Last week, markets kept relatively quiet despite the continuing drop in oil prices. The S&P 500 rose by 0.21%, the Dow increased by 0.05%, and the NASDAQ – the week’s best performer – jumped 1.84%. Internationally, the MSCI EAFE fell by 0.20%. Asian markets remained relatively mixed while European markets were down modestly.
A global glut of oil has led to 5-straight weeks of price declines. OPEC’s attempts to curb oil production have not yet played out as expected, as prices are down roughly 20% for the year. Though oil rose slightly on Friday due to a weaker U.S. dollar, oil markets closed the week at a 10-month low. Still, oil stocks and energy companies in general comprise less than 6% of stocks in the S&P 500 on a capitalization basis, down from 11% only 3 years ago. As such, they are less significant to the overall markets today than in the past.
What We Learned Last Week
Despite oil’s problems, a few economic indicators for the week pointed to the potential for mildly stronger Q2 consumer spending.
Existing Home Sales Rebound: Overall, existing home sales for May rebounded with a 1.1% increase from April to an annualized rate of 5.62 million sales. Single-family sales rose 1.0% for an annualized rate of 4.98 million, while condos sales rose by 1.6% for an annualized rate of 640,000.
New Home Sales and Pricing Surge: New home sales for May rose 2.9% to a 610,000 annualized rate on strong pricing. Median house pricing jumped to $345,800, an 11.5% rise for the month. The 16.8% year-on-year increase is roughly double the actual sales gain of 8.9%.
Low Jobless Rate Stays Steady: June jobless numbers have so far remained on track and consistent with the current historic lows. Last week’s data revealed that the 241,000 claims matched general consensus.
Flash Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Slows: The PMI flash composite index came in at 53.0 for the month versus 53.9 for the prior month. Though new orders and employment in the service sector appear optimistic, manufacturing’s new orders and output have fallen. The single index is a synthesis of data such as new sales orders, inventories, and employment. A reading above 50 indicates rising output versus the previous month.
What Is Next?
With Q2 ending this week, markets will look at the durable goods orders, additional home sales data, and consumer sentiment, while continuing to watch oil prices. In addition, the second part of the Fed stress test for banks will report on Wednesday. The second half of the stress tests evaluates banks’ abilities to pay dividends and buy back stock. All 34 major banks passed the first part of the test last week, indicating their strength in an economic downturn.
If you have any questions about this content or your financial future, we welcome you to contact us. Our team is here to provide the perspectives you need for the road ahead.
Monday: Durable Goods Orders
Tuesday: Case Shiller Home Prices Index, Consumer Confidence Index
Wednesday: Pending Home Sales
Friday: Personal Income and Outlays, Consumer Sentiment
Quote Of The Week
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
– Scott Adams
Recipe Of The Week
Skillet Lemon Chicken With Artichokes
1 tsp olive oil
6 small chicken thighs (2 lbs.)
1 medium onion, chopped
⅔ cup dry white wine
1 TBSP butter
14 oz. artichoke hearts, quartered
1 medium lemon, sliced thinly with seeds removed
Parsley for garnish, chopped
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet.
Cover chicken with ½ tsp of salt and pepper, each.
Place chicken skin side down in the skillet, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until it turns golden brown.
Move chicken to a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, with the chicken’s skin side up.
Place chicken in oven and roast for 15 minutes or until it fully cooks to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Add to skillet the chopped onion and ¼ tsp salt, and cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.
Pour dry white wine into skillet, and simmer onions for 2 minutes, scraping up browned pieces.
Add butter and stir until melted. Add artichoke hearts and lemon to the skillet.
Plate chicken with steamed rice, and spoon sauce over dish.
Add flair to the dish by garnishing with the chopped parsley.
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping
Receive In-Person Tax Support From the IRS*
If you need help managing your taxes, the IRS has an array of services online that can provide a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) platform. Sometimes, however, you may need a deeper level of support. Taxpayers seeking in-person support have the option to schedule a face-to-face meeting.
Find your closest IRS Tax Assistance Center (TAC): You can locate the nearest TAC by using the Contact Your Local Office Tool on the IRS website.
Request to schedule an appointment: To receive in-person tax support, you must call the following number to make your appointment: 844-545-5640.
Before You Call
Just remember that the IRS encourages you to manage your tax details through their DIY platform or phone support before requesting an in-person meeting.
Other details may 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 IRS.gov
Overcome the Fried Egg Lie
s facing the difficult bunker lie, the fried egg, need to use a soft, yet powerful swing to get the ball out in one stroke. Unless you make some adjustments to how you approach your swing, you could find yourself stuck in the sand time and again.
To overcome your fried egg lie, follow these steps:
1. Open clubface slightly.
To start, make sure that you control your ball’s velocity. Focus on shifting your weight toward your front foot to open your clubface and relax your hands. By doing so, you emphasize your clubhead’s dig, which further requires this approach. This shift in weight allows the club to dig more effectively into the sand trap.
2. Follow an outside-and-up backswing path.
Some s mistakenly think they need to follow through to a normal position to get out of a fried egg lie. However, when you swing, you want your momentum to transfer into the sand rather than move through it. To do so, once you’re ready to swing, relax your hands to allow your club to naturally follow a backswing that moves outside and up. You need your clubhead buried into the sand by at least an inch behind the ball. By stopping the clubface at impact – while keeping soft hands and an open clubface – you will encourage more height and less speed.
Tip courtesy of Tom Stickney /
Eat These Foods to Help Your Eye Health
Many people eat carrots to help improve their vision. However, we can go beyond just one root vegetable to boost our eye health. Research reveals that most food with antioxidant properties are good for your eye health. These foods have carotenoid compounds like beta-carotene, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, among other nutrients. You can give your vision a boost and support improved eye health by eating the following foods:
Broccoli Collard greens
Sweet potato Swiss chard
Tip courtesy of Mayo Clinic
Ways to Stay Cool Without Using an A/C
Summer is officially here, bringing heat and humidity across much of the country. Many people crank their air conditioners to stay cool. However, running A/C units adds to your utility bills and energy consumption. If you’re looking to decrease how often you rely on your A/C during the summer, follow these tips for staying cool.
Draw energy-efficient curtains: Hanging the right curtains and closing them during the day can do wonders to keep the heat down in your house. Choose medium-colored curtains that have a white plastic backing. Using these types of curtains can reduce the heat gains by 33%.
Close the blinds during the day: Blinds work similarly to curtains to block out the sun. By using highly reflective blinds and closing them during the day, you can reduce heat gains by 45%.
Change the type of light bulbs you use: Incandescent light bulbs give off immense, unused heat, wasting 90% of their energy. Switching your light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can greatly reduce the heat in your home.
Tip courtesy of Care2.com
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