THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
A powerful Friday rally left stocks higher last week, extending the market’s early November gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.65%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 1.31%. The Nasdaq Composite index jumped 2.37% higher for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, edged 0.25% higher.
FACT OF THE WEEK
On November 15, 1867, the first stock ticker was unveiled in New York City. The advent of the ticker ultimately revolutionized the stock market by making up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Prior to this development, information from the New York Stock Exchange, which has been around since 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.
The ticker was the brainchild of Edward Calahan, who configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape (the same paper tape later used in ticker-tape parades). The ticker, which caught on quickly with investors, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.
The last mechanical stock ticker debuted in 1960 and was eventually replaced by computerized tickers with electronic displays. A ticker shows a stock’s symbol, how many shares have traded that day, and the price per share. It also tells how much the price has changed from the previous day’s closing price and whether it’s an up or down change. A common misconception is that there is one ticker used by everyone. In fact, private data companies run a variety of tickers; each provides information about a select mix of stocks.
Stocks Extend Gains
In a news-light week, stocks added to the gains of the previous week’s rally, helped by stable bond yields. Last week’s advance did not go smoothly, however, as the week’s accumulated gains were erased on Thursday by the combination of a 30-year Treasury bond auction that saw lower-than-expected investor demand, which sent bond yields sharply higher, and disconcerting remarks by Powell that disappointed investors harboring hopes for the conclusion of the Fed’s rate-hike cycle. Stocks rebounded strongly on Friday as investors reconsidered Powell’s comments, and bond yields retreated, leaving the rally from October lows intact.
In last week's presentation to a gathering sponsored by the International Monetary Fund, Fed Chair Powell said that while he and other Fed officials were encouraged by the progress in bringing down inflation, he was “not confident” that the Fed’s current restrictive monetary policy stance was sufficient to achieve the Fed’s target inflation rate of two percent. His comments, which followed the Fed’s two successive decisions to pause on fresh interest rate increases, emphasized that there remained a long way to go to achieve their goal, and the Fed is committed to doing what’s necessary to reach that target, whether that’s through additional rate hikes or by keeping rates high for longer.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
A Taxing Story: Capital Gains and Losses
Chris Rock once remarked, “You don’t pay taxes – they take taxes.” That applies not only to income but also to capital gains.
Capital gains result when an individual sells an investment for an amount greater than their purchase price. Capital gains are categorized as short-term gains (a gain realized on an asset held one year or less) or long-term gains (a gain realized on an asset held longer than one year).
Long-Term vs. Short-Term Gains
- Short-term capital gains are taxed at ordinary income tax rates. Long-term capital gains are taxed according to different ranges.
- It should also be noted that taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is in excess of $200,000 (single filers or heads of household) or $250,000 (joint filers) may be subject to an additional 3.8% tax as a net investment income tax.
- Also, keep in mind that the long-term capital gains rate for collectibles and precious metals remains at a maximum of 28%.
Rules for Capital Losses
Capital losses may be used to offset capital gains. If the losses exceed the gains, up to $3,000 of those losses may be used to offset the taxes on other kinds of income. Should you have more than $3,000 in such capital losses, you may be able to carry the losses forward. You can continue to carry forward these losses until such time that future realized gains exhaust them. Under current law, the ability to carry these losses forward is lost only on death.
Finally, for some assets, the calculation of a capital gain or loss may not be as simple and straightforward as it sounds. As with any matter dealing with taxes, individuals are encouraged to seek the counsel of a tax professional before making any tax-related decisions.