U.S. and World News
- With one week left until the March 1st deadline for the temporary trade truce between the United States and China, negotiators have drawn up memorandums of understanding on forced technology transfer, cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade. This is the most progress that has been made on trade since the 7-month trade negotiations have begun. President Trump stated earlier this week that he would consider pushing back the March 1st deadline and that it is not a “magical date”. Today, President Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the Oval Office where they will attempt to come to a deal. Some sources have said today that President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could have a summit in Mar-a-Lago in late March, raising expectations for an extended deadline.
- British Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Brussels earlier this week in an attempt to resolve the Brexit impasse as European Union officials say that they will not reopen the divorce deal. The issue creating the impasse is whether there will be a hard border around Ireland or not. At this point, Great Britain is at a high risk of leaving the European Union without a deal on March 29th and also risks a credit rating downgrade. There is speculation that Theresa May will ask for a three-month delay to the Brexit deadline. It is in both parties interest to make a deal before May 23-26, otherwise the United Kingdom would have to participate in the European Union’s elections.
- Stocks rose again this week, extending the rally off of the Christmas Eve low. The S&P 500 rose 0.65% and closed at 2,793. The Dow Jones gained 0.59% and closed at 26,032. Year to date, the S&P is up 11.73% and the Dow Jones is up 12.00%.
- Yields fell slightly this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 2.47% and 2.65%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude Oil rose dramatically this week. Prices jumped 10.00% and closed at $57.08 per barrel. Year to date, Oil prices are up 25.70%.
- The spot price of Gold rose 0.52% this week and closed at $1,329.40 per ounce. Year to date, Gold prices are up 3.66%.
- Initial jobless claims fell by 23,000 to 216,000 for the week. The four-week moving average of claims rose by 4,000 to 232,000. Claims fell by 5,000 in New York, 4,000 in Wisconsin, and 3,000 in California, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
- New orders for durable goods rose by 1.2% in December versus expectations for a 1.7% increase.
- Durable goods ex-transportation rose by 0.1% in December versus expectations for a 0.3% increase.
- Core capital goods orders fell by 0.7% in December versus expectations for a 0.2% increase.
- Existing home sales fell by 1.2% in January versus expectations for a 0.2% increase. The decline was led by single family homes in the West and Midwest regions.
Fact of the Week
- In a recent survey, 63% of respondents believed that the “upper income people pay too little” in taxes. The top 5% of US tax payers account for 35% of adjusted gross income nationwide and pay 58% of all federal income taxes. (Source: Politico, Morning Consult, Internal Revenue Service)
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