Repost: Well… It was an Interesting Week

Here’s a brief update on this week’s stock market performance from LOM Financial : Read more:

Image source: LOM Financial

Markets rallied strongly last week, with the MSCI World index gaining 2.86% and the S&P 500 gaining 2.95%.

Brexit

The Brexit endgame is coming more into focus. Last week, the British Parliament passed the Spelman/Dromay amendment by a vote of 312 to 308. The amendment was a non-binding ruling to prevent a hard Brexit under any circumstances. Perhaps paradoxically, Prime Minister May whipped her party to vote against this amendment. Her rationale appears to have been to force the issue of the Parliament agreeing terms on the exit. While there is talk of putting the terms of an orderly exit up for another vote, it appears unlikely the vote would go through since the deal has not changed materially and there is less incentive for voters to change their position.

This brings us to the March 29th Brexit deadline. Britain is likely to request an extension to their exit as they attempt to come to an agreement on the exit terms with the EU. This would require the EU countries to unanimously agree to allow Britain to extend their membership, something Nigel Farage has been lobbying that they reject. If they were to reject an extension, Britain would default into a hard Brexit. The likelihood of that occurring are low but non-trivial. The more likely outcome would be an extension, which presents certain challenges since an extension beyond July 1st would mean Britain would be required to participate in the European Parliament election. At this point, it is unclear what a short extension would accomplish as Parliament is resolutely against the proposed terms. While the whole ordeal is rather taxing, the prospects of entering a hard Brexit have diminished (a good thing). JP Morgan was suggesting a 10% likelihood of a hard Brexit.

Boeing 737 Max

More headwinds facing Boeing as their 737 Max have been grounded in most developed countries. This is a major hit to the company, which was set to deliver over 5000 of the planes. A surprise move in which the FAA reversed an earlier position that the planes were airworthy, causing the company to continue to fall. Boeing is now facing an investigation by the Department of Transportation in to whether enough vetting had taken place prior to the 737 Max release.

 

For more insights, continue reading here.

Report: Asia markets gain amid hopes of US-China trade deal

Here’s the latest market updates from CNBC:

  • Shares in Japan, South Korea and Australia advanced in morning trade.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the U.S. and China are “in the final stage of completing a trade deal,” with Beijing offering to lower tariffs on U.S. products in categories ranging from chemicals to autos.
Image source: pixabay.com

Stocks in Asia rose on Monday morning following a report that China is offering to lower tariffs on certain U.S. products as part of a trade deal with America.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.83 percent in early trade while the Topix gained 0.77 percent as shares of robot maker Fanuc jumped 2.15 percent.

Over in South Korea, the Kospi advanced 0.72 percent as industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics saw its stock rise 1.77 percent.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 0.58 percent in morning trade, with almost all sectors advancing.

Symbol
Name
Price
Change
%Change
NIKKEI Nikkei 225 Index 21758.24
155.55 0.72%
HSI Hang Seng Index 28852.22
40.05 0.14%
ASX 200 S&P/ASX 200 6233.20
40.50 0.65%
SHANGHAI Shanghai 3019.12
25.12 0.84%
KOSPI KOSPI Index 2199.27
3.83 0.17%
CNBC 100 CNBC 100 ASIA IDX 7957.54
13.28 0.17%

US-China trade deal progress

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the U.S. and China are “in the final stage of completing a trade deal,” with Beijing offering to lower tariffs on U.S. products in categories ranging from chemicals to autos. For its part, Washington is considering eliminating most if not all of the trade sanctions placed on Chinese goods last year, according to the Journal.

Bloomberg News reported Friday that the final deal is being prepared and that the pact could be signed by President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping within weeks.

A summit between the two leaders could happen sometime in March, according to both Bloomberg and the Journal.

 

Continue reading HERE.

 

Repost: Why you shouldn’t celebrate that big tax refund

For most taxpayers, getting a chunk of refund from their taxes is a big thing. However, according to the source from CNBC, it is not an effective use of your cash flow. Find out why:

  • As of the first week of the filing season, the IRS issued an average refund of $1,865. That’s down from $2,035 last year.
  • The new tax law lowered individual income tax rates, roughly doubled the standard deduction, and limited itemized deductions.
  • A large refund suggests you overpaid on taxes in the prior year.

 

FreezeFrameStudio | E+ | Getty Images

 

If you are among the taxpayers expecting a refund this tax season, hold off on the champagne for a moment: A big check from the IRS isn’t necessarily good news.

The taxman kicked off the new filing season on Jan. 28, marking the first time taxpayers will be submitting their returns under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The agency predicts it will receive more than 150 million individual income tax returns this spring.

In just the first week of the new filing season, the IRS has sent out 4.6 million refunds to early birds.

The average refund check as of the week of Feb. 1 was $1,865, according to the IRS, which in turn set off howls of protest on social media from taxpayers who were expecting at least what they got last year.

Though there’s no denying the feel-good factor of getting a fat check from Uncle Sam, it means you’ve likely overpaid your taxes during the prior year.

“A large refund from the IRS may seem like an advantage, but it isn’t the best or most effective use of your cash flow,” said Tim Steffen, CPA and director of advanced planning at Robert W. Baird & Co.

"You're basically giving the IRS an interest-free loan," he said.

Balancing withholding

If you are an employee, when you were hired your employer gave you a Form W-4, which you can use to tweak the amount of tax that’s withheld from your pay.

On that sheet, you can list the number of personal allowances you claim for your household. For instance, you can claim an allowance each for yourself, your spouse and your dependents.

Tread carefully: The more allowances you claim, the less tax you will have withheld.

If you underpay your taxes during the year, you’ll likely owe when you file your return.

“Some people read the form and think, ‘I’m married and have three kids,'” said Cari Weston, director of tax practice and ethics at the American Institute of CPAs. “They end up with five allowances and owe substantial taxes at the end of the year.”

To make things even more complicated, the IRS has adjusted its withholding tables and Form W-4 to reflect the changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The agency has also released a new tax withholding calculator.

Because of the new tax law’s increase to the standard deduction and the elimination of personal exemptions, now might be the best time to review your Form W-4 to see if you’re withholding the appropriate amount of tax.

 

Continue reading HERE, for more insights.

 

 

 

 

Fascinating Reasons Why Millennials Should Invest in the Stock Market

Income-driven millennials will likely become multi-millionaire investors in the future. However, venturing into the risky world of investing can be a great challenge for the young generations. Nonetheless, the market sector has higher earning potential among other investment options, below are some of the many compelling reasons why the young demographics must invest in the stock market:

Image source: pexels.com

 

Easier Access

Apart from global economic growth, the rapid pace of technology advancement has transformed the way we trade stocks, today. Millennial investors can take advantage of the efficient trading tools such as cloud-based software and online trading platforms, developed to provide easier access to investors and keep track their investments anytime, anywhere.

 

Has a Variety of Safe and Profitable Investments

Alongside with Finance, the Tech sector has been one of the best-performing stocks in the market, for years. In terms of revenue, large companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are highly recognized as the most dominant tech stocks in the market. As they remain robust and successful despite economic crisis and uncertainties.

 

A Great Wealth Builder

Saving earlier for stable and financially secured golden years can be the best thing every millennial should learn. For instance, Warren Buffet, widely acclaimed as the richest business tycoon in the investment history was known to have built his fortune by trading in the stock market decades back until to date, following Benjamin Graham’s principles of value investing, according to Forbes.

 

 

 

Repost: Global Markets Rally

Check out the latest stock market performance from LOM Financial, today:

Image source: LOM Financial

Markets ended the abbreviated week as a warning of a global slowdown was offset by strong earnings. The MSCI World Index ended the week up 0.07% while the S&P 500 lost -0.21%.

 

IMF Warns of a Global Slowdown

The International Monetary Fund cut 2019 global growth estimates by 0.2% to 3.5%, citing risks of a more significant downward correction was rising. In the US, the effects of fiscal stimulus are expected to unwind. Mexico experienced a significant downgrade to growth reflecting lower private investment. The high levels of public and private debt mean capital markets should be more sensitive to downturns than they have been historically.

 

The IMF report mirrors the World Bank January 2019 assessment (published on 1/8/19), which sees headwinds from the removal of accommodative policies that supported the protracted recovery along with more extreme weather events creating challenges in developed and developing countries. Lax credit markets have resulted in a growing number of developing countries holding questionable levels of debt.

 

Market Wrap Up

Earnings releases have been mixed but strong positive revenues and EPS surprises on Wednesday from Proctor and Gamble, Comcast, and United Tech Corp marked the turnaround that helped bring markets back to levels near the beginning of the week.

 

Continue reading HERE.

Repost: Cramer Remix: If the government shutdown continues to drag on, this is the stock to circle your wagons around

Many investors are worried about the prolonged government shutdown in the U.S.. Despite market uncertainties and instability, according to Jim Cramer of CNBC, these are the stocks you can buy in the market today:

Image source: CNBC.com

 

CNBC’s Jim Cramer implored investors on Thursday not to let day-to-day market volatility frighten them out of buying shares of great long-term performers like pharmaceutical giant Merck.

“Merck is exactly the kind of company that investors circle the wagons around” during difficult macroeconomic events like long-lived government shutdowns, Cramer said on “Mad Money” amid a broader market rotation.

“Even though Merck ran up dramatically last year, I think the stock remains way too cheap, and as the rotation plays out, it could get even cheaper, meaning you could get an even better buying opportunity,” he continued. “We’re talking about a best-of-breed drug company here, yet it’s not getting the kind of premium multiple I think it deserves.”

So, even though Cramer expects more selling in the drugmakers’ stocks in the next several days, he urged stock-pickers to consider the bigger picture and, if they’re interested, to scale into Merck’s stock “gradually.”

“Thanks to Keytruda,” Merck’s leading anti-cancer franchise, “Merck is once again a growth pharmaceutical company,” he said. “I’m betting it’ll be years before their key drug faces any meaningful competition, which means you can buy it into weakness here.”

Investors still have time to take advantage of the broad rotation out of “safe” food and drug stocks and into faster-growing stocks like the semiconductor plays, Cramer said Thursday.

 

For more insights, continue reading HERE.

Repost: Outlook for 2019: best or worst of times?

What do you think of the investor’s stock market perspective for this year? Will it be the best or worst of times? Check out The Royal Gazette for more insights:

Potential catalyst: if China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump strike a trade deal, markets are likely to gain strength

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” begins a famous Charles Dickens novel. Unsurprisingly, this phrase has been repeated countless times in financial publications since Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities in 1859. Over the past few decades we have seen clear examples of both good and bad times in the global economy. Certainly, last year’s stock market plunge in the final quarter was not the best of times for investors, even though the global economy continued to expand.

 

In terms of what’s next, investors seem to be forecasting the worst of times. Despite record corporate profits last year and consensus forecasts for respectable global growth of around 3.5 per cent in 2019, stocks, commodities and credit prices have lately veered to the downside, notwithstanding a recent bump up from December’s lows. In any event, we have now had official market corrections of about 20 per cent on all the major stock market averages.

 

Market nervousness has also been evident in the credit space. Substantially higher credit spreads, or the additional amount of yield investors require in order to underwrite the risk of owning corporate bonds, have expanded to levels typically seen during periods of recession.

 

For example, last December, high yield bonds experienced their worst month since 2011. However, incoming economic data does not support a recession thesis — at least not at the moment.

 

The most critical market headwinds are the US-China trade war, tightening central bank monetary policies and likely, concerns over an unruly Brexit negotiation. Market direction going forward will therefore be determined by political leaders rather than traditional market forces. No wonder cautiousness prevails.

 

Continue reading HERE.

These Are The Most Sought After Job Opportunities Of 2019

Make 2019 the best chapter of your career journey and be ready for the best opportunities that are coming your way. Here’s a list of this year’s high-paying professions that might help boost both your resume and career.

Image source: pexels.com

 

Financial Advisor

In recent years, investing has become the newest trend among high net worth individuals. Thus, many financial firms like – LOM Financial focus on providing financial advice and wealth management services to their well off clients. The average pay for this profession ranges from £35,000 up to £45,000 per year particularly in the UK.

 

Corporate Lawyer

The United States is known to be one of the most litigious countries across the globe, where the field of law is immensely sought-after. Such promising job can make you a whopping $147,000 per year according to Indeed.

 

Blockchain Developer

Today’s growing popularity and development of blockchain technology is clearly inevitable in most part of US and Europe. Furthermore, many well-established companies in the financial sector have built their own blockchain system and consequently eyeing for professionals who are expert in the field of programming.

 

 

Repost: The Best Places To Retire Abroad In 2019

For retirees who dreamed of moving to any foreign countries this year, here’s a few practical suggestions from Forbes you might want to consider:

Locals walk to work in Antigua, Guatemala, and Agua volcano looms behind Santa Catalina Arch, a landmark in this Spanish colonial town & UNESCO World Heritage Site.Getty

 

When it comes time to pick a retirement spot, the majority of Americans end up staying put, or moving within their own state. (See The Best Places To Retire In Each State.) But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least consider the option of retiring abroad. Fact is, many countries offer a high standard of living at a much lower cost and throw in good weather, great scenery and fascinating culture at no extra charge.

More Americans have been not just considering, but actually making, the big move. The U.S. Social Security Administration just reported it’s now sending checks to almost 700,000 people living in foreign countries. That’s a steady 40% increase over 10 years. Of course, not all Americans “retiring” abroad are old enough to collect Social Security. The growing FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement has got some GenXers and even Millennials dreaming about “retiring” from their day jobs and living abroad.

To assist those planning, or simply dreaming about, a foreign retirement haven, Forbes has scoured the globe to come up with a list, The Best Places To Retire Abroad In 2019. Click on the gallery below for a description of all 24 countries, on five continents, that made our list, in alphabetical order. (At the bottom of this post, there’s also a handy table offering a quick view of how our picks compare.) Note that while we are picking entire nations, not every place in each is suitable. U.S. expat retirees often tend to cluster in just a few locales. So we suggest a few specific spots in each, although in most countries there are many other locations that would also be suitable.

One advantage of just about every foreign country on our list is that good medical care, and health care insurance, is available and at a cost so much less than in the U.S. that private insurance can easily replace the Medicare benefits most U.S. retirees depend on. (No, you can’t use your Medicare benefits abroad.) Three countries on our list—Uruguay, Ecuador and Italy—even allow expats under certain circumstances into their national healthcare systems. In some countries, good healthcare is more easily found in the larger cities, and we make a note of that in our individual write-ups.

 

Continue reading HERE.

Repost: December Slide Tumbles Markets for the 2018 Year

Here’s an update for December’s Stock Market performance and global economic concerns from LOM Financial:

The month of December was once again dominated by troubling economic headlines ranging from disruptive global trade negotiations to disturbing U.S. central bank commentary. On top of the steady drum beat of what some are calling dysfunctional political behavior, the U.S. Government’s partial shutdown has added to the negative investor sentiment which has been building all year. Sliding stock prices over the last month of the year added to the fourth quarter market woes, notwithstanding a sharp equity market reversal on the day after Christmas. For the month of December, the S&P 500 declined by -9.03% and the MSCI World Stock index fell by -7.57%. These results capped an overall tumultuous year where the MSCI World declined by 8.19% for the period as a whole.

 

Since the U.S. and China met during the G20 meeting at the beginning of December, China has implemented multiple policies addressing major issues in trade war negotiations. China agreed to cut tariffs on more than 700 goods in sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and materials. Despite the progress, most products will still be subject to the retaliatory tariffs until there is a breakthrough in the trade deal. Furthermore, China has drafted a law to prevent forced technology transfers, which is a main complaint by Washington. However, critics question whether the new law will be enforced successfully. U.S. trade representatives will travel to China in January for another round of negotiations and any update from their talk will likely affect markets early in the New Year.

 

Despite the ongoing risk market selloff in during the fourth quarter, the Fed still decided to raise the Fed Fund rate for the fourth time in 2018, to a range between 2.25% and 2.5%. However, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) did adjust next year’s projected base rate move downward to just two hikes, in the face of market volatility. However, Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell reiterated the plan for balance sheet runoff. As the Fed downplayed risks to the economic outlook, investors worry that a hawkish central bank will ultimately slow the economy and send markets into another tail spin. As interest rates continues to climb, consumers will feel even more pressure on mortgages and auto loan payments. Overall, businesses have begun to experience a higher interest burden.

 

Continue reading HERE for more insights.