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Market Commentary - Week of 5/20/13

PlanningWorks Presents:

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

   

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

 

- Anne Frank

 

 

WEEKLY TIP

       

Set aside a half-hour to organize your financial documents. It makes sense for tax season, and it makes sense all year.  

 

 

WEEKLY RIDDLE

     

What should the next number be in this series: 103, 107, 109, 113, 127 ...

 

  

Last week’s riddle:

I can’t be captured or held, and I certainly am not seen ... yet I can occasionally be heard, and I am often all around you. What am I?

 

Last week’s answer:

The wind.

 

 

Week of May 20, 2013

 

SUBDUED INFLATION IN APRIL

Consumer and producer prices retreated last month. The federal government’s Consumer Price Index fell 0.4%, a monthly descent unseen since December 2008; the Producer Price Index declined 0.7%, its biggest monthly drop in three years. Consumer prices also fell for a second straight month; the last time that happened was in late 2008. The core CPI did rise 0.1% in April; the yearly gain in the overall CPI was just 1.1%.1

  

THREE MORE POSITIVE SIGNS FOR THE ECONOMY

The University of Michigan’s initial May consumer sentiment survey came in at 83.7 – its highest level since July 2007, 7.3 points above the final April mark. After falling 0.2% for March, the Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading indicators rose 0.6% for April. Census Bureau data showed retail sales ticking up 0.1% in April and 3.7% in the past year.2,3

 

HOUSING STARTS PLUNGE, BUILDING PERMITS SOAR

While the year-over-year increase was 13.1%, housing starts plummeted 16.5% in April, largely due to a 37.8% drop in apartment starts. On the other hand,  last month brought a 14.3% rise in building permits ... marked by a 40.6% jump in permits for apartment construction.4

   

BULLS KEEP RUNNING

The S&P 500 is now on a 4-week winning streak. It rose another 1.98% last week to settle at 1,666.12 Friday. Complementing that 5-day gain, the NASDAQ went +1.82% last week while the DJIA went +1.56%; at Friday’s closing bell, the NASDAQ settled at 3,498.97 and the Dow at 15,354.40. A truly impressive factoid: the NASDAQ and S&P have gained 1% or more in each of the past four weeks.5

  

THIS WEEK: Monday brings earnings from Campbell Soup, TiVo and Urban Outfitters. On Tuesday, Best Buy, Home Depot, Medtronic, Vodafone, Saks, TJX and NetApp announce quarterly results. Wednesday, NAR releases its report on April existing home sales, the Federal Reserve releases the May 1 FOMC minutes, and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before Congress; Staples, L Brands, PetSmart, Toll Brothers, Target, Lowe’s and Hewlett-Packard post earnings. The Census Bureau report on April new home sales appears Thursday, along with the March FHFA housing price index and earnings from Dollar Tree, Gamestop, Ralph Lauren, Sears Holdings, Gap, Ross Stores, Aeropostale and Pandora. Friday offers the April durable goods orders report and Q1 results from Abercrombie & Fitch.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+17.17

+23.40

+3.65

+7.69

NASDAQ

+15.88

+24.36

+7.67

+12.74

S&P 500

+16.82

+27.69

+3.38

+7.64

REAL YIELD

5/17 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.31%

-0.35%

1.41%

1.84%

 


Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov - 5/17/135,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

 

 

Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues.
If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address.
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Why Don't More People Know About MLPs?

WHY DON’T MORE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT MLPs?

 

They’ve outperformed stocks for over a decade.

 

Presented by PlanningWorks

 

Investors are looking everywhere for better yields – but how many of them look into Master Limited Partnerships? Many investors have never heard of MLPs. Others have, but assume they are complex and esoteric. That’s too bad, because these investments are capable of generating consistent, sizable dividends. In reality, investing in MLPs isn’t that mysterious. They trade on public exchanges, and today there are even MLP mutual funds and ETFs.

 

MLPs have outperformed the S&P 500 in 11 of the past 12 years. In fact, they have left stocks in the dust in terms of annualized total returns. From 2002-2011, the average yearly total return for MLPs approached 16%, compared to less than 5% or less each for the S&P 500 and the DJIA.1

 

Market Commentary - Week of 5/13/13

PlanningWorks Presents:

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

   

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

 

- Lord Byron

 

 

WEEKLY TIP

       

While no one likes to think about their funeral, preplanned or prepaid funeral arrangements may be a financially smart move and may relieve your heirs of some stress when the time comes.

 

 

WEEKLY RIDDLE

     

I can’t be captured or held, and I certainly am not seen ... yet I can occasionally be heard, and I am often all around you. What am I?

 

  

Last week’s riddle:

I protect you. I sit on a bridge. You can see through me. People walking by might wonder what I hide. What am I?

 

Last week’s answer:

A pair of sunglasses.

 

 

Week of May 13, 2013

 

HOW IS THIS EARNINGS SEASON TURNING OUT?

At the closing bell on May 10, 90% of S&P 500 firms had reported quarterly results. According to Reuters, 67% of them have surpassed earnings forecasts and 24% have fallen short of projections. Should the remaining 50 components report results matching estimates, earnings will be up 5.3% on last year. Sales gains are another story: just 46% of companies reporting so far have beaten their revenue forecasts.1,2

  

FED RAMPS UP ITS FINANCIAL SCRUTINY

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday that the central bank was now keeping close tabs on the “shadow banking” sector that bred the toxic assets associated with the last credit crisis. At the Chicago Fed’s banking conference, he noted that “careful monitoring for signs of emerging vulnerabilities” constituted “probably our best defense against complacency during extended periods of calm”. In widening its oversight, the Fed is also watching asset markets, consumers and businesses for signs of systemic risk in addition to banks.3

 

OIL MOVES HIGHER, GOLD LOSES GROUND

COMEX gold retreated 1.76% last week, and that was mirrored by silver’s 1.25% weekly loss; the dollar gained 1.25% across five days. NYMEX crude rose 0.45% for the week. At Friday’s close, oil settled at $96.04 and gold at $1,443.30.4

   

ANOTHER WEEK OF GAINS, MORE ALL-TIME HIGHS

The Dow went +0.97% last week to close at 15,118.49 Friday – a record high. The S&P 500 gained 1.19% last week to settle at another all-time peak of 1,633.70 Friday. After a 1.72% weekly gain, the NASDAQ ended Friday’s trading session at 3,436.58.1

  

THIS WEEK: The Commerce Department issues its April retail sales report Monday, and Anglogold Ashanti and Take Two Interactive announce Q1 results. Nothing major is scheduled for Tuesday. Wednesday, the April PPI comes out plus the May NAHB housing index and data on April industrial output; earnings from Macy's, Cisco and Deere & Co. also appear. Thursday, April’s CPI arrives along with the latest initial claims figures, data on April housing starts and building permits, and a wave of earnings mostly from major retailers (Kohl's, Wal-Mart, Nordstrom, JCPenney, Autodesk, Marvell Tech and Applied Materials). Friday brings the preliminary May consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan and the Conference Board’s April leading indicators index.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+15.37

+17.61

+3.73

+7.57

NASDAQ

+13.81

+17.14

+8.11

+12.61

S&P 500

+14.55

+20.30

+3.54

+7.50

REAL YIELD

5/10 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.45%

-0.25%

1.39%

2.00%

 


Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov - 5/10/131,5,6,7

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

 

 

Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues.
If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address.
We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.

 

 

Can Stocks Advance Further Without a Weak Dollar?

Are we seeing the early signs of a dollar bull run?

 

Provided by PlanningWorks

 

What happened to the weak buck? In recent years, stock market gains have been associated with a weak dollar (among other factors). This latest rally on Wall Street seems to be an exception: years of dollar weakness may be giving way to renewed foreign investment in U.S. currency, spurred by global belief that things are getting better in America.

 

If the trend keeps up, it threatens to toss a wet blanket on a sizzling market. As the Dow and S&P 500 have logged gains, so has the U.S. Dollar Index. The USDX is up since the start of February, and it reached a six-month peak against a basket of foreign currencies on March 13. On that day, the euro sank to a three-month low against the dollar while the yen approached a four-and-a-half-year low against the buck.1,2

 

Does money buy happiness… or doesn’t it?

Many years ago, Richard Easterlin, a Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California, studied the relationship between happiness and money. He found that, over shorter periods of time, happiness and income tend to move in tandem. “Happiness tends to fall in economic contractions and rise in expansions.”

Over longer periods of time, he found satisfaction with life (i.e., happiness) had little relationship to rates of economic growth (i.e., people having more money). The conclusion was once people have enough money to meet basic needs, they are as happy as they are going to be.

Market Commentary - Week of 5/6/13

PlanningWorks Presents:

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

   

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

 

- Pablo Picasso

 

 

WEEKLY TIP

       

Retiring in the near future? A monthly retirement budget is a good idea – and so is a current budget that establishes a schedule for paying down debts and reducing costs before you enter into a new phase of life.

 

 

WEEKLY RIDDLE

     

I protect you. I sit on a bridge. You can see through me. People walking by might wonder what I hide. What am I?

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

How can you name three consecutive days without mentioning the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday?

 

Last week’s answer:

Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

 

 

Week of May 6, 2013

 

UNEMPLOYMENT EDGES DOWN TO 7.5%

April brought a rebound in hiring. Employers added 165,000 jobs, and so the unemployment rate reached a four-year low. (The Labor Department also revised March’s job gains upward to 138,000.) Payrolls have now expanded by an average of 189,000 jobs a month during the last six months.1

  

CONSUMER SPENDING, OUTLOOK IMPROVE

Household spending increased 0.2% in March, the Commerce Department noted – part of a broader 3.2% advance for the first quarter. The Conference Board’s April consumer confidence index soared 6.2 points to 69.1, far exceeding the 61.0 consensus forecast of economists polled by Bloomberg.2

 

STRONG SIGNALS OF A HOUSING COMEBACK

Home equity is definitely being restored: the latest 20-city S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (February) shows a 9.3% year-over-year increase, the largest annual gain recorded in six years. The National Association of Realtors reported a 1.5% March gain in its pending home sales index, with the yearly gain at 7.0%.2,3

 

IS MANUFACTURING COOLING DOWN?

The Institute for Supply Management’s April factory index came in at 50.7 last week, the weakest reading in nine months and down from 0.6 from March. ISM’s April service sector index also declined 1.3 points off the March reading of 53.1.4

   

S&P TOPS 1,600, FED REASSURES INVESTORS

Last week brought major gains for the Dow (+1.78% to 14,973.96), S&P 500 (+2.03% to 1,614.42) and NASDAQ (+3.03% to 3,378.63). On May 1, the Federal Reserve said it would keep buying $85 billion in bonds per month for the near future, noting that the pace of asset purchases could even increase if needed.5

  

THIS WEEK: Tyson Foods, Sysco, Anadarko and First Solar report quarterly results Monday. Tuesday, the market awaits earnings from WholeFoods, Walt Disney, Trip Advisor, HSBC, DirecTV, Electronic Arts, Marathon Oil, Symantec, Live Nation, WebMD and Zillow. Wednesday, earnings are in from Liberty Interactive, Green Mountain Coffee, Activision Blizzard, AOL, Sodastream, Wendy's, Toyota, Liberty Media, Groupon, Monster Beverage, NewsCorp, Tesla Motors and Transocean. Thursday brings a report on March wholesale inventories, the latest initial jobless claims figures, and quarterly results from Sony, Nvidia, Dish Network, Priceline.com and Dean Foods. On Friday, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at a Chicago banking conference and ArcelorMittal and GoldFields announce earnings.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+14.27

+13.38

+2.93

+7.45

NASDAQ

+11.89

+11.72

+7.28

+12.48

S&P 500

+13.20

+16.01

+2.84

+7.36

REAL YIELD

5/3 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.53%

-0.27%

1.53%

2.19%

 


Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov - 5/3/135,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

 

 

Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues.
If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address.
We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.

 

 

Mistakes Families Make With 529 Plans

Mistakes Families Make with 529 Plans

5 common errors to avoid + 2 big factors to consider.

 

Provided by PlanningWorks

 

Most families that start 529 college savings plans have done their “homework” about these programs. Missteps are made, though, often with the distribution of 529 plan assets. Here are some of the major gaffes, and the major factors anyone should think about before enrolling.

 

Assuming a university will withdraw 529 plan assets for you. When the time comes, you have to tell the 529 plan that you need the money and specify the payee. Typically, a 529 program offers you either a check written out to you, to your student, or a payment made directly from the 529 plan to the university. There are two big reasons why a check made payable to the student may be the best option.

 

Market Commentary - Week of 4/29/13

PlanningWorks Presents:

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

   

“You can be standing right in front of the truth and not necessarily see it, and people only get it when they’re ready to get it.”

 

- George Harrison

 

 

WEEKLY TIP

       

The first step to saving money is to figure out where you are spending it. Break down essential and inessential costs in your life.

 

 

WEEKLY RIDDLE

     

How can you name three consecutive days without mentioning the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday?

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

What has a tail and head, but no body?

 

Last week’s answer:

A coin.

 

 

Week of April 29, 2013

 

Q1 GDP COMES IN AT 2.5%

The initial estimate of first quarter growth from the Bureau of Economic Analysis disappointed some analysts who had expected 3% expansion or better. Personal consumption and inventory accumulation were the prime sources of growth. Personal spending rose 3.2% in the quarter, but real disposable personal income fell 5.3%, which led the personal savings rate to slip to 2.6% from 4.7% in Q4. The big picture? The economic recovery is definite, but still sluggish. Overall durable goods orders dropped 5.7% in March, according to the Commerce Department.1,2

  

EXISTING HOME SALES FALL; NEW HOME SALES RISE While March brought a 0.6% dip in residential resales, the National Association of Realtors also noted the 10.3% gain in the pace of home buying from a year before. The Census Bureau reported a 1.5% gain in new home sales last month, with the year-over-year improvement in the sales pace at 18.5%.3

 

CONSUMERS GROW MORE POSITIVE AS APRIL ENDS

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast April’s final consumer sentiment reading from the University of Michigan to rise mildly to 73.2. Instead, it jumped to 76.4. That was still underneath the final March mark of 78.6.4

 

STOCKS KEEP ADVANCING

Across a volatile week, the Dow went +1.13% to settle at 14,712.55 Friday. The NASDAQ (+2.28% to 3,279.26) and S&P 500 (+1.74% to 1,582.24) also improved. At Friday’s close, about half of S&P 500 companies had reported quarterly results; just 42% had surpassed revenue forecasts, but 69% had beaten earnings expectations.4

  

THIS WEEK: The March consumer spending report arrives Monday, plus NAR’s March pending home sales figures and earnings from Hartford Financial, Newmont Mining and Buffalo Wild Wings. Tuesday offers the Conference Board’s April consumer confidence poll, February’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and Q1 results from Pfizer, Aetna, UBS, Deutsche Bank, BP, NYSE Euronext, Sirius XM, US Steel and DreamWorks. Wednesday brings ADP’s April employment report, ISM’s April manufacturing index, a policy statement from the Federal Reserve, and earnings from Facebook, Visa, Allstate, Comcast, MasterCard, Merck, Time Warner, CVS, Chesapeake Energy, Clorox, Humana, CBS, Marriott, MetLife and Yelp. Earnings from Kellogg, GM, Royal Dutch Shell, Beazer Homes, AIG and Kraft Foods come out Thursday, plus April’s Challenger job cut report. On Friday, the Labor Department’s April employment report arrives along with ISM’s April service sector index and quarterly results from Berkshire Hathaway.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+12.27

+11.42

+2.82

+7.71

NASDAQ

+8.60

+7.50

+7.07

+12.86

S&P 500

+10.94

+13.02

+2.64

+7.60

REAL YIELD

4/26 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.68%

-0.29%

1.60%

2.18%

 


Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov - 4/26/134,5,6,7

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

 

 

Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues.
If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address.
We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.

 

 

Market Commentary - Week of 4/22/13

PlanningWorks Presents:

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

   

“Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”

 

- Aristotle

 

 

WEEKLY TIP

       

By maintaining an updated business projection sheet outlining expected income and expenses, you can keep a lender posted on how your small business is progressing.

 

 

WEEKLY RIDDLE

     

What has a tail and head, but no body?

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

You have 31 baseballs in a box. You have 31 kids lined up to get them. You give each kid a baseball, but at the end, one baseball remains in the box. How is this possible?

 

Last week’s answer:

As you give the last baseball away, you give it away within the box – that is, the 31st kid to get a baseball also gets the box.

 

 

Week of April 22, 2013

 

INFLATION DECLINES

Consumer prices retreated 0.2% in March as fuel costs fell, a sea change from the 0.7% rise in the Consumer Price Index seen in February. (Labor Department data did show a 0.1% rise in core CPI.) Annualized consumer inflation was at 1.5% in March, down half a percent in a month. Year-over-year inflation hasn’t been so mild since July, and that is reassuring news for the Federal Reserve.1

  

SURPRISE DIP FOR LEADING INDICATORS

After six straight months of advances, the Conference Board’s index of leading indicators unexpectedly retreated 0.1% for March. It had risen 0.5% across January and February. As for anecdotal evidence of the economy’s health, the latest Fed Beige Book noted “moderate” expansion, adding that household spending “grew modestly” even with the payroll tax hike and higher gas prices.2

 

HOUSING STARTS UP 7.0% IN MARCH

The Commerce Department noted that they reached a 1.04 million annual rate last month, a pace last seen in June 2008. While single-family projects dipped 4.8% in March, apartment starts jumped 31.0% to their highest level since January 2006.1

 

VOLATILITY KEEPS STOCKS IN CHECK

The CBOE VIX rose 24.13% last week, and the DJIA (-2.14% to 14,547.51), NASDAQ (-2.70% to 3,206.06) and S&P 500 (-2.11% to 1,555.25) basically gave back the gains realized from April 8-12. NYMEX crude lost 3.1% last week to settle Friday at $88.01; COMEX gold fell another 7.1% last week to $1,395.60 at Friday’s close.3,4,5

  

THIS WEEK: Monday brings earnings from Netflix, Caterpillar, Halliburton, Hasbro, Zions Bancorp, STMicro and Texas Instruments, and the NAR presents a new existing home sales report. Tuesday, the Census Bureau provides data on March new home sales, the latest FHFA housing index appears, and Discover Financial, Panera Bread, Delta Airlines, United Tech, DuPont, Travelers, Amgen, Apple, AT&T, Broadcom, Cree and Yum! Brands announce earnings. Wednesday, the Commerce Department reports on March durable goods orders; Credit Suisse, Akamai, GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays, Boeing, Ford, Eli Lilly, P&G, Sprint Nextel, Qualcomm, Aflac, Cabot Oil & Gas and Zynga are out with earnings. Starbucks, Coinstar, ExxonMobil, 3M, ConocoPhillips, Altria, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers, UPS, Altera, Baidu and Expedia report quarterly results Thursday; new weekly jobless claims figures also appear. The BEA publishes its first estimate of Q1 GDP Friday, which is also when the final April University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey arrives; complementing those releases, DR Horton, Honda and Chevron announce earnings.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+11.01

+12.21

+2.64

+7.45

NASDAQ

+6.18

+6.60

+6.68

+12.49

S&P 500

+9.05

+12.95

+2.37

+7.40

REAL YIELD

4/19 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.59%

-0.21%

1.45%

2.22%

 


Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov - 4/19/133,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

 

 

Please feel free to forward this article to family, friends or colleagues.
If you would like us to add them to our distribution list, please reply with their address.
We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.

 

 

Annual Financial Check-Up

The Annual Financial Check-Up

Don’t ignore it. Here’s why.

 

Presented by PlanningWorks

 

Here’s the scenario … you get a card in the mail, one of those little reminders that tells you it’s time for your annual financial checkup. Your reaction: I’ll take care of that later. Here’s why you should look forward to it.

 

Why do I need an annual review? Because things change, and during the course of the last 12 months, you may have … changed jobs, made major purchases, welcomed a new child, retired, bought or sold a residence, decided upon new goals. These developments can change your financial objectives. Also, it is just sensible to measure your financial progress. If you are not making progress in accumulating assets, or if you are assuming too much risk as a result of your current portfolio or financial decisions, it’s time for change.

 

The annual review is a “deep breath” where you can get away from daily distractions and think clearly about financial planning.

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