North Korea, Hurricane Maria, Tax Plan: Wealth Economic Update Sept. 29, 2017

U.S. and World News

  • jets-525969835_360China has requested that President Trump and Kim Jong Un end the ongoing war of words after the foreign minister of North Korea referred to Trump’s latest warning of “they won’t be around much longer!” as a declaration of war. North Korea has responded by threatening to shoot down any American warplanes beyond North Korean airspace while Washington stated that North Korea’s interpretation of Trump’s words was “absurd”. China, North Korea’s most important ally, has ordered all North Korean companies operating in China to shut down by January 1st, as part of recently passed sanctions by the United Nations.
  • Hurricane Maria is estimated to have caused $85 billion in insured losses after it made landfall in Puerto Rico last weekend. Most of the island was destroyed, and bondholders are attempting to put together a $1 billion restructuring deal consisting of private money to aid the struggling U.S. territory. The price of Puerto Rican debt has fallen to record lows as a result of the devastation.
  • President Trump has unveiled his tax reform plan which aims at lowering corporate and personal tax rates. The plan includes a proposal that allows a one-off low tax rate for corporations repatriating profits from overseas. The tax plan is also said to make the tax code simpler and create millions of new jobs for Americans.


  • Markets rallied this week with both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average setting new All-Time Highs during the week. The S&P rose 0.72% and closed at 2,519. The Dow Jones rose 0.25% for the week and closed at 22,405. Year to date, the S&P is up 14.10% and the Dow is up 15.30%.
  • Interest rates extended their rally this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are now yielding 1.93% and 2.34%, respectively.
  • The spot price of WTI Crude Oil increased by 1.82% this week, closing at $51.58 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices have fallen 3.98%.
  • The spot price of Gold ended the week lower by 1.33%, closing at $1,280.01 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 11.55%.

 Economic Data

  • Initial jobless claims increased by 12,000 from last week, coming in at 272,000. The increase was attributed to the southeast region as a result of Hurricane Irma. The four week moving average for claims rose to 278,000.
  • Real GDP growth for Q2 was revised up to 3.1% from 3%. The revision was attributed to a faster pace of inventory accumulation.
  • Sales of new single-family homes fell by 3.4% in August to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 571k units, below expectations. The south region in areas affected by the hurricane contributed to 75% of the decline.
  • The core PCE price index (excluding food and energy) increased 0.1% last month, below expectations of a 0.2% increase.

Fact of the Week

  • After adjusting numerical data from the past for the impact of inflation, the median household income in 2016 ($59,039) is the highest ever recorded in the United States, surpassing the previous median income record high ($58,665) set in 1999 (source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Lous).

Please contact a member of the Wealth Management Department if you have any questions about this information.

Rich Gartelmann CFP® – (630) 844-5730
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 –
Brad Johnson CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545
Joel Binder, SVP – (630) 844-6767
Jacqueline Runnberg CFP® – (630) 966-2462
Ed Gorenz, VP – (630) 906-5467

Visit Old Second Wealth Management

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.


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