Winthrop Financial's Thoughts on the New Year, New Law, and New Highs

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Winthrop Financial offers clients a breakdown of the current economic situation as well as tips to help with tax season.

January proved to be an eventful month for the markets and investors alike. Winthrop Financial is helping clients to stay focused on current economic happenings in order to make smart financial choices for 2013. So far, the New Year has brought new laws and new highs.

The year started with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), a significant piece of legislation that averted the fiscal cliff by extending some tax cuts and raising taxes on upper income households. It also put in place temporary tax breaks for businesses, extended unemployment benefits for 2 million people and postponed automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, until March. Another provision eliminated the temporary cut to Social Security payroll taxes, which increased them from 4.2% to 6.2%. The ATRA, however, failed to address the debt ceiling, and Congress just passed a debt-limit measure that would allow additional borrowing until mid-May.

Also, during the last week of the month, the Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product shrank in the fourth quarter for the first time since the recession, falling 0.1% compared to an expected 1.1% gain. Stocks temporarily dipped on the news, but recovered quickly, ending the month higher than their December close.

At of the end of the month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 13,861, while the NASDAQ closed at 3,142. The broad market S&P 500 finished at 1,498, its best January performance since 1997. Performance was boosted by the fiscal cliff deal, positive signs from Europe and the Federal Reserve’s stimulus moves. For example, the Fed announced that it will continue to buy bonds for the time being. In addition, it’s expected to maintain its accommodative monetary policy after a two-day policy meeting this week.

Reports that the economy added 192,000 private sector jobs in January and that single-family home prices rose in November also helped balance out the disappointing GDP report. In addition, the corporate earnings season started out strong, boosting investor interest in stocks.

Now that there’s movement toward fiscal resolutions in Washington, clients might wonder how tax changes brought on by ATRA will affect their families as they prepare for tax season. Winthrop Financial would be happy to discuss the tax implications for specific investment strategies and work with clients to optimize their financial plan.

Winthrop Financial is always available to discuss portfolio holdings as well as any tax-planning strategies that may prove helpful.

Past performance may not be indicative of future results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index of 30 widely held stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ National Stock Market. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Performance mentioned does not include fees which would reduce an investor’s return.

<br>About the company:<br>Winthrop Financials combines 93 years of experience as financial guides to bring the knowledge and proven service to help people feel comfortable with not only where they are, and where personal financial guidance can lead them. They focus on helping individuals with their life transitions, from young professionals accumulating assets, to affluent individuals and families, to those close to or in their retirement years. For more information, please visit their website at

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Deborah Stauring
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