From the Road: COVID-19 Stimulus & Time On The Ranch

From the Road: COVID-19 Stimulus & Time On The Ranch

March 17, 2021

Hello, from the road and the mobile desk of your traveling intrepid author this Wednesday afternoon, the 17th day of March 2021 where it is a balmy 79° here along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  As many of you know, and as mentioned in my prior blog, a few weeks ago I hooked up the Airstream for a 1,600 mile cross-country adventure to spend some time with my father who is recovering from a bad accident. The good news is, his doctors expect a full recovery in the next few weeks. Therefore, I should be able to start the return trip to Southern California soon.  In the meantime, it most certainly has been business as usual from the shiny sliver mobile office. 

Rest assured, on his down-time, your author is certainly not all work and no play.  To that end, last weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with a good friend on his ranch located in Pass Christian, Mississippi.  What a terrific day it was; a great way to clear the head under blue skies and get out with the horses and cattle.  I now have new respect for the job of a rancher.  It is hard work for sure but, wow, what fun!  Be sure to check out the "photo of the week" section below where I have placed a quick home video I created of the day.  Also too, this week's cover photo is a drone shot of the Pass between the Gulf of Mexico and Bay of St. Louis.  I'll be sure to post more pictures/video in upcoming editions.  Now, let us get down to the business at hand: what's been affecting the markets.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion package focused on economic relief following the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was signed into law at the White House last Thursday 3/11/21.10  Beyond the $1,400 stimulus checks, the relief bill offers many additional levels of stimulus, including funds for vaccine distribution, expansions of tax credits and unemployment payments, and aid to state and local governments.10

The big sticking point was the phase-out range for the stimulus checks, which will now affect those earning more than $75,000 annually and capped for those earning $80,000 or more ($150,00-$160,000 for married couples).10

Regardless, this is truly a massive bill with many aspects which roll up into a never-ending list of provisions for individuals and businesses at all levels.  It will take take a massive torque wrench to tighten all the nuts and bolts on this one for certain.  In other words, some time is needed to gain clarification on the various aspects of the bill and, ultimately, how the money will flow from the spigot. Naturally, you may have questions about the bill, and how it might affect you and your family. I welcome a chance to discuss this with you and will certainly keep you informed through this blog or even via a separate topic specific email as circumstances warrant.  Remember, 1.9 trillion is an astronomical sum that will take some time to distribute; nonetheless, with the expectation of the liquidity eventually flowing, the markets had big moves last week.   

As the fiscal relief bill was signed into law, stocks touched new record highs as bond yields steadied and confidence in a strong economic recovery grew.

Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed +189.42 and the Standard & Poor's 500 added +11.41.  Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 4.07%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 tacked on 2.64%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 3.09% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 3.01%.1,2,3

Dow 32,000

As mentioned above, stocks marched higher as bond yields leveled off and the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill moved through the legislative process. A muted inflation number and a better-than-expected jobless claims report evidenced an improving economy absent an attendant rise in inflation.4

The technology sector was particularly volatile, with the Nasdaq Composite falling into correction territory to start the week as investors rotated into cyclical opportunities.

Technology rebounded strongly as bond yields stabilized and bargain hunters purchased tech names at reduced prices. The bounceback propelled the S&P 500 to a record high, while the reopening trade drove the Dow Industrials above 32,000 for the first time.5,6

The week ended on a mixed note, with the Dow and S&P 500 adding to their record closes and the Nasdaq Composite trimming its weekly gain.

Treasury Auctions

Treasury auctions to finance federal spending are usually boring affairs, but investor caution was high ahead of last week’s auctions of 10-year and 30-year Treasuries. Investors were concerned that lukewarm demand amid a huge supply had the potential to drive yields higher and take the pressure on stock prices lower.

As it turned out, Wednesday’s auction of 10-year Notes was received with adequate demand, helped by a less-than-stellar February inflation number and strong overseas interest. The following day’s 30-year auction also went relatively smoothly, though the auction yield was 36.2 basis points higher than last month’s auction. Despite $120 billion of federal debt issuance last week, yields steadied, easing investors’ interest rate concerns for the moment.7

This Week: Key Economic Data

Tuesday: Retail Sales. Industrial Production.
Wednesday: Housing Starts. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Meeting Announcement.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Index of Leading Economic Indicators.

Source: Econoday, March 12, 2021
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Tuesday: Coupa Software (COUP).
Wednesday: Five Below (FIVE), Cintas Corporation (CTAS).
Thursday: FedEx Corporation (FDX), Nike, Inc. (NKE), Dollar General (DG).

Source: Zacks, March 12, 2021
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. 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. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

– Pablo Neruda

Couples Who Work Together, Tax Together

As more households decide to start a business, many couples find themselves learning about the tax responsibilities related to that business. There are some things to consider when working together.

Here are a few items to consider:

  • You should first establish if you have a partnership business (where both spouses have an equal say in the affairs, services, and capital of the business) or an employee/employer relationship (one spouse substantially controls management decisions). These relationships face different tax situations.

  • If there is an employee/employer relationship, the second spouse (employee) may be subject to income tax, Social Security, and Medicare.

  • If there is a partnership relationship, you may need to report the business income on Form 1065, US Return of Partnership Income.

* 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.gov8

Eat This, Not That: Easy Food Swaps Anyone Can Do

Eating healthier doesn’t have to be hard! You might not have to make any major changes in your current diet! By swapping out unhealthy options for healthier picks, you can cut the bad stuff and still enjoy your meal. Here are some of our favorite food swaps:

  • Mustard instead of mayonnaise (0 calories vs. 90 calories)

  • Scrambled eggs with green onions instead of cheese (170 calories vs. 275 calories)

  • Sparkling water instead of soda (0 calories vs. 140 calories)

  • Fresh fruit instead of dried fruit (69 calories vs. 325 calories)

  • Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (28 calories vs. 60 calories)

  • Olive oil spray instead of a tablespoon of olive oil (5 calories vs. 120 calories)

  • Corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas (100 calories vs. 280 calories)

  • All-bran cereal instead of granola (80 calories vs. 200 calories)

  • Goat cheese instead of Brie cheese (70 calories vs. 100 calories)

Many healthy swaps like these can help you reduce your caloric intake, consume less sugar, and make it easy to create a more balanced meal.

Tip adapted from EatThis.com9

Where does today come before yesterday?

Last week’s riddle: The name of a particular insect is six letters long. You can lop off the last three letters from its name and end up with the name of another insect. What is this six-letter word?  Answer: Beetle.

...A day on the ranch in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Footnotes and Sources

1. The Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2021

2. The Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2021

3. The Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2021

4., March 10, 2021

5. CNBC, March 11, 2021

6. The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2021

7. The Street, March 11, 2021

8., October 7, 2020

9., September 29, 2020

10., March 10, 2021

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.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of large-capitalization companies on the U.S. stock market. Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of technology and growth companies. The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and serves as a benchmark of the performance of major international equity markets, as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

U.S. Treasury Notes are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. However, if you sell a Treasury Note prior to maturity, it may be worth more or less than the original price paid. Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

International investments carry additional risks, which include differences in financial reporting standards, currency exchange rates, political risks unique to a specific country, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. These factors may result in greater share price volatility.

Please consult your financial professional for additional information.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by Redefine Financial, LLC to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Copyright 2021 Redefine Financial, LLC.