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A Blog About Everything Financial

Benchmarking your 401K Plan

 

As humans age, we age with complexity and it’s a priority that we make frequent visits to the doctor. Normally, we all go to the doctor for yearly checkups; checkups can include adjusting of daily supplements like a multivitamin, or even getting regularly checked for signs of cancer or bigger risk health issues. No one will make us go see a doctor, but it’s important to prioritize monitoring and checking up on our health.

 

In the 401(k) industry, it is becoming more apparent that plans need to be reviewed at least yearly and more thoroughly in order to adequately address fiduciary responsibility and duties. However, many companies haven’t made benchmarking a priority even with recent 401(k) lawsuits. If you have not yet made benchmarking a priority, here are four reasons to highlight why it needs to be made one.

 

1.     Benchmarking can help reduce your personal liability as an employer as well as company liability. Yes, under ERISA, you as the employer can be personally liable because every sponsor has a fiduciary duty to its participants. Not only that, but ERISA wants to see that you are documenting your actions.

 

2.     Saving money for your plan participants, and of course, the company. ERISA requires a sponsor to ensure that fees are reasonable, and a benchmark is a great way to do that.[1]  Here are some questions to answer in your effort to reduce costs: [2]

     
     How much are participants paying in investment fees?

            How much is the company paying in admin fees?

            How many providers are being paid on the plan?

            What service does each provider offer the plan?

            What are plans of similar sizes paying?

 

3.     Not all providers are created equal: Look into improving your service providers. There are many factors that play into analyzing service offerings; some have high service models, advanced technology, or simply just get the job done. Additionally, it’s important to look into factors such as participants getting access to customer support or investment advice, if the provider is responsive, if they “sign and act” in fiduciary roles, and even how much work is passed to you, the plan sponsor, in administering the plan.

 

4.     Sticking to your plan and focusing on improving it. Make it a priority to find out if your existing plan document, plan structure, and plan design are meeting your goals.[3]

So, how often should plan sponsors benchmark their plan?[4]

91.7% of plan sponsors benchmark once per year, while 8.3% only benchmark every 5 years.

 

What are some of the most valuable benchmarking metrics?[5]

 

Investment expenses compared with peer plans – 100% say very important

 

Administrative expenses compared with peer plans – 91.7% say very important

 

Average employee participation rate – 81.8% say very important

 

Average deferral percent – 81.8% say very important

 

Percentage of participants getting the full match – 63.6% say very important

 

Benchmarking is a key component of a plan sponsor's fiduciary due diligence.  By looking back at these four reasons to benchmark your 401(k) plan, we hope we have addressed why it is important and why many plan sponsors benchmark their plan on a regular and consistent basis. 

 

 

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax/legal advice. Each plan has unique requirements and you should consult your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.

 

 

Sean Cooney

3 Eves Dr, Ste 300 Marlton NJ 08053

856-988-0688

www.cooneyadvisors.com

 



[1] Barclay, Spencer. “Why Benchmarking Your 401(k) Plan Should be a Top Priority” BenefitGuard. July 8, 2015

https://benefitguard.com/why-benchmarking-your-401k-plan-should-be-a-top-priority/    

[2] Barclay, Spencer. “Why Benchmarking Your 401(k) Plan Should be a Top Priority” BenefitGuard. July 8, 2015

https://benefitguard.com/why-benchmarking-your-401k-plan-should-be-a-top-priority/

[3] Barclay, Spencer. “Why Benchmarking Your 401(k) Plan Should be a Top Priority” BenefitGuard. July 8, 2015

https://benefitguard.com/why-benchmarking-your-401k-plan-should-be-a-top-priority/

[4] Moore, Rebecca. “Plan Benchmarking Measures.” PLANSPONSOR. Feb 2015

http://www.plansponsor.com/MagazineArticle.aspx?id=6442513743

[5] Moore, Rebecca. “Plan Benchmarking Measures.” PLANSPONSOR. Feb 2015

http://www.plansponsor.com/MagazineArticle.aspx?id=6442513743

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401K Auto Features

 

ARE AUTO FEATURES THE FUTURE OF 401(k)?

Everything these days seems to be automated from reminders for doctors’ appointments, to bill paying, to (something clever). And why not?! Automation is the future, but does this apply to retirement planning as well? Auto-features are gaining traction and participants are more open to them than originally expected. A 2016 survey by American Century found that 70% of participants were:

·         in favor of automatic enrollment

·         showed interest in regular, incremental automatic increases

·         support plan investment re-enrollment into target-date solutions.[1]

Automatic features may help ease plan sponsor woes such as poor participation and low deferral rates.

POOR PARTICIPATION

Left to our own devices Americans are not the most diligent savers. When you consider retirement savings, the outlook is even more bleak. Although 8 out of 10 full time employees have access to an employer-sponsored plan, only 64% participate.[2] To help increase enrollment more and more companies are adopting auto-enroll. This plan design feature enrolls eligible employees into the retirement plan by default, participants are then given the chance to opt out. Auto-enrollment has shown to increase participation from 42% to 91%.[3]

A NEW WAY

The traditional 3% deferral rate is not quite cutting it these days —in fact, 30.2% of companies adopted a 6% or higher default deferral rate by the end of 2015.[4] Employers and participants alike seem to acknowledge that low deferral rates will not provide enough savings to make their retirement aspirations a reality.

DEFERRALS RISING

Struggling to help your participants save more? Auto-escalation could help. This plan design feature may help employees overcome inertia by automatically increasing their 401k contribution at regular intervals, typically 1% a year, until it reaches a preset maximum (typically 10%).  One percent may not seem like a lot, but together with compound interest, when the time comes to retire, it can make a huge difference! The graph shows how even 1% can affect your nest egg. In the hypothetical example shown below, at the end of 20 years of saving, a participant contributing at 3% would have $65,800 whereas the participant utilizing auto-escalation would have $171,700.[5] That’s over $105,000 difference! Which do you believe would better poise your employees to retire?

 

TIME FOR ACTION

Employer hesitancy toward adopting auto features is understandable, however, not implementing these advanced features could be short-sighted. Automatic enrollment paired with auto-escalation can help more employees increase their savings and help them achieve their retirement goals. If you have been reluctant to explore these options in the past, maybe it is time to revisit the conversation; after all, the point of offering a company sponsored retirement plan is to help your employees retire successfully.



[1] American Century Investments. “Fourth Annual Plan Participant Study Results.” August 2016.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Employee Benefits in the United States." March 2015.

[3] ASPPA Net Staff. “More Jump on Auto Enrollment Bandwagon, but Not Everyone.” January 2015.  

[4] T.Rowe Price. “Reference Point Annual Survey.” April 2016.

[5] Based on Annual salary of $50,000 and 7% return. Deferral rate of 3% vs. 3% starting 1% annual increase up to 10%.

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3 Ways Grandparents can help with College Costs

It’s not unusual for grandparents to want to help pay the college costs of their grandchildren. Like everything else financial, a little thought as to how they help can make a difference.  Here are 3 things to consider.

1.   Outright Cash Gifts

One way for grandparents to help grandchildren with college costs is to make an outright gift of cash or securities.  But there are drawbacks to this approach. A gift greater than the annual federal gift tax exclusion ($14,000 from an individual/$28,000 from a couple) might have gift tax consequences.  Another drawback is that a cash gift to a student will be considered untaxed income by the federal aid application (FAFSA), which can impact financial aid eligibility.

       Pay Tuition Directly to College

 Tuition payments made directly to a college aren’t considered taxable gifts, no matter how large the payment.  So grandparents don’t have to worry about the $14,000 annual federal gift tax exclusion.  But payments can only be made for tuition. Room and board, books, fees and other similar expenses don’t qualify.  Another concern is that colleges will often reduce a student’s institutional financial aid by the amount of the grandparent’s payment.  So check with the college to see how your payment will affect the student’s financial aid before using this technique.

 3.   529 Plans

A 529 plan is a great way for grandparents to contribute to a grandchild’s college expenses. The money inside the 529 plan grows tax deferred. And, as long as withdrawals are used for education expenses of the beneficiary, no tax is paid on them.  Under special rules unique to 529 plans, individuals can make a single one year contribution equivalent to 5 years of gift tax exclusion ($70,000 or $140,000 for a couple).  One thing to keep in mind is that if the money in a 529 plan is used for anything other than education the earnings become taxable an subject to IRS penalty.

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Protect Yourself from Tax-Related Identity Theft This Tax Season

Protect Yourself from Tax-Related Identity Theft This Tax Season

Tax season is underway and that means an uptick in tax-related scams. One particularly pernicious form of fraud is tax identity theft. Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses sensitive personal information (like your Social Security number) and files a fraudulent tax return in your name to collect a refund. According to recent statistics, scammers filed over 5 million returns in 2013 using stolen information, costing the IRS $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds.[i]

Unfortunately, filing a false tax return isn’t difficult. All you need is a name, Social Security number (SSN), and date of birth (usually stolen from sources outside the IRS). Most victims don’t realize anything is amiss until they file their taxes and receive notification that a return has already been filed in their name. Fortunately, there are some common-sense steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft.

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

  • Remember that scams involving people impersonating the IRS are on the rise, especially this time of year. The IRS never asks for personal information by phone, email, text, or social media or threatens arrest for nonpayment. IRS notices will always arrive by mail, and anyone demanding immediate payment over the phone is a scammer. If you receive an unsolicited call and think you might owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
  • Be careful about giving out your SSN since it is the most commonly used piece of data to commit identity theft. If you are filling out paperwork that asks for your SSN, confirm whether it is actually necessary and ask about security precautions.
  • Never give out information in response to unsolicited calls, emails, letters, or social media messages. Don’t click on links in emails purporting to be from the IRS or a financial institution or enter information into any website linked from that email. Always visit official websites directly and call an official number to verify the legitimacy of any request.
  • Follow smart computer practices like creating strong, unique passwords for each account and website you use. Purchase anti-virus and firewall software for your computer and install regular updates. When you discard an old computer, get an expert to wipe the hard drive and remove all of your private data.
  • Regularly shred documents like bills and financial statements, tax returns older than seven years, old checkbooks, receipts, credit card offers, paycheck stubs, insurance statements, expired credit cards, and any other paperwork that contains account numbers or personal information. A lot of identity theft happens when thieves gain access to confidential data in your trash, car, or house.

Identity Theft Warning Signs

  • The IRS notifies you that a tax return has already been filed in your name or that you received income from an employer you don’t recognize.
  • Debt collectors call about debts you don’t owe.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts on your credit report or notice unusual charges on account statements.
  • You are billed for medical services you did not receive or are notified by your insurance company that you have reached your benefit limit.

What to Do if Your Identity Has Been Stolen

If you have been the victim of identity theft (i.e. scammers may have used your SSN or other confidential information to commit fraud), it’s important to act quickly to avoid damage to your financial life. Here’s what to do:

  • File a report with your local police department.
  • If you believe that you have been the victim of tax-related fraud, call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 and fill out a report at www.treasury.gov/tigta.
  • Notify the fraud departments of the three major credit agencies:
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Order a copy of your credit report and review all accounts and transactions for fraud. The only place to receive a free credit report from all three agencies is at www.annualcreditreport.com. Gather information to dispute any fraudulent information.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration of the possible theft of your SSN by calling the fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

How We Can Help

One of the benefits of having a financial professional in your corner is that you don’t have to fight financial fraud alone. Incidences of identity theft and tax-related fraud are on the rise, and we’re here to help our clients protect themselves. If you have questions about identity theft or tax-related scams, please contact our office.

Footnotes, disclosures, and sources:

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

[i]http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-119

http://www.consumerreports.org/money/new-ways-to-avoid-identity-theft-and-tax-fraud?EXTKEY=AYFCF06

https://taxes.yahoo.com/post/138018219583/protect-yourself-from-tax-identity-theft

 

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November 9, 2015 - Stocks Finish Strong on Surprising Jobs Report

Markets ended last week on a high note, marking the sixth straight week of gains and the longest winning streak for the major averages since late 2014.[1] For the week, the S&P 500 grew 0.95%, the Dow gained 1.40%, and the NASDAQ grew 1.85%.[2]

Since August's pullback, the S&P 500 has regained 12.40%.[3] While headwinds still exist, and we don't think that stock investors should breathe a sigh of relief yet, we're happy to see that markets have regained some lost ground.

Underpinning the renewed investor optimism are some strong domestic fundamentals. After a lousy September report, a surprisingly strong October employment report showed that the economy gained 271,000 jobs. The number came in well above expectations of 180,000 and shows that the labor market continues to improve. Even better, wages grew 2.5% from a year ago - the highest year-over-year increase since 2009.[4] The strong jobs report gave immediate rise to speculations about interest rate hikes.

In a speech before the House, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that a December rate hike is still on the table. Will pulling the trigger roil markets? Maybe. Though the past can't predict the future, we can look back and see that investors have often reacted nervously to any move (or expectation of a move) by the Fed. While a rate increase is a vote of confidence in the economy, it's also a source of worry for some economists. China's slowing growth and fragility among other emerging market economies mean that raising borrowing costs could have ripple effects across the global economy.

In her testimony, Yellen emphasized that the U.S. economy is growing well, though she indicated that soft global trade and exports are potential headwinds. Overall, it looks like the Fed isn't committing to a date for a rate hike yet and will wait to see what the data shows in the coming weeks.[5]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday: Import and Export Prices
Thursday: Jobless Claims, JOLTS, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Treasury Budget
Friday: PPI-FD, Retail Sales, Business Inventories, Consumer Sentiment


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Productivity grows slowly in Q3. Third-quarter output per worker grew 1.6%, possibly indicating why wage growth remains stubbornly weak. Labor productivity grew 3.5% in the second quarter.[6]

Sluggish demand drags on China. New data highlights China's decelerating economy as imports fall 16% and exports fall 3.6% in October. Trade dropped 9% overall, marking the eighth straight month of decline.[7]

Manufacturing brakes in October. A measure of factory activity showed that the sector slowed last month to the lowest level since 2013. However, a rise in new orders offers hope for the fourth quarter.[8]

Construction spending rises in September. Spending on new construction skyrocketed, growing faster than expected. September activity reached the highest level since 2008, suggesting that third-quarter economic growth might be higher than originally estimated.[9]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/06
  2. http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
  3. Source: Yahoo Finance. S&P 500 price return between August 25, 2015 and November 6, 2015
    http://finance.yahoo.com
  4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
  5. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015
  6. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/05
  7. http://www.foxnews.com/world
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
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November 2, 2015 - Special Update: New Budget Deal Affects Social Security Strategies

Facing down another government shutdown, the House and Senate passed a new budget deal last week that suspends the debt limit until 2017 and increases funding levels for a number of federal programs. President Obama is expected to sign the deal into law early this week.[1]

Unfortunately, though the deal averts a debt default and reduces the risk of a December government shutdown, it includes provisions that may cut into Social Security benefits for millions of Americans. By negotiating the deal in secret, lawmakers have prevented affected retirees from having their say. To say that we're disappointed is an understatement.

The new regulations will prevent retirees from using two advanced Social Security claiming strategies: file-and-suspend and applying for a restricted claim for spousal benefits. Both of these strategies are designed to increase lifetime income for retirees and are being counted on by many Americans.[2]

Here's what we know so far:

  • As of May 1, 2016, spousal or child benefits will no longer be payable unless the primary earner is also collecting Social Security benefits. Spouses will also no longer be able to file restricted claims for spousal benefits at their full retirement age.
  • Workers and spouses who are currently using these strategies (e.g. have already filed and suspended claims) are grandfathered in under the deal and will not be affected.[3]
  • Retirees who will be age 62 or older by December 31, 2015 may still be able to file a restricted application for spousal benefits.
  • Retirees who will be age 66 or older before May 1, 2016 may still have time to file and suspend and trigger benefits for their spouse or dependents.

If you are eligible to file and suspend before May 1, 2016, please contact us to discuss your situation.

As always, we will update you as we know more in the coming weeks.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending
Tuesday: Factory Orders
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, International Trade, Fed Chair Press Conference 10:00 AM ET, ISM Non-Mfg. Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Productivity and Costs
Friday: Employment Situation

 

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Q3 GDP shows slow growth. Our first look at third-quarter economic growth showed that Gross Domestic Product grew a paltry 1.5%. This is just a preliminary report, and economists will revise the data several more times; however, we can see that weak business spending affected growth last quarter.[4]

Consumer spending misses in September. Personal spending data showed that Americans increased their spending at the slowest rate since January, indicating they may be cautious about economic turmoil.[5]

Consumer confidence rebounds in October. After a weak September reading, consumer confidence jumped in October as lower-income households grew more optimistic. Wealthier households were less confident due to concerns about financial markets.[6]

Pending home sales drop in September. The number of contracts on previously owned homes fell unexpectedly in September in a potential warning sign about the housing market.[7]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/30
  2. http://www.investmentnews.com/article
  3. http://www.bloomberg.com/news
  4. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/29
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
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October 26 2015 - Why Do We Care About Earnings?

Stocks rallied again last week on a strong Tech sector showing, bringing the S&P 500 positive for the year again. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.07%, the Dow grew 2.50%, and the NASDAQ rose 2.97%.[1]

Every quarter, financial pages everywhere become focused on earnings reports as companies begin to dole out information on how they performed in the last quarter. So far, we've heard from 172 S&P 500 companies who have reported 2.0% higher profits on 2.1% lower revenues as compared to the same period last year. Now, higher earnings can be counted as good news, but S&P companies have gotten a boost from the Tech sector and some individual success stories. Once all reports have come in, analysts are projecting earnings to be 3.4% lower (than Q3 2014) on 5.1% lower revenues.[2] Overall, it's clear that the same headwinds that challenged firms in the second quarter stayed with us.

Why do earnings matter? For stock investors, earnings season matters because underlying earnings influence price movements. Since stocks are just ownership shares of a company, (all things being equal) good news for the underlying firm will generally result in upward movement of the stock. Bad news is usually greeted with a drop. Now, these relationships get tricky when investors anticipate good or bad news and buy or sell a stock to speculate before earnings reports come out. That's one reason markets are often more volatile during earnings season.

For everyone else, earnings reports are a good way to get a look at the business climate for U.S. firms. Earnings reports contain a lot of information: revenues, profits, challenges, expectations about the future, and often special notes by company managers. This data is a goldmine for analysts as they create forecasts about the future.

As financial professionals, it's our job to search for the individual success stories for our clients. We are always on the lookout for opportunities and strategies to help our clients pursue success in challenging markets. If you have any questions about earnings or strategies for volatile markets, please let us know.

The week ahead is brimming with more earnings reports that should further clarify the business picture for U.S. companies. The Federal Reserve is also hosting its October Open Market Committee meeting and will announce any rate changes or other moves on Wednesday. Very few (if any) analysts expect the Fed to change interest rates at this meeting; however, investors will be interested to see if the Fed issues any guidance about whether to expect a hike in December or early next year. Has "Fed fatigue" set in?[3] Maybe, but markets could still react to unexpected news from central bankers. The other big data release is our first look at third-quarter economic growth. We'll keep you updated.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: New Home Sales, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: Durable Goods Orders, S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: International Trade, EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Meeting Announcement
Thursday: GDP, Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales Index
Friday: Personal Income and Outlays, Employment Cost Index, Chicago PMI, Consumer Sentiment


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

 

Jobless claims edge upward. New claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, although the number still remains close to historical lows. While no seasonal factors were officially reported, employers could be preparing for the holiday shopping season by hanging on to employees.[4]

Existing home sales rise in September. Sales of existing housing stock spiked to the second-highest level since February 2007. The increase puts existing home sales 8.8% higher than September 2014, likely due to favorable mortgage rates and an improving labor market.[5]

Housing starts soar in September. Groundbreaking on new U.S. properties rose more than expected last month on rising demand for rental apartments. While the boost in housing market activity is great news, higher rental demand may come at the cost of lower home purchases.[6]

China's central bank cuts rates again. The People's Bank of China cut interest rates for the sixth time since last November in an effort to boost economic activity. The bank also lowered bank reserve requirements, making it easier for banks to finance loans.[7]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

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  4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
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October 19, 2015 - Stocks Post Third Weekly Gain on Hopes of Fed Delay

Stocks ended last week on another strong note as markets surged on the strong possibility that the Fed won't raise rates this year. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.90%, the Dow grew 0.77%, and the NASDAQ rose 1.16%.[1]

Investors greeted mixed economic data with cheers as it raised hopes that the Federal Reserve will delay hiking rates. We're back to another round of "bad news is good news" market activity. Investors have exhibited this contrary behavior around key Fed decisions in the past, so it's no great surprise. Right now, investors are so nervous about rate hikes that they cued into last week's lackluster data as an indicator that the Fed could delay a rate raise until 2016.

Among the reports that might give the Fed pause was data that showed industrial production slipping for two months in a row, potentially showing that the manufacturing sector is suffering.[2] Wall Street economists are also paring back Q3 economic forecasts, expecting to see just 1.7% growth following the second quarter's strong final reading of 3.9%.[3] On the positive side, consumer sentiment rebounded strongly, suggesting that the economy remains strong despite challenges from a strong dollar and weak global growth.[4]

So far, earnings season has been lackluster. Although we haven't heard from enough U.S. companies to draw conclusions, reports from heavy-hitters like Wal-Mart [WMT] and Yum Brands [YUM] show that many companies are cautious about growth prospects. Economic developments in China and volatility abroad are making projections difficult, but companies expect challenges for growth to continue.[5]

This week is light on U.S. economic data, so markets will likely focus on earnings reports and key economic data out of China. Is last week's rally likely to last? We can hope so, but we're expecting more volatility as earnings season progresses and investors digest fourth-quarter forecasts.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Housing Market Index
Tuesday: Housing Starts
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Existing Home Sales


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Retail sales flat in September. Sales of retail goods barely rose in September. However, cheaper gas weighed on the overall data while spending on automobiles and other goods rose. So-called core spending (which closely follows consumer spending) slipped 0.1%.[6]

Business inventories unchanged in August. After piling up inventories over two quarters, businesses failed to add more in August as they work through their stockpiles. The slow pace could weigh on Q3 economic growth.[7]

Fed Beige Book shows modest expansion in last two months. A key report from the Fed's 12 regional districts shows that wage growth was subdued despite a strengthening labor market. Other key measures show modest economic growth.[8]

Jobless claims fall to match 40-year low. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to match the 40-year low reached in mid-July, suggesting that employers are laying off fewer people.[9]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

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  3. http://www.reuters.com/article/
    http://www.cnbc.com/
  4. http://www.reuters.com/article/
  5. http://www.cnbc.com/
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  7. http://www.reuters.com/article/
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
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October 12, 2015 - S&P Posts Biggest Weekly Gain of 2015

Stocks ended last week on a strong note, regaining a lot of lost ground and giving the S&P 500 its best week of the year. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 3.26%, the Dow grew 3.72%, and the NASDAQ rose 2.61%.[1]

Markets started off the week by continuing the previous Friday's rally, buoyed by the expectation that the Federal Reserve won't be raising rates at the October meeting. Are they right? Probably.

The chart below shows the results of monthly surveys of professional economists by the Wall Street Journal. Notice how the responses have changed substantially over time. At the beginning of August and September (in blue and green, respectively), the majority of economists believed that a September rate hike was coming. Now in October (in red), bets are on for a December hike, though many believe the Fed might hold off until March or later.[2]


Source: WSJ Economic Forecasting Survey. August, September, and October 2015 Editions

Who's right? Who knows. This kind of uncertainty is often what is behind market turbulence. When world-class economists can't agree on even a single data point like a coming interest rate increase, is it any wonder that investors respond nervously?

Earning season is already under way, with reports out from 24 S&P 500 companies as of Friday.[3] The season will kick into high gear in the coming weeks, and we expect that to drive a lot of market activity as investors digest corporate profitability. So far, expectations are muted.

Total earnings from S&P 500 companies are expected to be down 5.7% from the third quarter of 2014 on lower revenues. The same issues that plagued companies in the first half of the year drove this rocky performance: namely, slowing global growth, a strong U.S. dollar, and weakness in the Energy sector. Analysts know that U.S. companies have been dealing with a challenging business environment but they're hoping for some standout performances.[4]

How will markets react to earnings reports? We can't predict anything for sure, but we can expect continued volatility with the major indices bumping up or down depending on how investors are feeling about fourth-quarter prospects.

Is it frustrating to be so uncertain heading into the last months of the year? You bet it is. But that's just part and parcel of being an investor in today's markets. One of the (many) reasons you work with a financial professional is so that we can help chart a course through challenging markets. Though indexes and sectors may go up and down, we're always looking for opportunities and individual success stories to help our clients thrive in different market environments.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Banks closed, markets open for Columbus Day Holiday
Tuesday: Treasury Budget
Wednesday: PPI-FD, Retail Sales, Business Inventories, Beige Book
Thursday: Consumer Price Index, Jobless Claims, Empire State Mfg. Survey, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Friday: Industrial Production, JOLTS, Consumer Sentiment, Treasury International Capital


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Jobless claims fall again. After an unexpected rise the week before, claims for new unemployment benefits dropped last week to a 42-year low. Though weekly claims can be very volatile, the data points to a strengthening labor market.[5]

Chain store sales fall. The latest data from retail chains shows that shoppers cut back on their spending in September. Low sales may bode ill for the holiday shopping season.[6]

U.S. trade gap widens on weak demand. August exports abroad took a major hit from the ailing global economy and a strong dollar, sending the trade gap - the difference between imports and exports - to its highest level in five months. [7]

Consumer borrowing falters. Americans borrowed money from lenders at the slowest rate in August in six months. Though household borrowing still grew, Americans lost their appetite for auto and education lending.[8]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com
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    http://finance.yahoo.com
  2. http://projects.wsj.com/
  3. http://www.zacks.com/commentary
  4. http://www.zacks.com/commentary
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  6. http://www.nasdaq.com/article
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  8. http://www.bloomberg.com/
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October 5, 2015 - Quarterly Edition: Top News for Q3

Stocks ended the final days of the third quarter on a positive note, even though stocks were still down for the quarter. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1.04%, the Dow added 0.97%, and the NASDAQ grew 0.45%.1

After hovering around historic highs for months, stocks fell in August on concerns about economic issues in China and other emerging markets. September was marked by continued volatility as investors grappled with uncertainty. Though pullbacks are never pleasant, many analysts had been predicting a correction.

What contributed to market performance last quarter?

Fears about slowing global growth dogged markets for much of the quarter. China, the world’s second-largest economy, took center stage in mid-August when its central bank unexpectedly devalued its currency. Later in the month, markets worldwide plummeted when reports showed that China’s economy may be heading toward a recession.2 Since then, data releases have underscored that China’s economy is in trouble. Will China slip into a recession? No one knows for sure, but it’s looking increasingly likely.

The Federal Reserve has also added to investor uncertainty as it debates raising interest rates from their near-zero lows. Though the Fed has pledged to raise rates soon, concerns about China and the recent market turmoil caused the central bank to hold its current rate levels until October at the earliest.3

The September jobs report showed a big miss in job creation, possibly indicating that the labor market is slowing. The economy added just 142,000 jobs in September, and new hires were revised downward to 136,000 in August. Though the unemployment rate remained stable at 5.1%, the labor force participation rate dropped to 62.4%, the lowest rate since October 1977.4

While a couple of months of weak hiring isn’t terrible, the numbers are below the 200,000 trend that we’ve seen in recent months, and well short of the 203,000 jobs economists had been expecting. While we don’t want to draw too many conclusions from a single data release, it’s fair to say that months of weak commodities prices, volatile oil, and weak global demand may be taking a toll on U.S. companies. Though Fed Chair Janet Yellen expressed support for raising rates this year, the weak jobs report could cause the Fed to hold off on a rate raise until 2016.5

What can we expect in the weeks ahead?

Growth will be on everyone’s minds in the coming weeks and months as analysts look for evidence that global economic worries have reached American shores. Some analysts worry that emerging market woes risk leading the world economy into a slump. A September survey of economists showed that though many are concerned about the effects of China’s slowdown on U.S. growth, most expect the effect to be relatively mild. However, a significant minority expect China’s issues to have no real effect on the economy, despite market turmoil.6 The U.S. economy may be mostly shielded from the effects of slow global growth because domestic demand drives so much of our economic growth.


Source: online.wsj.com. The Wall Street Journal surveys a group of over 60 economists throughout the year. Broad surveys on more than 10 major economic indicators are conducted monthly. September 2015 Edition.

In the coming days, earnings reports will give us more information about how U.S. companies fared in the last three months. Though we don’t have a lot to go on yet, we have positive expectations after a tough September.7 The October Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will also be closely watched by analysts to determine whether the Fed is likely to raise rates this year.

Bottom line: We can expect more volatility in the coming weeks as investors digest data and wait for more certainty. While pullbacks and turmoil are often stressful, we are always on the lookout for opportunities and ways to help our clients pursue success amid the uncertainty. If you have questions about your portfolio or how you are positioned for today’s markets, please give our office a call. We are always happy to answer questions and offer a professional perspective.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: ISM Non-Mfg. Index
Tuesday: International Trade
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, FOMC Minutes
Friday: Import and Export Prices


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Weekly jobless claims rise more than forecasted. The number of new applications for jobless benefits rose slightly, though claims remained below the important 300,000 line. Since the four-week moving average dropped, the underlying trend still suggests strength in the jobs market.8

Consumer confidence jumps in September. Despite global turmoil, U.S. consumers weren’t fazed and continue to feel positive about their financial prospects.9

Construction spending grows more than expected. Spending on construction grew in August by 0.7%, surprising economists who had expected 0.6% growth. The increase was led by private sector construction, indicating that the economy continues to expand.10

Factory orders drop in August. Factory order, an indication of the health of the manufacturing sector, fell 1.7% in August. Though factory orders are notoriously volatile, economists had projected only a 1.3% drop.11


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
  2. http://www.bbc.com/news
  3. http://www.reuters.com
  4. http://www.cnbc.com
  5. http://www.wsj.com/articles
  6. http://projects.wsj.com/econforecast
  7. http://www.ftportfolios.com/retail/
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/10/01/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/09/29
  10. http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com
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September 28, 2015 - Markets Fall Amid Additional Turmoil

Stocks continued their rollercoaster ride last week, dogged by worries from Washington and a plunge in biotechs that pushed the major indexes lower. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 1.36%, the Dow fell 0.43%, and the NASDAQ dropped 2.92%.[1]

Government Roadblocks Ahead?

Amid concerns about an October government shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would resign his position next month to avoid leadership turmoil. While many analysts believe that his departure reduces the risk of an October shutdown, it could increase the risk of an end-of-year standoff. Republicans and Democrats are squaring off again over fiscal policy and the added drama of next year's elections could cause the fight to drag out to the end of the year.[2] Will the Fed have to consider Washington politics in its rate decision? We'll see.

Fed Clarifies Rate Thinking (Somewhat)

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen clarified the Fed's position on rate hikes in a speech on Thursday. She emphasized that the Fed is likely to raise rates this year, and that she is personally committed to that strategy. However, the decision will continue to rely on economic data and a rate hike is not yet certain.[3] Her statement adds much-needed context to the Fed's decision to keep rates steady and will hopefully give investors more certainty this week.

Q2 Growth Accelerated to 3.9%

We also got our final report on second-quarter economic growth, which showed that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew faster than originally expected. The revised data shows that the economy grew at an accelerated rate of 3.9% last quarter, driven by stronger consumer spending and construction.[4] Hopefully, the increased pace of consumer spending - which drives two-thirds of economic activity - held into the third quarter.

Week Ahead Packed with Data

Looking at the week ahead, analysts will be closely watching the September jobs report, which could sway the debate on interest rate hikes one way or the other. Investors will also be watching Washington to see how Boehner's resignation will affect the budget battle. With several Fed officials giving speeches that could shed additional light on their internal debates, this week promises plenty of headlines for markets to digest.[5]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Personal Income and Outlays, Pending Home Sales Index, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: International Trade, S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, Chicago PMI, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Janet Yellen Speaks 2:00 PM ET
Thursday: Motor Vehicle Sales, Jobless Claims, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending
Friday: Employment Situation, Factory Orders

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Durable goods orders drop in August. The latest data shows that orders for long-lasting manufactured goods dropped by 2% last month. However, exclusive of the volatile transportation category, durable goods orders remained flat, indicating that the drop might be temporary.[6]

Consumer sentiment falls to lowest level since October 2014. A survey of how Americans feel about the economy found that consumers lost confidence in September amid worries about China and the global economy. Since consumer spending makes up a large part of economic activity, a drop in confidence could affect growth this quarter.[7]

Weekly jobless claims rise slightly. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly by 3,000 claims last week, though the underlying trend still shows the economy adding jobs.[8]

Existing home sales drop in August. After previous months of gains, existing home sales dropped sharply last month, falling 4.8%. However, monthly data can be volatile and sales are still up 6.2% from one year ago.[9]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
  2. http://www.cnbc.com
  3. http://www.cnbc.com
  4. http://www.cnbc.com
  5. http://www.cnbc.com
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  7. http://www.cnbc.com
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com
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September 21, 2015 - Fed Cites These 3 Factors Behind Last Week's Decision

Uncertainty about the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates weighed on markets last week, pushing the Dow and the S&P lower. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.15%, the Dow fell 0.29%, while the NASDAQ gained 0.10%.[1]

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve voted to hold interest rates steady at near zero for at least another month. Did the Fed choke or are officials just being cautious? It's hard to say, but we now know that recent global economic events are an official problem for the U.S. Though the Fed economists believe the labor market and other sectors of the U.S. economy are doing well, they cited three factors in their decision to keep rates low:[2]

 

  1. Weakening inflation pressure because of falling oil and gasoline prices, as well as a stronger dollar.
  2. Recent global events like China's surprise Yuan devaluation and recent economic reports that raise concerns about slowing worldwide.
  3. Financial developments like the recent stock market correction.

 

Investors read the decision as a vote of no confidence in the economy on the part of the Fed and reacted with another selloff. However, much like the run-up to Y2K or the panic surrounding the tapering of quantitative easing, we think that a lot of the recent headlines are simply hyperbole.

The Fed doesn't feel a lot of pressure to raise interest rates because inflation is still quite tame, and the risk of an overheated economy is low. Right now, the Fed's main concern is risk management; central bankers don't want to risk tightening too soon in an environment of slowing global growth. Instead, they'd rather commit to a slow, gradual approach that gives them plenty of wiggle room to adjust to changing conditions.

Relax. A rate hike is coming. Some think it will happen in December while others think the Fed will hold off until early 2016. What's important is that our domestic economy is looking solid, and the Fed doesn't want to act hastily. Realistically, we can expect market volatility to continue for the near future as investors price in the uncertainty.

The week ahead will be highlighted by a speech by Fed chair Janet Yellen as well as another report on second-quarter GDP. Analysts will be looking for more clarity about the Fed's path to higher interest rates. Chinese President Xi Jinping will also be visiting the U.S. and analysts hope that he'll provide some insight into how China plans to tackle their growth problem.[3]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Existing Home Sales
Wednesday: PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Durable Goods Orders, Jobless Claims, New Home Sales, Janet Yellen Speaks 5:00 PM ET
Friday: GDP, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Greek exit polls show left-wing win. Projections suggest that the left-wing Syriza party responsible for the debt showdown likely won Sunday's elections. The win could mean that further austerity fights are in store for Greece's creditors.[4]

Housing starts fall more than expected. Groundbreaking on new houses dropped more than projected in August, though permits for new construction rebounded, pointing to underlying strength in the housing market.[5]

Weekly jobless claims fall to multi-month low. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since mid-July, suggesting that the labor market continues to improve, though the data may be volatile due to the Labor Day holiday.[6]

Consumer prices fall. Prices on a range of U.S. goods and services fell last month as gasoline prices dropped again and the U.S. dollar gained strength. Falling inflation complicates the Fed's decision on interest rate raises.[7]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


  1. http://finance.yahoo.com
  2. http://www.cnbc.com
  3. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  4. http://www.foxcarolina.com/
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  6. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/17
  7. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/16
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September 14, 2015 - Will Interest Rates Go Up for the First Time in Nearly a Decade?

Stocks rebounded during the holiday-shortened week as gains in overseas stock markets spurred buying activity, giving the Dow its best week since March. Despite the buying pressure, investors curbed their enthusiasm ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting next week. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.07%, the Dow grew 2.05%, and the NASDAQ gained 2.96%.[1]

China's Growth Sputters

Fresh data out of China showed that factory output missed expectations, supporting the view that China's economic growth may dip below 7% for the first time since the global recession. Infrastructure investment also fell, leading many experts to believe that China's central government may be forced to roll out new measures to boost economic growth.[2]

All Eyes on the Fed

This week, the eyes of the world will be on the Federal Reserve as the Open Market Committee votes on whether to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. The FOMC meets Wednesday and Thursday and will issue their official statement Thursday afternoon. The most recent Wall Street Journal survey of private economists shows that experts are split. Last month, a whopping 82% of economists thought that the Fed would pull the trigger this week; now, just 46% think the Fed will act this month.[3]

 

 

There are strong arguments to make on both sides of the issues. On the pro-rate-hike side are the opinions that too much easy money may fuel asset bubbles. Near-zero-rates also leave the Fed without ammunition in the event of another downturn.

On the hold-rates-steady side is the opinion that recent market volatility and ongoing concerns about global economic growth could spark another spate of selling if the Fed moves to raise rates now.[4]

Realistically, if the Fed moves this week to raise rates, they will likely announce a quarter-point raise to target interest rates in the 0.25%-0.50% range. How will markets react to a rate decision? It's hard to say. Investors might view an increase as a vote of confidence in the economy and rally. Alternately, sentiment might sour on fears of a new economic downturn. As always, we're keeping an eye on the situation and will update you as necessary.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday: Retail Sales, Empire State Mfg. Survey, Industrial Production, Business Inventories
Wednesday: Consumer Price Index, Housing Market Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Treasury International Capital
Thursday: Housing Starts, Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, FOMC Meeting Announcement, FOMC Forecasts, Fed Chair Press Conference

 


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Jobless claims drop by 6,000. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week in the latest sign of health in the labor market. Though weekly claims are notoriously volatile, they have held at historic lows for months now.[5]

Consumer sentiment falls to one-year low. A gauge of Americans' opinions about the economy fell to the lowest level since last September. Americans are concerned about both current and future conditions.[6]

Import-export prices plummet. The prices of U.S. imports fell by the largest amount in seven months as falling gasoline prices and a strong dollar chipped away at import costs. Export prices also fell, possibly because of weaker global demand.[7]

Job openings hit new record high. July job openings hit a new record high of 5.29 million. The rate of voluntary job separations ('quits'), held steady, indicating that Americans feel confident enough to leave their jobs in search of greener pastures.[8]

 


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com/
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/
  3. http://projects.wsj.com/econforecast/#qa=20150901001
  4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  8. http://fortune.com/2015

 

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September 8, 2015 - What Choice Could Signal Fed Faith in Economy?

Stocks slid after another turbulent week, buffeted by more worries about China. Investors chose to remain cautious ahead of the long Labor Day weekend and a raft of fresh data out of China. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 3.40%, the Dow fell 3.25%, and the NASDAQ dropped 2.99%.[1]

Markets stayed pessimistic last week as traders decided to stay cautious during a four-day Chinese holiday and ahead of the U.S. Labor Day market holiday. This week is packed with more economic data out of China that may shed more light on the current situation. China's central bank governor hinted at possible stimulus measures designed to help boost economic activity, suggesting that Chinese leaders are ready to get aggressive about their economic woes.[2]

On the domestic side, the August jobs report showed that the economy added 173,000 new jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate to 5.1%. While the job creation number is lower than expected, the silver lining is that wage growth is increasing. After posting tepid gains earlier this year, wages increased by 2.4% in August, suggesting that employers are nudging paychecks higher to attract workers. If the trend persists, it could indicate that the labor market recovery is on track.[3]

Next week's Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting could kick the market out of its volatile pattern. The big question everyone is asking is: Will the Fed make a move on interest rates when markets are so uncertain? Even with all the recent volatility, a recent survey of economists shows that the vast majority think the Fed will hike rates at next week's meeting. Last week's jobs report could give the Fed the ammunition it needs to raise interest rates. On the other hand, Fed officials could wait longer to give markets more time. If a rate move happens, it will signal that the Fed believes the U.S. economy is on the right path, regardless of what may be happening overseas.

Right now, markets are in turmoil because of uncertainty. Investors hate uncertainty and tend to react by selling first and asking questions later. Hopefully, once the dust around China settles, investors will see that the U.S. economy has legs and will start making decisions that are based on logic and not fear. While we can hope that a decision by the Fed will give investors the certainty they seek, it's possible that markets could be in for more turbulence. As always, we'll be keeping a very close watch on market movements.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: U.S. Markets Closed for Labor Day Holiday
Wednesday: JOLTS
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Import and Export Prices, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Friday: PPI-FD, Consumer Sentiment, Treasury Budget

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Motor vehicle sales surge in August. Despite a late Labor Day (cutting into August sales numbers), U.S. automakers posted big gains, achieving the strongest results since July 2005.[4]

Construction spending booms in July. Spending on construction activity reached a seven-year high in July, increasing by 13.7% as compared to July 2014.[5]

Factory orders increase in July. New orders for U.S. manufactured goods rose for a second straight month in July, indicating that demand remains strong despite a higher dollar and soft global demand.[6]

Mortgage applications soar on rate dip. The broad selloff in the stock market briefly pushed interest rates lower, sparking a surge in mortgage applications. Application volume surged 11.3% as compared to the week prior, putting applications up by 30% as compared to the same time last year.[7]

 


 

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.




  1. http://goo.gl/KRNlsK
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EDJI&a=07&b=28&c=2015&d=08&e=4&f=2015&g=d
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?a=07&b=28&c=2015&d=08&e=4&f=2015&g=d&s=%5EIXIC%2C+&ql=1
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/06/futures-point-to-weak-start-in-asia-stocks-after-offshore-losses.html
  3. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/04/after-a-long-slumber-us-wages-begin-to-perk-up.html
  4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/09/01/fiat-chrysler-august-sales-jump-2-top-views/
  5. http://www.investing.com/analysis/us-construction-spending-hits-a-7-year-high-due,-in-part,-to-low-prices-264135
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/09/02/july-factory-orders-boosted-by-strong-autos/
  7. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/02/mortgage-applications-soar-113-on-brief-rate-dip.html
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August 31, 2015 - Thriving During Volatility

After a tumultuous week with many ups and downs, markets regained ground to close in the black. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.91%, the Dow grew 1.11%, and the NASDAQ added 2.60%.[1]

It's hard to watch your portfolio value fluctuate, especially when the money involved represents a lifetime of hard work and a comfortable future. If you're at or nearing retirement, you might be feeling especially emotional about market movements.

Right now, U.S. markets are experiencing a period of significant volatility with rapid selloffs followed by powerful rallies. High stock valuations and concerns about global economic growth are contributing to the swings in investor sentiment.

During volatile times, it is easy to get spooked and start questioning the logic behind your portfolio strategies. While it may seem tempting to pull out of the market and wait out the volatility, making investment decisions based on fear is usually the worst thing you can do. Behavioral economists have found that people feel the effect of market losses more than twice as powerfully as market gains.[2] Losses hurt.

However, we can't have the possible gains without the losses. It's the nature of markets to move up and down, sometimes very rapidly. Trying to time markets is extremely difficult, and you're unlikely to get the result you want by jumping in and out of markets.

So, what can you do when markets swing?

Use your head, not your gut. It's natural to feel emotional about your hard-earned money. However, making emotional investing decisions can be very costly because you're likely to buy and sell at the wrong time, potentially locking in your losses and losing out on gains.

Take a step back. We know that it's hard to tune out the noise when media headlines scream that the sky is falling. Even when you know intellectually that pullbacks are normal, it's natural to worry about whether this time is different. However, we recommend that you focus on the big questions:

  • Have your goals changed?
  • Has your investment timeframe changed?
  • Are your investments still in line with your goals?

Talk to us. If you are worried about how recent market movements may affect your personal situation, we want to hear from you. Before making any decisions, give us a call to discuss your personal situation.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Chicago PMI, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, Productivity and Costs, Factory Orders, Beige Book
Thursday: International Trade, Jobless Claims, ISM Non-Mfg. Index, EIA Natural Gas Report, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Friday: Employment Situation

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Q2 GDP growth surprises. The second estimate of second-quarter Real Gross Domestic Product growth surprised by coming in at 3.7%. The first estimate showed 2.3% growth after 0.6% growth in the first quarter.[3]

Consumer sentiment falls in August. A measure of consumer optimism about the economy fell this month, reaching the lowest level since May. However, economists still believe personal spending is on track.[4]

Oil prices bounce back. Global oil prices experienced their biggest one-day rally since 2009 on Thursday. Prices rose on the back of stronger-than-expected GDP data, a pipeline outage in Nigeria, and higher equity markets.[5]

Consumer spending rises in July. Rising wages led to a healthy increase in consumer spending, which rose 0.3% last month. Americans also stepped up their savings rate.[6]

 


 

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.




  1. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EGSPC&a=07&b=24&c=2015&d=07&e=28&f=2015&g=d
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?a=07&b=24&c=2015&d=07&e=28&f=2015&g=d&s=%5EDJI%2C+&ql=1
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?a=07&b=24&c=2015&d=07&e=28&f=2015&g=d&s=%5EIXIC%2C+&ql=1
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/09/your-money/overcoming-an-aversion-to-loss.html
  3. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/27/second-reading-on-q2-us-gdp-at-37-vs-32-expected.html
  4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/08/28/us-consumer-sentiment-falls-in-august/?intcmp=bigtopmarketfeatures
    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/28/us-consumer-sentiment-index-falls-to-919-v-estimate-of-93.html
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/08/28/oil-steadies-after-strong-gains-as-equities-rally/?intcmp=bigtopmarketfeatures
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/08/28/us-consumer-spending-rose-03-in-july/?intcmp=bigtopmarketfeaturesside
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August 25, 2015 - Global Stock Markets Slide on China Fears

U.S. stocks ended a defensive week in the red as investor sentiment deteriorated in the face of fresh worries out of China. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 5.77%, the Dow lost 5.82%, and the NASDAQ slid 6.78%.[1]

Much of last week's selloff can be attributed to ongoing worries about China. After Chinese officials unexpectedly devalued China's currency two weeks ago, recent economic releases indicate that the world's second-largest economy is rapidly slowing.[2]

A slide in global crude oil and other commodity prices also contributed to fears of a slowdown. Oil breached the $40/barrel level on a combination of supply and demand worries. Though domestic producers have cut back on drilling operations, OPEC producers like Saudi Arabia and Iraq continue to hold the spigot wide open in the hopes of chasing U.S. producers out of the market. On the demand side of the ledger, investors are worried that a slowdown in China might affect the world's appetite for oil.[3]

When markets take a dive, it's natural to worry about what's happening and where markets will go next. However, part of being a stock investor is taking market swings in stride. Now is the time to stay cool-headed and focused on your long-term goals. We are keeping a very close eye on markets worldwide and will update you as needed during the evolving situation. While we can't predict where markets will go in the next days and weeks, we focus on helping clients manage their wealth in many market environments.

Looking ahead, investors will be targeting a slew of domestic data this week, including an important economic outlook report from the Federal Reserve. This week's Jackson Hole Symposium, a gathering of global economists, will hopefully provide additional clarity from Fed economists due to give speeches. Investors will also be watching for more news about Greece's snap elections, as well as more data out of China.[4]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday: S&P Case-Shiller HPI, New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: GDP, Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales Index
Friday: Personal Income and Outlays, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Weekly jobless claims rise more than expected. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than projected last week, though the underlying trend is consistent with continued labor market improvement and the previous week's claims were revised downward.[5]

Housing starts boom. Groundbreaking on new homes rose in July to the highest level in nearly eight years. Builders ramped up activity on single-family homes, indicating that they expect significant demand later this year.[6]

Inflation rises steadily. A measure of inflation, the general increase in the cost of goods and services, rose slightly in July, supporting expectations of an interest rate hike this year.[7]

Existing home sales rocket to eight-year high. Resales of U.S. homes increased more than expected in July, rising 2.0%, and indicating that the housing market has legs.[8]

 


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
    http://finance.yahoo.com
  2. http://www.reuters.com
  3. http://www.marketwatch.com
  4. http://finance.yahoo.com
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  6. http://www.cnbc.com
  7. http://www.cnbc.com
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com
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August 24, 2015 - 4 Things You Shouldn't Do Right Now

U.S. stocks ended a defensive week in the red as investor sentiment deteriorated in the face of fresh worries out of China. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 5.77%, the Dow lost 5.82%, and the NASDAQ slid 6.78%.[1]

When markets take a dive, it's natural to worry about what's happening and where markets will go next. However, part of being a stock investor is taking market swings in stride. Now is the time to stay cool-headed and focused on your long-term goals. On that note, here are 4 things that you definitely should not do after last week's market pullback:

Don't listen to the talking heads. The selloff is happening in the middle of a seven-year bull market. As of Friday, the S&P 500 has gone 1,418 calendar days without a 10%+ drop (between 10/3/11 and 8/21/15).[2] Regardless of what the media is saying, the S&P 500 is down just 7.51% since its peak in mid-May.[3] Markets experienced a similar selloff in September and October of last year. However, the talking heads have taken this widely anticipated pullback and made it sound like 2008 all over again. Remember, the media's goals are not aligned with yours. They want to keep viewers glued to their televisions and newspapers, waiting for the sky to fall. Out in the real world, we're taking a look at the numbers behind the selloff and making prudent adjustments where we feel it's necessary.

Don't panic and hit the eject button. Corrections are a normal part of market cycles. Since 1927, the S&P 500 has experienced pullbacks of 5% or more about every 3.5 months.[4] While the past can't predict the future, research shows that panicking and exiting the market is often the worst thing you can do when markets swing. Investors are notoriously terrible at picking market tops and bottoms; since periods of high growth often occur during turbulent times, investors who sell off and sit on the sidelines frequently miss out on the good days.

For example, an investor who stayed fully invested in the S&P 500 between 1995 and 2014 would have experienced a 9.8% annualized return. However, if they had traded in and out of the market, missing just the 10 best days of the market, their return would have plummeted to just 6.1%. Six of the 10 best days of the S&P 500 fell within two weeks of the 10 worst days.[5]

Don't think like a day trader instead of an investor. Stock markets are driven by fear and greed. Right now, traders are in full-on fear mode and are selling off indiscriminately at any hint of bad news. Long-term investors are taking a look around and seeing what opportunities the pullback is offering.

Don't get complacent. Pullbacks offer you the chance to ask yourself if you're honestly prepared for a correction. If you have a prudent strategy and a well-diversified portfolio, then you're better prepared for a potential correction. We don't know whether the current selloff is a short-term blip that will reverse in a few days or the beginning of a deeper slide. However, domestic indicators are trending positively, and we believe that there is room for a resurgence.

We are keeping a very close eye on markets worldwide and will update you as needed during the evolving situation. While we can't predict where markets will go in the next days and weeks, we focus on helping clients manage their wealth in many market environments.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday: S&P Case-Shiller HPI, New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: GDP, Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales Index
Friday: Personal Income and Outlays, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Weekly jobless claims rise more than expected. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than projected last week, though the underlying trend is consistent with continued labor market improvement and the previous week's claims were revised downward.[6]

Housing starts boom. Groundbreaking on new homes rose in July to the highest level in nearly eight years. Builders ramped up activity on single-family homes, indicating that they expect significant demand later this year.[7]

Inflation rises steadily. A measure of inflation, the general increase in the cost of goods and services, rose slightly in July, supporting expectations of an interest rate hike this year.[8]

Existing home sales rocket to eight-year high. Resales of U.S. homes increased more than expected in July, rising 2.0%, and indicating that the housing market has legs.[9]

 


 

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.




  1. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EGSPC&a=07&b=17&c=2015&d=07&e=21&f=2015&g=d
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EDJI&a=07&b=17&c=2015&d=07&e=21&f=2015&g=d
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EIXIC&a=07&b=17&c=2015&d=07&e=21&f=2015&g=d
  2. Source: Mike Higley, By The Numbers (8/17/15)
  3. S&P 500 performance between 5/21/15 and 8/21/15
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EGSPC&a=02&b=3&c=2015&d=07&e=23&f=2015&g=d
  4. http://investing.covestor.com/2014/08/often-investors-expect-5-market-corrections
  5. http://uk.businessinsider.com/cost-of-missing-10-best-days-in-sp-500-2015-3?r=US&IR=T
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/08/20/weekly-jobless-claims-rise-more-than-expected/
  7. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/18/us-housing-starts-july-2015.html
  8. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/19/us-consumer-price-index-rose-july-2015.html
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/08/20/existing-home-sales-rise-to-eight-year-high-in-july/
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4 Simple Ways to Make the Most of your 401K

Now that we are more than half way through the year it is a good time to look at where your 401k strategy stands.  Here are 4 simple steps you can take to build a strong nest egg.

1.       Contribute at least up to the amount of the company match.  If you have a company match and you don’t contribute enough to get the maximum amount of that match you are walking away from free money.  It is equivalent to turning down a bonus from your boss.  If your match would be $600 a year you would have over $50,000 more in your account after 30 years (at 6% return).

2.       Invest your money.  There are too many people that leave all their 401k money in a money market paying less than 1% interest.  Even though inflation is low, it is still over 2%.  If you are one of these people, your money is growing at a slower rate than inflation.  This means you are losing purchasing power every year.  Whether conservatively or aggressively, you need to invest your money in stocks and bonds.  If you are in the money market because you are not sure which investments are right for you, contact a financial advisor.  They can guide you to the right choice.

3.       Don’t Borrow.  Once you have accumulated a little money in your 401k, it can be very tempting to borrow that money. At times everyone runs into a little financial distress.  Borrowing from your 401k seems like an easy solution.  After all, it’s your own money and you are paying interest to yourself.  But, don’t do it!  I (or should I say When) you leave this job and you have a 401k loan outstanding, it becomes immediately payable in full.  If you can’t pay it off, the balance becomes taxable and possibly subject to penalties, long after you’ve spent the money.  Worse, you no longer have that money in your 401k to continue to grow.  So, don’t do it!

4.       Don’t take Distributions.   This one is somewhat related to the borrowing issue.  When you change jobs you have the opportunity to roll your 401k account into an IRA or another Pension.  But you also have the opportunity to take the money as a distribution.  When you take the distribution you will pay tax on it, as well as a 10% penalty if you are under 59 ½.  Depending on your tax bracket , that could mean that anywhere from 25 to 50% of your money could be going to the government.  But even worse, the money you have been saving for a comfortable retirement is gone along with the future earnings you would have added to it.

These are simple ways to approach your 401k, but they can go a long way to building a considerable and comfortable retirement.

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August 17, 2015 - Stocks Gain on Greek Deal & Data

Despite significant volatility, stocks ended last week higher after a finalized Greek bailout deal and some upbeat domestic economic data. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.67%, the Dow grew 0.60%, and the NASDAQ added 0.09%.[1]

Greece finally clinched a third bailout from creditors when its parliament approved the deal and Germany backed off its opposition to the terms. The deal isn't perfect and the International Monetary Fund is refusing to participate until there is an agreement on debt relief from Greece's Eurozone creditors.[2] However, U.S. investors greeted the news that Greece will remain in the monetary union with a sigh of relief. Is the Greek drama finally over? Probably not for long.

China added significant uncertainty last week when the Chinese government unexpectedly devalued the yuan against the dollar by the largest amount in two decades. While China claims that the move isn't designed to lower export prices and boost demand, the move came after a series of depressing export reports that suggest China's economy is in trouble. At any rate, China has been under immense pressure to devalue its currency as part of market reforms. Investors are worried that a currency war could put pressure on the dollar and hurt U.S. manufacturers.

Despite panicky media headlines that claimed that the sky is falling, the devaluation really isn't a big deal. Here's why:

The Chinese yuan dropped about 3.5% against the dollar in the past year. However, the Euro is down 16.4%, the Canadian dollar is down 15.8%, and the Japanese yen is down 17.0%.[3] All told, the U.S. dollar has gained significant ground against the currencies of most of our trading partners. A stronger U.S. dollar means that Americans can afford to buy more foreign products. As First Trust's chief economist says, "The idea that the Chinese devaluation is going to send ripples of catastrophe across the world is nothing more than a Chicken Little story."[4]

A cheaper yuan is like a sale on Chinese goods. Right now, the Chinese economy is showing weakness, and a cheaper currency will hopefully help stoke growth in the world's second-largest economy. If the move is successful in boosting growth, it will be a big help to the global economy. A more expensive dollar relative to the yuan means that Chinese consumers might end up importing fewer U.S. goods (potentially causing some U.S. firms to suffer in the short term). However, if it's a sign that China may be allowing the market (instead of its central bank) to set the value of its currency, it's a net win for global consumers in the long term.

Looking at the week ahead, all eyes will be on China to see whether last week's currency devaluation will continue. Analysts will also be digging through the official minutes from the latest Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting for more hints about how the Fed plans to handle potential threats to economic growth.[5]

P.S. You may have seen Chinese currency called the yuan or the renminbi in media reports and wondered if there was a difference. They are essentially interchangeable terms. Renminbi (meaning "people's currency" in Mandarin) is the formal term used by Chinese officials, while the yuan is the actual unit of the currency.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Empire State Mfg. Survey, Housing Market Index, Treasury International Capital
Tuesday: Housing Starts
Wednesday: Consumer Price Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Minutes
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, Existing Home Sales
Friday: PMI Manufacturing Index Flash

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Consumer sentiment flags in August. Though American consumers don't seem to be concerned about inflation or current economic conditions, the latest survey indicates some concerns about their future finances. Dips in consumer sentiment could translate into lower spending this quarter.[6]

Nationwide home rental prices are sky high. The cost of renting a home has risen to record highs. A study found that renters can now expect to pay about 30% of their income in rent, as compared to the 15% buyers pay toward a mortgage. Hopefully, unaffordable rents will contribute to housing market activity.[7]

Weekly jobless claims rise again. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week. Though claims have risen for three straight weeks, they are still below the 300,000 mark and still support a strengthening job market.[8]

Business inventories rise. U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles of goods by the most in two years, indicating that they expect demand to increase in the coming months. Analysts hope that a stronger job market will boost consumer spending.[9]

 


 

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.




  1. https://finance.yahoo.com
    https://finance.yahoo.com
    https://finance.yahoo.com
  2. http://www.theguardian.com
  3. http://www.pgbank.com
  4. http://www.ftportfolios.com
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  7. http://www.cnbc.com
  8. http://www.cnbc.com
  9. http://www.cnbc.com
Continue reading
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Qualified Distributions from a Roth 401K

In order for a distribution from a Roth 401K plan to be tax-free it must meet certain qualifications.  For the most part they are the same as for distributions from Roth IRAs.  Whether you are taking a distribution from a Roth IRA or a Roth 401k, to be tax-free you must be 59 1/2 or older and your first contribution must have been made at least 5 years earlier.

That difference between the IRA and the 401k is in the 5 year rule.  With a Roth IRA the 5 year clock starts ticking when you have made your first Roth IRA contribution.  Even if you open up other Roth IRA accounts in the future, they still come within the original 5 year timeframe.

 With the Roth 401k the 5 year period applies to the specific employer.  So if you start Roth 401k contributions at one employer, change jobs, and begin Roth 401k contributions with a new employer the 5 year clock is started over for the new contributions.  In order to get credit for the time at the previous employer you must rollover the Roth 401k contributions to the new employer’s plan.  If you don’t and you take a distribution from the new plan, let’s say after 3 years, the distribution will not be tax-free.

 Before taking any distributions it is always wise to seek input from a knowledgeable advisor.

 

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August 10, 2015 - Stocks Fall on Oil Woes

Stocks gave in to gloom about low global oil prices and fell again last week, erasing the previous week's gains. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 1.25%, the Dow fell 1.79%, and the NASDAQ dropped 1.65%.[1]

Domestically, the data looks more positive. Friday's July jobs report might have given the Federal Reserve the ammunition it needs to raise interest rates in September. The latest data shows that the economy added 215,000 new jobs last month, bringing the total for 2015 to 1.48 million so far.[2] Unemployment held steady at 5.3% (very close to the Fed's long-term average of 5.1%) and wages edged up 0.2%.[3] Combined with growth in the total number of hours worked, workers' total cash earnings are up 4.8% from a year ago, giving American workers more money to spend.[4]

Last month was also the 65th month in a row with growth in private (non-government) payrolls, marking the longest jobs-growth streak since the 1930s.[5] All told, the labor market continues to improve. While we're not in the boom times of the 80s or 90s, our "Plow Horse economy" is moving ahead moderately, which may set the stage for a rate increase later this year.[6]

In not-so-great news, Puerto Rico missed a municipal bond payment, marking a major setback for the U.S. territory, which has suffered from years of stagnant growth and rampant unemployment. Technically, Puerto Rico's Finance Corporation, (PFC) has until this Tuesday to make its debt payment, but it's not likely to make the deadline. Puerto Rico owes $73 billion in debt, much of it to investors in its municipal bonds.[7]

While the default may spell financial disaster for the territory, long-term investors are unlikely to be affected. The default has been widely expected, and ratings agencies downgraded Puerto Rico's debt into junk territory earlier this year.[8] The default is also unlikely to affect the broader muni bond market since the situation in Puerto Rico is not representative of most municipal bond issuers. Improving credit conditions and broad economic growth across the country mean that investment-grade muni bonds may be an option for some investors as part of a well-diversified portfolio strategy.

Looking ahead, the week is light on economic data, though analysts will be looking for consumer sentiment and retail sales data for clues about the back-to-school shopping season. Back-to-school shopping is the second largest retail shopping event after the winter holidays and is an important barometer of overall consumer spending.[9]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday: Productivity and Costs
Wednesday: JOLTS, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Treasury Budget
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories
Friday: PPI-FD, Industrial Production, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Low pump prices fuel vehicle sales. The July motor vehicle sales report shows that U.S. car manufacturers are reaping the benefits of low gas prices as consumers rush to buy SUVs and bigger vehicles. The industry is close to pre-recession sales numbers.[10]

Oil prices reach multi-month lows. Though crude oil supplies fell, a jump in U.S. gasoline inventories sent global oil prices low again. If refineries continue to produce at capacity, gasoline stocks will remain high even after the peak driving season.[11]

Factory orders rebound in June. Orders for manufactured goods jumped in June in a positive sign for the struggling sector. A strong dollar and weak energy prices had stalled manufacturing activity in May.[12]

Consumer debt rises in June. Americans took on debt faster in June, suggesting that an improving labor market may be making them comfortable enough to open their wallets.[13]

 


 

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

 


 

  1. https://finance.yahoo.com
    https://finance.yahoo.com
    https://finance.yahoo.com
  2. https://research.stlouisfed.org
  3. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/07
  4. http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary
  5. http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary
  6. http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary
  7. http://www.ibtimes.com
  8. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/27
  9. http://www.forbes.com/sites/
  10. http://www.usatoday.com/story
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/
  12. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
  13. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
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512 Hits

August 3, 2015 - Stocks End Week Up

Stocks snapped their losing streak and regained steam last week despite some soft data, posting weekly and monthly gains. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1.16%, the Dow rose 0.69%, and the NASDAQ grew 0.78%.[1]

July was a volatile month, with a tug-of-war between overseas and domestic data and concerns about a Greek exit from the Eurozone. Despite all the downward pressure, stocks managed to record a respectable gain for the week.

Earnings season continued, and we have results from over 350 S&P 500 companies. So far, overall earnings were down 2.5% year-over-year on 4.4% lower revenues. The Energy sector is dragging on overall earnings growth because of low oil prices. Taking Energy companies out, analysts expect overall S&P 500 earnings to be up 5.4% year-over-year on 1.4% higher revenues.[2]

Now that the overall earnings picture is firming up, analysts are turning their attention to third-quarter expectations. Unfortunately, it looks like U.S. companies are even more cautious about the rest of the year and earnings estimates for Q3 and Q4 are coming down across the board. The chart below shows that overall earnings growth is expected to be negative in the third and fourth quarters before picking up early next year.[3]

Will these estimates hold? It's hard to say. Many corporate managers prefer to "under-promise and over-deliver" on estimates, artificially lowering them so as to be able to beat their own expectations. We'll know more as the quarter progresses.

The Federal Reserve met again in July, and though no interest rate changes were announced, the central bank reiterated its intentions to raise rates this year - possibly as soon as September.[4] Are higher rates already baked into stock and bond prices? We don't know for certain, but the Fed has been telegraphing its rates play for months now, so we hope that markets won't overreact when rates finally start to go up. Though we don't know how quickly the Fed will start hiking up rates, we expect the process to be slow and gradual, giving the economy time to adapt.

We also got our first look at second quarter Gross Domestic Product, which showed that the economy grew at 2.3% in the second quarter. While economists had predicted higher growth, it's still a vast improvement on the 0.6% growth the economy saw in the wintery first quarter.[5]

The week ahead is packed with economic data, including motor vehicle sales, factory orders, and the July employment situation report. Analysts will be highlighting Friday's July jobs report to see whether it supports or detracts from the Fed's case for raising rates. If hiring remains strong and wage growth improves, the Fed may still be on target for a September rate hike. If wage growth is soft, it could push the timeline out.[6]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Motor Vehicle Sales, Personal Income and Outlays, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending
Tuesday: Factory Orders
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, International Trade, ISM Non-Mfg. Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Employment Situation

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Consumer sentiment drops in July. Two measures of how American consumers feel about their economic prospects dropped in July, partly because of concerns about economic growth as well as worries about Greece and China.[7]

Big cities drive rental prices high. U.S. home rental prices rose much faster than incomes in June. Unsurprisingly, major cities like San Jose, San Francisco, and Denver experienced double-digit year-over-year increases as demand pushed rental prices higher.[8]

Weekly jobless claims rise slightly. Though weekly claims for new unemployment benefits edged higher last week, the four-week average dipped lower, indicating that the labor market continues to improve.[9]

Oil prices drop as producers keep pumping. Crude oil experienced its biggest monthly drop since 2008 on signs that Middle East producers were continuing to pump at record levels despite concerns about a supply glut.[10]

 


 

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

 


 

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  3. http://www.zacks.com/
  4. http://www.reuters.com
  5. http://www.cnbc.com
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  8. http://www.cnbc.com
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  10. http://www.cnbc.com
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July 27, 2015 - Markets Drop on Global Growth Worries

Stocks were unable to maintain the momentum and gave up ground in another roller coaster week. Though earnings week marched onward, investors seemed more concerned about global growth and falling commodity prices. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 2.20%, the Dow dropped 2.85%, and the NASDAQ lost 2.31%.[1]

Falling commodity prices contributed to a lot of last week's selloff as investors worried that plummeting gold, copper, and silver prices meant slowing global economic demand. Commodity prices were hit hard by new data out of China that shows manufacturing activity is at a 15-month low. The Asian giant is the world's largest consumer of industrial metals, and commodity traders worry that falling demand could lead to a glut in metal supplies.[2]

Are fears about China overblown? Possibly. Between the recent stock selloff in China and fresh concerns about a hard landing for the Chinese economy, it might seem that the global bull market might be ending. However, let's take a step back and take a look at the big picture. While the Chinese economy is the second largest in the world and could certainly disrupt global growth, the size (and structure) of its stock market means that volatility there isn't likely to affect U.S. equities. In fact, Chinese stocks had already experienced two bear markets since 2009 - neither of which seriously affected our domestic bull market. China's central bank is also taking an active role in boosting economic growth.[3] All that being said, the past can't predict the future, and we're keeping a close eye on what's happening overseas. While we do see some headwinds and potential threats on the horizon, we still believe in a globally diversified portfolio strategy.

On the domestic front, earnings season continued last week and the picture thus far is uninspiring. As of July 22nd, we have gotten results from 103 S&P 500 members and total earnings are up just 3.0% on 1.2% higher revenues than the same period last year. Fortunately, not everything is bleak. Multiple sectors have seen success stories, and overall earnings are being dragged down by the beleaguered Energy sector.[4] Are these results unexpected? Not at all. Much of the weakness was anticipated, and analysts are hopeful that growth will pick up in 2016.[5] However, the tepid earnings picture leaves many investors wondering if the Federal Reserve will see enough growth this year to raise rates.

Attention will turn to the Fed's Open Market Committee when it meets next week, and though we don't expect any decisions about interest rates to be made, we hope that the Fed will give us some insight into what they think about recent global growth worries. Earnings season will continue, and we'll also get another look at second quarter economic growth, which is expected to rise slightly.[6]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Durable Goods Orders, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Pending Home Sales Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Meeting Announcement
Thursday: GDP, Jobless Claims
Friday: Employment Cost Index, Chicago PMI, Consumer Sentiment


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

New home sales drop in June. Sales of newly built homes unexpectedly fell last month to the lowest level in seven months. Since data last week showed that new permits are up, analysts hope the setback is temporary.[7]

Existing home sales skyrocket in June. Resales soared last month on pent-up demand to their highest level in nearly 8-1/2 years. Analysts hope that the housing market will keep its momentum ahead of possible interest rate increases.[8]

Jobless claims drop to lowest level since 1973. The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits plummeted last week to a multi-decade low, suggesting that hiring remains solid despite summer volatility.[9]

Greek cash limits unlikely to go away soon. Greek banks will likely maintain cash withdrawal limits (currently about $460 per week) until fresh money arrives from Europe, worsening the crisis for Greeks. Questions about how to restructure banks may hold up bailout negotiations.

 


 

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

 


 

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  3. http://www.zacksim.com
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  5. http://www.zacks.com
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com
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July 20, 2015 - Stocks Rise on Earnings & Greece

Stocks surged in an action-packed week, giving the NASDAQ two record closes in a row. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.41%, the Dow rose 1.84%, and the NASDAQ soared 4.25%.[1]

Investors around the world breathed a sigh of relief when EU negotiators finally reached a deal on Greece after weeks of brinksmanship. However, all is not won yet since the deal must pass several Eurozone parliaments next and Greece must apply for a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.[2] But, the European Central Bank approved more emergency relief and Greek banks are due to reopen this week.[3] Will this new bailout resolve all of Greece's issues? Certainly not. In fact, we may see new acts in the Greek drama if a snap general election is called this fall or if the IMF refuses to support the deal.[4] However, Europe avoided a painful Greek exit and Greece has stepped back from the brink (for now).

On the U.S. side, earnings season really got going last week; despite some outsized performance from a few companies, earnings have gotten off to a lukewarm start, with early results suggesting that revenues may be weaker than what we saw in the first quarter. However, financials are showing strength and some standouts in the tech sector drove the NASDAQ to new record closes.[5] Shares from technology giant Google (GOOGL) skyrocketed on strong earnings, giving the stock the biggest one-day rally in history.[6]

In other news, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified before House and Senate committees last week, reiterating the Fed's commitment to raising rates later this year. Though Yellen is comfortable with the improvement shown by the labor market, she wants to be cautious about the timing of interest rate hikes to avoid stalling the economic recovery.[7]

Looking ahead, earnings season will continue heating up this week, giving analysts piles of new reports to digest. Investors will also take a look at more housing data to gauge how the sector looks this quarter. Though summer is often a sleepy time for markets, recent events are keeping traders close to home and we may see more volatility in the coming weeks.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Wednesday: Existing Home Sales, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, New Home Sales


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Jobless claims fall more than expected. After three weeks of increases, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell. Summer jobs data tends to be volatile, but the drop is a sign of health for the labor market.[8]

Inflation rises in June. The cost of consumer goods rose for a fifth straight month in June, driven upward by rising gasoline and other costs. This increase supports the Federal Reserve's plan to raise interest rates this year.[9]

Housing starts rebound in June. Groundbreaking on new homes increased by 9.8% last month and new permits rose, boosting expectations of a housing market resurgence this year.[10]

Retail sales decline. U.S. retail sales unexpectedly slipped last month as Americans cut back on major purchases like autos and home goods. Though the decline could be seasonal, it raises worries that the economy might be lagging.[11]

 


 

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

 


 

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  3. http://www.theguardian.com
  4. http://www.ft.com
  5. http://www.zacks.com
  6. http://www.cnbc.com
  7. http://blogs.wsj.com
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  10. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com
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July 13, 2015 - Why Are Greece and China Worries Fading?

Markets finally broke the losing streak, closing up for the week as worries about Greece and China faded. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.88%, the Dow rose 1.11%, and the NASDAQ grew 0.69%.[1]

Though a deal with Greece wasn't reached on Sunday, both sides of the debt overhaul debate appear committed to finding a solution. Top-level officials from around Europe met to put together a deal that would be acceptable to creditors as well as Greece's wary parliament. With Greek banks shut since June 28 and unlikely to reopen without additional funds, damage is already being done to the Greek economy.[2] As of Monday morning, an "Agreement" was finally reached between the two sides; now, attention turns to Greece's parliament, which must ratify the deal.[3]

China's stock market, which has been experiencing a bear market correction, stabilized last week. Is the free-fall over? Hard to say, but we're not worried. China's stock market and investing culture is immature, and the recent 30% drop in the Shanghai Composite Index came after a run-up of 150%.[4] Many analysts felt that Chinese markets were frothy and overpriced, so the correction isn't unexpected. However, the stock meltdown does lower the expectation that China's economy will reignite global growth.[5]

On the domestic side, the largest stock exchange in the U.S. experienced an outage last week that caused some to worry about the effects of software on markets. The technical fault that caused the New York Stock Exchange to halt trading for four hours on Wednesday gave investors pause but didn't result in too much disruption to U.S. equity markets because orders were routed through other exchanges. While rumors of a malicious attack flourished, NYSE officials claimed a software glitch was to blame.[6]

In today's software-reliant world, technical faults can and do happen. While other institutional traders who measure positions in microseconds can suffer serious losses when orders don't go through in time, long-term investors aren't usually affected by small glitches. Why? When you're investing for long-term time horizons, the timing of individual trades doesn't matter as much, and little ripples in the market generally won't affect your long-term financial picture.

In the week ahead, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will be speaking about monetary policy to the House and Senate. Remarks that Yellen made on Friday suggest that she will probably reiterate the Fed's intention to raise rates later this year as long as economic activity continues apace.[7] Earnings season will ramp up with many banks reporting this week as well. We'll have more for you on earnings next week.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Treasury Budget
Tuesday: Retail Sales, Business Inventories
Wednesday: PPI-FD, Empire State Mfg. Survey, Industrial Production, Janet Yellen Speaks 10:00 AM ET, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Beige Book
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, Housing Market Index, Janet Yellen Speaks 10:00 AM ET
Friday: Consumer Price Index, Housing Starts, Consumer Sentiment

 


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Jobless claims rise to highest level since February. The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, though underlying trends remain stable. Seasonal factors may be to blame.[8]

Job openings soar. The number of available jobs rose again in May, showing that the economy had 5.4 million jobs to offer. Despite the increase, hiring remained flat, indicating that employers may be having trouble finding jobseekers with the right skills.[9]

Fed meeting minutes shows split. Meeting minutes from the June Federal Open Market Committee meeting show that economists were split, with some ready to vote for a rate increase. However, uncertainty around global risks won out, and officials chose to wait for more information.[10]

Consumer confidence rises more than expected in June. A gauge of how optimistic Americans feel about their economic prospects soared last month, stoking hopes that spending may boost economic growth.[11]

International Monetary Fund trims global growth expectations. Citing weaker-than-expected economic activity, weak inflation, and other factors, the IMF lowered its global growth projection to 3.3% from 3.5%.[12]

 


 

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

 


 

  1. http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/
  3. http://www.cnbc.com
  4. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/
  5. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/09
  6. http://www.npr.org/sections
  7. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/10
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
  9. http://www.usnews.com/news
  10. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
  12. http://www.cnbc.com
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July 6, 2015 - Special Edition Quarterly Update

Markets lost ground again last week after Greece technically defaulted on loan payments and edged closer to an exit from the Euro. For the week, the S&P 500 dropped 1.29%, the Dow lost 1.24%, and the NASDAQ fell 1.92%.[1]

What contributed to market performance last quarter?

Ongoing issues in Greece occupied a lot of headlines last quarter. Greece, which has struggled with debt and recession for years, has been in a standoff with its European creditors for weeks with no resolution in sight. U.S. investors responded to the turmoil with nervousness, worried about the possibility of financial contagion spreading from Europe to the U.S. Though Greece has technically defaulted on its debt obligations, we believe that financial markets are prepared for additional Greek drama and reactions will hopefully be short-lived.

Continued improvement in the labor market was a source of more positive investor sentiment last quarter. The June jobs report showed that the unemployment rate declined again to 5.3% and that the economy added 223,000 new jobs last month, bringing the total number of jobs created in the first half of the year to just over 1 million.[2]

While the labor market is clearly making strides, it's becoming clear that this is not your father's recovery. Many available jobs are part-time only, wages are sluggish, and the workforce is smaller than it used to be, partly because of the vast numbers of Boomers heading into retirement.[3]

On the positive side, the tepid report probably doesn't give Fed chair Janet Yellen the "decisive evidence" of a jobs recovery she says she wants to see before raising interest rates this year.[4] The Fed spent most of the first half of 2015 emphasizing that it's going to eventually have to raise interest rates to fight off inflation. Fortunately, Fed statements have repeatedly stressed the central bank's intention to take a slow, cautious approach to rate hikes. Will we see a rate increase this year? Possibly. Most Wall Street experts seem to think that a September hike is in store.[5]

What can we expect in the weeks ahead?

Greece will be on investors' minds in the coming weeks as European leaders seek a resolution to the debt-ridden country's financial crisis. However, some analysts don't believe that a default will necessarily lead to an exit from the Euro. However the situation is resolved, we don't expect U.S. financial markets to experience more than a short-term pullback; in fact, stocks might head higher due to a 'flight to quality' effect as investors seek alternatives outside of Europe.[6]

Investors will also be eagerly waiting for the first estimate of last quarter's economic growth. After the dismal first quarter, in which economic growth ground to a halt, investors have pinned their hopes on a second quarter resurgence. Estimates of Q2 Gross Domestic Product growth are ranging between 2.0%-3.3%, showing that there are a lot of opinions out there on how the economy is doing.[7]

What will earnings season bring?

By the trickle of earnings that we've seen so far, we can see that investors are being very unforgiving of low performers. Their attitude makes sense in light of how high markets have been running. Going forward, we want you to keep a couple of things in mind:

  1. Many of the challenges facing U.S. companies in the first quarter are still present. Slow demand, a strong dollar, lagging oil prices, and confusion in Europe may all drag on earnings and revenue.[8]
  2. The Energy sector, which pushed aggregate earnings down, is still expected to underperform. Excluding energy companies, overall S&P 500 earnings are projected to be flat.[9] So, the good news is that many U.S. companies are holding their own in a challenging environment.

Could we see a pullback in the days and weeks ahead? Possibly. Is it the end of the world? Absolutely not. While it's impossible to predict how markets are going to react to earnings season, Greece, or any other potential headwind, we want to emphasize that market corrections are a natural and expected phenomenon in today's world; while it's stressful to watch portfolio values fluctuate, pullbacks offer a good opportunity to review strategies and think about your personal goals. We also specialize in creating strategies that help mitigate volatility and work to take advantage of market movements.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: ISM Non-Mfg. Index
Tuesday: International Trade, JOLTS
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Minutes
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Janet Yellen Speaks 12:00 PM ET


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Greeks vote "No" on bailout. Greek voters rejected the historic bailout referendum, refusing to give in to pressure to accept further austerity cuts. The result paves the way for negotiators to try and get a better deal from European creditors.[10]

China slips into bear market. The Shanghai Composite Index closed over 20% lower than its June 12 high, officially putting Chinese stocks in a bear market. Some analysts believe that China's correction is unremarkable given the country's economic struggles.[11]

Pending home sales reach multi-year high. The number of houses under contract rose to the highest level in over nine years in May, indicating that homebuyers may be taking advantage of a reprieve on higher interest rates.[12]

Consumer confidence rises more than expected in June. A gauge of how optimistic Americans feel about their economic prospects soared last month, stoking hopes that spending may boost economic growth.[13]

 


 

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

 


 

    1. http://finance.yahoo.com

 

      Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Data January 2015-June 2015

 

  1. https://research.stlouisfed.org
  2. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/
  3. http://www.businessinsider.com/
  4. S&P 500 performance between 3/9/09 and 5/1/2015 (Accessed July 5, 2015)
  5. http://www.businessinsider.com/
  6. https://www.frbatlanta.org/cqer/research/gdpnow.aspx (Accessed July 5, 2015)
  7. http://www.zacks.com/
  8. http://www.zacks.com/
  9. http://www.foxnews.com/world/
  10. http://www.businessinsider.com/
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets
  12. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
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June 29, 2015 - The Stakes Have Gotten Higher for Greece

Markets lost ground last week, giving in to nerves about Greece and some early second-quarter earnings reports. For the week, the S&P 500 dropped 0.40%, the Dow fell 0.37%, and the NASDAQ lost 0.71%.[1]

Crumbling Greek debt talks were in focus again last week as the deadline toward the June 30 expiration of Athens' bailout program edges closer. Though Greek leaders asked for a one-month extension of the bailout, creditors rejected the request, pushing the stakes much higher for Greeks.

The threat of a liquidity crisis - inevitable if Greece is ejected from the Eurozone - sent Greeks scrambling to withdraw funds from bank accounts. Sources say that over one-third of ATMs in the country ran out of cash.[2] Though Greek banks are dealing with record withdrawals, the European Central Bank announced Sunday that it will cap emergency support for banks at current levels, leaving their cash reserves seriously depleted.[3] If Greek leaders lock down access to accounts, ordinary Greeks could suddenly find the euros in their accounts converted to another currency if Greece exits, seriously complicating their ability to buy goods and services until the financial system recovers.

While a crisis is already underway in Greece, it's very unlikely that serious issues will make their way to U.S. shores. Why? As the chief economist of First Trust puts it, "Greece is Detroit, Not Lehman."[4] In terms of international impact, a Greek default will look more like Detroit's bankruptcy than the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Lehman Brothers played a significant role in financial markets and its sudden collapse shocked the world, helping to trigger the financial crisis.

In contrast, Greece's contribution to the world economy is miniscule, and the country's financial problems have been going on for years. While there is no way to know for sure how a Greek exit will affect financial markets, we believe that markets and economies worldwide are already prepared for the eventuality. Though we may see short-term volatility and a possible market retreat, we believe that many fears are overblown.

Looking ahead, Thursday's June jobs report will be the highlight of the Independence Day shortened week. Investors will be weighing the latest job market data to predict how soon the Fed may raise rates. Markets will also be looking toward Greece as the bailout deal nears expiration on Wednesday.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Pending Home Sales Index, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Chicago PMI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Motor Vehicle Sales, ADP Employment Report, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Employment Situation, Jobless Claims, Factory Orders
Friday: U.S. Markets Closed For Independence Day Holiday

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

U.S. economy contracted in Q1. The latest government data shows that Real Gross Domestic Product growth, the leading indicator of U.S. economic activity, contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2015.[5]

Consumer spending surges in May. Spending by American consumers recorded its biggest gain in nearly six years. Consumer spending rose 0.9% on strong demand for big-ticket items like automobiles.[6]

China lowers interest rates again. In an effort to boost their sluggish economy, Chinese central bankers lowered interest rates for the fourth time and eased lending rules for small businesses.[7]

Factory growth drops. Growth in manufacturing activity in U.S. factories slipped in June for the third month in a row, dropping to the lowest level since October 2013. The data could suggest that the economy didn't rebound as much as expected in the second quarter.[8]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. https://goo.gl/rxfjnj
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/
  3. http://www.theguardian.com/
  4. http://www.ftportfolios.com/
  5. https://www.bea.gov/
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  8. http://www.cnbc.com/
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June 22, 2015 - What Did the Fed Announce on Wednesday?

Last week, markets shrugged off concerns about deadlocked Greek negotiations and rallied on strong economic data, sending the NASDAQ to a new historic high. For the week, the S&P 500 grew 0.76%, the Dow rose 0.64%, and the NASDAQ gained 1.30%.[1]

The Federal Reserve wrapped up its June meeting on Wednesday surprising no one with the announcement that the central bank will keep rates at zero percent for a while longer. Though the Fed appears to be confident that the economy is growing modestly, officials prefer to maintain the status quo until they're more certain that rate hikes won't harm the recovery.[2]

We don't yet know when the Fed will begin raising interest rates, but a number of respondents to a recent survey are betting on a third-quarter rate hike.[3] Are rate expectations already baked into stock and bond markets? It's hard to know for certain, but the Fed has been doing a good job of laying the groundwork for future rate moves, so we can hope that markets won't overreact when rates start to go up.

Negotiations between Greece and its European lenders broke down again Thursday, weighing on European stocks. Greece is trying to negotiate a new round of credit from European lenders that would allow it to make scheduled debt repayments by the end of June. Negotiators have not been able to reach a deal that would satisfy creditors' need for budget cuts and pension reform. Though Thursday's meeting was billed as a last-chance effort to break the deadlock, some time remains before Greece formally falls into default.[4] How will the game of chicken end? We don't know.

Looking ahead, European and Greek leaders will hold an emergency summit on Monday to attempt to resolve the bailout gridlock. Panicked about what would happen if Greece defaults on its debt payments and leaves the Eurozone, depositors have been withdrawing cash from Greek banks, leaving some insiders speculating that Greek banks may not be able to reopen next week. If negotiators are unable to reach a compromise before the end of the month, we can expect the breakdown to cause markets to turn volatile. We'll keep you updated as necessary.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Existing Home Sales
Tuesday: Durable Goods Orders, PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, New Home Sales
Wednesday: GDP, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Personal Income and Outlays
Friday: Consumer Sentiment


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Housing starts fall in May. Groundbreaking on new houses fell last month, but a surge in permits for new construction suggests that the pause may be temporary and that the housing sector will see strong growth this season.[5]

Jobless claims fall more than expected. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected, remaining below the key 300,000 level for the 15th week in a row.[6]

Inflation sees biggest gain in two years. Consumer prices jumped in May by the largest amount since 2013. The data indicates that price drops relating to gasoline savings may be over and that inflation is returning to trend.[7]

Apartment rentals reach historic high. Occupancy rates in apartments reached 95.3% in May, the highest level on record, as Americans of all ages move into rental housing in droves.[8]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. https://www.google.com/financechdnp
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102766785
  3. http://www.reuters.com
  4. http://www.cnbc.com
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  8. http://www.cnbc.com/
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June 15, 2015 - The Greece Problem Explained

Markets ended last week mixed, falling on Friday as concerns about the debt impasse in Greece outweighed upbeat domestic data. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.06%, the Dow grew 0.28%, and the NASDAQ fell 0.34%.[1]

So, what's going on in Greece? For weeks, Greek leaders have been deadlocked in negotiations with creditors over the latest round of debt relief for the troubled country. Greece can't pay its bills and is locked out of traditional credit markets because of its bad economic state. To keep the lights on and the country running, Greece has been relying on financial support from the Eurozone and International Monetary Fund since 2010.[2] In exchange for the financial support, creditors instituted a set of austerity reforms and budget cuts designed to get Greece on sounder financial footing.

These cuts have been widely hated by Greeks, and a new government was elected in January that promised to tear up the credit agreements and end austerity measures. Since then, creditors have refused to lend Greece more money until they agree to reinstate reforms.

Why won't Greece give in to the creditors' demands?

Greece refuses to reinstate austerity measures because they are blamed for shrinking the economy by 21% and driving unemployment to 25% (50% among young workers).[3] The current government would violate campaign promises if it agreed to proposed cuts to the pension system or raised taxes. Greek negotiators have asked for forgiveness of a big slice of previous loans, additional credit that's not tied to austerity measures, as well as access to other sources of funds.[4] Will they get all these things? Probably not.

Why won't Greece's creditors end the call for austerity measures?

Currently, Greece owes nearly twice its annual economic production in debt. Creditors want to institute spending cuts and tax increases to reduce its debts. Though they might be willing to restructure Greece's debts in future negotiations, they don't want to embolden populists in other countries by caving to Greek demands. They are taking a hard line in negotiations because they believe that the Eurozone is in better shape to handle a Greek default.

What will happen if talks fail?

It's hard to know for certain how this game of chicken will play out. If negotiators fail to come to an agreement by the end of the month, the credit deal will expire and Greece will default on its debts (though it may use some extension provisions to avoid a formal default).

The risk that everyone's worried about is that of a Greek exit from the Eurozone, or "Grexit." Since the European Union's inception, no country has left the currency or political union. The current situation will help define the future of the EU. Economists and EU leaders are worried about questions like:

  • Can the EU survive the exit of a member country?
  • Would Greece abandon the Euro but remain in the EU?
  • Would a Grexit open the door for other countries to leave?

For U.S. investors, problems in Europe would be felt in U.S. exports (since Europe is a major trading partner), international exposure in portfolios, and as another factor in global economic growth. Right now, the U.S. economy appears to be doing well, so it's unlikely that economic contagion would spread. Though financial markets would likely react badly to a Grexit, we can hope that positive domestic fundamentals would bring investor sentiment back. Though we can't predict market movements, we're watching the situation closely and will let you know if we feel any prudent adjustments need to be made.

This week, investors will be closely watching the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday for clues about the Fed's next steps. Realistically, Wednesday's announcement will probably reiterate the Fed's wait-and-see approach to the economy. We'll keep you updated.[5]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Empire State Mfg. Survey, Industrial Production, Housing Market Index
Tuesday: Housing Starts
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Meeting Announcement, FOMC Forecasts, Fed Chair Press Conference 2:30pm ET
Thursday: Consumer Price Index, Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey

 

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Oil prices drop as Saudis get ready to produce. International oil prices fell again Friday on supply worries after major oil producer Saudi Arabia announced a potential deal to increase supplies to India. Higher global oil inventory could reignite worries of a supply glut.[6]

Consumer sentiment jumps in June. A strengthening job market spurred American confidence in the economy, driving up a measure of consumer sentiment. This data suggests that the stage is set for stronger growth this quarter.[7]

Job openings hit 14-year high in April. The number of open positions climbed by the most since 2000, indicating that the labor market continues to gain ground.[8]

Retail sales jump in May. In another positive sign for the economy, retail sales surged by 1.2% in May as Americans increased their purchases of automobiles, furniture, and other big-ticket items.[9]

 


 

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://goo.gl/vn0EJm
  2. http://www.economist.com/blogs/
  3. http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/
  4. http://www.theguardian.com/business/
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
  8. http://www.usatoday.com/story/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
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June 8, 2015 - 5 Things We Learned From The May Jobs Report

Markets ended lower last week as investors balanced an optimistic jobs report against renewed concerns about a Greek debt default. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.69%, the Dow fell 0.90%, and the NASDAQ slid 0.03%.[1]

On Friday, we got a look at how the labor market did in May. After jobs growth stuttered in the first quarter, investors were looking for reassurance that the economy can still support hiring. Here are three good things and two not-so-good things that we learned:

  1. The economy created 280,000 new jobs in May, beating expectations and leaving economists feeling optimistic about growth this quarter.[2]

  2. The unemployment rate ticked upward to 5.5%, but that's mostly a result of an increase in the number of people looking for jobs. A higher labor force participation rate is a good sign because it means people are feeling confident enough in job opportunities to go looking, so we'll count this one as a positive.[3]

  3. Lagging wage growth, which has concerned economists, appears to be reversing with U.S. workers adding $0.08/hour to their paychecks last month. Wage growth over the last three months is much closer to the 3.0% we've seen in past economic recoveries.[4] Since economic growth depends heavily on consumer spending, we can hope that bigger paychecks will translate into a greater willingness to spend.

  4. In the not-so-great category, we learned that the majority of the new jobs created were in low-paying industries like retail, hospitality, temp work, home health services, etc.[5] Though we're seeing an uptick in full-time work, many Americans are still struggling to find good-paying jobs, which may limit their ability to qualify for a mortgage and make big-ticket purchases.

  5. Productivity, measured in output per worker hour, registered a dismal 0.3% increase last month. Productivity is a major factor in long-term economic growth, and low labor productivity could be a warning sign. Is it cause for worry?

Probably not. Productivity is often tied to wages - higher wages have been seen to boost worker productivity - so we can hope that wage increases will boost output. There are also some economists who argue that the way productivity is estimated doesn't account for technological improvements and shifts in the ways Americans work today.[6]

Looking ahead, investors will be watching Greek debt negotiations closely to see whether creditors will bow to hardline Greek demands for loans without austerity measures, or whether they will allow debt-laden Greece to slide into default. We'll also get a look at the latest retail sales and business inventories data, which will show us how consumers and businesses are spending this quarter.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday: JOLTS
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, Treasury Budget
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories
Friday: PPI-FD, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Greece delays debt payment to International Monetary Fund. Greece postponed a payment due Friday until the end of June. A government leader declared that Greece might hold snap elections to choose a new government.[7]

American Pharoah wins Triple Crown at Belmont Stakes. The horse previously won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness races, bringing home the elusive Triple Crown for the first time since 1978.[8]

Oil settles up on lower rig count. Oil prices jumped Friday, sending domestic prices close to $60/barrel when an industry report showed that the number of U.S. drilling rigs fell for the 26th week in a row.[9]

Mortgage rates remain high. Interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages remained at 3.87% for the second week in a row, reaching the highest level since late 2014. High rates may curb housing market activity this season.[10]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://www.google.com/finance
  2. http://www.cnbc.com
  3. http://www.cnbc.com
  4. http://www.fortune.com
  5. http://www.bls.gov
  6. http://www.cnbc.com
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  10. http://www.foxbusiness.com
Continue reading
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May 26, 2015 - Fed Upbeat About Economic Recovery

Despite flirting with new records, markets weren't able to hold on to gains last week and closed mixed after comments about interest rates were made by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.16%, the Dow lost 0.22%, and the NASDAQ gained 0.81%.[1]

Yellen gave a speech Friday that underlined her determination to raise interest rates this year as long as the economic recovery continues. Though she didn't really say anything new, her comments underscore the fact that the Fed is committed to returning to normal monetary policy as soon as economists feel the economy can handle it. She also emphasized that interest rate hikes will be done gradually over a period of years, which should help cushion the blow to financial markets.[2]

Could Yellen have been floating the idea to see how markets will react to a more aggressive stance on interest rates? Possibly. If so, the next few weeks could give us an idea of how investors will treat the news. Her speech also highlights her optimism about economic growth despite some weak reports in recent weeks.

Last week's jobs report showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose slightly to 274,000. However, the four-week moving average, a less volatile indicator, fell to the lowest level since April 2000.[3] Outside of the energy sector, which has lost thousands of jobs due to low oil prices, layoffs in the U.S. have been minimal in the past months.

Though jobless claims (a good indicator of layoffs) rose slightly, claims from Americans renewing unemployment applications fell to the lowest level since November 2000.[4] Currently, the overall trend is one of steady improvement in the labor market, which we hope will translate into higher consumer confidence and spending this summer.

Core inflation data also supports a move to higher interest rates later this year. The Fed has the "dual mandate" of keeping unemployment low and inflation stable and had tied monetary policy changes to two numbers: a headline unemployment rate of 5.2-5.6% and annual inflation of 2.0%.[5] While the employment goal has been reached, the inflation target has been more elusive.

While some economists have worried about too-low inflation, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures suggest that core CPI, the number most used by economists, rose 1.8% in the last year. This stable rise, just under the Fed's target, indicates that price pressures remain stable but are moving higher and closer to the 2.0% goal.[6]

Looking ahead, analysts will be closely watching Friday's second reading of the Q1 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report. Unfortunately, the news isn't expected to be good, and many economists expect to see that the economy shrank amid harsh winter weather and dock strikes. However, there's considerable hope that the economy is rebounding in the second quarter (much as it did last year).[7]

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: U.S. Markets Closed For Memorial Day Holiday
Tuesday: Durable Goods Orders, S&P Case-Shiller HPI, New Home Sales, Consumer Confidence, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Friday: GDP, Chicago PMI, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Factory growth slows for second month. Growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector, a major driver of economic activity, slowed down for another month in May. New orders increased at a very slow pace, indicating that next month might be slow as well.[8]

U.S. gas prices at six-year low. Just in time for the summer driving season, pump prices across the nation are at a multi-year low. According to AAA, average gas prices were just $2.74 across the country. Hopefully, fuel savings will result in greater consumer spending.[9]

Greece can't pay its June bills. Greek leaders announced that they won't be able to make debt repayments next month unless they receive another round of rescue funding. Despite months of negotiation, it's unclear whether a deal can be reached that would prevent Greek insolvency.[10]

April housing starts surge. Groundbreaking and permits for new homes spiked in April to the highest level in over seven years, indicating that homebuilders were confident about future sales. March numbers were also revised upward in a very hopeful sign for the housing market.[11]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. https://www.google.com/finance
  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/
  3. http://www.cnbc.com/
  4. http://www.cnbc.com/
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  8. http://www.cnbc.com/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  10. http://www.marketwatch.com/
  11. http://www.cnbc.com/
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I'm Blogging now! sort

The integration of Advisor Products content with Constant Contact is boosting advisor email campaign open rates by nearly 100% over the average advisor's open rate, according to data from users.

Advisor Products integrates Constant Contact’s email marketing tools and analytics into financial advisor websites, and the first users of the integrated app provided their email “key performance indicators,” which are tracked in Constant Contact.

Advisors using Advisor Products with Constant Contact are experiencing an open rate nearly double that of the average financial advisor using Contact Contact, as summarized below.

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May 18, 2015 - What's Going On With The Economy and Interest Rates?

Markets ended on a high note with the S&P 500 setting a new record though economic data was lukewarm.[1] For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.31%, the Dow grew 0.45%, and the NASDAQ rose 0.89%.[2]

Months of tepid economic data and flirtation with higher interest rates lead many to ask: What's going on with the economy, and how will it affect the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision?

The Fed, which has kept interest rates low to help the economy out of the 2008 financial crisis, needs to start returning to "normal" monetary policy to keep inflation in check and to prevent too-low interest rates from spurring another asset bubble. However, raising rates too soon could derail the economic recovery, so the Fed is being quite cautious.[3] The Fed has emphasized flexibility in its approach to raising rates, which doesn't give us much of an idea of when they will raise rates. Right now, the consensus among economists is that the first rate hike will come in September, though it's not at all certain.[4]

Let's take a look at a couple of major indicators that give us a brief snapshot of the economy right now:

The latest jobs data shows that the labor market is improving. The economy added 223,000 new jobs in April, and the number of underemployed Americans is dropping.[5] Another recent report shows that the number of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs has hit its highest point since 2008 as Americans gain confidence in new opportunities.[6]

In the first quarter, economic growth flat lined, increasing just 0.2%, due to a combination of factors.[7] However, many economists expect the economy to shake off some of its headwinds and pick up this quarter.

Corporate profits in the first quarter were up a respectable 2.4% for S&P 500 companies (as of May 15, 2015), though revenues were down 3.7%.[8] However, companies have all lowered their expectations for the second quarter, indicating that they're still worried about domestic and global demand.

All of these indicators paint a picture of an economy that's still chugging along without showing the breakout growth we had hoped for this year. Though a recession doesn't seem likely, there are a number of global headwinds that may continue to dog the economy: volatile oil prices, a Chinese slowdown, and tepid consumer spending.

What would the Fed like to see before raising rates?

Recent statements from the Fed indicate that it is still in wait-and-see mode. Waiting to see what? A solid, sustainable turnaround in economic growth that's supported by the labor market. The deceleration of economic growth in the first quarter and a lack of wage growth gave the Fed pause for thought, and economists will want to see sustainable improvements in indicators like durable goods orders, business investment, and GDP growth before making their next policy move.[9]

What does this mean for investors?

Bottom line: We can expect markets to remain choppy as investors take stock of current conditions and try to determine where markets are going. Overall, we're cautiously optimistic about market performance. However, we recognize that persistent market highs in the face of mediocre data could set the stage for a short-term pullback. As always, we're keeping an eye on conditions and will let you know when anything changes.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Housing Market Index
Tuesday: Housing Starts
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Minutes
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, Existing Home Sales
Friday: Consumer Price Index, PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, Janet Yellen Speaks 1:00 PM ET

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Weekly unemployment claims fell unexpectedly. The most recent weekly jobs report showed that layoffs are dropping and new unemployment claims are close to the 15-year lows reached several weeks ago.[10]

Retail sales unchanged from March. Though March numbers were revised upward, April retail sales data was flat as Americans cut back on big-ticket purchases like televisions and autos. Economists had hoped that Americans would spend - rather than save - the money they pocketed from cheaper gasoline.[11]

China is America's largest creditor (again). Though central banks around the world have decreased their holdings of U.S. Treasuries, China's central bank is back on top with $1.261 trillion. Central banks hold foreign currency reserves mainly to cushion currency exchange rate shocks and keep rates steady.[12]

Mortgage applications fall as rates rise. A sharp rise in interest rates last week caused a drop in mortgage applications for both buyers and refinancers. Though mortgage volume is still up 14% from the same time last year, volume is shrinking as homebuyers balk at higher rates.[13]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.


  1. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  2. https://goo.gl/HBaZDb
  3. http://fortune.com/
  4. http://blogs.wsj.com/
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  6. http://www.usnews.com
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  8. http://www.zacks.com
  9. http://www.bloomberg.com
  10. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  11. http://www.cnbc.com
  12. http://www.cnbc.com
  13. http://www.cnbc.com
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May 11, 2015 - Remember What Happened May 6, 2010?

In this week's commentary, we want to draw your attention to a significant market anniversary. Five years ago, on May 6, 2010, the U.S. stock market experienced a "flash crash" when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted nearly 1,000 points in minutes, erasing almost $1 trillion in market value. The Dow immediately reversed itself and regained much of the lost ground that day. The event, caused by a large institutional trading program, was the largest single day drop in market history and caused an immediate media frenzy.[1]

In the weeks after the crash, news outlets blazed with headlines like: "Mean Street: Crash - The Machines Are in Control Now" and "Was Last Week's Market Crash a Direct Attack By Financial Terrorists?"[2] Fear mongering by talking heads led many investors to worry that they were outclassed by big traders. A London-based trader was indicted last month for contributing to the 2010 crash by placing fraudulent orders that helped spark the selloff.[3] Fortunately, the flash crash was a miniscule blip on the market radar and ended up having very little effect on most investors.

So, what have we learned in the five years since then?

Despite panics and flash crashes, financial markets are still functioning. You'll always find someone to tell you that the sky is falling and markets won't recover from some event. Though the past can't predict the future, U.S. markets have survived panics, crashes, bubbles, and crises and risen again.

Today's markets are volatile and unpredictable. Smart investors don't worry too much about what markets are doing this week, this month, or even this year. Instead, they focus on their own financial goals and create strategies that can withstand challenging market environments.

Flash crashes (or some other minor event) could happen again. Today's markets are flooded by orders generated by sophisticated trading programs and institutional investors. Though Congress acted swiftly to institute "circuit breakers" that pause trading in stocks that experience a violent swing, it's possible that another confluence of events or intermarket feedback loop could cause a similar problem in the future.[4] Since we can't predict these "black swan" events, we work hard to build prudent strategies and carefully manage risk.

Things aren't always as bad as the media makes them out to be. The media makes money on eyeballs and shocking headlines. It's absolutely critical to both your portfolio and your mental health that you learn to tune out the noise and focus on fundamentals. One of the greatest advantages of working with financial professionals is that we keep an eye on economic and market events for you. We are also trained to take emotion out of the equation and make rational decisions in the face of market movements.

If you're ever worried about where markets are going or have questions about how events affect your financial picture, please reach out to us. While we can't predict markets, we are always available to offer reassurance and answer questions.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Factory Orders
Tuesday: JOLTS, Treasury Budget
Wednesday: Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, PPI-FD
Friday: Empire State Mfg. Survey, Industrial Production, Consumer Sentiment, Treasury International Capital

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Jobs rebounded in April. U.S. job growth surged in April, and the unemployment rate dropped to a multi-year low. Tempering the good news, the March report was revised to show that just 85,000 new jobs were created.[5]

Eurozone economy grew in first quarter. Despite worries about Europe's weak growth prospects, experts believe that the Eurozone economy may have grown at a faster pace than the U.S. economy.[6]

Despite drop in sales, wholesalers increase inventories in March. Wholesalers, the firms that supply U.S. retailers, slightly increased their inventories in March in anticipation of Spring-led retail demand. Higher retail sales would spur restocking and boost their sales.[7]

Puerto Rico braces for austerity measures. Faced with financial shortfalls and $72 billion in public debt, the U.S. territory slashed its proposed budget and requested help in finding a solution to the fiscal crisis. If a solution is not found, the Puerto Rican government could stop debt repayments.[8]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://money.cnn.com
  2. http://blogs.wsj.com/ , http://www.alternet.org/
  3. http://www.usatoday.com/
  4. http://money.cnn.com/
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  6. http://www.cnbc.com/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
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May 4, 2015 - First Look at Q1 Economic Growth

Markets fell last week as investors digested lukewarm economic data and considered future economic growth prospects. However, stocks bounced back on Friday and trimmed their losses. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.44%, the Dow slid 0.31%, and the NASDAQ dropped 1.70%.[1]

Last week, investors got their first look at Q1 economic growth. The advance estimate of Gross Domestic Product showed that the economy basically ground to a halt in the first quarter, growing just 0.2%. Though this early report is based on incomplete data, the picture so far shows that exports plunged, businesses slashed spending, and consumers kept their pocketbooks closed.[2]

While some of the weakness is due to a cold winter and a West Coast port strike, the effects of a strong dollar and weak global demand may linger into the second quarter. So far, we know that consumer spending edged upward in March and that wages increased in the first quarter, giving Americans more money to spend.[3]

The Federal Reserve's policy-setting Open Market Committee also met last week to take stock of the economy and discuss future interest rate policy. As expected, the central bank made no moves to raise rates and emphasized that any future rate hikes will be based on a careful analysis of the economic environment. Bottom line: It's unlikely that rate hikes will come before the fall.[4]

Can markets sustain the rally amid sputtering economic growth? We can't know for sure, but we are keeping a close eye on factors like business investment, corporate expectations, and future economic growth projections to guide our decision-making process. While fundamentals show that the economy is still growing, obstacles like weak business investment, cautious spending, and global growth concerns may lead to a market pullback in the coming weeks and months.

Since the bottom of the last bear market in 2009, the S&P 500 has returned over 200%.[5] Though we've had some bumps in the road, we haven't experienced a serious 10%+ correction since 2011.[6] Some analysts believe that we are overdue for pullback while others have a brighter outlook on market performance.[7] Since history never repeats itself exactly, we don't believe it's useful to worry about what might be around the corner. Instead, we focus on creating personalized strategies that pursue our clients' goals and then make prudent adjustments as conditions warrant.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Factory Orders
Tuesday: International Trade, ISM Non-Mfg. Index
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, Productivity and Costs, Janet Yellen Speaks 9:15 AM ET, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Employment Situation

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Weekly jobless claims plummet. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits, an indicator of layoffs, fell to the lowest level since 2000. These numbers suggest that the weak March jobs report was a seasonal aberration.[8]

April consumer sentiment at 2nd highest level since 2007. A monthly indicator of consumer sentiment rose last month as Americans became more optimistic about current and future conditions. Though consumers are worried about interest rates, they are more confident about jobs and income prospects.[9]

Motor vehicle sales driven by trucks and SUVs. Cheap gas appears to have reignited Americans' love affair with big vehicles; though April is typically a slow month for auto sales, demand for sport-utilities and trucks accounted for about half of April's sales.[10]

Manufacturing growth slows in April. Though the manufacturing sector is growing, the pace of growth fell last month to the slowest pace in almost two years. Though new orders are up (a good sign for future growth), employment is down to its lowest level in five years.[11]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://goo.gl/KRNlsK
  2. https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm
  3. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/30/us-usa-economy-idUSKBN0NL1JT20150430
  4. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102630333
  5. S&P 500 performance between 3/9/09 and 5/1/2015
  6. http://www.yardeni.com/pub/sp500corrbear.pdf
  7. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102641109
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/04/30/weekly-jobless-claims-fall-to-lowest-level-since-2000/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/05/01/consumer-sentiment-rises-in-april/
  10. http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/05/01/big-3-lead-april-auto-sales-higher/
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/05/01/manufacturing-growth-low-as-employment-shrinks-in-april/
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April 27, 2015 - How a Few Key Players Boosted Performance This Week

Markets rallied last week, lead by a surge in tech stocks that brought the NASDAQ and S&P 500 to new record closes. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1.75%, the Dow grew 1.42%, and the NASDAQ added 3.25%.[1]

After weeks of uncertainty, markets shook off the doldrums and rallied on the back of earnings beats from market heavyweights. Without any major economic events having occurred last week, market performance was driven by reactions to the earnings reports of a few key players.[2]

Have earnings reports justified the stock market's reaction? Not really. Right now, it seems as though expectations going into earnings season were so low that any positive news was greeted with cheers. While total profits for 202 S&P 500 companies were up 8.7% over first quarter 2014, revenues were essentially flat. Weak revenue numbers indicate that companies struggled with slow demand last quarter and achieved profitability through cost-cutting measures. Looking ahead at the rest of earnings season, some analysts project that overall earnings for S&P 500 companies will be flat on 5.1% lower revenues.[3] Worse, currency headwinds from a strong dollar and global economic issues may affect demand in the second quarter as well.

The week ahead is packed with important economic events: a Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, the first estimate of Q1 economic growth, and a raft of company earnings reports. No interest rate changes are expected at the Fed's policy-setting meeting, but officials may clarify their thoughts on first quarter economic performance.

Right now, the future timing of rate changes is anyone's guess. Economists are focusing on determining how much of weak first quarter data is weather related and how much was due to lingering economic forces like a strong dollar and soft global growth. Though a June rate hike isn't off the table, some Fed officials are hinting that higher interest rates might come later in the year.[4] With respect to markets, we can expect further volatility as investors digest earnings reports and economic data.

 

A special security note:

Due to a global increase in financial identity theft and email hacking, please do not send confidential information such as social security numbers, EIN, DOB, account numbers or any other sensitive data via email. Also, please do not email trade requests as they cannot be acted upon without verbal communication and confirmation. For security reasons, we need you to reach out to the office directly regarding these matters.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: GDP, Pending Home Sales Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Meeting Announcement, 2:00 PM ET
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Personal Income and Outlays, Employment Cost Index, Chicago PMI
Friday: Motor Vehicle Sales, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Consumer Sentiment, Construction Spending

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Weekly jobless claims rise for third straight week. Though the number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits rose again last week, the underlying trend shows that the labor market is improving. Seasonal issues like school breaks and Easter holidays tend to make numbers more volatile this time of year.[5]

Tight housing supply holding back market. A limited number of homes for sale is keeping back a spring surge in the housing market. Nearly three-quarters of the available homes for sale are "stale" and have sat on the market for more than a month with little buyer interest. High prices may be turning off prospective buyers.[6]

No Greek deal in sight. As the deadline to a Greek debt bailout edges closer, no permanent solution is emerging. Greece is having trouble repaying loans to Eurozone creditors, and lenders warned Friday that no fresh aid will come unless the cash-strapped nation agrees to serious economic reforms.[7]

Oil prices diverge. Though U.S. crude oil prices fell on worries of another production glut, international Brent crude prices rose to 2015 highs as fighting in Yemen threatened supplies. This push-pull in prices makes it hard for analysts to predict the direction of prices.[8]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://goo.gl/nPJvpw
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102617709
  3. http://www.zacks.com/stock/news/172188/sampp-earnings-pass-halfway-mark/
  4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/04/24/week-ahead-fomc-meeting-and-1q-gdp/?intcmp=bigtopmarketfeaturesside
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/04/23/weekly-jobless-claims-rise-for-third-straight-week/
  6. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102614420
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/04/26/greek-german-leaders-agree-to-maintain-contact-during-debt-talks/
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/04/24/oil-prices-on-track-to-close-week-near-2015-highs/
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April 20, 2015 - Earnings Season Is Still Young: Here Are The Facts

Events in China and Europe triggered a modest worldwide sell-off last week, and lackluster corporate earnings in the U.S. contributed to market doldrums. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 0.99%, while the Dow and the NASDAQ both lost 1.28%.[1]

Investors sent stocks lower early in the week as they grappled with revenue growth problems in first quarter earnings reports. Nearly three-quarters of the S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far have beat profit expectations, but fewer than half of those companies have exceeded revenue expectations.[2] These results mean that firms are overcoming weak demand by carefully managing their expenses. Even so, cost cutting has its limits if sales don't eventually pick up.

However, earnings season is still young, and several big-name U.S. firms are scheduled to report this week. Once firms such as Morgan Stanley [MS], Amazon [AMZN], Boeing [BA], and General Motors [GM] release their data, investors may have a better view into whether markets will snap back from last week's fall.

U.S. investors got nervous last week when fears that Greece will exit the euro (the so-called Grexit) rose again after negotiations faltered between Greek leaders and creditors. A Greek exit from the euro would likely have serious consequences for the rest of the Eurozone. Both sides must come to an agreement soon if Greece is to avoid defaulting next month on loans. In response to the tension, bond yields on Greek debt rose and European stocks suffered their biggest fall since the middle of January.[3,4]

Meanwhile, new stock trading rules in China sparked more investor concerns. Chinese regulators introduced new rules banning some kinds of high-margin trading. Higher margins put traders at risk of greater losses if stock markets drop. China wants to protect an equity market that may be overheating and an expanding economy that may be cooling off.[5]

This week, investors are looking forward to a heavy flood of earnings reports as first-quarter earnings season kicks into high gear. Though it's too early to predict overall earnings, the tough growth picture - largely due to headwinds from the strong U.S. dollar, weak overseas growth, and low oil prices - may make it hard for companies to beat their revenue expectations.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Wednesday: Existing Home Sales, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, New Home Sales
Friday: Durable Goods Orders

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Rising gas prices nudge inflation up. The consumer price index, an indicator of inflation, increased 0.2% in March, thanks to higher oil and gas prices, although it's still down 0.1% for the past 12 months. The slight rise suggests inflation may start heading toward the Federal Reserve's 2.0% target, if the strong U.S. dollar doesn't stand in its way.[6]

Consumer sentiment rises. An early measure of consumer confidence was higher in April than in March, surpassing economists' expectations and indicating that Americans may be more optimistic about their prospects this quarter.[7]

Homebuilders feel more confident. An index that tracks expectations of future home sales reached its highest level of the year in April, slightly beating expectations. Job growth and low interest rates are likely contributing to homebuilder optimism about the housing market.[8]

Retail sales rebound in March. After a slow start to the year, retail sales rose 0.9% in March as Americans went shopping. Higher motor vehicle, furniture, and clothing sales show that the consumer sector is still strong, potentially raising first quarter economic growth numbers.[9]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://goo.gl/2973fC
  2. http://www.reuters.com/article/
  3. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/04/17/
  4. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles
  5. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-17/
  6. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/
  7. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/
  8. http://www.businessinsider.com/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2015/04/14/
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April 13, 2015 - Fresh Data Suggestions: Economy Still On Track

Stocks ended the second week of the new quarter on a high note, giving the Dow its first close over 18,000 for the month. Investors took confidence from some major corporate deals as well as fresh data that suggests the economy is still on track.[1] For the week, the S&P 500 added 1.70%, the Dow grew 1.66%, and the NASDAQ gained 2.23%.[2]

With earnings season in focus, investors have temporarily put Fed worries and economic issues on the back burner in favor of seeing how U.S. businesses performed last quarter. Thomson Reuters analysts predict that S&P 500 companies saw their profits decline by 2.9% from Q1 2014.[3] Falling oil prices and a strong dollar likely chipped away at energy company earnings as well as those of firms that depend on overseas sales (and had to convert profits back into dollars).

Earnings estimates have come down sharply in recent months. In the chart below, you can see that for the past year, the trend has been for earnings expectations to start relatively high (in blue), drop significantly as the quarter proceeds (in red), and then, in three of the last four quarters, exceed expectations (in green).[4]

Corporate managers have an incentive to set the bar low so that they can over-deliver on earnings and reap the reward as investors react positively to the news. However, past performance is no guarantee of future return, and we're not guaranteed to see positive earnings surprises this season. The size of negative earnings revisions is unusually large as companies were forced to account for slower economic growth and volatile oil prices. However, we can remain hopeful that the historical trend will hold.

As we look toward the official start of earnings season this week, we can count on seeing some winners and losers. While energy companies will likely be hit hard by petroleum prices, financial firms and medical firms may see outsized performance. Though we can't predict the market, we can stay alert for opportunities amid the potential volatility.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Treasury Budget
Tuesday: PPI-FD, Retail Sales, Business Inventories
Wednesday: Empire State Mfg. Survey, Industrial Production, Housing Market Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Beige Book, Treasury International Capital
Thursday: Housing Starts, Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey
Friday: Consumer Price Index, Consumer Sentiment


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Wholesale inventories edge up in February. Warehouse stocks of products for sale rose slightly in February, indicating that businesses may not be restocking aggressively because of weak sales.[5]

Import prices fall in March. The cost of imported goods fell last month as rising oil costs were offset by declining prices elsewhere. Import prices are a major contributor to inflation calculations and weak inflation may delay the Fed's interest rate increases.[6]

Weekly jobless claims rise less than expected. The number of Americans filing for new unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, bringing the four-week average to the lowest level since 2000. These numbers suggest that the slow job growth in March was a seasonal fluke.[7]

Oil prices stabilize on production plateau. Global oil prices rose for the fourth straight week on expectations that drilling production will stabilize and the supply glut will recede. The number of oil rigs in the U.S. has dropped significantly, indicating that domestic production may be topping out.[8]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://www.cnbc.com/
  2. http://tinyurl.com/kmt7qdp
  3. http://www.reuters.com/
  4. http://www.zacks.com/
  5. http://www.cnbc.com/
  6. http://www.reuters.com/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
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April 6, 2015 - Stocks End Q1 Flat

After a volatile winter, stocks ended the quarter about where they started. Oil prices, a strong dollar, and concerns about interest rates contributed to the volatility and uncertainty remains as we enter the second quarter. For the quarter, the S&P 500 gained 0.47%, the Dow lost 0.32%, and the NASDAQ gained an outsized 3.68%.[1]

What are some of the factors that affected market performance in Q1?

Economic growth data suggested that the economy might have slowed at the beginning of the year. After a strong third quarter of 2014, the economy lagged in the final three months of the year, clocking in just 2.2% growth. Overall, the economy grew 2.4% in 2014, up from 2.2% in 2013.[2] While we don't have official first quarter GDP numbers, unofficial estimates suggest that economic growth may have ground to a halt in the first quarter.

Though 0.0% GDP growth isn't great news, keep in mind that the economy shrank 2.1% in the first quarter of 2014 and then rebounded to grow 4.6% in the second quarter and 5.0% in the third quarter.[3] There's no guarantee that we'll see a repeat of last year's trend, but warmer spring weather may translate into stronger consumer spending and housing market activity.

Much of the slowdown in growth can be attributed to the effects of the strong dollar and weak oil prices. While cheap oil is a windfall to U.S. consumers who benefit from lower pump prices, volatile prices are hitting domestic oil producers hard. The strong U.S. dollar, which gained over 15.0% on the euro last quarter, has also affected demand for U.S. products.[4]

Investors were also concerned about weak overseas growth, which is affecting corporate profits. The U.S. economy has disengaged from global growth and is leaving many other economies behind. Though domestic demand is strong, lagging economic growth in Europe and other economies is complicating the global growth picture. However, the European Central Bank has stepped up to undertake its own quantitative easing program and we can hope that Eurozone growth will accelerate.[5]

The labor market continued to make important strides last quarter, adding over half a million new jobs. The overall unemployment rate dropped to 5.5% - the lowest rate in six years. Wage growth also picked up as employers were forced to offer higher pay to attract workers.[6] However, the March jobs report shows that the economy created just 126,000 new jobs, less than half of February's gain and the smallest gain in over a year.[7] Was March just an off month because of oil prices and a cold winter? That's the question the Fed will need to answer as it ponders future interest rate moves.

What could act as headwinds in the weeks and months to come?

The Federal Reserve has been a big player over the last few months and speculation around future monetary policy decisions will likely cause market volatility in the coming weeks and months. Now that economy-stimulating bond purchases have ended, the Fed is planning to raise interest rates sometime this year. Though March's disappointing jobs report may give Fed economists pause for thought, interest rate changes may cause investors to get nervous. We know that the Fed is carefully monitoring data and will make only gradual changes to rates, so we can hope that market reactions will be brief.

Markets are running high, with the S&P 500 closing within 5.0% of its all-time high for 56 of the 61 trading days last quarter. Such strong investor optimism can sometimes presage a pullback as investors pause to take stock of the market environment. Is a pullback certain? Certainly not. We don't have any way to predict what will happen so we focus on setting reasonable goals, managing risk, and keeping a careful eye on market movements.

Bottom line: Though many domestic economic fundamentals are strong going into the spring, weak oil prices, a resurgent dollar, and stagnant overseas growth could cloud the picture. As Q1 earnings trickle in, positive surprises could translate into additional market upside. However, earnings estimates have come down in recent weeks and corporate profits may be affected by rising wages and slower growth.[8]

Since we can't know where markets are going with any certainty, we recommend staying focused on your long-term goals and keeping short-term performance in perspective. We are continuously monitoring markets and are prepared to make changes as conditions warrant.

If you have any questions about your investment strategy, please give us a call. We'd be delighted to discuss it with you.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: ISM Non-Mfg. Index
Tuesday: JOLTS
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Minutes
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Import and Export Prices, Treasury Budget


Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Consumer spending flat in February. Spending by U.S. consumers barely moved in February as savings levels rose to their highest levels in more than two years. While this may affect economic growth in the first quarter, it may bode well for future spending.[9]

Motor vehicle sales edge upward in March. Consumer demand for new vehicles picked up slightly last month. Sales were driven largely by demand for foreign cars and big trucks and SUVs from domestic manufacturers.[10]

Factory orders surge in February. Despite the strong U.S. dollar, new orders for manufactured goods unexpectedly rose 0.2% in February after six straight months of declines. Excluding volatile transportation orders, factory orders rose 0.8%.[11]

U.S. trade deficit narrows. The gap between imports and exports narrowed in February as a strong dollar and a labor dispute at one of America's main ports affected trade. The small deficit may raise first quarter GDP estimates.[12]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://goo.gl/LHCQBB
  2. http://www.foxbusiness.com/,
    http://www.businessinsider.com/
  3. http://www.forbes.com/,
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/
  4. Historical USD/EU daily bid rates between 1/1/15 and 3/31/15
    http://www.oanda.com/
  5. http://www.bloomberg.com/
  6. http://www.bls.gov/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  8. http://www.zacks.com/
  9. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  10. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  12. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
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March 30, 2015 - Stocks Retreat Ahead of Earnings

Markets lost ground again last week, giving up most of the previous week's gains as investors tread water ahead of earnings season. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 2.23%, the Dow fell 2.29%, and the NASDAQ dropped 2.69%.[1]

Though markets were choppy all week, stocks closed slightly higher on Friday after remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reassured investors that the path to higher interest rates would be gradual and data-driven.[2] Investors also got a look at the final Q4 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reading, which showed that the economy grew just 2.2% in the last three months of the year.[3] While this isn't a bad number by any stretch, economic growth cooled significantly from the 5.0% growth seen in the third quarter.[4] Overall, the economy grew 2.4% in 2014, up from 2.2% in 2013.[5]

Investors care about GDP reports because they provide the most comprehensive scorecard about the overall health of the economy. Since healthy economic growth helps boost corporate profits, over the long run, stock market performance tends to mirror economic performance. In the short term, as we have seen, markets can behave unpredictably even during periods of positive economic growth.

Digging deeper into the GDP data, we see that strong consumer spending, exports, and business investment were strong last quarter. However, the economy cooled because of higher imports and lower federal government spending.[6] Bottom line: The economy was fundamentally on very stable footing at the end of the year. Though we don't have first quarter GDP numbers yet, it's clear that the Fed feels comfortable enough about the economy to think about raising rates.

The holiday-shortened week ahead is packed with important economic data and marks the end of the first quarter. Analysts will be looking particularly closely at Friday's March jobs report, which will add fuel to the debate around when the Fed will raise interest rates. A report that shows healthy improvement in the labor market might signal that the economy is robust enough to withstand rate hikes. We expect markets to remain volatile going into earnings season as investors wait to see how U.S. companies did in the first three months of the year.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Personal Income and Outlays, Pending Home Sales Index, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Chicago PMI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: Motor Vehicle Sales, ADP Employment Report, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: International Trade, Jobless Claims, Janet Yellen Speaks 8:30 AM ET, Factory Orders
Friday: Employment Situation, U.S. Stock Market Closed

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Durable goods orders drop in February. Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods like cars, electronics, and appliances sank 1.4% last month. The drop indicates that U.S. companies were cautious about weak global demand.[7]

Consumer sentiment falls in March. A measure of confidence among U.S. consumers fell, indicating that Americans may be worried about their prospects this quarter.[8]

Existing home sales rebound less than expected in February. While sales rose last month, a persistent shortage of available properties restrained selling activity. Though warmer weather should boost sales, higher prices stemming from low housing inventory might curb buyers' appetites.[9]

New home sales jump in February. Sales of new single-family homes surged last month to the highest level in seven years. The rush of sales despite the cold winter is a hopeful sign for the housing market.[10]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

    1. http://goo.gl/6Cuc7Q
    2. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
    3. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/
    4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/

 

  1. http://www.businessinsider.com/
  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/
  3. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  4. http://www.reuters.com/article
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries
  6. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy
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March 23, 2015 - What Will the Fed Do Gradually?

Markets finally snapped their three-week losing streak and rebounded as investors bought the dip and rallied after a Fed meeting. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.66%, the Dow rose 2.13%, and the NASDAQ added 3.17%.[1]

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee met last week and issued a statement that supports future interest rate hikes. Though rates won't come up at the next meeting in April, a June hike is possible if the economic tea leaves show continued improvement.[2]

What could an interest rate hike mean for markets? While we can't predict the future, we can look backwards to see what hints history can provide. Back in June 2013, then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke started talking about the need to gradually trim back bond-buying operations. This "taper talk" led to a brief selloff of 5% as jittery investors started worrying about how the economic recovery would survive without the Fed's easy money.[3]

What's happened since then? The Fed started tapering (wrapping up in October 2014), the unemployment rate has continued to fall, and the economy continues to expand. Since the day in 2013 that Bernanke announced his tapering intentions, the S∓P 500 has gained 29.41% and has reached multiple all-time highs along the way.[4]

Right now, investors are experiencing similar rate hike jitters as they adjust to the new reality of higher interest rates. While we don't know how soon the Fed will start hiking rates, we do know that they'll do it in a gradual way. Will interest rate hikes torpedo the economic recovery? No. Will they affect short-term market performance? Probably.

We can't control market performance. All we can do is focus on your personal goals, keep an eye on the overall environment, and stay flexible and on the lookout for opportunities that arise.

As we approach the end of the quarter, we can expect more market volatility as investors weigh the effects of another cold winter on economic growth and corporate earnings. Analysts will also be waiting for Friday's final estimate of fourth quarter 2014 economic growth as well as follow-up comments from Fed economists who might give further insight into the timing of rate hikes.

 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Existing Home Sales
Tuesday: Consumer Price Index, PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, New Home Sales
Wednesday: Durable Goods Orders, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: GDP, Consumer Sentiment

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

HEADLINES:

Jobless claims hold steady. The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits edged up slightly to 291,000 last week. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, increased to 304,750, dropping 7.5% over the last year.[5]

Foreclosures fall to lowest rate since 2006. The number of properties going into foreclosure fell in February to levels not seen since before the housing crisis. Since 2006 marked the peak of the housing bubble, the low in foreclosures may be an important milestone for the housing market.[6]

Homebuilder confidence dips in February. A measure of optimism among U.S. builders fell unexpectedly last month as construction firms worried about industry issues. However, builders are still broadly confident about housing market gains.[7]

Manufacturing growth slows. Though overall U.S. industrial production increased in February due to increased utility output during the cold winter, manufacturing gains have slowed over the last six months. A strong U.S. dollar may be contributing to falling overseas demand.[8]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

  1. http://goo.gl/ZCdiha
  2. http://www.cnbc.com/
  3. http://www.ftportfolios.com/
  4. S&P 500 performance between 6/19/2013 and 3/20/2015;
  5. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  6. http://www.cnbc.com/
  7. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com/
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March 16, 2015 - We've Come a Long Way

Markets ended another week down after mixed economic data, lower oil prices, and a strengthening dollar made investors nervous ahead of the next Federal Reserve meeting. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.86%, the Dow fell 0.60%, and the NASDAQ dropped 1.13%[1]

The dollar became the focus of a lot of speculation last week when it reached multi-year highs against a weakened euro.[2] The return of "King Dollar" worries many analysts because it means that foreigners can afford to buy fewer U.S. goods, depressing demand for many U.S. firms and cutting into profits. On the other hand, a stronger dollar makes imports cheaper and increases the buying power of U.S. consumers, which has been historically good for the economy.[3]

Speaking of history, Monday, March 9, 2015 marked the sixth anniversary of the current bull market, which began on March 9, 2009. Though markets have been turbulent in recent weeks, let's take a moment to think about how far we've come since the dark days of the financial crisis. Since the bottom of the stock market, the S&P 500 has gained 203.52%, surpassing previous market highs along the way.[4]

We've seen major improvements in economic fundamentals as well. Since peak unemployment of 10.0% in October 2009, the unemployment rate has dropped nearly in half to 5.5% as of last month. With millions of Americans back to work and contributing to the economy, economic growth has also made significant gains. From the fourth quarter of 2008, when Real Gross Domestic Product decreased at an annual rate of 6.3%, the economy has improved, reaching 5.0% annualized growth in the third quarter of 2014 and 2.2% (estimated) growth in the fourth quarter.[5,6]

Bottom line: Economic fundamentals have come a long way and there are plenty of factors that support continued equity growth. That's not to say that there aren't headwinds that may affect market performance in the future. The Federal debt debate is rearing its ugly head again in Washington as lawmakers square off about the Treasury debt ceiling, which will be breached this week.[7] We're also approaching the end of the first quarter and investors will be looking toward corporate earnings releases to see how U.S. companies performed. Markets may remain choppy as investors take stock of current fundamentals and try to predict how policy changes may affect markets.

This week, analysts will be closely watching the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, which is one of the most important we've had since last year. Though we don't expect the central bank to raise rates this week, investors should know a lot more about the Fed's plans once the meeting is over.[8]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

 

Monday: Empire State Mfg. Survey, Industrial Production, Housing Market Index, Treasury International Capital
Tuesday: Housing Starts
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Meeting Announcement, Chair Press Conference, FOMC Forecasts
Thursday:Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey

 

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Retail sales fall in February. U.S. retail sales dropped for a third straight month, surprising many analysts who counted on job growth and cheap gasoline to boost sales. Harsh winter weather may be keeping shoppers at home, depressing retail spending numbers.[9]

Weekly jobless claims drop more than expected. The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits fell last week, erasing much of the previous weeks' increases. Economists suspect seasonal factors are at play and that the labor market continues to improve.[10]

Consumer sentiment slides for fourth straight month. American consumers ratcheted back their optimism about the U.S. economy in early March, though temporary factors may be affecting data. While affluent Americans remain confident about the future, lower and middle-income consumers are worried about their prospects.[11]

Weekly mortgage applications drop. A sharp increase in mortgage rates last week caused a corresponding drop in mortgage applications. Both mortgage applications and refinancing activity fell as buyers responded to higher rates.[12]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

  1. http://goo.gl/7Sznvj
  2. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  3. http://www.cnbc.com
  4. S&P 500 performance between 3/9/09 and 3/13/15; http://goo.gl/0WjzFB
  5. http://www.bea.gov
  6. http://www.bea.gov
  7. http://thehill.com
  8. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  9. http://www.cnbc.com
  10. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  11. http://www.foxbusiness.com
  12. http://www.cnbc.com/
Continue reading
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March 9, 2015 - Markets Slide on Fed Fears

Markets closed Friday with losses after a turbulent week as investors began to worry that strong labor market growth might signal rate hikes next quarter. For the week, the Dow fell 1.52%, the S&P 500 dropped 1.58%, and the NASDAQ lost 0.73%[1]

The February jobs report showed that the economy is creating jobs hand over fist, gaining 295,000 new jobs last month. Unemployment fell to 5.5% and hourly wages also gained slightly.[2] February is the twelfth month in a row that the economy has added more than 200,000 new jobs, which is a great sign for the labor market.[3]

Perversely, markets responded to the news with a selloff because a strong February jobs report increases the likelihood that the Fed might begin raising rates soon. With concerns about interest rate hikes, we're back to the good-news-is-bad-news investor sentiment we saw in previous years during Fed tapering activities. Positive news for the economy makes investors nervous because of how the Fed will respond.

After more than five years of near-zero rates, investors are worried about what will happen to markets (and the economy) when easy money is harder to come by. Are investors right to worry about higher rates? Raising rates is like taking the training wheels off a bike; now that indicators show the economy is doing well, the Fed wants to get back to "normal" interest rate policies. However, changing policies creates uncertainty and investors fear rate hikes might trigger a slide in markets. Though markets tend to follow the economy over the long term, in the short-term, changes in the economic environment can cause markets to swing.

Though many analysts are speculating about a June rate increase, hikes are not certain. Fed chair Janet Yellen has repeatedly emphasized that Fed decisions are data-dependent, and she has a history of telegraphing Fed moves well in advance. Traders will be closely watching the mid-March Open Market Committee meeting and noting any changes of language that might signal an imminent interest rate increase.[4]

Looking ahead, though the week is light on economic events, some important consumer data is due to be released. Analysts will focus on retail sales, consumer sentiment, and producer prices to gauge whether Americans are opening their wallets and supporting economic growth.[5]

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Tuesday: JOLTS
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, Treasury Budget
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories
Friday: PPI-FD, Consumer Sentiment

 

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

HEADLINES:

Chinese exports surge, beating expectations. Exports from Chinese producers soared in February, increasing 48.3% over the previous February. Though seasonal effects may be distorting the data, the increased demand bodes well for the world's second-largest economy.[6]

Treasury Secretary warns about a new debt ceiling deadline. The U.S.' top finance official warned Congress that the government will hit its statutory debt limit on March 16, pushing the Treasury into "extraordinary measures" to finance spending. Unless Congress raises the limit, the Treasury will run out of cash in October or November.[7]

U.S. oil rig count lowest since April 2011. Oil companies continue to trim operations in response to low oil prices. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. continued to fall last week, reaching multi-year lows.[8]

U.S. service sector activity ticks upward. A measure of growth in the services sector - which includes industries like financial services, retail, and food service - increased more than expected in February. Stronger growth could signal an increase in demand for services.[9]


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.


Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since