16 Mar March, 2017 Mid-Month Update
Highlights of this Update:
- Don’t forget to use the available CSV file to download your 2016 tax information.
- Call today for your personal review if you have not yet done so this year.
- S. stock indices climb again after FED decision to raise rates .25%.
- Employment continues to improve.
READ ON FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS…………………………………………………..
Tax Information Reminder:
Don’t forget to take advantage of the “CSV” (Excel) file that can be used to download your 2016 income tax information for your taxable accounts at Trust Co. of America into most tax preparation software programs. This can save both time and money. If you will provide us with the name and email address for your tax preparer, we will be more than happy to provide this directly to them on your behalf. Let us help you with this to make tax preparation time less of a burden to you!
The first quarter of 2017 is quickly coming to a close and if you have not yet scheduled a personal review, either by phone or in person, do so today! It’s a great time of year to update your long term financial planning as well as review your investment portfolios. Many of you are using the MyWealth system we provide and we hope all of you will take advantage of this program that allows you to set up and access your own personal financial website. Call us today so we can get you started!
The U.S. stock indices slipped slightly last week, but have rallied again this week with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at 20,950, up 6.01% so far in 2017 as of March 15th. The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has also gained 6.55% this year through yesterday’s close. (Google Finance)
The yield for the 10 Year U.S. Treasury ended at 2.49% on March 15th, compared with 2.45% at the end of 2016. (MarketWatch) The rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage now stands at 4.16% and the 15 year rate fixed mortgage rate is now 3.28%. (Bankrate.com)
The Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve concluded its two-day meeting yesterday, Wednesday, March 15th, and raised the Fed Funds rate as expected by 0.25% to a range of 0.75 – 1.00%. Fed Chief Janet Yellen’s comment on March 3 that a rate hike this month would “likely be appropriate,” and a solid rise in last Friday’s nonfarm payroll report (U.S. BLS) solidified sentiment that a ¼% hike would likely occur. Yellen also said that 2 more rates hikes could occur in 2017.
U.S. stocks rallied when the FED announced the .25% rate hike as expected. Optimism for economic growth moving forward continues along with the prospect for improved corporate earnings. Our portfolios continue to fare well so far this year relative to risk. We remain cautiously optimistic regarding our current portfolio allocations moving forward over the next few months. We will keep you posted.
How the Fed views the economy is a big driver of short-term interest rates. We’ve witnessed steady job growth since 2010. But we’ve also witnessed a Fed that has been reluctant to pull the rate-hike trigger – just three so far.
The next chart shows how full-time employment vs. part-time has also improving, giving better job opportunities to those that have settled over the past several years that were “underemployed”.
As the economy continues to generate new jobs, the Fed has said it would like to gradually raise interest rates. Even with a ¼% hike this week, a fed funds rate of 0.75-1.00% is still near a historical low.
We truly appreciate the privilege to be of service to each of you and look forward to working together in the years to come. As always, don’t hesitate to call or email if we can be of further service in any way.
Your TEAM at F.I.G. Financial Advisory Services, Inc.
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1 The Dow Jones Industrials Average is an unmanaged index of 30 major companies which cannot be invested into directly. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
3 The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 larger companies which cannot be invested into directly. Past performance does not guarantee future results.