The Markets in April

The Markets in April April was marked by the threatened tariff war between the United States and China. Tensions between the world’s two largest economies certainly impacted stocks both home and abroad. Escalating strife in Syria gave additional reason for concern. However, surging energy stocks lifted the market as crude oil prices approached $70 per barrel for the first time in almost three … [Read more...]

Is This It?

The long-running global stock rally turned down sharply this week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest-ever point decline, and as major indexes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia gave up their gains for the year. The Dow is nearing the definition of a correction, which we haven’t seen in a long time. Many inhaled sharply, to say the least. Should We Be Worried? There is one main … [Read more...]

The Reality of Models

While models can be useful for gaining insights into good decision-making, they are simplifications of reality. In truth, the reality of markets cannot be fully explained by a model alone. Think of a weather forecast. Using data on current and past weather conditions, a meteorologist can make assumptions and predict what the weather will be in the future. This may help decide whether to bring … [Read more...]

The Markets in January

Equities pulled back from record-setting gains toward the end of January, but not by enough to erase gains for the month. Unemployment remained low as the number of available job openings continued to recede, possibly signaling a push for higher wages. Fourth-quarter corporate earnings were relatively strong. The government shut down for a few days before approving a stopgap budget resolution. … [Read more...]

2017 in Review

The year 2017 was full of news that had us riveted to the screen to see what would happen next. The stock market grew despite events that could have been challenging at any other time in history, such as the Russian probe, Federal interest rate increases, damaging hurricanes, domestic violence, and a potential struggle over the debt ceiling. The President and Congress tried, without success, to … [Read more...]

When Rates Go Up, Do Stocks Go Down?

Should we worry about interest rates? Research shows that changes in interest rates and bond prices are largely unpredictable. So an investment strategy based on attempting to exploit these sorts of changes isn’t likely going to be fruitful. Despite the unpredictable nature of interest rate changes, you may still be curious about what might happen to stocks if interest rates go up. Unlike bond … [Read more...]

The Markets in November

The Dow rose more than 300 points on the last day of November, closing above 24000 for the first time in its history. Hopes for the tax overhaul bill likely supported this. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted favorable gains for the month. The Nasdaq continued strong performance in 2017, gaining over 2.0% in November, while the small caps of the Russell 2000 climbed nearly 3.0%. The … [Read more...]

What Is a “Custodian?”

Change of Custodian A custodian is a financial institution with regulatory responsibilities for an investor’s securities, a “house” where your investments live. Blue Spark Capital Advisors is changing custodians to Fidelity from TD, a move that we believe is better for our clients in several ways. You should have received the paperwork, call us with any questions. Investments that you entrust … [Read more...]

The Markets in October

Market News Despite continuing White House drama and several serious natural disasters, stock growth remained steady for much of October 2017. Favorable corporate earnings reports, a strong jobs sector, and growing consumer income overcame any trepidations. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted monthly gains, led by the large caps of the Dow, which gained over 4% for the month and is … [Read more...]

The Trouble With Averages

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of about 10% since 1926. But short-term results don't tell that story. In fact, in any given period, stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. So it’s helpful to your peace of mind to look the range of historical outcomes. Exhibit 1 shows calendar-year returns for the S&P 500 Index since 1926. The shaded band marks the … [Read more...]

The Markets in September

Trading during summer months is usually slow, and the third quarter of 2017 proved no different. The market regained some confidence in September, pushing stocks ahead of August closing values. Each of the indexes listed here posted gains, led by the small-cap Russell 2000, which rose 6.09%, followed by the Global Dow, the Dow, and the S&P 500, which each closed up about 2.0%. The tech-heavy … [Read more...]

The Markets in August

Equities saw several peaks and valleys throughout August, before rallying at the end of the month. Strong second-quarter GDP figures, steady job gains, and increased consumer spending sent stocks higher, despite stagnant inflation and heavy losses caused by Hurricane Harvey. The large caps of the S&P 500 and Dow posted marginal monthly gains, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the way, closing … [Read more...]

The Benefits of Diversification

Among your most important financial friends is diversification. After all, what other single action can you take to simultaneously dampen your exposure to a number of investment risks while potentially improving your overall expected returns? While “diversification” may seem like a buzzword, the benefits of diversification are well-documented and explained by some 60 years of academic inquiry. Its … [Read more...]

Blue Spark Capital Advisors

We're a fee-only Registered Investment Advisory and financial planning firm based in New York City and the Berkshires.

We specialize in working with women after divorce, death of a spouse, or other life transitions such as retirement or job change. We provide financial planning and investment management services.

We believe in a holistic approach. Movement in each piece of your financial plan impacts the others, so we consider your entire picture.


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New York, N.Y. 10011
(212) 537-3899

93 Church Street
Lenox, Mass. 01240
(413) 551-7000

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"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."
– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)