Stocks Hit New Highs, Trade Disappoints, & Beating Stress Like a Navy Seal!

Posted in , By David M. Smith

The stock market indices were hitting new highs on Tuesday.  But by mid-week they started retreating as news hit that U.S. – China trade negotiations were stalling again.  With a mid-December deadline for new tariffs, trade news will be the main focus for markets in the short-term.

  • Phase One Trade Deal in Trouble:  The U.S. – China Phase One trade deal is in jeopardy.  This has been the story for the last year as encouraging signs of progress quickly disintegrate into impasses over details.  As of mid-week, it appeared both sides once again were deadlocked.  WSJ
  • Atlanta GDPNow Showing Slow Growth:  We are halfway through Q4 and as of now the Atlanta Fed GDPNow reading indicates fourth-quarter growth at a slow 0.4%.  This is much lower than economic forecasts of approximately 1.6%.  Over the past few years, the GDPNow indicator has read economic growth relatively accurately, but the reading can change a lot between now and the end of the quarter.  Atlanta Fed
  • RMD and Tax Loss Harvesting Reminder:  For investors who have beneficiary IRA accounts or for those age 70 ½ or older with retirement accounts, don't forget to take your Required Minimum Distributions  (RMD) before year-end.  It is something we keep track of for accounts we manage and is on our list to complete before year-end.  We also look at clients' taxable accounts to see if there are any investment losses we can capture to offset gains.  Anything helps when you are trying to reduce the tax bite and it's a good strategy for investors to consider entering the home stretch of the year.
  • Beat Stress Like a Navy Seal:  We all have stress in our lives.  But probably no one is trained better to handle stress than Navy Seals.  One of their secrets is a simple breathing exercise called box breathing.  Try it out.  It's not hard and there's evidence conscious breathing can significantly lower stress.  Inc.  Healthline
  • Return on a College Investment:  There have been a lot of studies showing a positive financial return on the income earned from a college investment.  But Georgetown University set about to compare the financial return of 4500 individual colleges and then rank them according to their return on investment.  As you can imagine, many Ivy League schools were in the top ten.  But surprising, pharmacology schools took the top three spots and the Maine Maritime Academy was ranked sixth and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy tenth.  Wash Post  Georgetown University  
  • Interest Rates at a 670-year Low?  This is a tidbit that may only interest an economic nerd like myself.  I came across a chart showing interest rates throughout the centuries.  It shows that interest rates have been falling for centuries and are now at a 670-year low.  Wow!  Visual Capitalist
  • An EV Battery with 1500 Mile Range?  A British engineer has been working for years on an alternative to lithium-ion batteries currently used in electric vehicles (EV).  His invention is an aluminum-air battery that produces energy when aluminum reacts with oxygen in the air and an electrolyte solution.  The batteries could power a car for 1500 miles at which point a new battery would be inserted and the old one taken out and recycled.  It is estimated the cost would be approximately $.09 per mile.  The new batteries may start field testing next year in Europe.  Sustainable America  Metalectrique
  • Game Changers on Netflix:  A friend recently encouraged me to watch a documentary on Netflix called Game Changers.  The film documents the journey of world-class athletes searching for the optimal high-performance diet.  Some of the stories about how diet impacted performance and recovery are amazing.  So what is the optimal diet?  Here's a hint – think kale! 😊  Netflix

Thank you for reading The Friday Buzz!  Have a great weekend!

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About the Author David M. Smith

David is a Senior Financial Advisor and the firm’s Co-Chief Investment Officer. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry and holds the highly respected Certified Investment Management Analyst™ and Certified Financial Planner™ designations; he is a Co-Managing Member of the firm.
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