Tax season is now behind us. It was a time when our accounting department put in weeks of long hours sifting through complex and seemingly opaque federal tax codes. It is my opinion that the US federal tax code is emblematic of our government … bloated, inefficient and generally incompetent.
Although memories of tax season are still front and center, the financial planner in me cannot help but notice the extreme volatility that we have seen in the marketplace recently. Unfortunately, it appears as though the choppy markets that we experienced in March are likely to continue into April, and possibly even further into the second quarter. One of the primary reasons extreme volatility is expected to persist is due to comments coming from the Federal Reserve Bank.
On Friday, March 27, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen announced that the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates for the first time in more than 6 years. However, Yellen indicated that no official date had been set for the initial rate hike and that subsequent rate increases would be introduced slowly.
According to Charles Purdy of Forbes, analysts have indicated that they expect interest rates to begin their ascent sometime between this summer and the end of 2015. Purdy noted that weak fundamental data could push the first rate increase further into the future.
Even though we have seen extreme volatility in market indexes during the first quarter of 2015, the S&P 500 Index rose 0.40% for the quarter. Interestingly enough, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the quarter 0.30% lower, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was the best performer finishing the quarter with a 3.50% gain.
The Honduran Run for our special children took place last weekend. While the weather was chilly, the turn out and support for the children of Timmy’s Mountain was fantastic. We had well over 500 runners sign up and participate. Diane and I cannot thank the volunteers, sponsors, and participants enough.
I also wanted to send a special thanks to those who sponsored me in the run as well! I was able to complete the 5K, and in doing so we secured the funds to send a much-needed container down to Honduras. The success of the Honduran Run will help the charity move closer to resuming the children’s meals back to five days per week.
With the Cardinals season opener only days away, warmer weather and summer will be here before we know it. Until next time, stay healthy, wealthy, and wise, and certainly . . . stay tuned.