A surge in consumer inflation unsettled investors, leading to a turbulent week of trading on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 1.14%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.39%. The Nasdaq Composite index dropped 2.34% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, lost 3.02%.1,2,3
The market has been troubled recently by building inflationary pressures. Investors are concerned that rising prices may hurt corporate profits and force the Fed to tighten its monetary policy sooner than anticipated. Worse, investors fear the Fed may have to react more aggressively if it waits too long to act.
After back-to-back losses, the retreat in stock prices culminated on Wednesday, following the release of the higher-than-anticipated Consumer Price Index (CPI) report.
Stocks managed to claw back some of the week’s losses with a Thursday-Friday rebound, sparked by investors doing some bargain hunting.
Consumer Prices Spike
Wednesday’s release of April’s CPI inflamed investors’ inflation fears, as consumer prices rose 0.8% in April and jumped by 4.2% year-over-year. These numbers were above expectations.4
April price increases were led by a remarkable 10% increase in used cars, with additional pockets of sharp increases, notably in transportation services and commodities. Perhaps equally concerning is that energy costs showed a decline during April, a price weakness that may reverse in the coming months.5
Core inflation, which excludes the more volatile food and energy prices, was up a more modest 3.0% from April 2020.6
Tax Tip - Keep These Tips in Mind When Selling a Home
If you are selling your home, you may be able to exclude the income from the sale from your tax return.
The first thing to consider is the home's ownership and use. To claim the exclusion, you must have owned the home for at least two years or the home was your primary residence for at least two years.
If you are selling your main home, you may also be able to exclude the gain from the sale up to $250,000 from your return for single filers and up to $500,000 on joint returns. If you own more than one home, you can only exclude the gain on the sale of your main home. If you experience a loss when you sell your home, though, this loss isn't deductible. You can also choose not to claim the exclusion, in which case you need to report the gain on your tax return.
Some taxpayers must also report forgiven or canceled debt as income on their tax returns. This can include foreclosure or other processes where a lender forgives or cancels mortgage debt on the home.
Not sure what to report when selling your home? Publication 523, Selling Your Home can help.
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov7
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2021
4. CNBC, May 12, 2021
5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 12, 2021
6. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 12, 2021
7. IRS.gov, December 15, 2020
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May 17, 2021