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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

 December 22 2017
The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has pushed year-end tax planning to literally the last week of the year. The window to act is brief, but there are still opportunities for tax planning available before year-end.  One of the widest-reaching changes is an increased standard deduction coupled with an elimination of personal exemptions. Beginning in 2018, the standard deductio...

Job and Wage Growth

 December 14 2017
The U.S. economy added 228,000 new jobs in November. In order to show economic growth, our economy needs to add 150,000 new jobs each month to keep expanding. Health care added the most new jobs, adding 40,500, while a weaker dollar (which helps exports) contributed to 31,000 job gains in U.S. manufacturing. It’s important to note that manufacturing jobs, either gained or lost, is a crucial ...

Change at the Fed

 November 6 2017
Current Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell has been nominated as the next chair of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. Powell was originally appointed by President Obama in 2012 and has previously served in the Treasury under George H. W. Bush. During his tenure on the Board of Governors, Powell has followed the FOMC consensus, voting for the tightening of monetary policy via interest ra...

Personal Income Growth and Interest Rates

 August 9 2017
Reports illustrate that personal income was essentially flat in June. Decreases in personal dividend and interest income partially offset a 0.4% monthly gain in wages and salaries which points to a moderate pace of consumption growth in the third quarter. We think this will translate into smaller interest rate increases.  The Commerce Department said that consumer spending, w...

Economic Update & Outlook

 July 24 2017
The headline consumer price index (CPI) was unchanged in June. A 1.6% drop in energy prices in the month and flat food prices offset a 0.1% increase in core prices. Inflation on a year-on-year basis continued to cool, and now sits at 1.6%, the lowest reading since last October. Core inflation was 1.7% year-over-year basis in June, matching the previous months' pace. Retail sales dropped 0.2% in...

Fed Raises Interest Rate and Expects to Normalize Balance Sheet

 June 15 2017
As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to between 1 and 1-1/4 percent. The Committee also expects to begin normalizing the balance sheet later this year, having outlined a plan to gradually reduce its holdings by tapering reinvestments in its Treasury and MBS portfolio. The Fed expects to cap runoff at $10 billion...

The Fed Raises Interest Rates, Impact on Trade

 March 22 2017
As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced an increase in the federal funds target rate of 0.25 percentage points to a range between 0.75% to 1%. The Committee's assessment of the economic outlook noted ongoing progress toward the Fed's dual mandate. The unemployment rate saw little change and inflation moved "close to the Committee's 2% longer run objective."   The F...

More Positive Economic Data Amid Fed Rate Hike

 December 21 2016
A series of data releases last week continue to paint a picture of a broadly improving economy that likely contributed to the Fed raising short term interest rates and indicating that rate increases may accelerate in 2017. Jobless claims, inflation and builder sentiment reports all indicated positive trends on top of previous upward movements. First time unemployment claims fell 4,000 for the we...

Year End Tax Savings Strategies: A Few Thoughts

 December 5 2016
The holidays are here and the elections are finally over. We have less than one month to take advantage of tax saving strategies for 2016. Here are a few ideas we discuss & implement with our clients: Donate to Charity – Appreciated Stock Charitable giving can be a great way to potentially lower taxes in addition to contributing to worthy causes. Instead of giving cash, consider donati...

Inflation Rises and Housing Market Recovery

 October 28 2016
Core inflation and housing starts are two important pieces of economic data which we track on a monthly basis. The rising cost of goods may spur higher interest rates. Increasing housing starts indicate a growing economy and wage growth. We see both of these indicators on a positive direction. Inflation Core inflation seems to be stuck around the 2.2-2.3% mark, as the strong U.S. dollar has ...
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