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Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy Every Weekday
How to Include Private Equity in DC Plans
Serge Boccassini, with Northern Trust Asset Servicing, explains how his firm has been doing so for 10 years.
Investment Product and Service Launches
Fidelity Investments releases bond model suite, and BlackRock announces sustainability as new standard for investing.
Most Read
House Committee Approves Bill Aimed at Increasing Retirement Plan Coverage
Employees Don’t Want ‘All or Nothing’ When It Comes to Guaranteed Lifetime Income
Data and Research
Working Past Age 65 May Seem Like a Great Idea …
Economic Events
The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for November, adjusted for seasonal and trading day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,465.7 billion, up 0.7% from October 2019 and up 1.0% from November 2018, the Census Bureau reported.

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December 2019, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $529.6billion, an increase of 0.3% from the previous month, and 5.8% above December 2018.Total sales for the 12 months of 2019 were up 3.6% from 2018. Retail trade sales were up 0.4% from November 2019, and 6.0% above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 19.2% from December 2018, and gasoline stations were up 11.3% from last year.

In the week ending January 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 204,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 214,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 216,250, a decrease of 7,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 224,000.

A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65%, up slightly from last week when it averaged 3.64%, according to Freddie Mac. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.45 percent. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.09%, up slightly from last week when it averaged 3.07%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.88%.
Market Mirror
Thursday, the Dow gained 267.42 points (0.92%) to finish at 29,297.64, the NASDAQ closed 98.44 points (1.06%) higher at 9,357.13, and the S&P 500 increased 27.52 points (0.84%) to 3,316.81. The Russell 2000 gained 22.82 points (1.36%) to finish at 1,705.21, and the Wilshire 5000 climbed 293.58 points (0.88%) to 33,827.74.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 2/32, increasing its yield to 1.804%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 4/32, bringing its yield up to 2.256%.
Union Pension Funding Crisis Enters a New Decade
The latest appeal for union pension benefit reductions could result in more than 20,000 musicians seeing reductions ranging from 2% to 40% in their monthly benefits.
Nondiscrimination Testing Part I: Required Testing and Due Dates
Sponsors of all retirement plan types need to know what nondiscrimination testing is required for their plan and what information needs to be gathered to correctly perform these tests.
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1773, Captain Cook’s Resolution became the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle. In 1806, James Madison Randolph, grandson of President Thomas Jefferson, was the first child born in the White House. In 1871, Andrew S. Hallidie received a patent for a cable car system. In 1900, Mormon Brigham Roberts was denied a seat in the House of Representatives for his practicing of polygamy. In 1913, all partner interests in 36 Golden Rule Stores were consolidated and incorporated in Utah into one company. The new corporation was the J.C. Penney Company. In 1916, the Professional Golfers Association was formed in New York City. In 1946, the United Nations Security Council held its first meeting. In 1985, Leonard Nimoy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, British pharmaceutical companies Glaxo Wellcome PLC and SmithKline Beecham PLC agreed to a merger that created the world’s largest drugmaker.

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!
A surprise in the leaf pile.

Tiny Irish dancer.

In Mexico City, Mexico, travelers on the Mexico City subway system often blame authorities for broken-down escalators at subway stops, but Metro officials have discovered another explanation. Somehow, urine is penetrating and corroding the drive wheels and mechanisms of the escalators that carry riders up from underground stations. Fermin Ramirez, the system’s assistant manager for rails and facilities, said riders appear to be urinating on escalators at off-peak hours and lightly used stations, “even though it seems hard to believe,” the Associated Press reports.

In London, England, online music giant Spotify launched a podcast for dogs left home alone in Britain, after its polling suggested most owners believe audio recordings help calm their canines. The streaming service has created a “soothing mix” of music, speech and sounds to de-stress dogs home during the day. According to the AFP, the playlists utilize the vocal skills of “Game of Thrones” actor Ralph Ineson and Jessica Raine, the lead actress in the BBC series “Call the Midwife.” The two offer “dog-directed praise, stories, affirmation messages and reassurance”, Spotify said as it unveiled its new “My Dog’s Favourite Podcast” offering.

In Harlan, Iowa, man has asked an Iowa judge to let him engage in a sword fight with his ex-wife and her attorney so he can “rend their souls” from their bodies. The man said in a court filing that his former wife and her attorney had “destroyed (him) legally.” According to the Associated Press, the couple has been embroiled in disputes over custody and visitation issues and property tax payments. The judge had the power to let the parties “resolve our disputes on the field of battle, legally,” the man said, adding in his filing that trial by combat “has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States.” He also asked the judge for 12 weeks’ time so he could secure Japanese samurai swords.

Have a blessed and safe weekend, everyone!
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