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The Latest from Our Blog

COVID-19 Strikes Again

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise in Europe, climbing from about 700,000 new cases a week in September to 2.6 million a week in November, reported Richard Pérez-Peña and Jason Horowitz of the New York Times. As Thanksgiving approached, there was concern that travel and togetherness could increase the number of cases in the United States, too, creating stress on already taxed healthcare systems. Jamie Smyth and Caitlin Gilbert of the Financial Times explained: “…what was expected to be a celebration has become fraught with danger in some Midwestern states, where vaccination rates are low and COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly after a summer lull…Nationally, cases have increased by nearly 30 percent since the beginning of the month…” Financial markets took the fall surge in stride. They were less sanguine when news broke last week that a new variant of coronavirus, called “omicron,” had been identified in South Africa and was spreading.

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Thinking About The Possibilities.

The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index finished last week slightly higher and has gained about 6 percent during the past 25 days; however, investors have curbed their enthusiasm. The S&P 500 hasn’t experienced a move of one percent or more in 25 trading days. That’s the longest period without a move of that size in about two years, according to a source cited by Avi Salzman of Barron’s. Its possible investors are taking time to think about the current mix of conditions and how the economy and financial markets may be affected. For example: Consumers have said they’re concerned about inflation. The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index declined in early November on a year-to-year and a mont

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5 Unexpected Threats to Your Retirement Plan Thumbnail

5 Unexpected Threats to Your Retirement Plan

Although much of life feels uncertain right now, the last thing you want to feel unsure about is your retirement savings. But when you think of things that could wipe out your nest egg, like market turmoil, a personal tragedy, or a natural disaster, remember that these events are largely out of your control. The real dangers to your retirement plan are the little-known and often ignored threats that could cause you to lose what you have diligently worked for. Let’s talk about 5 ways you could run into retirement trouble and how to help prevent them from upsetting your retirement.

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Feeling Bullish…

Investor bullishness ticked higher last week on all four investor sentiment gauges tracked by Barron’s. Investor optimism may have been fanned by positive financial and economic news. For example, last week: The jobs report was better than expected. Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 531,000 new jobs were added in October, lowering the unemployment rate to 4.6%. In addition, the employment numbers for August and September were better than previously reported. The BLS Employment Diffusion Index measures the breadth of employment gains across the economy. It rose from 63.6 in September to 71.8 in October for private industry, and from 57.3 to 70 in manufacturing. The increase suggests that job gains were spread across diverse industries rather than concentrated in specific ones. Central banks took a measured approach to policy changes. Investors who were concerned that cen

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The Road to Recovery Is Slow and Bumpy.

Last week, we learned that economic growth slowed in the third quarter as a new wave of COVID-19 surged across the United States, reported The Bureau of Economic Analysis. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, increased by 2 percent annualized in the third quarter. Consumer spending dropped sharply during the period. The change may reflect the limited availability of goods due to supply-chain issues, a reluctance to pay higher prices or a drop in disposable personal income. Jeff Cox of CNBC reported: “Spending for goods tumbled 9.2%, spurred by a 26.2% plunge in expenditures on longer-lasting goods like appliances and autos, while services spending increased 7.9%, a reduction from the 11.5% pace in [the second quarter]. The downshift came amid a 0.7% decline in disposable personal income, which fell 25.7% in [the second quarter] amid the end of government stimulus payments. The personal saving rate declined to 8.9% from 10.5%.”

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