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Who do stock buybacks leave behind?

A major component of stock market gains in recent years is attributable to stock buybacks. Companies have been using their historically huge hoards of cash to purchase their own shares on the market and retire them. This reduces the total number of outstanding shares representing a company’s value, so the value per share increases. It’s a gift to stockholders in lieu of dividends.

Benefit Insights: Who is an Employee and HSA vs 401(k)

Who is an Employee?

Maintaining a retirement plan for your employees is no easy task. At various points during the year, employers and HR departments field participant questions, help with enrollments, deliver notices and statements, and participate in the distribution process. However, an additional responsibility, and one of the most important, is the collection of data that is used for compliance testing and government reporting. Learn more by selecting the Newsletter attachment below...

No right answer on how to react to economic events

Gary Larson, the cartoonist, used to drink eight cups of coffee in the morning and then go hang out at the San Diego Zoo for inspiration. Those of us trying to get a fix on the matrix of influences that can impact our investment decisions would do well to go for a blast of caffeine before trying to make sense of the Rubik’s Cube of current financial events.

Dividends a good choice while the market yo-yos

So much news to digest and so little time. We just hold the arms of our chairs in a death grip and wait for the next blast of economic input to smack us upside the head. On the brighter side, the folks at Institute of Trend Research (ITR) have just issued their April report that indicates continuing economic gains through mid-2018 and then a slacking off as the year progresses — with a possible mild recession in 2019. Stock market performance often starts reflecting what the economy is expected to do about a year before those economic events take place.

Retirement plan protections face rollback

In 2016, our U.S. Department of Labor stepped up to protect the fortunes of middle America from some segments of the financial services industry that were overcharging for retirement plan advisory services. Since all tax-qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s are retirement TRUSTS, they are required to have trustees overseeing the money who, in turn, are deemed “fiduciaries” because they are responsible for choosing financial products on behalf of the plan participants.

Despite ups, downs, long-term investing still pays off

So-called “bear markets” refer to stock markets that drop at least 20 percent, so conventional wisdom would hold that we currently don’t have to worry about one. The economy is showing steady gains, and the current administration promises that this is just the start of something big. The Institute of Trend Research, with a long history of being generally correct at predicting future market cycles, offers an encouraging overview as reflected by its leading indicator. This shows the U.S. economy’s year-end industrial production rising 2.2 percent over the same previous one-year period.

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