Markets Up-And Volatile

U.S. markets experienced more wild sessions last week before ending in positive territory as the recent turbulence continued.  In fact, we are currently in the middle of some of the most volatile market performance in more than eight years.  For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1.86%, the Dow added 1.61%, and the NASDAQ increased 2.34%.  MSCI EAFE stocks also increased, posting a 1.42% weekly gain.

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Year-End Special Edition: A Look Back at 2018

The close of the year provides an opportunity for investors to step back and consider the wider financial landscape.  This week, we’re reviewing some key issues that defined 2018, as well as some factors that may influence financial markets in the coming year.

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Turbulence Continues

Last week, domestic markets had some of their worst performance in 10 years.  The S&P 500 lost 7.05%, the Dow declined 6.87%, and the NASDAQ dropped 8.36%.  All three indexes have now lost at least 8% in 2018.  On Friday, December 21, the NASDAQ entered a bear market, which means it’s at least 20% below its last record high.  Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Dow both finished the week close to bear markets, too.  Internationally, stocks in the MSCI EAFE also struggled, posting a 2.67% weekly loss.

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Stocks Down, Change Ahead?

Last week brought more volatility to the markets.  While domestic indexes had some rallies as positive trade news emerged earlier in the week, by Friday, December 14, they had erased any gains.  The last time major U.S. indexes ended in correction territory was March 2016, meaning they are now at least 10% below their highs from the past year.

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Seven Principles of Long Term Investing

Take advantage of the market potential.  Investing provides you the opportunity to pursue your financial goals and to shape your own future.  Here are “Seven Investment Principles.”

Which is Better: Renting or Owning?

You’re moving. You’ve found greener pastures, and are looking forward—a little excitedly, a little nervously—to your new surroundings. You’ll be asking a lot of questions during this time. One of the biggest is, where will you live? To be a little more specific, should you rent or buy?

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you’re weighing your options:[1]

  • Can you afford to buy a house right now? How much money do you have saved?
  • How long do you plan on staying in the area?
  • Are you looking to settle down or do you want the flexibility to travel or move frequently?
  • Are you handy? Are you inclined or willing to do home repairs or renovations?
  • What are your goals involving your career and your family?

What are the advantages of renting? What are the benefits of owning? Let’s explore both sides.

Here are reasons why renting is good:[2]

  • As a renter, you may have fewer maintenance costs and repair bills. If something that is part of the rental property breaks, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to fix it.
  • You have access to amenities, such as swimming pools or fitness centers, that may cost homeowners bundles.
  • The taxman doesn’t cometh. You won’t get a property tax bill.
  • A tough housing market may spell bad news for homeowners, but renters are mostly immune to shifts in the real estate market.
  • You can jump ship relatively quickly as a renter and move elsewhere. You’re responsible for selling your home if you want to downsize or move. If you’re not committed to living in one spot for at least three years, renting may be your best choice.[3]
  • If you fall into dire financial straits, you’re not saddled with a hefty mortgage.
  • As a renter, you don’t have homeowner’s insurance, which can range from $25 to $80 a month. Renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive, at about $12 a month.
  • Apartment renters usually have lower utility costs.

Here are reasons why owning a home is good:[4]

  • Owning a home is generally a good investment. If you own your home for many years, it may increase in value.
  • You’re able to create equity. Equity is the difference between what you owe and your home value. With each payment, you build equity. Here’s how it works. You have a $20,000 car, for example. You owe $9,000 on it. Your equity is $11,000. With your house, you can borrow against your home’s equity to meet other financial needs.
  • You may be able to reduce the amount of income taxes you may owe. Federal rules may allow you to deduct mortgage interest. Tax law has changed so you should consult with a professional tax preparer to learn more.[5] You may be able to deduct more during the early years of your mortgage with higher portions of your monthly payment going to interest.
  • Making consistent, on-time mortgage payments builds your credit history and may bolster your credit score. Lenders view you as a responsible borrower with a lower-default risk.
  • You have the freedom to decorate or renovate your home as you envision. You can paint your walls whatever color you want. You can knock down walls, redo floors, lay new carpeting, and design your home to fit your tastes or personality—without seeking permission from a landlord.

As you weigh your options, you can use rent-versus-buy calculators to determine your best financial options. The calculators request you plug in specific information: zip code, target monthly rent, target home price, and available home price. The calculator then shows you which is less expensive, buying or renting. Go to

Bankrate asks you a series of questions to help you determine your best choice financially. The calculator asks a series of questions, including:

  • How much of a down payment are you able to make?
  • How much debt do you have?
  • What percentage of a home’s value would you be willing or able to make as a down payment?
  • What is your credit history?
  • How long do you plan to stay in your new home?
  • What are the average home prices in the area you’re considering?
  • Do you plan to itemize your mortgage interest?
  • What is the state of your budget?

To learn more, go to

We can help guide you in making the tough financial decisions. Working with an independent financial professional can help you build a strategy for the pursuit of your future goals.

Contact us today to learn more!

Kind Regards,

Brad Connors

Footnotes, disclosures, and sources:

Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.  These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

We have not independently verified the information available through the following links. The links are provided to you as a matter of interest. We make no claim as to their accuracy or reliability.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.











Volatility Continues

Markets went for another wild ride last week, as major domestic indexes swung back and forth.  By Friday, December 7, markets had posted their worst weekly performance since March-and the S&P 500 and Dow both moved into negative territory for 2018.

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Markets Rebound

U.S. markets ended a volatile month on a high note Friday.  All three major indices posted impressive increases for the week, buoyed by news from the Fed Reserve and international trade.  The S&P 500 jumped 4.85%, and the NASDAQ finished up 5.64%- both gains are almost 7-year highs.  Meanwhile, the Dow experienced a 2-year high, increasing 5.16%.  Internationally, the MSCI EAFE rose 0.95%.

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Why Did Stocks Drop?

Last week was a tough one for markets.  The S&P 500 dropped 3.79% and experienced its worst results during a Thanksgiving week since 1939.  While the index officially entered correction territory on Friday, it closed 10.2% below its most recent record high.  Meanwhile, the Dow and NASDAQ continued the downward trend, losing 4.44%, and 4.26%, respectively.  International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also declined, posting a 1.12% loss.

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Analyzing Date Amid Declines

Markets experienced more volatility last week, as perspectives on trade, tech, and retail pulled investor sentiment back and forth. Although domestic indexes were up on Friday, November 16, they still posted losses for the week.  In all, the S&P 500 dropped 1.61%, the Dow declined 2.22%, and the NASDAQ gave back 2.15%.  International stocks in the MSCI EAFE ended the week down 1.51%.

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