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What We Do And How We Can Help

By Mike Guarino

Have you ever wished you had a modern-day Rolodex that gave you direct and easy access to a professional for whatever questions pop into your mind? Instead of scouring Google for answers, always wondering if the information is correct or applicable to your life, wouldn’t you rather have a trusted professional to turn to? Think of how much your stress would decrease if you could just dial up a lawyer or a doctor, get personalized advice from someone who knows you, and make decisions with confidence!

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Why I Became A Financial Advisor

By Mike Guarino

People change jobs or careers for a variety of reasons, such as better pay, a move to a new city or state, or they were just ready for a new challenge. I fall into the latter category. I spent many years working at a thankless computer job and realized that I wanted to spend my time making a real difference in people’s lives. I ultimately chose a career as a financial advisor because of my father, who spent over 20 years in the industry and founded Guarino Wealth Management, the firm I now lead, continuing his legacy. 

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TRIMMING OUR 2019 GDP FORECAST

Economic data have consistently missed expectations recently as investors and Wall Street have struggled to quantify the impact of global trade and political risks.

As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, the Bloomberg U.S. Economic Surprise Index has dropped sharply over the past few months, showing the degree to which consensus estimates have been overestimating economic trends.

Economic Data Relative to Consensus Hits 3-Year Low

December’s retail sales report was just the latest instance in a string of whiffs for consensus predictions. Retail sales unexpectedly fell 1.2% in the month, missing consensus estimates for a 0.1% gain by the widest margin since March 2009 and sparking questions about the report’s accuracy.

In response, over the past few months economists have cut their fourth quarter 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) forecasts to a range of 1.5–2.5%. If fourth-quarter GDP growth ends up at the lower end of that range, it would be the slowest pace of GDP growth since the fourth quarter of 2015.

We’ve also seen enough evidence to think 2019 GDP growth is likely to be closer to the lower end of our original 2019 forecast (2.5–2.75%), with risks balanced to the upside and downside. Even though we’ve slightly lowered our growth expectations, we still expect the core Consumer Price Index (CPI) to grow 2.25–2.5% in 2019.

“Heightened trade and political uncertainty have clearly weighed on corporate and consumer sentiment, which we think may weigh on U.S. output growth this year,” said LPL Research Chief Investment Strategist John Lynch. “Still, we think a slight increase in inflation would make sense given the firm U.S. labor market and the possibility that economic activity could stabilize after trade headwinds subside.”

As we mentioned in our Outlook 2019, we still believe stronger growth in business spending may drive this leg of the economic expansion, as higher investment leads to greater worker productivity and profit growth. However, investment may be muted until the trade dispute with China is resolved.

For more details on our revised forecasts, check out this week’s Weekly Economic Commentary.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. The economic forecasts set forth in this material may not develop as predicted.

All indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.

This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor, please note that LPL Financial LLC is not an affiliate of and makes no representation with respect to such entity.

The investment products sold through LPL Financial are not insured deposits and are not FDIC/NCUA insured.  These products are not Bank/Credit Union obligations and are not endorsed, recommended or guaranteed by any Bank/Credit Union or any government agency.  The value of the investment may fluctuate, the return on the investment is not guaranteed, and loss of principal is possible.

Member FINRA/SIPC

A PENNY SAVED IS TWO PENNIES EARNED

This modern twist on the Ben Franklin maxim reflects the multiplicity of taxes to which earnings are subject in today’s world.¹ Finding ways to manage expenses is one of the cornerstones of a sound financial strategy.

Here are some simple and inexpensive energy-saving tips that may help you save money.

AUDIT FIRST…

To better understand where opportunities may exist for improving energy efficiency, consider an energy audit. Perform one yourself by purchasing a home energy monitor, which tracks your energy use, and a handheld air leak detector to identify windows, doors, and other areas of the home that are drafty.

Also, your local power utility may offer in-home energy audits or related services that can help identify remediation opportunities.

…THEN ACT

Consider these do-it-yourself ideas that may offer immediate savings at very little cost.

  • Install a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the heat or air conditioning because—let’s face it—you forget to do it.
  • Devices that offer “instant on” or continuous display (e.g., TV, cable box, and recharger) use energy non-stop. Consider a power strip to reduce their electrical use by shutting off the power strip at bedtime.
  • Plug up air leaks through weather stripping or caulking; install door sweeps to block drafts. Close the fireplace damper when it’s not in use.
  • Be sure to have your heating system serviced to ensure maximum efficiency.
  • Install a water heater blanket and turn the heater down to 120 degrees; not only is a higher temperature wasteful, but a lower temperature is a safety precaution for younger children. Lower it to a minimum when you leave for vacation.

HONK IF YOU LIKE TO SAVE MONEY

For many, the cost of running their automobile(s) can be higher than the cost of running their home. Here are ways to save:

  • Tune up your car.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation.
  • Drive sensibly by eliminating excessive idling, aggressive driving, and speeding.
  • Eliminate weight — empty that trunk!
  1. Brainyquote, 2016
  2. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

WHY A GREEN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY HAVE BULLS SMILING

What goes into a blog post? Helpful, industry-specific cAfter gaining 7.8% in January, the S&P 500 Index has added another 3.3% so far in February for a grand total year-to-date return of 11.4%. With two days to go, currently this is the best first two months of the year since 1987.

 

As we noted in Five Key Questions, this rally could be extended near term, but we continue to believe eventual new highs are more likely in the second half of this year. Here’s the catch—to see stocks up in both January and February could be a good sign for eventual gains in the rest of the year.

“Think about it like this: Since 1950, the S&P 500 has kicked off the year higher each of the first two months 27 times,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “And incredibly, the final 10 months finished higher 25 of those times!”

As our LPL Chart of the Day shows, the final 10 months gained a very impressive 12.1% on average when each of the first two months started the year in the green, well above the average final 10-month return of 7.6%. In other words, strength to kick off a year can potentially equal continued gains.

A-Good-Start-To-The-Year-Could-Have-Bulls-Smiling

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. The economic forecasts set forth in this material may not develop as predicted.

All indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.

This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor, please note that LPL Financial LLC is not an affiliate of and makes no representation with respect to such entity.

The investment products sold through LPL Financial are not insured deposits and are not FDIC/NCUA insured.  These products are not Bank/Credit Union obligations and are not endorsed, recommended or guaranteed by any Bank/Credit Union or any government agency.  The value of the investment may fluctuate, the return on the investment is not guaranteed, and loss of principal is possible.

Member FINRA/SIPContent that: 1) gives readers a useful takeaway, and 2) shows you’re an industry expert.

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