WPR Gives Back

WPR Helping Local Organizations During these Unprecedented Times

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Wealth Planning Resources has been focused on helping our local communities during these tough times.  Over the last six months, WPR has made donations to over 30 organizations that have been focused on providing food for our local families and childcare for the children of our essential workers.  As a way to thank our clients, we have chosen organizations that support the communities in which our clients reside.   Below is a list of organizations to whom we have made donations in gratitude for the services they have extended to our local communities in these unprecedented times – thank you all!

A Place to Turn, Natick       Arlington Food Pantry       Bedford Food Pantry

Dedham Food Pantry         Easton Food Pantry           Falmouth Service Center

Gig Harbor FISH                 Grafton Food Pantry          Greater Boston Food Bank

Hingham Food Pantry        Holliston Pantry Shelf         Hudson Food Pantry

Lazarus House Lawrence    Marshfield Food Pantry     Medfield Food Cupboard

Needham Food Pantry       NH  Food Bank                  NY Common Pantry

Newton Food Pantry          Plainville Food Pantry        People Helping Burlington

Rehoboth Food Pantry       RI Food Bank                      Salvation Army

St. Vincent de Paul             Sudbury Food Pantry         Waltham Girls & Boys Club

Wakefield Food Pantry       Wachusett Food Pantry     YMCA of Greater Boston

Mass General Cancer Center & Medicine Lifestyle Clinic

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The Lifestyle Medicine Clinic is part of the Mass General Cancer Center that focuses on the use of lifestyle activities, such as exercise, diet and stress management, to help patients before, during and after their cancer treatment. It provides personalized one-on-one consultations for any patient with cancer or a history of cancer who wants to improve their physical fitness, nutrition, quality of life or cancer prognosis.  Under the direction of Mass General Cancer Center oncologist Elizabeth O’Donnell, MD, the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic officially launched recently at Mass General in Boston and at its neighborhood health center in Waltham.

One of the first goals of the Clinic was to develop a series of on-line exercise videos for patients to access in their home under the direction of their physician.  We held a couple of spinning events in the spring of 2017 and with so many generous donations we raised enough funds to complete the production of the videos which are now on-line and being utilized. But there is more work to be done. The next phase is to develop a feasibility study using a 12-week exercise intervention via a 40 person trial.  This will help the Clinic further develop more focused treatment plans for patients. 

Foundation for MetroWest

John was proud to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for MetroWest for over six years. The Foundation focuses on the MetroWest area of Massachusetts – a place where we live and work.  In an area where there are significant resources, it is also in an area of need.  The Foundation serves as a resource, leader, and catalyst for philanthropy by connecting donors with nonprofits, and nonprofits with each other across the region. The Foundation is a single source of information about the needs of the community, the organizations that can most effectively meet those needs, and where charitable contributions can have the greatest impact. The Foundation provides grants in four key areas: family support, arts and culture, environment, and youth development.

Pan-Mass Challenge

John was a proud participant in the 2015 Pan-Mass Challenge charity ride and raised over $18,000 and rode over 180 miles in three days – Sturbridge to Provincetown.

The PMC raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon that crosses the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While today there are many athletic fund-raising events, the PMC channels 100% of every rider-raised dollar directly to the Jimmy Fund. Since its founding in 1980, the PMC has successfully melded support from committed cyclists, volunteers, corporate sponsors and individual contributors. All are essential to the PMC's goal and model: to attain maximum fund-raising efficiency while increasing its annual gift. PMC's hope and aspiration is to provide Dana-Farber's doctors and researchers with the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers.

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Wealth Planning Resources

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Waltham, MA 02451

Call us: 781.547.5620

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EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

Market Update

Market Update for the Quarter Ending December 31, 2020

Presented by John B. Steiger, CFP®™, AIF® 

Strong December caps off solid year for markets

Markets continued to rally in December. The Nasdaq Composite led the way with a 5.71 percent gain for the month. The S&P 500 gained 3.84 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose by 3.41 percent. These results contributed to a strong quarter for markets. The Nasdaq returned 15.63 percent while the S&P 500 gained 12.15 percent and the DJIA returned 10.73 percent. For the year, DJIA gained 9.72 percent, the S&P 500 returned 18.40 percent, and the Nasdaq gained 44.92 percent.

 

These strong results coincided with improving fundamentals. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, as of December 24 with 99 percent of companies having reported, the blended third-quarter earnings decline for the S&P 500 came in at 6.9 percent. This result is significantly better than the initial forecast for a 21.5 percent decline.

 

Technical factors were also supportive. All three major indices remained above their respective 200-day moving averages for the sixth consecutive month, indicating technical support for markets throughout the second half of the year.

 

International markets also finished the year strong. The MSCI EAFE Index gained 4.65 percent in December, which contributed to the 16.05 percent increase during the quarter and a 7.82 percent annual gain. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 7.40 percent during the month, 19.77 percent for the quarter, and 18.69 percent for the year. Technicals were supportive for international markets at year-end, with both indices finishing December above their 200-day moving averages.

 

Fixed income markets also ended the year with positive results. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index gained 0.14 percent during the month, 0.67 percent for the quarter, and an impressive 7.51 percent for the year. The 3-month U.S. Treasury yield fell from 1.54 percent at the start of the year to 0.09 percent at year-end. Long-term rates also fell. The 10-year began the year at 1.88 percent and dropped to 0.93 percent by year-end.

 

High-yield fixed income returned 1.88 percent during the month, 6.45 percent for the quarter, and 7.11 percent for the year. High-yield credit spreads finished the year at 3.87 percent—an improvement from the pandemic-induced high of 10.87 percent in March.

 

Signs of pandemic progress   

We saw signs of progress on the public health front during the month. New cases per day showed improvement at month-end, although it’s likely the holidays contributed to a lull in reporting. If case growth is in fact slowing, we could see a peak in the next few weeks.

 

Testing also showed some improvement. A slowdown in testing around the holidays led to the positive test rate increasing modestly at month-end, however. The positive test rate finished the month below the recent highs we’ve seen during the third wave, which is a good sign.

 

Another positive development was the start of the public vaccination process. The number of vaccinations was relatively low at year-end, but the pace should pick up as state and local governments build out the necessary public health infrastructure.

 

Economic headwinds remain
The third wave still presents risks to the economic recovery. Retail sales and personal spending fell in November, highlighting the headwinds created by increased shutdown measures. As you can see in Figure 1, this was the first drop for personal spending since initial lockdowns were lifted in April. There is hope that the second stimulus bill and continued public health progress will spur spending growth.

Figure 1. Personal Consumer Expenditures, December 2018-Present

 

 

 

 

 

Business confidence and spending held up well despite rising case counts. Both manufacturer and service sector confidence remain near or above pre-pandemic levels. These strong confidence figures have translated into faster spending and output growth.

Risks moderate to start 2021

December’s updates highlighted the risks presented by rising case counts and increased local restrictions. But the resilient economy, combined with the expected tailwinds from additional stimulus and further public health progress, indicates we are in a relatively good place to start the year. Given the short-term uncertainty, a well-diversified portfolio that matches investor goals and timelines remains the best path forward for most. But if concerns remain, contact your financial advisor to review your financial plan.

All information according to Bloomberg, unless stated otherwise.

 

Disclosure: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures the performance of all issues listed in the Nasdaq Stock Market, except for rights, warrants, units, and convertible debentures. The MSCI EAFE Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure developed market equity performance, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the market structure of 26 emerging market countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. It excludes closed markets and those shares in otherwise free markets that are not purchasable by foreigners. The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index representing securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar-denominated. It covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, with index components for a combination of the Bloomberg Barclays government and corporate securities, mortgage-backed pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index covers the USD-denominated, non-investment-grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high-yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below

                   

John B. Steiger is a financial professional with Wealth Planning Resources, LLC at 460 Totten Pond Road ,Suite 600 ,Waltham, MA 02451.  He offers securities as a Registered Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at  781.547.5621 or at  john@wprplanning.com.

Authored by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, managing principal, chief investment officer, and Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst, at Commonwealth Financial Network®.

© 2020 Commonwealth Financial Network®