Dow, S&P, Nasdaq Climb Higher

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Weekly Market Review - February 20th, 2019

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]


Shutdown Averted

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.  

The development is expected to have a positive effect on consumer sentiment, which may influence the financial markets. During the shutdown, consumer confidence hit an 18-month low.[iii],[iv]  

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]

What’s Ahead

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]


Monday: Presidents’ Day holiday (U.S. financial markets closed).

Wednesday: Minutes of the January Federal Reserve policy meeting are released.

Thursday: January existing home sales.

Friday: Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida speaks in New York.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, February 15, 2019

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. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material.



Tuesday: Devon Energy (DVN), Walmart (WMT)

Wednesday: Analog Devices (ADI), CVS Health (CVS)

Thursday: Dominos (DPZ), Fluor (FLR), Intuit (INTU), Kraft Heinz (KHZ)

Source:, February 15, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. 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.

Certain Uncertainties in Retirement

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Educational Update - February 14th, 2019

The financial uncertainties we face in retirement may risk reducing our sense of confidence, potentially undermining our outlook during those years.

Indeed, according to the 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, only 17% of pre-retirees said they are “very confident” about having enough assets to live comfortably in retirement. In addition, just 32% of retirees were “very confident” in their prospects for doing so.[i]

Today, retirees face two overarching uncertainties. While each one can lead even the best-laid strategies awry, it is important to remember that remaining flexible and responsive to changes in the financial landscape may help you meet the challenges posed by uncertainty in the years ahead.


An Uncertain Tax Structure

A mounting national debt and the growing liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are straining federal finances. How these challenges will be resolved remains unknown, but higher taxes – along with means-testing for Social Security and Medicare – are obvious possibilities for policymakers.

Whatever tax rates may be in the future, taxes can be a drag on your savings and may adversely impact your retirement security. Moreover, any reduction of Social Security or Medicare benefits has the potential to increase financial strain during your retirement.

Consequently, you will need to be ever mindful of a changing tax landscape and strategies to manage the impact of whatever changes occur.

Market Uncertainty

If you know someone who retired (or wanted to retire) in 2008, you know what market uncertainty can do to a retirement blueprint.

The uncertainties have not gone away. Are we at the cusp of a bond market bubble bursting? Will the eurozone find its footing? Will U.S. debt be a drag on our economic vitality?

Over a 30-year period, uncertainties may evaporate or resolve themselves, but new ones may also emerge. Solutions for one set of financial or economic circumstances may not be appropriate for a new set of circumstances.


Stocks Post Small Weekly Gains

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Weekly Update - February 11, 2019

The Week on Wall Street

Major U.S. stock benchmarks eked out slight gains last week, with corporate profit reports and news about U.S.-China trade negotiations vying for investor attention over five trading sessions.

The big three ended the week little changed from where they settled the previous Friday. The Dow Jones Industrials rose 0.17% percent, while the S&P 500 Index gained 0.05% percent. The NASDAQ Composite ended the week up 0.47%. Looking at international stocks, the MSCI EAFE index retreated 0.47%.1


Earnings Scorecard

As of last Friday, 66% of all S&P 500 companies had reported fourth-quarter earnings. So far, 71% of these firms have announced earnings exceeding estimates, and 62% have seen revenues top projections.3


Halfway through earnings season, 2019 future guidance has been a mixed bag for S&P 500 companies.3 For Wall Street, future earnings can be just as important as current earnings. We keep a close eye on both.  


Tariff Tensions

March 1 is the 90-day deadline set by President Trump for a trade deal with China. If no agreement is reached, the U.S. may consider a new round of tariffs. On Thursday, news that President Trump and Chinese President Xi may not meet before the March 1 deadline added to the market volatility.


The decision by the U.S. on new tariffs may hinge on how much progress has been made toward a new agreement. We don’t expect that to become clear until the deadline nears.


State of the Service Sector

Many indicators help economists take the pulse of the overall economy. The Institute for Supply Management keeps a critical, but not widely followed, index, which helps gauge the health of the service sector.


The January reading on this index came in at 56.7. Any reading above 50 shows that the service industry is seeing solid growth.4


Final Thought

Over the next several weeks, we’re expecting more volatility as the markets digest economic news, a new wave of corporate earnings, and twists and turns on the geopolitical front. We will be watching to see if anything changes our short-term and long-term view. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.



Wednesday: January’s Consumer Price Index, which measures monthly and yearly inflation.

Thursday: December retail sales figures (a delayed release due to the government shutdown).

Friday: January’s preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, a gauge of consumer confidence levels.

Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, February 8, 2019

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. The release of data may be delayed without notice for a variety of reasons, including the shutdown of the government agency or change at the private institution that handles the material.



Monday: Loews Corp (L)

Tuesday: Activision Blizzard (ATVI), HubSpot (HUBS), Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

Wednesday: Cisco (CSCO), Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT), Yelp (YELP)

Thursday: Applied Materials (AMAT), CBS (CBS), Coca-Cola (KO)

Friday: Deere & Co. (DE), PepsiCo (PEP)


Source:, February 8, 2019

Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. 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.

Stocks Continue to Climb

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Last week closed out one of stocks’ top January performances in years. In fact, both the S&P 500 and Dow posted their best January results in at least 3 decades.[i] For the week, major domestic indexes were also up. The S&P 500 gained 1.57%, the Dow added 1.32%, and the NASDAQ increased 1.38%.[ii] The Dow’s performance marked its 6th week of gains in a row.[iii] Internationally, MSCI EAFE stocks also posted growth, rising 0.91%.[iv]


Market Data

as of February 4th, 2019

What drove stock results last week?

As discussed in our previous market update, last week provided a number of details for investors to focus on. Here are some key items that contributed to market performance:

1.     Federal Reserve Meeting: The Fed chose not to increase interest rates above its current 2.25% – 2.50% target. When releasing this update, the central bank noted that it would be “patient” when deciding about any future increases.[v]


Market Impact?

The Fed’s signal that additional rate hikes may not be imminent helped improve market confidence.[vi]


2.     Corporate Earnings: By Friday, nearly half of S&P 500 companies had released earnings data for the 4th quarter of 2018. Of them, 70% had higher earnings-per-share than expected and 62% beat revenue projections. Right now, the S&P 500 is poised to have its 5th quarter in a row of double-digit earnings growth. However, the currently projected growth of 12.4% is lower than it has been since 2017.[vii]


Market Impact?

With worries of disappointing results calmed, some investors are feeling relieved by earnings season so far.[viii]


3.     January Labor Report: The latest Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the economy added 304,000 new jobs in January. At the same time, the unemployment rate increased slightly, as the count included furloughed federal workers. The latest data also indicated that December job growth was lower than initially reported.[ix] 


Market Impact?

The January job growth was much higher than investors expected and implied the partial government shutdown minimally affected the U.S. economy. These perspectives helped drive stock gains on Friday.[x]

This week, we will continue to monitor corporate earnings season and will follow any developments in the U.S.–China trade negotiations. We will also watch for new data releases, especially those previously delayed by the government shutdown. If you have any questions, we’re here for you. 


Monday: Motor Vehicle Sales, Factory Orders

Tuesday: PMI Services Index, ISM Non-Mfg Index

Wednesday: Jerome Powell Speaks

Thursday: Jobless Claims


*The federal government shutdown may delay some data releases.











Stocks Stall Awaiting This Week's Data

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

For the first time in months, U.S. markets experienced little movement last week.[i] The Dow and NASDAQ did have their 5th week of gains in a row, but their increases were small: 0.12% and 0.11%, respectively. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 broke its 4-week winning streak with a 0.22% loss. [ii] Internationally, the MSCI EAFE also posted modest returns, gaining 0.47% for the week. [iii]


Market Data

as of January 25th, 2019


What topics were on investors’ minds?

Despite the relative lack of market drama last week, investors still had plenty to consider. For example, the following details emerged:

  • Conflicting messages came out on trade tension with China.

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded its forecast for global growth.

  • Corporate earnings season continued.[iv]


In addition, the longest Federal government shutdown in history ended. After 35 days, the House and Senate voted unanimously to reopen the partially closed government. President Trump signed the bill, which includes funding through February 15.[v]


This week could provide far more action in the markets when a number of key details emerge.[vi]


What’s ahead this week?

These last days of January provide several noteworthy updates, including:

  • Federal Reserve Meeting: Most people expect that the Fed will not increase rates this week. However, many investors will be studying how the central bank describes its plans for 2019 and assessment of the economy’s strength.[vii]  

  • Corporate Earnings: This week, 126 S&P 500 companies will release their earnings data.[viii] Major reports could help provide insight into everything from U.S. consumers to global industry.[ix]

  • China Negotiations: Chinese Vice Premier Liu and his delegation are coming to Washington to conduct additional trade discussions.[x] As we have discussed for months, the ongoing tension is affecting markets as investors look for clarity on what may lie ahead.[xi] 


One data point we may not receive this week is the initial reading of 4th quarter 2018 Gross Domestic Product.[xii] This report is one of many affected by the Federal government shutdown. Although the government has reopened, we have yet to receive the latest data on retail sales, new home sales, durable goods orders, and more.[xiii] 


As the week unfolds, we will analyze all of the information that does come out—and continue to look for ways to pursue our clients’ long-term goals in the current economic environment. If you have any questions about how these details affect your financial life, we’re here to talk.



Tuesday: Consumer Confidence

Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, GDP  

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: Motor Vehicle Sales, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg Index, Construction Spending, Consumer Sentiment

*The Federal government shutdown may delay some data releases.














Why You Should Hire a CPA/PFS

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

A Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who meets the financial planning requirements established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The credential is awarded only to CPAs who demonstrate the requisite experience, education, examination, and ethical standards established by the AICPA.


What are the requirements?

In order to obtain the PFS credential, an applicant must:

  • Be a CPA in good standing

  • Be a member in good standing with the AICPA

  • Earn a minimum of 75 hours of personal financial planning education

  • Pass a comprehensive Personal Financial Planning exam

  • Have at least two years (or 3,000 hours equivalent) of full-time financial planning business experience

  • Agree to be bound by the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct

  • Meet continuing education requirements

What does a CPA/PFS do?

CPAs with the PFS credential are able to address their clients' comprehensive financial planning needs through their training in business, tax, estate, charitable giving, investments, risk management, and retirement planning. Every area of your plan has potential tax implications. You can be assured with a CPA/PFS credential holder that these issues will be integrated into your financial plan and not overlooked.

Some areas in which a CPA/PFS may offer services include:

Taxes. As a CPA, the PFS professional is educated and trained in corporate, estate, and income taxation. A CPA/PFS is able to help you make financial planning decisions with a clear understanding of the tax impact.

Business planning. A CPA/PFS has the experience and background to help with succession planning and other issues that affect your financial goals.

Investments. A CPA/PFS can provide information on the investments you have, and advise you on the changes that will be in your best interest, based on your financial goals.

Estate planning. Service can include enhancing your estate value, conserving existing assets, minimizing estate and transfer taxes, and facilitating the transfer of your assets to your heirs or charitable organizations.

Retirement planning. A CPA/PFS can help you identify your retirement goals and establish a plan to maximize your income for a comfortable retirement.

Risk management. Many PFS credential holders can offer expertise in risk management, including strategies involving life and long-term care insurance, and liability coverage.

While addressing these needs, it is important to understand the standard of care to which a CPA/PFS is held. As CPAs, they are licensed and regulated by their state board and must provide a standard of care defined by the law. Penalties for noncompliance are much more than losing a credential or membership; a CPA's license to practice in that state could be in jeopardy. In addition, there may be repercussions for breaking state laws.

How is a CPA/PFS compensated?

Typically, CPAs earn their living by charging hourly or flat rates for their services. Many CPAs with the PFS credential embrace a fee-only approach, charging fees for specific services provided. Others use a fee-based approach, which is a combination fee-and-commission structure.

Regardless of the method, the Code of Professional Conduct requires a CPA/PFS to act with integrity, objectivity, due care, and competence; disclose any conflicts of interest (and obtain client consent if a conflict exists); maintain client confidentiality, disclose to the client any commission or referral fees; and serve the public interest when providing financial services. You can review the code at

How can a CPA/PFS help you?

A CPA with the PFS credential will help you by taking a holistic approach to your financial planning process. No recommendation is made without considering the impact on all of your goals. He or she can help you control expenses and develop and implement a plan for retirement, education, or wealth protection. He or she can also offer advice in tax planning or asset management. Specifically, a CPA/PFS can help you:

  • Establish financial and personal goals through objective analysis of your situation

  • Evaluate your financial well-being through a thorough analysis of your assets, income, liabilities, taxes, investments, and insurance

  • Identify areas of concern and help you address them with a suitable plan that emphasizes your financial strengths while reducing your financial weaknesses

  • Establish plans to effectively transfer accumulated wealth to either successive generations or charitable organizations

  • Review your plan periodically to accommodate your changing personal circumstances and financial goals

How to choose a CPA/PFS

The relationship you establish with your financial professional is a very personal one. For the relationship to be effective, you have to be comfortable sharing many details of your financial and family life. A CPA is one of the most trusted advisors for both individuals and their closely held businesses. Combine this with the expertise evidenced by the PFS credential, and you can feel comfortable that the CPA/PFS professional will work hard for you and your family's best interests for years to come.

Here are some questions you may want to ask a CPA/PFS to help you decide whether he or she is the right planner for you:

  • What is your education? What schools did you attend and what degrees have you earned?

  • What licenses do you hold? Are you registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities regulator, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)?

  • Do you execute securities trades through a broker-dealer? Who is it?

  • Do you specialize in a particular area?

  • What type of products and services do you offer? How are you compensated for your services? Do you receive a commission for products you may sell to me?

  • Have you ever been disciplined by any government board or regulatory agency?

Is a CPA/PFS right for you?

The financial world has become a very complex place. Even if you're used to handling your own financial affairs, the time may be right to consult a CPA/PFS who can review your financial situation and offer suggestions that may help you reach your financial goals.

For example, are you familiar with all of the different investment opportunities that might be available to you? Are you on track to meet your financial goals, such as saving for your child's college education, securing enough income for a comfortable retirement, or protecting your assets against risks and lawsuits?

A CPA/PFS can offer the analysis you need to answer these and other important financial questions. To locate a CPA/PFS visit

The Rally Picks Up

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Weekly Update - January 22, 2019


Market data

as of January, 18th 2019

 U.S. markets were up again last week, as major domestic indexes posted their 4th weekly gains in a row.[i] In fact, the S&P 500 was no longer in correction territory at Friday’s close—and was in the middle of its best yearly start since 1987.[ii]


For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.87%, the Dow added 2.96%, and the NASDAQ increased by 2.66%. So far, all three indexes are up more than 5% in 2019.[iii] Internationally, the MSCI EAFE also ended the week in positive territory, posting a 1.06% gain.[iv]


What is driving the rally?

Once again, developments in our ongoing trade negotiations with China contributed to the performance. On Thursday, a report emerged that the U.S. was weighing whether to lift tariffs on Chinese imports. However, the Treasury Department said Secretary Steve Mnuchin had not recommended this action.[v] Then, on Friday, Bloomberg released news that China may raise its imports to a level that would close the trade deficit by 2024.[vi] This potential sign of progress contributed to the day’s market gains.[vii]


While these trade updates significantly affected stock performance last week, the following details are also worth noting:

1.     Corporate earnings season started.

So far, 11% of S&P 500 companies have released their earnings reports for the 4th quarter of 2018. As expected, growth is not as fast as in the last year’s previous quarters, but total earnings are still up 16.9% over the same period in 2017. We are very early in earnings season but anticipate data from another 56 companies coming out this week.[viii]

2.     Consumer sentiment missed expectations.

The latest consumer sentiment reading fell to its lowest level since 2016, yet it still remains relatively high. This decline could signal that the current impasse over border-wall funding and the volatile markets are negatively affecting the economy.[ix]

3.     Manufacturing beat projections.

The latest data showed that U.S. manufacturing output increased by 1.1% in December. This rate exceeded expectations and may help calm concerns that factory production is slowing.[x]

4.     The government shutdown continued.  

Since December 22, parts of the Federal government have been closed, marking the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Economists estimate that each week the shutdown continues could reduce our quarterly growth of Gross Domestic Product by up to 0.2%.[xi] 

Looking ahead, we will not only have earnings data to consider in this shortened trading week, but also information on home sales and durable goods orders. We’ll continue to monitor economic reports—and geopolitical developments—as we support each client’s long-term goals. As always, if you have questions or concerns, we’re here for you.


Monday: Markets Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Tuesday: Existing Home Sales   

Thursday: Jobless Claims

Friday: Durable Goods Orders, New Home Sales












Why Market Timing is Inefficient

Posted by: Ryan Kimes, CFP®

Today’s market conditions may feel a bit uncertain. Between international trade tensions, changes from the Federal Reserve, and increased volatility, some investors react emotionally and may want to make changes to their portfolio.

Ultimately, changing your asset allocation based on market fluctuations can be a hasty decision. If you guess wrong, you may end up missing out on the best market days. With that in mind, here are some ways that trying to time the market can negatively impact your returns.

Timing the Market vs. Time in the Market

Research suggests that investors who buy and sell stocks during periods of market volatility may see lower returns than investors who stick with an established investment strategy.

For example, imagine you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500 on December 31, 2003, and then took it out on December 31, 2018. Here’s where your assets could be[i] if you:

  • Left your investment untouched: $30,711

  • Missed the 10 best performing days: $15,481

  • Missed the 40 best performing days: $4,943

In other words, missing just a few days over 15 years could mean the difference between losing over $5,000 and gaining more than $20,000.

Some data indicates that an investor would need to accurately time the market 74% of the time to earn more than someone who stays in the S&P 500. Considering the same study claims that only 47% of “market timing experts” predictions are correct, timing the market just doesn’t appear to add up.[ii]

Clearly, for most investors, time in the market is more important than timing the market.

Investing with Patience

Of course, volatility and declines can be uncomfortable. But corrections are a normal part of market cycles. Consider the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Although the index moves between highs and lows, it has never failed to grow in a 20-year period.[iii] In other words, investors who don't try to time the market may see greater long term returns. Of course, past performance does not guarantee future results, but the research shows that successful investing may stem from a patient and disciplined strategy.

Bottom line

Trying to predict how markets may act and making emotional investment decisions can leave your portfolio in a vulnerable state. We know that market timing can feel tempting, but it can be virtually impossible to do so accurately.

Instead, you may consider a personalized investment strategy that allows for prudent adjustments when warranted. Finding the right approach—and sticking with it—can leave you in a much better position to pursue your financial goals.

If you have any questions about the information we’ve presented or want to know how recent economic events may affect your investments, please let us know. We would be happy to answer your questions and discuss any concerns.

Sources cited: