Earnings Reports and Guidance
How will China, Rates, Gov’t Shutdown Impact?
We seem to be playing the same game I played as a kid, “Kick the Can Down the Road”. In addition to extending the China/US Tariff increases for 3 months, we have now reopened the government for 3 weeks believing we’ll have a Bipartisan acceptable spending bill. It’s always amazing to me that our government pushes all important decisions to the absolute 12th hour. No wonder why our fixes are typically short-term.
This week we’ll hear from many major companies as a very large portion of the S&P 500 Companies will release their 4th Quarter Reports and Guidance for 2019.
What matters most in the short run, is how CEO’s see the China Trade Issue, the Fed and other issues impacting their businesses going forward. I believe we’re getting closer to having more and more companies become reluctant to expand until we hear about a perceived resolution of the issues daily.
Markets Last Week
For the week ending January, 25 2019, the Dow Jones gained .12%, the S&P500 lost (.21%). The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.1% and the small cap Russell 200 gaining fractionally at .03%.
In the US, Yields on US Treasuries dropped as the Barclay’s Aggregate Bond Index rose .30%.
Over the pond, both Developed and Emerging Markets Stocks gained, as the MSCI EAFE Index rose .48% and the MSCI Emerging Market Stock Index up 1.42%.
At this early stage of 2019, practically all Stock and Bond Indexes are positive. We certainly hope this bodes well for the remainder of 2019!
Standard Deduction: For 2019, the Standard Deduction for a Married Couple Filing a Joint income tax return will increase to $24,400 from $24,000. If you are age 65 or older, each spouse will receive an additional standard deduction of $1,300.
Wage Base for Social Security: The total FICA tax is 7.65%, of which 6.2% is for the Social Security Tax. In 2019, the wage base for the Social Security tax is now $132,900. Your earnings over $132,900 will then continue to be taxed @ 1.45%, with no maximum.
Health Savings Accounts: For those that participate in a Health Savings Account (HSA), a married couple can make a deductible contribution of $7000, an individual $3500. Anyone over age 50 can increase their contribution by an additional $1000 “catch-up contribution”.
For further detail on Deductions, Social Security and Health Savings accounts, please click Retirement Refined to review our Key Data for 2019 located under our Retirement Resources tab.
Question of the Week
SOCIAL SECURITY: Many people are confused about what is their “Full Retirement Age” to begin receiving an unreduced monthly Social Security Retirement Benefit.
What is the last year you can be born to be able to collect your full Retirement benefit at age 66 and not have to wait until sometime between ages 66 and 67.
For information on the ins and outs of Social Security, you are invited to attend our upcoming Social Security Workshop.
Please click here for dates and information Social Security Workshop.
Answer to Last Week’s Question of the Week
Medicare is “made up” of 4 basic parts; Part A, B, C, and D. The answers below lists what each letter represents. Which of the 4 answers has the order correct?
a) Medicare Advantage, Hospitalization, Prescription Drugs and Medical Services
b) Hospitalization, Prescription Drug, Medical Services and Medicare Advantage
c) Prescription Drug, Medical Services, Medicare Advantage and Hospitalization
d) Hospitalization, Medical Services, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug
Correct Answer is –