Stock prices inched higher last week amid declining COVID-19 cases, a pick-up in vaccinations, and progress on a fiscal relief bill.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.00%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.23%. The Nasdaq Composite index climbed 1.73% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 1.80%.1,2,3
Stocks Post Gains
Stocks powered higher to begin the week, buoyed by rising confidence in economic recovery and the potential for another round of fiscal stimulus. Small cap stocks continued their 2021 rally as investors looked for out-of-favor names that might benefit from an economic rebound.
Stocks traded in a tight range through the remainder of the week. Investors appeared to digest current stock price valuations, wondering if the market had already “priced in” the optimism of a rebounding economy.
On Wednesday, Fed Chair Powell gave assurances that the Fed’s rate policy would remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Some fear that inflation may pick up with broader reopenings and additional fiscal stimulus.4
On Thursday and Friday, stocks drifted mostly higher in quiet trading, managing to set some new all-time highs.5
Economic Expectations Rising
A survey by The Wall Street Journal showed increasing optimism among economists about economic growth for this year.6
This Week: Key Economic Data
Wednesday: Retail Sales. Industrial Production. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Minutes.
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Tuesday: CVS Health Corp. (CVS), Agilent Technologies (A), Palantir Technologies, Inc. (PLTR).
“The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.”
– Blaise Pascal
Owe the IRS Money? Here’s How to Pay
If you owe federal taxes, you are required to pay by the April deadline. Remember, if you get an extension to file your taxes, payment is still due by the April deadline. If you can’t pay the full amount that you owe now, you may be able to set up a payment plan.
Here are some choices for making your payment:
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov7
Eating To Your Heart’s Content
Deciding to change your diet can feel daunting. It can be difficult to figure out which one is “best” for you. Many fad diets come and go, but there are a few that have stuck around, the most popular being the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is less of a traditional diet and more of a lifestyle shift toward healthier eating patterns. It’s modeled after principles of Italian and Greek cuisine, which have remained relatively unchanged since the 1960s. Consuming this diet has been correlated with lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. The diet emphasizes eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, whole grains, and olive oil and fewer meats and dairy products. The diet is flexible. Elimination isn’t the intention rather balance more toward nutrient-rich foods versus energy-dense ones.
Food is life, and making healthy choices can help support a healthier life. While the Mediterranean diet could be a good option for someone, no single diet will fit everyone’s lifestyle, preferences, and health needs perfectly. So, be sure to discuss any dietary choices you make with your physician or registered dietitian first.
Tip adapted from Healthline.com8
Two fathers and two sons went truffle hunting. Each found a truffle yet they found only three in all. Why?
Last week’s riddle: Six cups are lined up in a row. Cups 1-3 on the left are full of juice; cups 4-6 on the right are empty. How can you arrange this row so empty and full glasses alternate while moving only one cup in the process? Answer: Pour the juice from the second cup into the fifth cup.
Coastal Brown Bear, Katmai National Park, Alaska.
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021
4. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, February 19, 2021
5. CNBC.com, February 12, 2021
6. The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2021
7. IRS.gov, June 5, 2020
8. Healthline.com, July 24, 2018
Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost.
The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.
The market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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Please consult your financial professional for additional information.
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Weekly Market Insights: Fed Chair Says No Change For Now
February 17, 2021