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Stocks traded lower last week and are set to open lower today as investors continue to be nervous about the surge in coronavirus cases outside of China.


The coronavirus outbreak ruined what was a solid earnings reporting season and is casting a pall on forecasts for this quarter and the rest of this year. And now with most of the earnings season in the books, look for the latest coronavirus headlines to fill the vacuum and weigh on stocks the rest of the month.  Fourth-quarter profit growth for the S&P 500 companies came in at 3.1%, and if the energy sector is excluded, the growth rate was 6.0%.


Wells Fargo, the nation's fourth-largest bank, agreed Friday to pay a $3 billion fine to settle a civil lawsuit and resolve a criminal prosecution filed by the Justice Department over its fake account scandal.  Under pressure to meet sales quotas, bank employees opened millions of savings and checking accounts in the names of actual customers, without their knowledge or consent. Since the fraud became public in 2016, the bank has faced a torrent of lawsuits. The scheme lasted more than a decade, and was carried out by thousands of Wells Fargo employees.


Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders came out this weekend.  In the letter Buffett says it’s ‘almost certain’ stocks will beat bonds over the long term if interest rates and taxes stay low.

With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management I’m Tyler Simones

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