Special Update: Quarterly Update

WEEKLY UPDATE – April 9, 2018

Domestic stocks lost ground last week as trade war concerns continued to rattle investors. With these declines, the Dow officially moved back into correction territory. [1] For the week, the S&P 500 lost 1.43%, the Dow dipped 0.95%, and the NASDAQ dropped 2.11%. [ 2] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE managed a 0.38% increase .[3]

An escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China wasn’t the only headline to affect markets. Last week also brought surprising data from the Labor Department. In March, the economy added 103,000 new jobs – far lower than economists anticipated. Meanwhile, wages grew, and unemployment remained a low 4.1%. [4]

We are now 1 week into the 2 nd quarter of 2018. As we examine what may lie ahead in the markets, we will also focus on understanding what has happened so far this year. Here are a few key findings from the 1 st quarter.

Quarterly Update

In 2017, domestic markets experienced little volatility and significant gains. [5]The 1 st quarter of 2018, however, did not continue these trends.

Volatility Returned: 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a popular measure of volatility, increased by 81% in Q1, as stock performance fluctuated.

Between January and March, the S&P 500 had 23 days when it lost or gained 1%. In 2017’s last quarter, the index didn’t have a single day where it fluctuated that much. While the return of volatility may feel jarring, it is actually normal. Last year’s calm is what is unusual. [6] 

Indexes Had Mixed Results:

Major domestic indexes hit new records in January then slipped into corrections the next month. By March’s end, they recovered somewhat from February’s lows, but the S&P 500 and Dow still posted their 1 st quarterly losses in more than 2 years. The S&P 500 lost 1.2% and the Dow dropped 2.3%. The NASDAQ ended in positive territory, with a 2.3% gain for the quarter. [7] 

The Economy Remained Strong:

Despite market volatility and lackluster quarterly performance, the economy appears to be on solid ground. When announcing March’s interest rate increase, the Federal Reserve beefed up the economy’s growth projections and expressed that “the economic outlook has strengthened in recent months.” In 2018, the Fed expects unemployment to fall to 3.8% and the economy to grow by 2.7%. [8]

What’s Ahead:

In the coming weeks, we will receive more data that reveals our Q1 economic performance. We will also work to find answers to important questions for the 2nd quarter, such as: What will happen with trade and tariffs? Will the labor market continue to strengthen? With all the uncertainty and high market volatility, we continue to maintain a 100% cash position in an effort to protect the value of our client  portfolios. In the meantime, if you have questions of your own, we are always here to talk.


Tuesday: PPI-FD
Wednesday: Consumer Price Index
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Import and Export Prices
Friday: Consumer Sentiment
Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on  Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
Quote Of The Week
“Our success in life is more typically a reflection of how we respond to the things that happen to us.”
– Weldon Long
Recipe Of The Week
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
Serves 4
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, cubed, at room temperature
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  1. Follow package directions in cooking the linguine.
  2. Add peas during the last 2 minutes of cooking the linguine.
  3. Put aside 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Then drain the pasta and peas.
  4. At the same time, heat the olive oil on medium-high in a large, deep skillet.
  5. Season the chicken with the kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Cook until the chicken is golden brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add the lemon juice. Keep cooking while stirring to loosen the browned bits from the pan.
  8. Put in the cream cheese. Stir until the mix is melted, then remove from the heat.
  9. First add in the lemon zest, then the Parmesan and parsley.
  10. Mix with the pasta. Add the rest of the cooking oil, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  11. Serve right away.

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping [9]

Healthy Lifestyle

How Do You Burn the Pounds?

Pounds. Pounds. Pounds. For many fitness enthusiasts, exercise is about burning those extra calories to shed that extra weight. In the final analysis, it’s about pounding the pavement to lose the pounds.

Increasing the rate of metabolism becomes the single most important goal of working out. How do you do it? What exercises work best? What methods and lifestyle habits up the metabolism rate the most?

Here are some tips for building that lean, mean fighting machine:

  • Metabolism rates are higher in muscular people. Compare muscle and fat. A pound of muscle burns 6 calories a day by just being there. A pound of fat burns 2 calories. The moral of the story: Build muscles. Burn calories.
  • Aerobic exercise may not build muscles. But it does cause your metabolism to burn at higher rates, especially the period following exercise. The more vigorous the exercise, the longer your metabolism stays elevated.
  • Drink, drink, drink. Your body requires water to burn calories. Even mild dehydration slows your metabolism. Studies show well-hydrated people burn more calories than others who don’t make hydration a priority.
  • Small, more frequent meals keep your metabolism rates cranking at higher levels. Your metabolism slows during the longer stretches between larger meals. The ideal gap between meals is 3-4 hours.

You can pulverize the pounds just by taking a few easy steps, literally and figuratively.

Material adapted from WebMD [12]

Green Living

Going Green with Your Plumbing

It’s difficult to go green while bathing or doing other personal business. But environmental consciousness at home in private isn’t as difficult as you might imagine.

  • Take a look at your toilet. Most toilets made before 1992 use between 3.5-7 gallons of water per flush. Newer toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush.
  • Take a look into your shower. Older showerheads use more than 3 gallons of water per minute. Efficient ones use less than 2 gallons. That means families of four using low-flow showerheads can expect to save about 20,000 gallons per year.
  • Take a look at your sink. Running your faucet for 5 minutes uses the same amount of energy as a lit 60-watt light bulb in 14 hours.
  • Take a look at your bathtub. A full tub uses about 70 gallons of water. A 5-minute shower, on the other hand, uses 10-25 gallons.

Going with newer, high-efficiency fixtures and plumbing means you can be green and get clean at the same time.

Tip adapted from WWF[13]

Zack Alkhamis CRPC, CFS

Matthew Jarrell, CFS, AIF

Timothy A. McAfee, CPA, CFP, PPC, MST

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.
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Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative,
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[1] www.cnbc.com/2018/04/06/us-stock-futures-dow-jobs-data-tech-and-politics-on-the-agenda.html

[2] http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX&region=usa&culture=en-US

[3] www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search
[4] wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=485654&cust=wsj-us&year=2018&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top

[5] www.cnbc.com/2017/12/29/us-stocks-open-higher-sp-500-tracking-for-best-year-since-2013.html

[6] www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-29/vix-up-81-shows-extent-of-stock-market-pain-in-jarring-quarter

[7] www.cnbc.com/2018/03/29/us-stock-futures-dow-data-tech-and-politics-on-the-agenda.html

[8] www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/business/fed-interest-rate.html
[9] www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/easy/a47534/creamy-lemon-chicken-pasta-recipe/
[10] www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-face-to-face-help-is-now-by-appointment
[11] www.golfdigest.com/story/when-to-use-the-putter
[12] www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-boost-your-metabolism

[13]   www.worldwildlife.org/pages/green-tips