Weekly Update – March 19, 2018
Markets were up on Friday, but domestic stocks lost ground for the week as political turmoil and potential trade wars weighed on investors’ minds. The S&P 500 dropped 1.24%, the Dow gave back 1.54%, and the NASDAQ decreased 1.04%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE barely avoided losses with a 0.13% gain. 
1. Mixed Performance Results
Overall, we received a variety of mixed data last week:
- Housing starts missed expectations and fell 7% 
- Retail sales were lower than expected. 
- Consumer sentiment hit its highest reading since 2004. 
- Domestic factory production beat expectations. 
But data reports were not the only detail worth noting last week. We also marked the 10-year anniversary of Bear Stearns’ collapse
2. A Look Back
For 85 years, Bear Stearns was a respected institution that became one of the world’s largest investment banks. When the housing market crashed in 2007, the firm realized it had taken on far more risk than planned.  As a result, the firm ran out of cash, and on March 16, 2008, JPMorgan bought the previously valuable company for only $2 a share. In retrospect, Bear Stearns’ collapse was the first real glimpse of the pending Great Recession. 
Less than a year later, markets hit bottom on March 9, 2009. In the years since, stocks have corrected multiple times, losing over 10%. But, they have never lost 20% to push into a bear market – meaning we’re in the midst of the 2 nd-longest bull market since World War II. 
Time can make some memories fade, but we doubt that anyone who experienced the Great Recession forgets how challenging and scary it felt.
Here’s what headlines were telling us:
Despite the market losses and economic turmoil, the Great Recession was also a powerful reminder of Warren Buffett’s advice: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful. ”
While the markets seemed to be in a free-fall, allowing emotion to dictate investing choices was easy. But anyone who escaped the markets’ bottom missed an incredible growth opportunity.
Nine years after the S&P 500 hit its low, the index was up 390% – and was 122% higher than its record close before the Great Recession began. So, while the collapse was painful, stocks weathered the storm, sailing far beyond where they were before.  The economy is also in a very different place than it was a decade ago.
Where We Are Now
- Job Growth: February was the 89th-straight month where the economy added jobs.
- Unemployment: The current unemployment rate remains at its lowest level in 17 years.
- Gross Domestic Product: The U.S. economy has expanded every year since 2010.
Of course, we recognize that the economy is not perfect and still has room to improve. But, we also want to remind you of how far we’ve all come since the Great Recession first began. If you’d like to take a closer look at your own progress or plans for the future, we are always here to talk.
Thursday: Jobless Claims
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ cup raspberries
- ½ cup blackberries
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of coarse salt
Mix together blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in a bowl with lemon juice, chopped mint, pure vanilla extract, and a pinch of coarse salt.
Put contents in a container and chill.
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping 
Arresting the Silent Killer
About 75 million Americans (29%) suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
High blood pressure raises the risks of heart disease and stroke. Leading risk factors include obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and heredity.
Here are some tips to reducing hypertension:
- Exercise helps lower blood pressure and improves the effectiveness of hypertension medication.
- Do fun exercises. It could be hiking, gardening, or bicycling. Try to get in 30 minutes per day.
- Get with an exercise trainer to help you tailor your activities to your goals.
- Strength training is good. Lifting weights help you lose fat, build muscle, and raise your metabolic rate.
- Aerobic exercise helps lower your blood pressure. Swimming is a gentle and fun way to get in some cardio.
- Don’t go gung-ho. Moderate intensity exercising for at least 30 minutes a day is key.
- Start slowly. Jumping into intense exercise too quickly may lead to injuries. Take a walk around the block or go 10-15 minutes on the treadmill.
- Make workouts convenient. You can fit exercising into your children’s sports practices, during lunch breaks, or before or after work.
- Go short and sweet. Short, 10-minute workouts can be more easily fit into your busy schedules. You may jog in place, do a few pushups, or go for a short walk. Add up the short ones to 30 minutes per day, and you’re well on your way.
Tip adapted from WebMD 
Washing Your Way to a Greener World
Yes, you can be environmentally friendly while washing your clothes, doing dishes, and even bathing.
Here are 4 facts to make cleaning more earth sensitive:
- Four of 5 U.S. dry cleaners use perchloroethylene, a solvent that researchers have linked to cancer, nervous system damage, and hormonal disruption. Look for dry cleaners that are non-toxic or are “green” cleaners.
- Set your washer to a low setting to match the amount of clothing you’re washing. Your clothing gets cleaner and you use less water. Using cold water also saves up to 80% of the energy for washing clothes.
- Use warm or cold water more. Washing clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot can save nearly 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
- Buy a new washer. It takes 41 gallons of water on average for a typical washing machine to do a load of laundry. Many newer models require 28 gallons of water per load.
Tip adapted from WWF 
The Retirement Wealth Management Group
7900 Kirkland Court
Portage, MI 49024
Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
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You cannot invest directly in an index.
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