cough at bay can be incredibly challenging and debilitating, no matter how intense the cough is. You usually can manage a cough from things like seasonal allergies and common colds at home. Here are some key ways to control your cough and find some relief.

  • Consume enough water: If you have mucous when you cough, you probably have postnasal drip. You can thin the mucous by drinking more water. Doing so also helps moisten your mucous membranes, which can further help you control your cough.
  • Drink warm tea with honey: Some clinical research suggests that drinking hot tea with honey will help soothe your throat from coughing.
  • Use a humidifier: If your home is particularly dry, having a humidifier running can help you add important moisture back into the air. You’ll want to make sure you clean it out regularly though, as they can breed fungus, mold, and bacteria, and pump these back into the air.

Tip courtesy of WebMD[iii]




















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