For the week of February 18, 2008
The markets took economic news more in stride this week, ending the week with slight gains after
suffering losses the week prior. Investors remained cautious ahead of the three-day weekend, with
markets closed Monday, Feb. 18, in observance of Presidents’ Day. The Fed noted a modest increase
in industrial output in January, due primarily to utilities. The Dow gained 1.43 percent ending the week at
12,348.21. The S&P added 1.46 percent to finish the week at 1,349.99, and the NASDAQ rose 0.74
percent to close the week at 2,321.80.
Source: Morningstar.com. * Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and
cannot be invested into directly. Three and five-year returns are annualized. The S&P, excluding “1 Week”
returns, is a reflection of return to an investor, by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax.
Retail Sales Surprise – Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in January, surprising analysts who had expected
a 0.3 percent decline. In December, retail sales dropped 0.4 percent. The Commerce Department said
the increase came from sales of new cars and higher priced gasoline.
Change In The Lineup – Starting this week, the Dow Jones industrial average will welcome two new
companies and say goodbye to two others. The index of 30 blue-chip stocks has replaced Honeywell
International Inc. and Altria Group Inc. with Bank of America Corp. and Chevron Corp. to better reflect the
industries with the greatest influence over the economy and stock market. The last time the Dow
changed its makeup was almost four years ago.
Deficit Decline – The overall U.S. trade deficit, which has set record highs for the past five years,
dropped 6.2 percent in 2007 to $711.6 billion. Despite product safety recalls, imports from China
continued to rise, growing 10.2 percent in 2007 to $256.3 billion, the largest gap the U.S. has ever
recorded with a single country.
Social Security Trendsetter – Kathleen Casey-Kirschling made history this month as the first baby
boomer to receive a Social Security payment. The Social Security heralded Casey-Kirschling, 62, as a
“trendsetter” for applying for benefits online and receiving her payments via direct deposit. Over the next
20 years, about 10,000 people a day will become eligible for Social Security.
The Check’s In The Mail – President Bush last week signed an economic stimulus package that will
provide tax rebate checks to 130 million tax filers beginning in May. The amount of the payment
decreases for individuals with over $75,000 in income ($150,000 for married couples). According to the
IRS website, dividends, interest and capital gains income will not be included in determining eligibility for
the rebates. Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) and non-veteran or non-Social Security pension
income (such as from an IRA) will also be excluded.
WEEKLY FOCUS - Check Your Charity
Each year, more than 800,000 different nonprofit
agencies register with the Internal Revenue Service,
double the number that existed in 1990. With so many
organizations vying for your donations, how do you
determine the most worthy?
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation currently reports
a $33 billion endowment, and investor Warren Buffett
and hotelier Conrad Hilton, in addition to current
donations, have each promised about 80 percent of
their estate to charity when they die. Led by these
prominent figures, today’s philanthropists are adopting
a more informed model for making donations. Givers
want a clear understanding of the organization’s goals
and finances and want the nonprofit’s leadership held accountable. Perhaps most importantly, donors
have taken a more focused approach, channeling their funds into those issues about which they feel
passionate, rather than liberally spreading the wealth around.
You don’t have to have Bill Gates’ billions to want your charitable contributions aligned with issues and
organizations you find most compelling. You can get more information on organizations you’re
considering from these resources:
To be deductible, charitable contributions must be made to qualified organizations. If your contribution
entitles you to merchandise, goods or services, including admission to a charity ball, banquet, theatrical
performance or sporting event, you can deduct only the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the
benefit received. For a contribution of cash, check or monetary gift (regardless of amount), you must
maintain as a record of the contribution either a bank record or a written communication from the
qualified organization. Check with your tax advisor on the deductibility of your donations.
For more information on targeting your charitable efforts, give our office a call. We can help you identify,
from those thousands of noble causes, which spark your passion and how you may best lend them your
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of
the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded
blue-chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter
common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The
Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely
recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies
representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all
dividends. WMCSAI# 269051
Copyright © 2010 The Money Alert.com. All rights reserved.
All information herein has been prepared solely for informational purposes, and it is not an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security or instrument or to
participate in any particular trading strategy. The Money Alert does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any
information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to this web site or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility. All such information is provided solely for
convenience purposes only. The Money Alert is not affiliated with any of the firms or entities listed unless specifically stated. The Money Alert does not provide investment, tax or legal
advice. Please consult the appropriate professional regarding your personal situation.