Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
February 17th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Trusted DC Providers Can Gain and Maintain Participant Assets
A new Spectrem Group report finds 43% of defined contribution (DC) plan participants would consider transferring outside assets to the provider if they were aware of the providers’ full range of asset management capabilities, fees, etc. Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
Nuveen launches investment trust portfolio, and Wilshire Associates releases ESG-weighted index. Read more >
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
IRS Updates Life Expectancy Tables for Retirees
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
Economic Events

Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,246,000, the Census Bureau announced. This is 2.6% below the revised December estimate of 1,279,000, but is 10.5% above the January 2016 rate of 1,128,000. Single-family housing starts in January were at a rate of 823,000; this is 1.9% above the revised December figure of 808,000. The January rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 421,000. 

In the week ending February 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 239,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 234,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 245,250, an increase of 500 from the previous week’s revised average of 244,750.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.15%, down from 4.17% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3,35%, down from 3.39%. 

Market Mirror
Thursday, the Dow was up 7.91 points (0.04%) at 20,619.77, the NASDAQ was down 4.54 points (0.08%) at 5,814.90, and the S&P 500 slipped 2.03 points (0.09%) to 2,347.22. The Russell 2000 decreased 5.07 points (0.36%) to 1,399.13, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 30.10 points (0.12%) lower at 24,535.43.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, with a slight lead for advancers. On the NASDAQ, 3.0 billion shares traded, with a 1.3 to 1 ratio of advancing issues to declining issues.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 12/32, decreasing its yield to 2.451%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 19/32, bringing its yield down to 3.050%. 

New York Life Agrees to Settle Self-Dealing Suit
In a case accusing New York Life Insurance Company of improperly favoring and thereby profiting from the use of its MainStay funds in its retirement plans, a settlement agreement has been reached by the parties. Read more >
Market Environment Means a New Take on Diversification
Considering the “combined expectations for low asset returns and the unavoidable reality of downside risk in a highly uncertain global political and economic climate,” investors of all types are looking for new ways to diversify their portfolios, according to a new analysis from Willis Towers Watson, “Breaking the Style Box.” The holdings in your portfolio should fluctuate for different reasons and in different environments, Willis Towers Watson says. Read more >
Passive Strategies Continue to Lead Investor Demand
Passive strategies continued to lead demand among long-term funds with inflows of $71.9 billion, in January. However, while actively managed funds experienced aggregate net redemptions of $13.7 billion, these outflows were much less severe than the $63 billion in outflows actively managed long-term funds experienced in December. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Jefferson was elected president and Burr became vice president. In 1817, the first gaslit streetlights appeared on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. In 1865, Columbia, South Carolina, burned. The Confederates were evacuating and the Union Forces were moving in. In 1897, the National Congress of Mothers was organized in Washington, D.C., by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. It was the forerunner of the National PTA. In 1933, “Newsweek” was first published. In 1934, the first high school automobile driver’s education course was introduced in State College, Pennsylvania. In 1944, during World War II, the Battle of Eniwetok Atoll began. In 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov beat the IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush named John Negroponte as the first national intelligence director.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES

This beagle gets distracted several times at the dog show. So cute. Read more >
You’ve heard of golf-widows; this woman is a virtual-reality widow. Read more >
New versions of Monopoly will no longer give players the option of using a tiny silver-colored thimble as their pawn on the board, after fans voted to drop the piece that had featured in the game since its introduction in 1935, Reuters reports. Players also had the option to vote online on a new pawn to replace the thimble, with choices including monster trucks and flip-flops. Hasbro plans to reveal their choice next month.


In London England, a woman met a man on a dating site and they went out on a date. When he asked for a second date, though, she replied she was not interested. That’s when he sent her a message saying he was deeply disappointed and would appreciate it if she contributed to the amount he spent on her. He said he had saved up to give her a really nice date. The bill for the date was about $60 U.S. The UK’s Metro reports that she did refund him for the date, but also sent the same amount to a donkey sanctuary.


In Meridian, Idaho, a teen broke into a home and was trying to get into a g.un safe when suddenly, a squirrel came flying out of nowhere and scratched him. The teen was frightened, took what he could, and left. Turns out the squirrel lived in the home as a pet, since it was discovered in a flower pot by a friend’s daughter when he was about one week old, the Associated Press reports.


In Munich, Germany, the driver of a $74,460 Tesla Model S spotted another car on the Autobahn driving erratically. He pulled up next to the car and noticed the driver was in trouble. “The driver had tipped forward and hung motionless in his seatbelt,” the man told German newspaper Munchner Merker. “His head and hands hung limply.” The Tesla driver moved in front of the other car and slowly pumped his brakes until both his Tesla and the Passat came to a stop. He got out of his car and went into the Passat to check on the man, who he determined had a pulse, but was also foaming at the mouth. The news report says the man had a stroke, but is now in stable condition. Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that the company would cover the costs of repairs in appreciation for the driver’s actions.

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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