WEEKLY UPDATE – April 16, 2018
Market volatility continues. Stocks slid on Friday, April 13, but still held on to gains for the week.  The S&P 500 increased 1.99%, the Dow added 1.79%, and the NASDAQ was up 2.77%.  International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also rose, gaining 1.45% .
Similar to recent weeks, international events continued to sway markets: Concerns about trade disputes affected investor behavior. Meanwhile, escalating conflict in Syria may have weighed on people’s minds. 
As we track these developments, we want to share insight about another important occurrence from last week: the beginning of corporate earnings season.
1st Quarter Corporate Earnings Season
1. Expectations remain very high
Analysts anticipate a particularly strong earnings season. Thomson Reuters data predicts that S&P 500 companies’ profits were 18.6% higher in the 1 stquarter of 2018 than in 2017. If accurate, this increase would be the largest since 2011. 
So far, data seems on track. According to The Earnings Scout, 1 st-quarter earnings growth is currently at 26.8%. 
2. Banks outperform but stocks drop
On Friday, 3 major banks released their reports – and each beat projections for earnings and revenue. Despite this positive news, however, their stocks experienced sizable declines that contributed to overall market losses.
Why would strong quarterly results create stocks losses?
The markets anticipated this positive performance and had already priced it into the shares.  As a result, any less-than-ideal news seemed to outweigh the expected earnings and revenue increases. In particular, 2 facts drove losses: 
- 1 bank may have to pay a $1 billion penalty
- All 3 banks experienced slow loan growth
We are in the early stages of earnings season, and many major corporations still need to release their reports. In the coming weeks, we’ll continue monitoring these developments to better understand our economy. As always, please contact us if you have questions about how the data affects your finances and life.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 8 ounces cooked peeled whole beets (about 4 small beets), pureed in blender or food processor
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup white whole wheat flour
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Apply butter on an 8-inch square baking dish.
- Line the bottom of the dish with parchment paper, leaving overhang on each side.
- Apply butter on the paper.
- Melt chocolate and ½ cup butter in a medium saucepan on low; stir the mix occasionally until it is smooth.
- Let the mix cool slightly after removing it from the heat.
- Whisk in sugar, beets, vanilla, expresso powder, and salt.
- Add eggs one at a time and whisk until fully mixed.
- Slowly pour flour in until it combines with the mix.
- Put the batter into a prepared baking dish.
- Bake until you can remove a knife inserted in the center and it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, 30-35 minutes.
- Let the pan cool for 10 minutes. Use overhangs to move it to a cutting board.
- Cut into 16 squares.
- Communicate. Talk with neighbors and people in the community to see if there’s an interest. Form a group to investigate and organize a market.
- Where to? Find a potential location: a parking lot, an open field, or town green where trucks and customers have easy access.
- Be a law keeper. Make sure you follow local ordinances and regulations. Check with local government to see if you need to obtain a permit.
- Now hiring. Start recruiting farmers. Check with your local cooperative extension service, farm bureau, or state agriculture department to see if you can get lists of local farmers.
- Set the rules. What kind of produce do you want to offer? Some markets only sell locally grown produce.
- Spread the word. Start publicizing your market with posters, flyers, banners, and radio public service announcements. Contact local television stations and newspapers.
- Host an event. Have farm animals on display, or have a master gardener or chef do a talk to reinforce the market’s connection to the community.
Tip adapted from Earthshare
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