U.S. and World News
- The leader of Iran’s elite Quds military force, Qassem Soleimani was killed Thursday night near Baghdad International Airport in an airstrike ordered by President Trump. Soleimani was one of the most powerful Islamic Republic figures and has been blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, including the attack on December 27th that killed an American defense contractor. The Pentagon stated that Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif stated that the attack was “extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation” and Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami has vowed to take “crushing revenge” for Soleimani’s assassination. The attack has consequently angered Iraq as well, a United States ally, as they were not warned of the attack against Iran on their soil. The Quds Force was labeled a foreign terrorist organization in April of 2019 when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that “With this designation, we are sending a clear signal, a clear message to Iran’s leaders, including Qassem Soleimani and his band of thugs, that the United States is bringing all pressure to bear to stop the regime’s outlaw behavior.” Before the airstrike, Iranian protestors attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to protest a retaliatory U.S. attack on Sunday that killed two-dozen members of an Iranian backed group.
- Markets finished the first week of the new decade on a higher note. The S&P 500 gained 0.45% and closed at 3,235. The Dow Jones rose 0.65% and closed at 28,635. The S&P rose 31.21% and the Dow Jones rose 25.09% in 2019.
- Yields fell this week. The 5 year and 10 year U.S. Treasury Notes are yielding 1.59% and 1.79%, respectively.
- The spot price of WTI Crude jumped this week amid renewed tensions in the Middle East. Prices rose 2.11% and closed at $63.02 per barrel. Oil prices rose 38.78% in 2019.
- The spot price of Gold rose by 2.65% and closed at $1,550.64 per ounce. The price of gold rose 20.91% in 2019.
- Initial jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 222,000 and the four-week moving average rose by 4,000 to 233,000. Claims rose by 2,000 in New York and fell by 6,000 in California
- Pending home sales rose 1.2% versus expectations for an increase of 1.4%
- The Conference Board index of consumer confidence fell 0.3 points to 126.5 versus expectations for a reading of 128.5
Fact of the Week
- The SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20th 2019 and as a result:
- There is now a 10-year distribution cap for non-spousal beneficiaries
- The required age to begin required-minimum-distributions was raised to 72 from 70 1/2
- Contributions to IRA’s will be allowed to continue after the age of 70 1/2
Rich Gartelmann, CFP® – (630) 844-5730 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Meves, CFA® – (630) 801-2217 – email@example.com
Brad Johnson, CFA®, CFP® – (630) 906-5545 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Cava, CFA®, CFP® – (630) 281-4522 email@example.com
Mike Demski – (630) 966-2430 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqueline Runnberg, CFP® – (630) 966-2462 email@example.com
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