Mixed Market, Mostly Up for the Week!
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only major US Stock Market Index down last week. The S&P500, the NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 Small Cap indexes all finished in the black as Friday’s Job Report pleased investors to push stocks higher.
Across the pond, most International Stock Indexes were down last week, not surprising.
The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index gained .16%, leaving the index down 1.85% for 2018.
The US Payroll Report showed jobs rising by 223,000, surpassing the consensus estimate of 190,000. The unemployment rate dropped from 3.9% to 3.8%. Hourly earnings also increased .30% month over month and 2.7% year-over-year.
With the unemployment rate so low, many investors are wondering if wage pressure now begins to accelerate…Will that foster inflation and all that goes with rising wages? Or I wonder if Automation by Corporate America will keep wage inflation at bay!!
The 10 Year US Treasury yield fell last week from the prior week of 2.93% to 2.87%. As of this writing, the 10 Year is again above 2.9%. Last week’s early decline in rates was mostly attributable to Italy and looks to be temporary. Last Friday’s US Payroll Report will most likely direct the 10 year and other rates a bit higher for now.
US Stock Sectors for 2018
Four of the Ten Sectors that comprise the S&P 500 Stock Index are in the Black for 2018. In order of highest return, are Information Technology, Consumer Discretionary, Energy and Healthcare. Industrials, Financials, Materials, Utilities, Telecom and Consumer Staples are all in the Red. Consumer Staples are down a -12.5% year to date.
Question of the Week (Income Tax Rates)
In what year did the United States impose the highest personal income tax rate?
a) 1932 during the Great Depression
b) 1944 during World War II
c) 1918 during World War 1
d) 1981 during the Inflationary period
Answer to Last Week’s Question of the Week!
The question was, “What is the last possible date someone can begin taking their first Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) from their IRA?”
a) The Day one turns age 70 1/2
b) By December 31st of the Year one turns 70 ½
c) April 1st of the year after the year one turns 70 ½
d) The IRS does not impose penalties, so it does not matter
The Correct Answer is c) April 1st of the year after the year one turns 70 ½.
The year you’re required to begin calculating and taking your RMD is the year you will turn 70 ½. If you will turn age 70 by June 30th, 2018 will represent your 1st RMD, however you can postpone taking your first years distribution until April 1st of the following year. In 2019 you will have to take 2018’s RMD by April 1st and then 2019’s RMD by December 31st. Why would you postpone doing so? If your income in 2019 will drop significantly, perhaps because of retirement, it may make sense to take 2 RMD’s in 2019, if your net taxes will be lower.
As a note, if you are still working, you must begin RMD’s from your IRA, however you may be able to postpone taking RMD’s from your current Employers 401K if you are not a 5% or more owner of the firm and the plan document permits the delay.