September 2018

Monthly Markets Memo - September 2018

World Money Small.jpgby Dan Zalipski, CFA 

U.S. Equities are putting on a one-man show posting positive returns over the past month.  Various economic indicators point to continued strength in the U.S. Economy.  Manufacturing activity is at a 14-year high, consumer confidence is at an 18-year high, and small and medium-sized business sentiment is at a 35-year high.  Developed international markets continue to languish but were mostly unchanged from a month ago. The U.K. continues to negotiate their exit from the European Union driving some uncertainty within the region.  Broader Europe appears to be coming out of an economic soft-patch that weighed down the first half of the year.  Turning to fixed income, yields on treasuries had been held down by investors seeking safety from developments in the emerging markets.  This reversed itself when the August jobs report revealed robust wage growth, sending treasury yields higher from 2.88% towards the 3.00% mark.

The New Wave in Charitable Giving

Scan Alert Image.jpg by Tom Rueger, CFP®

Donor-advised funds have become increasingly popular as a way to make charitable donations. In 2016 alone, more than $23 billion was contributed to donor-advised funds. Now, with the deduction for charitable contributions surviving the 2018 income tax changes, donor-advised funds will become even more popular. This is because the standard deduction has nearly doubled ($24K for Married filing jointly) and many components of the standard deduction are either being capped or eliminated (most notably the deduction for state and local taxes is being capped at $10K). As a result, many people will have the tax benefit of their charitable gifts either reduced or eliminated by the larger standard deduction.

Market Minute - September 12, 2018

by Scott Rosenquist, CFA

Valuation Check-In

The U.S. equity markets are now trading near record highs surpassing the levels seen back in January.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average has yet to reach new highs, but the S&P 500, Russell 2000, and the Nasdaq all continue to trade at record levels.  The sell-off experienced in late January seems long ago and many investors may be wondering where the market stands now in terms of valuation. 

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