Market Update for the Month Ending February 28, 2018

A bumpy ride for the markets

February was a rocky month for the stock market. After plunging roughly 10 percent mid-month, the three major U.S. indices were able to make up some ground. The Nasdaq Composite finished down 1.74 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index lost 3.96 percent and 3.69 percent, respectively. The first substantial market decline we’ve experienced in some time, it was driven largely by concerns over rising inflation and interest rates. Although worrying, this level of volatility is normal by historical standards.

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Mortgage and Home Equity Loan Interest Deductions Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

With its passage in December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed the deductions for interest on mortgage and home equity loans. On February 21, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided clarification on how the TCJA will be applied to mortgage and home equity loan interest deductions.

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Is It Time to Worry About a Trade War?

On March 1, 2018, President Trump announced that the U.S. plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Markets around the world were shocked by the news, with major U.S. indices declining more than 1 percent just when it looked like they were recovering from the February downturn. Why did markets react so strongly? Is this a more serious threat going forward? In a word, yes.

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