After posting gains every week since September, U.S. stocks declined by market's close on Friday. The S&P 500 and Dow ended their longest stretch of weekly increases since 2013, and the NASDAQ ended its own 6-week streak. By November 10, the S&P 500 declined 0.21%, the Dow was down 0.50%, and the NASDAQ slipped 0.20%. Meanwhile, the MSCI EAFE dropped by 0.45%.
FACT OF THE WEEK
In Germany, fake bus stops are often placed outside nursing homes to prevent confused senior citizens from wandering off.
While last weeks market declines were not huge, understanding why stocks dropped after several weeks of steady gains is important. The markets are incredibly complex, so we cannot point to one single detail that drove their performance. We can, however, help you gain insight into what influenced investors' decisions.
The Market's Drop in Context
In many ways, uncertainty is to blame for last week's losses, from a variety of angles:
- Healthcare: Equities dropped as companies continue to analyze changing dynamics in the industry, including potential competition from the tech world. Developments on medical devices and healthcare equipment could create quicker distribution models while decreasing costs, threatening traditional business practices.
- Energy: Tension between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon - and the accompanying geopolitical uncertainty - contributed to crude oil prices slipping, which led Energy stocks to lose ground.
- Tax Reform: On Thursday, November 9, the Senate released its tax-reform proposal, which includes significant differences from the current House bill. In particular, the Senate's decision to delay corporate-tax reductions until 2019 led to a stock sell-off. This change from the House bill also fueled concern about the likelihood of fiscal reform moving forward at all.
What Lies Ahead
No one knows exactly when or how taxes may change - and who will experience the greatest impact. For tax reform to occur, the House and Senate will have to work through the number of places where their plans diverge and align their political priorities. At the same time, the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates as many as 4 times over the next year, which could also alter the financial landscape.
In the coming weeks, we will gain more information on tax reform and monetary policy. As we digest information, we will continue focusing on how current circumstances affect clients' long-term goals. As always, if you have questions about your financial life, contact us anytime.
LIVING TO 120 - AND BEYOND?
A medical revolution is underway - one that's making it possible for us to extend our lives for decades by stopping now-fatal diseases before they can take hold of our bodies. In the coming years, we'll not only be able to live longer, but also have fuller lives characterized by enduring physical mobility and mental sharpness.
Perhaps the most interesting component of longevity care is the role of biomarkers in understanding genomic risk and promoting long-term health. Biomarkers are biological data points that reveal the current physical state of affairs of a particular condition. Biomarkers are nothing new, but they can now be used in advanced ways thanks to personal genome sequencing - a process that can reveal a specific future health risk you face so you can stop it in its tracks.
Bottom line: You can know if you have specific risk factors in your body that could lead to major health problems, long before those health problems ever rear their ugly heads.
The choice is yours
It's a given that you want to live a long, healthy and active life - and that you want the same for your loved ones.
The question therefore is "What are you doing about it?"
Basically, you have two options:
- Manage the process yourself using available medical resources - You can have your genome mapped by any number of health service providers. The question, however, is how to use the genomic information effectively once you have it. You can adjust your diet and exercise more - but that's not really comprehensive longevity care.
- Work with longevity care experts - You can work with physician and care teams who have a deep understanding of longevity care and are actively staying abreast of the latest developments in the field. These experts will regularly monitor developments with your particular biomarkers, with the goal of staying out in front of any illnesses, diseases or other negative health outcomes. They will also provide you with a range of options to address any issues that do crop up, often using more advanced and less invasive health care methods.
Longevity care like this is often available through high-quality concierge medical practices.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
DECIDING WHEN TO TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY
Conventional wisdom says that if we don't need Social Security, we shouldn't take it until 70. While delaying Social Security comes with significant rewards in the form of 8% annual income increases between full retirement age and age 70, it is important to factor your beneficiaries' goals, life expectancies and tax situations into the equation.
Depending on how long someone lives, 70 may be the best age to claim benefits for income purposes. That said, it may make sense for a couple to have the lower earner collect early and the higher earner to delay until 70.
Remember: If you claim Social Security early, it will allow you to defer distributions from other investments. You can't pass along Social Security benefits to the next generation, but you can pass assets.