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.

Repost: 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.

 

 

 

 

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: What Are The 3 Smartest Money Moves For 2019

Here’s a piece of priceless advice from Forbes for your 2019 financial plans:

Getty Getty

I love simple financial advice because we make money management much too difficult. That’s why we need to boil down what we need to know — and cancel out the noise.

This year you can plan ahead, but you’ll need to earmark some things to do. Here are some great tips from my friend Julie Jason, the author of Retire Securely: Insights on Money Management from an Award-Winning Financial Columnist.

Manage With Logic, Not Emotion. There’s no question that the headlines are going to be nerve wracking. That’s the nature of the beast. Ignore them and figure out how much you’ll need to live comfortably in retirement and pay your bills.

“It’s a fact of human nature that emotions can wreak havoc on our decision-making abilities,” Jason notes. “A growing field of study called behavioral finance seeks to identify the pitfalls of the human psyche to help people — in this case, investors — minimize the effects that emotions can have on their investment portfolios.”

Do the numbers. Project your retirement income based on savings and Social Security. Figure out how much you need to save and invest to meet your goals. Execute!

 

Continue reading it HERE.

Repost: Why Retirement Is Broken And Needs To Be Reinvented

Retirement plan – one of the most important long term investments everyone should build. For more retirement and financial advice, read on Forbes:

Ideas for fixing retirement – Getty

Retirement is the #1 financial worry with 65% of Americans worried about it and a majority thinking about it 4 times per week. The core problem is uncertainty – people have no idea how much they need, because we have created a system around building assets instead of income.

We spend our lives saving up a big pile of money in an effort to secure our future against a bewildering set of future risks including market returns, inflation, healthcare and longevity. This is spurred on by the vast majority of players in the financial services industry who want us to save as much as possible and/or “invest” in often complex, opaque and expensive products since their income is based on a percent of your assets (AUM) or on transaction fees where the price is not clearly marked.

An average 401(k) investor who pays 1% investment fees on a portfolio earning 4% will lose about 33% of their returns to those fees over a 20 year period. Put another way if you have $1M, then $400K in returns are lost to fees over 20 years (fees that go to your fund provider, broker or financial advisor).

I’ve talked with hundreds of our users who are planning for retirement, most of whom have $500,000 to a few million saved and they are all worried about whether they have enough and how they will generate retirement income and manage healthcare.

Continue reading HERE.

 

 

 

REPOST: Gold inches higher as dollar dips amid risk aversion

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,239.86 per ounce. Meanwhile, Spot palladium rose 0.1 percent to $1,245.00 per ounce. Here’s the latest update from CNBC :

Getty Images

Gold edged higher on Thursday as growing risk aversion weighed on the dollar, while palladium held ground at a premium to the bullion.
Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,239.86 per ounce, as of 0429 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were 0.2 percent higher at $1,244.9 per ounce.
“Markets are trying to consolidate, trying to push up higher for now,” said Benjamin Lu, a commodities analyst with Phillip Futures.

A balance between a host of factors such as a rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve in December, uncertainty about trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, and a flattening yield curve has helped create a premium for the bullion, Lu added.
Fed policymakers will gather at a Dec. 18-19 meeting, at which the central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates.

“Although a rate hike is already priced in, markets will be closely watching the meeting for clues on rate hike timings in 2019,” said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM, adding that: “if the meeting echoes a similar message to (Chairman Jerome) Powell’s dovish shift, gold has the potential to shine into 2019.”

The dollar declined against the safe-haven yen as a spike in risk aversion pressured equities and U.S. Treasury yields. The spread between the two-year and five-year Treasury yields inverted this week and the two-year/10-year spread was at its flattest in more than a decade amid a sharp fall in long-term rates.

Continue reading HERE.