Market Insights: Economy

Congressional Budget Office’s Economic Forecast for the 2018–2028 Period

The economy follows a marked cyclical path: economic growth rises notably this year, slows during the next few years, and then rises to match the growth of potential output - the maximum sustainable output of the economy - in the last years of the projection period.

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Fed's Powell says U.S. outlook 'remarkably positive'

  • [Powell] feels [the U.S. Economy] is on the verge of a “historically rare” era of ultra-low unemployment and tame prices for the foreseeable future.

  • It is an outlook he feels will even survive the Trump administration’s efforts to rewrite the global trading system.

  • [The Fed] sees a hot job market, steady economic growth, steady 2 percent inflation and only modest rate increases through 2021 - as if the United States had slipped into the sort of pleasant long-run equilibrium described in textbook economic models.

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Canada and US Reach Trade Deal to Replace NAFTA

  • U.S. and Canada have agreed to a deal deemed the USMCA – United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, according to a senior U.S. administration official.

  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the agreement "will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home."

  • The plan is for the leaders of the three North American countries to sign before the end of November, after which it would be submitted to Congress.

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5 Facts You Might Not Know About Social Security

  1. Social Security pays benefits to children.

  2. Social Security can pay benefits to parents

  3. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60

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Wells Fargo Agrees to $5M SEC Settlement

  • The SEC found that Wells Fargo “generated large fees by improperly encouraging retail customers to actively trade the products.”

  • The SEC concluded that the bank’s representatives “did not reasonably investigate or understand the significant costs of the recommendations.”

  • “It is important that brokers do their homework before they recommend that their retail customers buy or sell complex structured products” – Daniel Michael, Chief of SEC Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit

 

How the Social Security COLA Fails Seniors

  • According to The Senior Citizens League, Social Security benefits lost 34% of their buying power between 2000 and 2018

  • "When costs climb more rapidly than benefits, retirees must spend down retirement savings more quickly than expected and those without savings or other retirement income are either going into debt, or going without" – Johnson, Social Security policy analyst

  • “For every $100 worth of groceries a retiree household could afford in 2000 they can only buy $66 worth today.” - Johnson

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Now All Investors, Pre-Retirees and Retirees, Unfortunately, Will Be Taken to the Proverbial Woodshed by So-Called Advisors

  • 5th Circuit Issues Order to Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule

  • Is your wealth safe? CLICK HERE to learn more!

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FINRA fines Fifth Third Securities $4M for variable-annuity violations & must pay $2M in restitution to customers

  • The Firm "fail[ed] to appropriately consider and accurately describe the costs and benefits of variable annuity exchanges," FINRA said in a release.

  • Fifth Third Securities also recommended variable annuity exchanges without a reasonable basis to believe the exchanges were suitable & must pay $2 million

  • FINRA found that brokers and principals were inadequately trained in how to compare material features of variable annuities resulting in the firm misstating the costs and benefits of exchanges, making the exchange appear more beneficial to the customer

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Trump Promises Aggressive Campaign to Cut Drug Prices

  • Donald Trump said he would propose the most sweeping plan in U.S. history to lower drug prices
  • Drug Plan includes immediate actions & longer-term policies that aim to:
    • Increase competition
    • Lower patients' costs
    • Create incentives for drug makers to lower base prices
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The Flatter U.S. Yield Curve is Roiling Mom & Pop Investors

  • Structured debt products with initially high yields are now returning little or no income as well as capital losses

  • “They were sold as being conservative investments, which of course they are not” – Jeffrey Pederson, Denver attorney who represents investors in settlements against financial institutions

  • If the curve levels out – as it has been over the past year – buyers can be stuck with measly coupons or even no interest payments

  • “Your average person getting these things is Joe Salesman, and they end up losing a lot of money pretty quickly” if the curve flattens – Pederson

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