Money Talks – February 25, 2017

This week on “Money Talks,” Director of Research Troy Harmon, CFA, CVA, is joined by insurance expert Jim Crone, CFS®, CLU®, and fellow research analyst Jacob Keen to discuss how the S&P sectors fared during earnings season. They also discuss housing data including mortgage applications and existing home sales, the minutes from the latest Federal Market Open Committee meeting and jobless claims. Jim reviews a solution he developed for a company using company owned life insurance to fund a nonqualified compensation plan for a top executive. The experts also answer listeners’ questions on Zendesk and; fundamental tips for investing in stocks and whether long-term care insurance premiums are tax deductible.

Market Roundup: Positive Week as Dow Reaches 11th Consecutive Record High

The markets were closed Monday, in observance of Presidents’ Day; therefore the week’s rally kicked off Tuesday, when all 11 sectors in the S&P 500 increased, led by gains in Real Estate, Utilities and Consumer Staples. Wednesday saw a slight pullback after the previous day of record finishes. Energy companies weighed on the S&P 500 index as the price of crude oil declined 1.4%. In housing news, mortgage applications continued their decline as longer-term interest rates inched upward; however, existing-home sales rebounded in January, recovering more than December’s decline. Furthermore, the minutes released from the Federal Open Market Committee’s January 31-February 1 meeting showed the central banks’ interest in raising interest rates fairly soon. The next day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a 10th consecutive day of record closes, extending its longest streak of all-time highs in three decades. Initial jobless claims increased, as Department of Labor data showed new claims climbed by 6,000 to 244,000 in the past week. Indices closed Friday’s session in green territory, with the Dow closing at an 11th consecutive record high in late day momentum. New home sales jumped up in January, as Commerce Department data showed sales increased by 3.7% last month to an annual rate of 555,000, versus an expected pace of 586,000. In a final reading, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index dipped to 96.3, from 98.5 in January.