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U.S. stocks bounced off intraday lows but still traded mostly lower yesterday as investors monitored separate congressional testimonies from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on U.S.-China trade negotiations and a second day of Congressional hearings featuring Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell, plus Michael Cohen’s house oversight committee testimony.
 
During his testimony, Lighthizer said the U.S. will take steps to formally abandon plans to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25%, from 10% now, while the two sides continue talking. President Trump indicated Sunday that the tariff hike, which could have taken effect at 12:01 a. m. Saturday, would be suspended.
 
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in December compared to November and was 4.2% higher compared to a year ago. That was the slowest pace of annual growth since November 2014.  Home price growth is screeching to a halt, and yet prices are still increasing much faster than wages.  The amount of homes actually sold were 2.3% lower than a year ago, making January the 13th straight month of year-over-year declines.
 
Amazon does not plan to pay the IRS anything this tax season.  That’s not because of the new tax law. Rather, the world’s largest retailer simply took advantage of long-standing, low-profile tax deductions. It paid its employees in stock, built new warehouses and used tax breaks granted when the company wasn’t profitable.  Amazon’s projected $129 million refund highlights how companies can use the complexities of the U.S. tax code for their own benefit.
 
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, I'm Tyler Simones

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