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COVID-19 In Charts

The S&P 500 Index flirted with closing above 3,000 yesterday, even as much of the economic data is some of the worst we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes. We are often asked how this is possible. The reality is the double backstop of historic fiscal and monetary policy combined with optimism over a potential vaccine coming before the end of 2020 has created a surge of market confidence, leading to a massive equity rally.
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Some Encouraging Real-Time Data

Most economic charts we look at in the LPL Research Department look alike. Many segments of the US economy came to an abrupt halt in March when the lockdowns and business closures began, making most economic charts covering March and April look like a steep drop on a roller coaster. Two months later, the economy is starting to pick up as states reopen. All 50 states have now reopened to some extent, but traditional economic data is too slow to pick up the change.
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Why Gold Will Continue To Shine

Gold has done quite well so far in 2020, up more than 12% year to date versus the S&P 500 Index which is down about 10%. We started to warm to the yellow metal late last year and continue to think it can serve as a potential hedge in a well-diversified portfolio for suitable investors.
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Record COVID-19 Testing

The number of COVID-19 tests in the US has ramped up significantly, which is a major step to defeating this terrible pandemic. “We know we need more testing to help quickly isolate those infected, and last week we had more than 300,000 tests on consecutive days for the first time ever,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “What is even better news is the percentage of positive tests has been trending lower, even as more testing has ramped up.”
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How Municipal Bonds May Weather the Storm

Like other areas of the economy, the finances of states, counties, cities, and towns have been heavily impacted by efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruption has raised concerns for municipal bond (“muni”) investors. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, municipal bond yields, a measure of risk, have started to rise again compared with similarly dated Treasuries after looking like they were trending downward.
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What Might Future Bond Returns Look Like?

Stock returns get all the headlines, and with US equities entering their first bear market since 2008, there is good reason for that. However, fixed income may account for a significant portion, or even a majority, of many investors’ portfolios, making bond returns just as important for those investors.
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The Longest Expansion Is Over

Did the US economy go into a recession last month? According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) the answer is no, but we think there’s a good chance that will be revised after the fact to show the economy did indeed begin a recession in March 2020.
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Investing With Confidence For the Long Term

Experiencing a major pullback in stocks is never a comfortable feeling. In times like these, we believe it can be helpful to set aside the daily headlines and keep perspective of how stocks have historically performed over the long term. After all, the majority of market participants are long-term investors, not day traders as the financial media would have its viewers believe.
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Time In The Market Versus Timing The Market

The incredible volatility continues, with the S&P 500 Index now in one of its worst bear markets ever, along the way making the quickest move from an all-time high to down 30% at only 22 days. What is a long-term investor to do?
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Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

Scammers, fraudsters, and other criminals are taking advantage of rapidly changing data and facts associated with COVID-19, both in the workplace and in our homes. Government agencies, corporations, and news outlets continue to warn individuals to be mindful of increased fraudulent activities during these uncertain times.
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How Markets Bottom

With US equities firmly in a bear market, even the most long-term investors are now looking ahead to when the selling may stop and where the S&P 500 Index might ultimately bottom. “Nobody knows exactly how this market bottom will play out,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “However, using history as guide, we know markets tend to retest or even slightly break previous lows.”
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Fed Is All In

The Federal Reserve (Fed) surprised markets over the weekend by holding its March 17-scheduled meeting a few days early and introducing a wide range of provisions. Those provisions are intended to add liquidity, increase credit availability, lower the cost of borrowing, and eventually support the economy’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
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Signs Of A Washout?

The S&P 500 Index’s historic slide continued yesterday, culminating in nearly a 10% loss for the day, and leaving the benchmark index officially in bear market territory, just 16 trading days after setting a record high on February 19. In addition, the S&P 500 has now moved more than 4% each day this week, leaving investors and professionals alike wondering when this volatility could end. While nobody knows for sure, one thing we always look for at market bottoms are signs of extremes.
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Are Stocks Warning About A Coming Recession?

In just 13 trading days, the S&P 500 Index pulled back nearly 19% from its recent all-time highs, making this the fastest such move in stock market history. We all know why this happened, as concerns over COVID-19 (coronavirus) and potential economic fallout continue to grip investors around the globe.
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First Emergency Rate Cut By the Fed Since 2008

In a move in which the timing was more compelling than the decision itself, the Federal Reserve (Fed) announced this morning that it unanimously decided to cut its policy rate by 50 basis points (0.5%) from the 1.5-1.75% range to the 1-1.25% range. The surprise move marked the Fed’s first rate action outside of a regularly scheduled meeting since October 2008.
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Some Good News In The Face Of The Coronavirus

Last week was one of the worst in the history of the stock market, with the S&P 500 Index losing more than 11%, for its worst week since October 2008. Sparking the fear and selling were concerns over COVID-19 or the coronavirus as most know it. “Markets hate uncertainty, and global investors took a sell-first-and-ask-questions-later mentality,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “We just don’t know how bad this will get.”
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What’s Next for U.S. Treasury Yields

It’s no surprise that uncertainty around the impact of coronavirus (or Covid-19) has led to increased buying pressure in longer-maturity U.S. Treasuries, pushing yields lower, but the strength of the move has been unusual. While the run may not be over, and the economic backdrop in the short term has shifted, the size of the move is looking increasingly disconnected from economic fundamentals.
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The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Spreading

News that the coronavirus—known as COVID-19—has spread to South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Iran, has led to massive selling around the globe, with many European markets closing down more than 4%. U.S. stock markets are selling off hard as well, with the S&P 500 Index down nearly 3% in early trading on Monday.
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How Well Have Stocks Done Under President Trump?

How Well Have Stocks Done Under President Trump? We hope everyone had a nice Presidents’ Day yesterday, and by nice we hope you got the day off work! In honor of George Washington, starting in 1971, the third Monday in February was originally celebrated as a Federal holiday to honor our country’s first president, but over time the day has changed to honor all the US presidents.
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LPL Research Outlook 2020: Bringing Markets Into Focus is here.

The LPL Research Outlook 2020: Bringing Markets Into Focus is here to provide investment insights as well as economic and market guidance to help us navigate 2020.
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Will this Rally Continue? Timely Topics from Burt White, LPL

Burt White Letter
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Greetings from Exit 98!

I was recently showcased in Faces of Monmouth Magazine for Women in Finance.
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Is It Time to Declare Your Financial Independence?

Greetings from the Jersey Shore! Summer is officially here as we head into a sunny and hot weekend. Next time you are planning a beach day, stop by our office. We are across from delicious Hoffman's Ice Cream! Now is a great time for a mid-year check-up to make sure you are on track for your long-term financial goals as well as plan for any shorter-term needs. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a mid-year planning meeting, please call my office at 732-800-8400.
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Retirement Expectations vs. Reality

You can't always envision what will happen in your "second act."Just as few weathercasters can accurately forecast a month's worth of temperatures and storms, many retirees find their futures unfolding differently than they assumed. Your assumptions may be tested as well.You may retire sooner than you anticipate. A majority of pre-retirees polled in the 2016 Transamerica Retirement Survey believed they would still be working at age 65, and you may be similarly confident. Unfore
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A Financial Plan for All Seasons

Grab your sunglasses -- summer's here, and it's time to kick back and relax. If only it were that easy. It would be great if all your worries disappeared when summer arrived, but that doesn't happen. Actually, if money is stressing you out and you're planning to take a vacation, summertime may be extra stressful. Financial stress can strike at any time. If you're worried about money and your solution is to wait for things to get better, you're making a mistake. The best w
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Money Management for a Single Parent

As a single parent, you're probably familiar with the dual challenges of managing a household and planning for the future on your own. But are you as familiar with the financial strategies that can stretch your income and help you get ahead? Consider the following lessons to help improve your family's bottom line. Lesson #1: Identify Your Goals You can't have a financial plan without first defining your financial goals. Start by recording all of your short-, medium-, and long-term g
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Tips for Transitions: Make the Most of Your Retirement Account Options

American workers change jobs fairly frequently. For instance, the youngest baby boomers held an average of more than 11 different jobs before the age of 48.1 The decisions you make about how to manage retirement assets when changing jobs can have a direct impact on your future financial health."Cashing out" retirement plan assets before age 59½ (55 in some cases) can expose your savings to immediate income taxes and a 10% additional federal tax. On the other hand, there are
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Why Women Need to Save More Than Men

Men and women may not be on equal footing when it comes to investing for the future. On average, women work fewer years and earn less than men, but they also tend to live longer.1 Therefore, women must focus on the concerns that are unique to them when planning for retirement. Women Don't Invest Differently ... Unfortunately, some negative stereotypes still exist about a woman's ability to manage money, which may cause some women to feel they shouldn't make their own investmen
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The Financial Fitness Challenge: Tips for Strengthening Your Financial Health

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Divorce and Your Finances

Divorce can be a complicated and challenging process in which details are easily overlooked. Protecting your financial health during this time is crucial, and no one should enter this process without a trusted attorney (specializing in divorce) on his or her side. Equally important is knowing the laws that shape divorce proceedings, and the impact they can have on your assets. Dividing the Assets As a general rule, assets and property acquired during the course of a marriage are divided when th
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Delaying Retirement May Provide the Financial Boost You Need

Americans are living longer, healthier lives, and this trend is affecting how they think about and plan for retirement. For instance, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the age at which workers expect to retire has been rising slowly over the past couple of decades. In 1991, just 11% of workers expected to retire after age 65. Fast forward to 2014, and that percentage has tripled to 33% -- and 10% don't plan to retire at all.1Working later in life can offer a number of adv
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Women, Wealth, and Legacy Planning

Whether nurturing the values of children, fulfilling charitable goals, or making investment decisions that affect their own as well as their beneficiaries' financial security, women play a central role in establishing and preserving family wealth. Consider these statistics:1 Women now control more than half of the investment wealth in the United States.48% of estates worth more than $5 million are controlled by women, compared with 35% controlled by men.Some estimate that by 2030, women will
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How Well Do You Know Your 401(k)?

The old saying "knowledge is power" applies to many situations in life, including retirement planning. The more you know about the benefits your plan offers, the more likely you'll be to make the most of them and come out ahead financially when it's time to retire. Here are some questions to test your knowledge about your plan. How much can I contribute? The maximum contribution permitted by the IRS for 2015 is $18,000, although your plan may impose lower limits. Further, if y
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Brush Up on Your IRA Facts

If you are opening an (Individual Retirement Account) IRA for the first time or need a refresher course on the specifics of IRA ownership, here are some facts for your consideration. IRAs in America IRAs continue to play an increasingly prominent role in the retirement saving strategies of Americans. According to the Investment Company Institute (ICI), the U.S. retirement market had $25 trillion in assets as of September 30, 2016, with $7.8 trillion of that sum attributable to IRAs.1 In mi
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Surviving the Holiday Spending Season... Debt Free

As the traditional giving season approaches, there is one important item to add to your to do list: Create a holiday budget. Before the gift shopping and wrapping begins, take control of your wallet through financial preparation. Remember, you can avoid the credit card crunch and the dangerous pitfall of borrowing against your company's retirement savings plan or IRAs.Here's how to establish a holiday wish list and spending budget: Start by determining the total amount of money that
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