Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
VP of Product Development Emerald Asset Management

Good morning.

Stocks are relatively flat to start the day, though for a few moments (before tiring) it did appear the S&P500 would set yet another intraday record.  Fortunately, for those who get excited about such things (guilty!), there is still a few hours left.

Of course, some pretty wealthy people have been getting richer still … thanks to the market’s generosity … but a growing number of people have the view that those in the upper stratosphere of wealth should return some of these gains back into the system that allowed them to achieve their success to begin with.  There promises to be a lot of fighting about this as some wonder if we head down a slippery slope when one group of individuals can decide someone else has too much money.  A few years ago, President Obama tried to set a “cap” on IRAs of $3.4 million … and the attempt failed miserably.  It just seems different today as I hear a much louder message of “you have it, we want it and we have the votes.”  

Heck, if it is this easy there might not even be a need to keep future government spending in check.

Home prices continue to be on the rise, which affects the “lower end” of the housing market.  FRED (St. Louis Fed) reports a sharp decline in the amount of homes less than $300,000 … leaving those looking for starter homes in a pinch.   Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, it seems that a growing number of baby boomers are living with their aging parents.  And who can blame families for this?  With the average cost of nursing homes jumping above $100,000/year it often becomes a difficult decision … as both emotional and financial considerations come into play … especially as boomers attempt to help the generation above at the same time they might be trying to help the generation below.

The Conference Board reported this morning that the difference between “jobs plentiful” and “jobs hard to get” is at the highest level in over 2 years.  And what, according to Alignable, are the hardest positions to fill right now?  Transportation, Restaurants and Construction.   It seems (to me) that every food store (grocery and restaurant) I go into has a “help wanted” sign in the window.  I haven’t checked lately.  Are we still paying people not to work?

On a final note this morning (and speaking of food) everyone in my household was tied up last night.  I didn’t want to cook so I got in the car, went to a local Italian restaurant for pasta and asked for a quiet table for one in the corner.

Obviously, with no one to talk to, I was feeling cannelloni.

Have a great day,

Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Vice President
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
cell: (856) 625-7915

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