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Weekly Market Update, Week Ending April 5, 2024

Weekly Market Update, Week Ending April 5, 2024

April 07, 2024

Market-Moving News[i]

Modest retreat

The prospect that an initial interest-rate cut could be delayed into the latter half of this year weighed on stocks, owing to strong economic data and cautious comments from U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers. The major indexes dropped more than 1% on Thursday, and a partial recovery on Friday didn’t prevent stocks from posting weekly declines.

Upside jobs surprise

High interest rates again appeared to do little to hold back the U.S. labor market, as March’s jobs gain of 303,000 exceeded economists’ expectations for around 205,000. The latest figure was the biggest in 10 months, matching the 303,000 jobs added in May 2023. The unemployment rate slipped to 3.8% from 3.9% the previous month.    

Yields surge

The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose to the highest level in more than four months as the latest jobs data exerted further upward pressure amid a shifting interest-rate outlook. The yield closed around 4.39% on Friday, up from the prior week’s close of 4.20%.  

Oil and gold rise

For the second week in a row, oil and gold posted solid price gains, extending a run of recently strong results for both commodities. U.S. crude oil was trading at nearly $87 per barrel on Friday afternoon, up from $83 at the end of the previous week and $71 at the start of 2024. Gold spot prices on Friday were around $2,345 per ounce, a record high. 

Earnings outlook

As major banks prepare to open quarterly earnings season, analysts on Friday expected that first-quarter earnings per share for companies in the S&P 500 rose by an average of 3.2%, according to FactSet. Such an outcome would mark the third consecutive quarter of year-over-year earnings growth.

Euro inflation

The 20 nations that use the euro currency reported a steeper-than-expected decline in inflation, with consumer prices rising at an annual rate of 2.4% in March versus 2.6% in the previous month. While the eurozone’s inflation rate has steadily declined this year, the European Central Bank isn’t expected to begin cutting interest rates until June. 

Volatility picks up

As U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, an index that tracks investors’ expectations of short-term market volatility surged to its highest closing level in more than five months. The Cboe Volatility Index subsequently pulled back slightly on Friday but nevertheless closed about 23% higher than the previous week.

CPI ahead

A Consumer Price Index report scheduled for release on Wednesday will show whether a recent trend of slightly hotter-than-expected inflation extended into March. Last month’s CPI report showed an annual rate of 3.2% in February, up from 3.1% the previous month; a separate report on wholesale prices also showed slightly higher-than-expected inflation. 

The Week Ahead:  April 8-12

  • Monday

    • No major reports scheduled

  • Tuesday

    • No major reports scheduled

  • Wednesday

    • Consumer Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    • Release of minutes from the March 19-20 meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve

    • Wholesale inventories, U.S. Census Bureau

    • Federal budget, U.S. Department of the Treasury

  • Thursday

    • Producer Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    • Weekly unemployment claims, U.S. Department of Labor

  • Friday

    • University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary result

    • Export and import prices, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Philosophy

Expect to Change Your Opinions

“There are two things that must be rooted out in human beings – arrogant opinion and mistrust.  Arrogant opinion expects that there is nothing further needed, and mistrust assumes that under the torrent of circumstance there can be no happiness.”

Epictetus, Discourses, 3.14.8

Tax Tips[ii]

Paying Income Taxes and Estimated Taxes 

The tax season is almost ending, and like any other law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of this country, you have options!  Here they are:

  1. Never send cash in the mail.

  2. You can pay up to $1,000 a day at all nationwide 7-Eleven stores, for a fee. Go to irs.gov/payments for further details.

  3. If you e-file, you can file and pay in a single step with an electronic fund withdrawal. If you e-file on your own, you can use your tax preparation software to make the withdrawal.  If you use a tax professional to e-file, you can ask the preparer to make your tax payment electronically.

  4. You can pay taxes electronically any day of the week and any time of the day. Go to irs.gov/payments for futher details.

  5. You can pay by check or money order. Ensure your check or money order is payable to “United States Treasury.”  Be sure to list the social security number and the tax period that the payment is to be applied to.  If you do not, then the IRS or State Department of Revenue or Franchise Tax Board can assign the payment to the period they want to, and this could increase penalties and interest if there are other year’s taxes owed as well.

  6. Pay your taxes in person (most local IRS offices will accept payments from taxpayers in person, but you must make an appointment to see them).

  7. Whether you e-file or file with paper, you can pay with a credit or debit card. The credit card company that processes your payment will charge a processing fee.  The IRS may charge a convenience fee if you use a credit card to pay income taxes, too.

  8. You may be able to deduct the credit or debit card processing fee on next year’s return, on income tax returns prior to 2018. These fees are deductible on business returns.  This includes IRS form Schedule C businesses as well as other business returns.

  9. Ensure your name, address and daytime phone number are written on the front of your payment. Also include the tax year, form number you are filing and your Social Security number.

  10. Complete Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, and mail it with your tax return and payment to the IRS. Ensure you send it to the address listed on the back of the form.  This helps the IRS process your payment and post it to your account. 

  11. Remember to enclose your payment with your tax return but do not staple it to any tax form.

  12. Pay your tax bill monthly if you are not able to pay in full. Enter an installment plan with the IRS.  If you owe up to $50,000 you will be able to file a Form 9465 and inform the IRS as to which date, each month, the tax bill will be paid and what amount.  If your payment is completed within 72 months (six years) of the beginning date of the plan, the IRS is required to accept the plan under the new regulations and they will not file a tax lien against you or your property.  If more than $50,000 is owed, a Form 9465 and a Financial Statement Disclosure Form 433A for personal assets and a Form 433B for business assets is required.  If you owe more than $50,000 the IRS will file a tax lien against you while you are making payments.  Each program also charges a setup fee and interest.  The interest charged is compounded DAILY, not monthly!  You must also agree to keep current on tax filings and future tax payments for the next 5 years as well.  This plan is for ONE time only.  It is not meant to be used for year after year, and the IRS will terminate the plan after you start it if you do not pay future taxes on time while you have the installment plan in place.  This means you will have to start over again and pay the fees again to re-instate the plan.

  13. You can also ask for a short extension of up to 120 days to pay. This short-term extension is available on the IRS website, under the Online Payment Agreement  With the extension, there are reduced penalties and interest, and not setup fee is required.

  14. You can also request an Offer in Compromise (OIC) as a last resort. The OIC is a way to reduce your amount of taxes owed to the IRS.  You can’t have any unfiled tax returns to request an OIC.  This is a lengthy process with no guarantee that the OIC will be accepted.  Offers in Compromise should be processed and completed by a tax professional.  This is not a DIY program!  Fees vary among tax professionals, so ask around.  Find someone who has successfully completed OIC’s before.  The IRS will want to know about all your income and expenses from all sources and may not agree on how much you spend for living expenses.  If you qualify, the OIC program is a great way to get a fresh start and a clean slate with the IRS.

  15. Congress passed a law that allows the U.S. State Department to deny or revoke your passport if you owe the IRS $50,000 or more and do not have a written payment plan in place.

  16. Many states allow the same opportunities (in-person payments, mailing checks, payment plans, credit cards, automatic withdrawals from checking or savings accounts and offers in compromise). Check with your state for local rules.

If you don’t have taxes withheld from your pay, or don’t have enough taxes withheld, then you may need to make Estimated Tax Payments for the current year.  If you’re self-employed, you normally pay your taxes this way.  Here are some tips you should know about Estimated Taxes:

  1. You should pay estimated taxes in the current year if you expect to owe $1,000 or more when you file your federal tax return. Special rules apply to farmers and fishermen.

  2. Estimate the amount of income you expect to receive for the year to determine the amount of taxes you may owe. Ensure that you consider any tax deductions and credits that you are eligible to claim.  Life changes during the year, such as a change in marital status or birth of a child, can affect your taxes.

  3. You normally make estimated tax payments four times a year. The dates that apply to most people are April 15, June 16, September 15 and January 15.

  4. You may pay online or by phone. You may also pay by check or money order, or by credit or debit card.  If you mail your payments to the IRS, use the payment vouchers that come with Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.

  5. You can now pay your estimates in cash (Up to T$1,000 daily) at any 7-Eleven store in the U.S. Go to https://www.irs.gov/payments for details.

  6. See a tax professional to determine if you owe estimated taxes.


 Health Tip[iii]

Longevity starts with better understanding the complexities of aging

As scientists delve into the intricacies of longevity, they’re getting a better grasp on the nitty-gritty details of aging — what happens at the molecular and cellular levels. With this knowledge, they — and the rest of us — are hoping to gain insights into how we can delay and minimize the effects of aging, whether through lifestyle modifications, drugs or other therapy.

Processes at play

Aging involves several forces — actions within our bodies and environmental influences outside them. While there’s still much that we don’t know about why one individual ages relatively well and another has more difficulty, scientists and researchers are consistently gaining ground in their understanding of the fundamental biology of aging.

Some approaches to aging follow the line of thinking that cellular damage over time leads to the loss of normal functioning and the development of aging. Others are based on the idea that aging follows a programmed timetable — it has an upper limit.

No single theory or phenomenon appears to completely explain why aging occurs. Researchers generally view aging as many processes that interact with and impact each other. Here are some of the biological processes that appear to be at play.

Genetic damage

One hallmark of aging that researchers readily agree on is genetic damage that occurs over time within the body’s cells. For many reasons, DNA, the body’s intricate blueprint for performing all of its functions, gradually becomes dam- aged. The body has several ways to repair DNA, but as the damage accumulates, genes, proteins and cells may malfunction, leading to disease and deterioration.

DNA damage can result from forces both within and outside the body. Sometimes, for example, when cells divide and multiply, errors occur in the DNA replication process within a cell and these changes are carried on to new cells, throwing off cellular function and communication within cells.

DNA damage can be especially impactful when it affects stem cells — the precursor cells that give rise to new, specialized cells for the regeneration of skin, digestive, brain and other organ tissues. Genetic damage in stem cells can cause them to stop functioning correctly and make tissue regeneration difficult.

Oxidative stress is another source of DNA damage. It results when cellular structures called mitochondria become damaged. Mitochondria are the cell’s powerhouses. They convert food into energy used by cells. During the conversion process, mitochondria produce unstable molecules called reactive oxygen species, better known as free radicals.

Usually, free radicals are kept in check by compounds called antioxidants, which can come from dietary nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin A and beta carotene. However, lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol use, and an un- healthy diet can damage mitochondria and accelerate the production of free radicals, causing oxidative stress.

One of the effects of oxidative stress is deterioration of the endcaps of chromosomes (telomeres). Shortened telomeres are a key feature of aging cells. Telomeres typically get shorter each time a cell divides, but evidence suggests that oxidative stress may also play a role in this particular form of DNA damage.

External factors that can result in genetic damage include sun exposure, which harms skin cell DNA, and polluted air, which damages the DNA of lung cells. These forces can cause chemical alterations that interfere with the way genetic instructions are carried out, ultimately leading to the production of unhealthy cells that contribute to diseases such as skin cancer and lung disease.

Cellular clutter and decline

Your body’s genes encode proteins, converting them into forms that allow them to become the basic building blocks of all cells. Proteins can be expressed in many ways, which is why liver cells differ from heart cells — each has their unique function.

Protein regulation is an important part of cell maintenance. Autophagy is the name for the process your body uses to get rid of damaged or redundant cell proteins and parts. When this process doesn’t work as it should, cells can get cluttered with wonky proteins, which can affect DNA repair and normal cellular responses. Protein clutter or buildup is seen in age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by clumps of harmful beta-amyloid proteins.

Not only can cells become cluttered with proteins, but their internal structures may become altered. The “skeleton” of a cell (cytoskeleton) is made up of a microscopic network of protein filaments and tubules. Over time, this network becomes more rigid and fixed, so that a cell can’t flex and move as it once did, reducing intracellular communication and increasing risk of disease. For example, hardening of the cells that line your blood vessels can impede healthy blood flow and lead to high blood pressure.

Cellular senescence

Research suggests that when some cells within the body deteriorate — whether because of genetic damage, telomere erosion, oxidative stress, protein clutter or other reasons — the cells eventually stop dividing and enter what’s called a senescent state. Senescent cells aren’t dead, but they aren’t functioning appropriately, either. The cells are sometimes described as “Zombie cells.”

The body naturally removes many senescent cells but not all. Some linger and may harm neighboring cells — simi- lar to a piece of moldy fruit corrupting an entire fruit bowl. In older adults, senescent cells more readily accumulate and there’s mounting evidence linking these cells to age-related conditions such as osteoporosis, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease.

However, researchers have noticed that some conditions, such as obesity, are marked by the presence of senescent cells even among younger individuals. What this means is that it’s possible that senescent cells both contribute to and result from disease and aging.

Chronic inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense process, designed to protect against external factors such as infections, toxins and trauma and to repair damage. When you cut your finger, the skin around the cut may swell and redden. That’s your body’s inflammatory response at work, activating a cascade of immune reactions that eliminate germs and repair injured cells.

Scientists have also discovered a less healing inflammatory response — a low-grade inflammation present throughout the body. This form of inflammation, sometimes called inflammaging, appears to be more prominent later in life and is closely associated with cellular senescence.

Low-grade chronic inflammation is thought to develop in response to things such as an unhealthy diet, too little exercise, ongoing levels of high stress and environmental pollutants, as well as underlying medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and obesity. Chronic inflammation also is linked to disturbances in the balance of microorganisms — bacteria, viruses, fungi — that populate the human gut (gut microbiome). The gut microbiome and how it affects many aspects of human health and longevity are ongoing areas of investigation.

From what you just read, it’s clear that researchers know more today than ever before about the aging process. Though there’s no manual yet for how to live forever, understanding the mechanics of aging can provide links to new ways of living well, well into old age.

RELEVANT READING

A holistic plan based on cutting-edge science designed to help women take advantage of medical, psychological, and spiritual tools to feel younger for longer.

We are in the midst of a longevity revolution. And that is particularly true for women:

  • Women can expect to live five years longer than men.
  • A 50-year-old woman can expect to live another 35 years, on average.
  • Women comprise 80% of centenarians, the fastest growing segment of the world’s population.

But despite these incredible statistics, women are not living well. Women typically spend the last 14 years of their lives in a cascade of health issues. And while current research suggests that some 70 to 90% of your health and longevity is under your control—rather than at the mercy of your genes—the reality is that most women are not taking advantage of the measures that could lead to a longer and happier life.

Ageless Aging presents a pioneering new way for women to age—an ascent that includes feeling youthful and vital while gaining wisdom, resilience, and experience. It provides a holistic, actionable plan that will help women make use of all the tools available to them as they grow older.

Women need a trusted resource to help them thrive as they age. Internationally acclaimed author and thought leader Maddy Dychtwald is the perfect guide. Maddy has her finger on the pulse of all the latest research, science, and information about longevity and aging, as well as the specific issues facing women. She understands that Ageless Aging is a complex process, that the various pieces of the puzzle work synergistically, and with this book she shows you how to create your best future self by taking control of the aging process.

Hardcover • 6 x 9.25 Inches • 344 Pages • Mayo Clinic Press • 2024 • ISBN 9798887700519

 

If you purchase from the Mayo Clinic, proceeds are invested into furthering medical research and education at Mayo Clinic.


[i]https://www.jhinvestments.com/weekly-market-recap#investment-returns, accessed 04.07.2024.

[ii] Hockensmith, Robert F.  52 Ways to Outsmart the IRS, Weekly Tax Tips to Save You Money.  Kindle edition, pages 64-67, accessed 04.07.2024.

[iii]https://mcpress.mayoclinic.org/healthy-aging/longevity-starts-with-better-understanding-the-complexities-of-aging/, accessed 04.07.2024.