Weekly Update – August 20, 2018
Challenges in emerging markets affected both U.S. and global stock performance last week, with the S&P 500 experiencing several down days.  By market close on Friday, however, two of the three major domestics posted gains for the week. The S&P 500 added 0.59%, the Dow increased 1.41%, and the NASDAQ lost 0.29%.  Meanwhile, the MSCI EAFE international stocks slipped 1.18%. 
As several reports deepened our understanding of the economy’s underlying health, investors balanced the news with updates on Turkey and trade disputes.  Here are some key highlights of the various developments:
Economy: Mixed Picture
The latest unemployment data beat expectations, indicating continuing strength as the labor market is near full employment. However, new home construction missed its 7.4% projected growth, increasing only 0.9% in July – following June’s 12.3% decline.  Nevertheless, more positive news emerged: Thanks to tax cuts, a solid labor market, and economic growth, retail sales increased 6.4% in July year-over-year. Retail sales have now risen for the past 6 months.
Turkey: Sanctions and a Tumbling Lira
On Monday, August 13, the Turkish lira hit its lowest point ever against the U.S. dollar.  The U.S. has threatened more sanctions on Turkey if the country does not release U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson. In addition, Turkey’s inflation is swelling, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be suppressing the central bank’s ability to increase interest rates. The lira may continue to decline in value until interest rates rise.  Some analysts are optimistic that these developments won’t create contagion in other markets. Not only is Turkey’s economy relatively small and investors have priced in some risk, opportunities still exist to help calm Turkey’s challenges. 
Trade Update: Positive Movement
Later in the week, we received positive updates on trade challenges with China and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexican economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, announced that he hoped to finalize some NAFTA negotiations by this week.  In addition, officials from the U.S. and China will be meeting in Washington, D.C. this week to discuss the ongoing trade disputes. These talks come before the anticipated meeting in November between President Trump and Chinese Leader Xi. A trade war with China has been one of the market’s largest concerns, so if the tension lessens, that is likely good news for equities. 
This week, we’ll receive more information about the housing market that reveals how this key industry is currently performing. We will also continue to track developments in trade and Turkey. As always, if you have any questions about what you read here or what you’re hearing elsewhere we’re available to talk.
Wednesday: Existing Home Sales
Thursday: New Home Sales, Jobless Claims
Friday: Durable Goods Orders
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.
“Fortune sides with him who dares.”
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
- 3 large zucchinis, chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Optional: olive oil for garnish or cilantro for garnish
- Over medium heat, sauté olive oil, onion, and garlic, about two minutes.
- Add pepper and ginger. Continue to stir.
- Mix in zucchini and chicken broth.
- After bringing the soup to a boil, lower heat to a simmer to let zucchini soften, about 45 minutes.
- Puree the zucchini soup in an immersion blender until the mix is creamy and smooth.
- Add pepper, olive oil, or cilantro to season.
Recipe adapted from Regan Baroni 
What You Need to Know About Strokes
Strokes are the leading cause of death in the United States. They are caused when blood vessels in the brain develop blockages or burst.
Without immediate treatment, brain cells quickly begin to die, which can lead to disability or death.
Symptoms of stroke include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the body (especially on one side).
- Sudden changes in vision or difficulty swallowing.
- Sudden dizziness or difficulty walking.
- Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding.
Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms.
You may conduct a quick stroke test. Here are stroke clues:
- Smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- Raise the arms. Does one arm drift down?
- Repeat a simple sentence. Do the words slur?
Call 911 immediately if you detect these stroke symptoms.
Tips adapted from WebMD 
Fleeing Fleas and Ticked Off Ticks
Fleas, ticks, and warm summer afternoons. They seem sadly inseparable. How can you remain environmentally friendly and enjoy the good old summertime – away from the miniature pests? Here are some tips:
Use the more environmentally friendly sprays. The carbaryl in most flea and tick sprays attacks insects’ nervous systems. It may also harm fetuses in humans and animals. Less-toxic alternatives include geranium, citronella, and lavender. Take a look at these bug spray recipes:https://wellnessmama.com/2565/homemade-bug-spray/
Get prepared before heading outdoors. Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks when hiking. Do a quick tick check before going for longer trips.
Bathe after spending time outdoors to wash off unembedded ticks. Use unscented soaps, shampoos, and deodorants.
Add garlic and brewer’s yeast to pets’ food. Garlic and brewer’s yeast make pets taste bad to insects.
Do the basics by keeping your pets clean. Fine-toothed flea combs and lint-rollers help you to remove fleas from pets.
Dust and vacuum regularly. Fleas don’t like clean houses.
Tips adapted from EarthShare 
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.
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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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