On Our Minds

Community Banking: Personalized Services with No Hassles

What are you looking for in a bank? We’re willing to bet it’s not long lines, advisors who tell you what to do without listening to your needs, or lengthy call menus to navigate when you need help. Charlotte State Bank & Trust has been around long enough to know what you want in a community bank, and we’re committed to providing that personalized service to each of our clients.

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Third-Quarter Market Update

The S&P 500 Index is consolidating as Washington policymakers postpone important decisions on the budget ceiling and the infrastructure bills. The S&P 500 Index has grown this year as earnings and growth have supported valuations, but now, as fiscal and monetary policies change, we are seeing investor concerns. With fiscal policy, there are many supportive benefits of spending $500 billion on actual bridge and road infrastructure. However, the massive $3.5-trillion “human” infrastructure package is concerning due to higher taxes and escalating inflation. This plan is likely to be debated and downsized before passage – if at all.

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Market Conditions Inspire Optimism

The equity markets continue to move higher on news of steady economic growth and the receding COVID virus. The S&P 500 Index has grown in each of the first seven months of the year and when this has occurred historically, it has led to further gains through year-end. Recent economic indicators are demonstrating slower and more stable U.S. domestic growth and that has inspired optimism for future earnings.

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How Can I Save for My Child’s College Education?

The 18-year clock starts ticking the moment your child is born.

That’s how Forbes financial writer Taylor Tepper addressed saving for college, and Kiplinger contributor Neale Godfrey took it a step further.

“The best advice is to start saving as early as possible,” she said. “Are you pregnant? Start now! Additionally, encourage your friends and family to help you along the way.”

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Pent-up demand fuels economy

Hello friends,
I hope you are having a healthy and wonderful summer! I am providing the following financial market update for your review:

Economic indicators are proving that consumers and businesses are fueling the economy with pent-up demand on spending. Consumers are reacting to the vaccinations with robust spending on vacations, furniture, automobiles and homes, while businesses are trying to ramp up production and services to meet the need. With GDP growing at 6.5% and now back to pre-pandemic levels, this pace is not sustainable and should decelerate in the coming quarters. This does not foreshadow a recession: the economy is returning to steady 2-3% sustainable growth with stable employment and lower inflation. GDP growth would have been stronger if supply chains, home building, and product delivery had not been suppressed by inventory and labor shortages.

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Planning for Retirement? Here’s What You Need to Know

Retirement planning is a combination of cash flow planning, income tax planning, investment planning, estate planning, distribution planning and lifestyle planning. In other words, you need to have a plan to retire, no matter your circumstances.

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Investors see an improving economy with continued low interest rates as positive.

Welcome to the Roaring ’20s

The S&P 500 Index gained 8.1% for the second quarter and 14.4% year-to-date despite concerns over Federal Reserve policy, fiscal spending and the spreading delta variant of COVID. Most investors see an improving economy with continued low interest rates being positive for corporate earnings. Small cap stocks, which are mostly leveraged to an improving domestic economy, are leading the market higher. The best performing sectors were energy, financial, healthcare, and materials as value and cyclical companies are perceived to have more inflation-induced pricing power. The reflationary and cyclical trade into financials, industrials, basic materials, and travel-related companies is beginning to wane, however, as earnings expectations are set astronomically high. This will make the second-quarter earnings period more challenging for those companies that miss high expectations. In addition, most commodity prices appear to have peaked. Growth stocks, particularly large cap technology stocks that are known for more consistent earnings, are coming back into favor as interest rates remain lower for longer.

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Buying a home? Here's what you need to know.

Before you start driving around neighborhoods looking at For-Sale signs or going online to search houses for sale, you should get your personal finances in order. That means tracking your living expenses and creating a strict budget, which will be invaluable in finding a home you can afford.

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Business Owners Need Ransomware Protection

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that locks up your files so that you no longer can access them and demands you pay a ransom to unlock the files. Paying in Bitcoin or cyber currency gives the cybercriminal anonymity and cannot be traced.

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Investor confidence grows in May

The S&P 500 index was up slightly in the month of May due to growing investor confidence in higher 2021 corporate revenues and earnings. With the receding COVID pandemic, consumers and businesses are emerging from social-distancing protocols and accelerating their spending. This strong growth in demand for goods has led to inventory shortages in many cases. Temporary delivery delays for raw materials and components are constraining global growth. Employment is expanding, however, which means goods manufacturing should improve and service industries should gain momentum.

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