THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
The combination of an improving inflation outlook resulted in a week of uneven, albeit positive, performance, in which cyclical and financial stocks rallied while technology, real estate, and utilities lagged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.20%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.79%. The Nasdaq Composite index increased 0.29% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 2.08%.
FACT OF THE WEEK
On April 17, 2002, ABC airs the 10,000th episode of the daytime drama General Hospital, the network’s longest-running soap opera and the longest-running program ever produced in Hollywood.
Created by Frank and Doris Hursley, General Hospital premiered on April 1, 1963. It was set in the fictional town of Port Charles in upstate New York, and focused on the lives and loves of the staff working in the town’s General Hospital. Prominent characters in the show’s early days included Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino) and Nurse Audrey March (Rachel Ames). On the same day General Hospital debuted, ABC’s rival network, NBC, launched its own medical soap opera, The Doctors. Both networks were attempting to capitalize on the success of prime time-medical dramas such as Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey.
General Hospital set a new standard for daytime soap operas by introducing dramatic action-adventure plot lines into the complicated mix of family and romantic issues that was the usual bread and butter of soaps at the time. Still, by the late 1970s, the show’s ratings had dropped to the point where it seemed on the brink of cancellation. In general, ratings for daytime soap operas were declining, a development some attributed to the fact that growing numbers of women–the target audience for the genre since the first of its kind, CBS’s Guiding Light, debuted in 1952–were entering the work force and weren’t home during the day. In 1978, Gloria Monty took the reins as executive producer of General Hospital; in a few short years, the show had become the No. 1 daytime drama, largely by captivating growing numbers of teenage audiences.
In the 10,000th episode of General Hospital, Nurse Audrey receives a medal commemorating her 10,000 days of service. Rachel Ames departed the show in 2007. Among the more famous performers to appear on General Hospital over the years are Demi Moore, who got her start on the show, and Rick Springfield, who became a pop star due to his soap-opera fame. Other General Hospital veterans include John Stamos, Jack Wagner and Ricky Martin. Elizabeth Taylor, a longtime fan of the show, made a cameo appearance in 1981.
One General Hospital spinoff, Port Charles, ran from 1997 to 2003; another, General Hospital: Night Shift, premiered in 2007 (it ran for just two seasons). The original General Hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 1, 2013.
Stocks tread water ahead of last week’s inflation data and the start of a new earnings season. Stocks rallied on a favorable March consumer inflation report, only to falter after the release of last month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes, which hinted at a potential recession later this year. After reports of a more pronounced slowdown in producer prices on Thursday, stocks surged higher, with technology and communication services companies leading the charge. A weak retail sales number on Friday shaved the gains to close out the week.
Last week provided fresh insight into inflation, and the news was encouraging. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose a very modest 0.1% in March, while the year-over-year increase in consumer prices was 5.0%, down from February’s 12-month rise of 6.0%. Declines aided the March report in groceries, gasoline, medical care, and utilities. The read on supplier prices was even more positive. The Producer Price Index (PPI), which many economists see as a signal of future consumer prices, declined 0.5%–the most significant monthly decline since 2020. The 12-month increase as of March was 2.7%, an easing from February’s year-over-year climb of 4.9%.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
As we age, so do our loved ones. In fact, more than 40 million people in the U.S. are caregivers, and 92% of caregivers said they also provide financial caregiving for their loved ones.
Prepping to become a financial caregiver means having conversations that might make many of us uncomfortable. But discussing these critical issues today could be fundamental to a better relationship as you and your parents continue through life. Plus, it may be easier than you think. Consider these compassionate ways to begin the dialogue.
Ask for their advice. Framing your parents as experts might help start the conversation. Consider saying something like, “I’m putting my will together. How did you go about doing this?”
Stress their role in the process. Let your parents know that you intend to involve them in every step of the financial planning for their future. Something like, “I want to be sure I understand what you want,” is a good entryway.
Avoid arguing. If you find yourselves at a crossroads, ask: “If this doesn’t work out the way you expect, what else might you do?” An outside mediator can help if you are unable to reach a consensus.
Ideally, these discussions lead to the creation or updating of an estate plan and everything that goes with that. This helps avoid misunderstandings or surprises. Keep a copy of any signed documents in your own files so you can find them as needed. If you don’t have an attorney to work with, we can help you identify a good match for your needs.
By the way, if you think your parents are the only ones who need this type of planning, watch for our next email. It’s essential to keep your own documents up to date, too!
As always, we’re here to answer any questions or help with anything you or your family needs.