Stock markets took a final step forward early in December and basically hung on through the rest of the month. International markets again provided investment portfolios a real boost. Telecommunication stocks recovered in December after slumping much of this year. Utility stocks dropped in December after offering great gains most of the year. It has been a long time since we have enjoyed the level of market returns that portfolios picked up this past year. The S&P index (100% stock) closed 2017 up 18%.
The new tax plan, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), holds many unforeseen consequences. We know the IRS struggles with ancient computers and reduced staff to sort through the changes for 2018 payroll taxes and tax forms for next year’s returns. Most employees can expect to file a new W-4 and qualify for reduced tax withholdings this year. Year one of the Plan will offer a benefit to wage earners. It is the changes that follow and the effects of the trends it sets in place that we need to work with and plan for. We’re on it.
The harsh blast in December felt especially rude following such a mild-mannered autumn. Juncos (aka snowbirds) appeared under the feeders signaling the first snow. We need an indicator like Juncos for market storms – except we must be the only ones to know about it. Meanwhile we brave the biting cold to