Stocks returned to record territory, with both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closing at historic highs. The S&P gained 1.20% for the week; the Nasdaq, 1.85%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged, losing 0.06%. The MSCI EAFE index of international stocks lost 0.52%.
FACT OF THE WEEK
In search of a last minute vacation? According a recent study, you don't have to leave the Windy City to find one.
Chicago takes the top spot for best cities for the second year in a row in addition to being ranked as the third best city for a staycation, receiving the highest rank in the recreation category. The study, which ranked 182 U.S. cities, were scored based on characteristics derived from three categories: recreation, food & entertainment, and rest & relaxation.
The S&P took only 17 weeks to fully rebound from its December low.
A Shift in Focus
Last month, Wall Street fixated on trade, reacting to even the slightest hint of progress in U.S.-China negotiations. This month, the trade talks have taken a back seat, and the fixation is on earnings.
Anxieties about a possible earnings recession may be fading. So far, first-quarter results for S&P 500 firms are 5.3% above expectations; that compares to a 5-year average of 4.8%.
At some point, trade talk will come back, or other developments will lead Wall Street to chase other trends. The thing to remember is that Wall Street is fickle: what preoccupies it one week may be shrugged off the next. Short-term trends ultimately amount to background noise during the long-term pursuit of your financial goals.
A Strong First Quarter
Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the economy expanded at a 3.2% pace in Q1. The number surprised to the upside. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated Q1 gross domestic product would increase 2.5%.
Investors have all kinds of news to consider this week. There will be a plethora of earnings calls, plus important reports on consumer spending and hiring. Also, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference following the central bank's May meeting.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
REEVALUATE LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES
Your life insurance coverage should be reassessed and adjusted as the circumstances of your life change. Significant changes in income, expenses, and family size are all essential variables to consider.
Policyholders are advised to determine if their coverage needs have changed since the time of their policy inception, as the amount of life insurance for individuals in their 50s is likely to be a lower amount than the coverage from 15 or even 5 years earlier.
Evaluating the age of the policy is an imperative factor to determine if the amount meets their current needs or if there is excess coverage to eliminate, with premium savings available for other saving and spending priorities.
Because group term premiums become quite expensive at age 50 (and especially at age 55), any paring back of death benefit amounts should start here. However, level-premium term policy death benefits can also be reduced while what's still needed stays in force until the term ends.As always, please contact my office with any questions or financial concerns you may have.
Have a great week!