Money Talks – January 6, 2018

This week on “Money Talks,” Bil Lako, CFP®, Troy Harmon, CFA, CVA, and Jarrett McKenzie, CFP®, CWS®, discuss the headline news—tax reform. The experts provide their opinions on the new laws and how to navigate going forward. They also cover the week’s market news, including mortgages, manufacturing and FOMC minutes. Jarrett discusses a provision in the tax law that eliminates recharacterization of IRA conversions. He explains how this can affect the financial planning strategy. The experts also address a listener’s question on favoring emerging markets over healthcare stocks.

Market Roundup: Strongest Opening Week for A Year in More Than a Decade

The major indices kicked off 2018 landing in the green zone on Tuesday. The S&P 500 Index and NASDAQ closed at new record highs while the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.4%. Indices closed well into green territory on Wednesday, as Technology stocks led the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ to new all-time record levels. In economic news, manufacturing activity increased in December. The Institute for Supply Management’s index ticked up to 59.7 from 58.2 in November. The Fed released the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s December meeting showing the decisions behind boosting interest rates a quarter point and an increase to its economic growth forecast for 2018. The Dow closed well over the 25,000 mark on Thursday, possibly notching the fastest 1,000-point gain in its history. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ also traded up to new all-time highs. Faster economic growth around the globe and improving sentiment have likely helped buoy the recent rally. Also on Thursday, the Labor Department showed an uptick in initial jobless claims of 3,000 to 250,000 new claims while the prior week’s level was upwardly revised by 2,000 to 247,000. As of the closing bell Friday, each of the major indexes ascended to new highs, as valuations continue to be propelled higher amidst broad-based, tax-related optimism. Friday also saw a lackluster update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the employment front. The U.S. economy added 148,000 positions versus the 180,000 estimate for December.