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Will You Be Hit by the Medicare Surtax?

WILL YOU BE HIT BY THE MEDICARE SURTAX?

 

Market Commentary - Week of 4/15/13

PlanningWorks Presents:

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

   

“Find somebody else to run your business on a day-to-day basis.”

 

- Richard Branson

 

 

WEEKLY TIP

       

While home equity and life insurance may present you with sources of retirement income, they do not represent “retirement plans.”

 

 

WEEKLY 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 riddle:

They have not flesh, nor feathers, nor scales, nor bone. Yet they have fingers and thumbs of their own. What are they?

 

Last week’s answer:

Gloves.

 

 

Week of April 15, 2013

 

HOUSEHOLDS BOUGHT LESS LAST MONTH

Retail sales were down 0.4% in March, according to the Commerce Department. This unanticipated dip was the deepest retreat in nine months. Even with volatile car and truck sales factored out, the March decline remained 0.4%.1

  

CONSUMER SENTIMENT SLIPS

The University of Michigan’s overall index of consumer sentiment came in at 72.3 in its preliminary April reading – down significantly from the final March mark of 78.6. Last month’s imposed federal budget cuts may have had an effect.1

 

PRODUCER PRICE INDEX DOWN 0.6%

Cheap gasoline was the big factor. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2% retreat in the PPI for March, but the decline in pump prices made more of an impact. Core PPI (with food and energy costs subtracted) rose 0.2% last month.1,2

 

GOLD ENTERS A BEAR MARKET

Friday, the precious metal settled at $1,501.40 on the COMEX after a 4.1% one-day plunge. Futures fell 4.7% across last week. The April 12 settlement price was 20.5% below the record close of $1,888.70 notched on August 22, 2011.3

 

STOCKS CLIMB 2% IN A WEEK

Unfazed by soft economic indicators, Wall Street was in a buying mood last week. After a 2.29% gain in five days left the S&P 500 at 1,588.85 at Friday’s close, investors wondered if the index would top 1,600 soon. The Dow (+2.06% to 14,865.06), NASDAQ (+2.84% to 3,294.95) and Russell 2000 (+2.12% to 942.85) all advanced impressively on the week.2

  

THIS WEEK: Monday, Citigroup presents Q1 results and a new NAHB Housing Market Index appears. The March CPI arrives Tuesday, along with numbers on March housing starts and earnings from Coca-Cola, Yahoo!, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Northern Trust, US Bancorp, Intel and CSX. Wednesday, the Federal Reserve offers its latest Beige Book and Wall Street awaits earnings from American Express, Bank of NY Mellon, Abbott Labs, Bank of America, eBay and SanDisk. The Conference Board’s March index of leading indicators comes out Thursday, G20 finance ministers meet, and Chipotle, United Health, E-Trade, Philip Morris, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, Verizon, Nokia, Peabody Energy, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Capital One report earnings. Friday, earnings from Schlumberger, McDonald’s, GE and Honeywell round out the week.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+13.44

+14.46

+4.12

+8.12

NASDAQ

+9.12

+7.83

+8.77

+14.25

S&P 500

+11.41

+14.51

+3.84

+8.30

REAL YIELD

4/12 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.68%

-0.22%

1.19%

2.23%

 


Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov - 4/12/132,4,5,6

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 4/8/13

PlanningWorks Presents:

 

WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE

 

 

 

WEEKLY QUOTE

   

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

 

- George Washington

 

 

WEEKLY TIP

       

In a divorce, a 50-50 split of marital assets is not always “fair”. One spouse may have much greater income potential than the other, and that should be considered in a settlement.

 

 

WEEKLY RIDDLE

     

They have not flesh, nor feathers, nor scales, nor bone. Yet they have fingers and thumbs of their own. What are they?

 

 

Last week’s riddle:

Which positive whole number can you add 1.5 to and get the same result as you do when you multiply it by 1.5?

 

Last week’s answer:

3.

 

 

Week of April 8, 2013

 

JUST 88,000 NEW JOBS?

In the wake of the Labor Department’s disappointing March employment report, puzzled analysts tried to figure out the reasons for such poor job growth. Did businesses fear the impact of the federal budget cuts in March and scale back hiring? Were there fewer food service, retail and temporary job openings? (More than 7% of Americans work in food service jobs, and temp work has made up a larger share of employment in recent years.) Was it seasonal, since hiring also declined in spring 2011 and spring 2012? Would the number later be revised upward? Whatever the cause(s), the message was troubling. The jobless rate dipped to 7.6%, but that was because of fewer jobseekers – the labor force participation rate was 63.3% in March, a 34-year low.1

  

ISM: BUSINESS ACTIVITY SLOWED IN MARCH

In another disconcerting development, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing and service sector PMIs both retreated last month. ISM’s manufacturing PMI fell to 51.3 from the previous 54.2, while its non-manufacturing PMI dipped 1.6 points to 54.4. On the upside, the Commerce Department did note a 3.0% rise in factory orders in February.2,3

 

OIL & GOLD MOVE LOWER FOR THE WEEK

NYMEX crude settled at $92.70 a barrel Friday, representing a 4.7% five-day loss. COMEX gold gained 1.5% Friday to end the week at $1,575.90 an ounce but still slipped 1.2% last week.4

 

CAUTION ON WALL STREET

The jobs report and North Korea’s ongoing threats gave investors pause last week, and so the Dow (-0.09% to 14,565.25), NASDAQ (-1.95% to 3,203.86) and S&P 500 (-1.01% to 1,553.28) all lost ground. Still, it was only the second down week in the past seven for the Dow.5

  

THIS WEEK: Alcoa kicks off the Q1 earnings season after Monday’s closing bell, and Ben Bernanke speaks on stress testing banks Monday night. Nothing major is scheduled for Tuesday. Wednesday, the March 20 FOMC minutes will be made public and CarMax, Constellation Brands and Bed Bath & Beyond report earnings. Thursday brings the latest initial jobless claims report from the Labor Department plus earnings from Rite Aid, JB Hunt and Pier 1 Imports. Friday, March’s PPI and March retail sales data arrive, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan report earnings, the University of Michigan’s preliminary April consumer sentiment survey appears, and Ben Bernanke delivers an afternoon speech at the Fed’s development conference.

 

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+11.15

+11.52

+3.10

+7.60

NASDAQ

+6.11

+4.00

+7.03

+13.16

S&P 500

+8.91

+11.10

+2.67

+7.67

REAL YIELD

4/5 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.74%

-0.08%

1.18%

2.16%

 


Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov - 4/5/135,6,7,8

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.

 

 

Market Commentary - Week of 4/1/13

The Markets

U.S. stock markets finished the week – and the quarter – on a positive note.

The Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy and strong profit growth helped provide the lift needed to propel the S&P 500 Index to a record high. The Dow Jones Industrials Index also finished the week above its previous record close. For the quarter, the S&P 500 was up about 10 percent, the Dow was up about 11.3 percent, and the NASDAQ finished up about 8.2 percent.

Market Commentary - Week of 3/25/13

The Markets

Like a not-quite-dead villain in a horror film, the Eurozone crisis raised its ugly head again last week, scaring investors and causing many stock markets to close flat or slightly down for the week, according to Barron’s. Investors’ worries strengthened demand for Treasuries, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond lower.

The hero of last week’s drama might have been the United States which delivered a plethora of stronger economic data that included a steady decline in unemployment claims, an increase in factory activity, and a rise in existing home sales. The positive news suggested that the U.S. economy was gaining momentum. In addition, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated the Fed’s commitment to accommodative monetary policy. He set the expectation short-term interest rates will stay at exceptionally low levels until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent. Some believe that could happen in 2015.

Market Commentary - Week of 3/18/13

The Markets

Like winded runners, stock markets slowed at the end of last week.

Since the start of the year, the Dow Jones Industrials Index has risen by almost 11 percent, hurdling past new highs several times. The S&P 500 Index gained 9.4 percent over the same period. The index moved higher in 10 of the past 11 weeks and finished last week just shy of its all-time high. However, the Dow and the S& P’s momentum – and that of some other U.S. stock markets – slowed on Friday as stronger economic data was offset by an unexpected slump in consumer sentiment.

Market Commentary - Week of 3/11/13

The Markets

During periods of strong market performance, like the one we’ve experienced since the end of last year, it’s important to remember that markets ebb and flow over time. Since December 31, 2012, the Dow Jones Industrial Index has gained 9.9 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 8.8 percent. Last week, the Dow reached highs last seen during 2007, and the S&P 500 ended the week less than one percent from its record high, which was also realized during 2007.

While the strong performance of U.S. stock markets has given investors reason to smile, significant economic challenges remain. The effect of sequester spending cuts on the American public and economic growth remains relatively unknown. Also, U.S. earnings growth appears to be slowing and that could affect stock prices. (Earnings are a measure of a company’s profitability and influence its share price.)

Market Commentary - Week of 3/04/13

The Markets

It was a bumpy week for stock markets. Early on, markets in many countries were negatively affected by the outcome of Italian elections. Italy’s anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo, won about one-fourth of the votes in both the country’s upper and lower houses. Markets lost value as investors anticipated political gridlock could delay Italian economic reforms. Since Italy is the third largest economy in Eurozone and its public debt is significantly higher than its Gross Domestic Product, political stalemate in Italy could negatively affect the Eurozone.

As the week progressed, events in Italy were eclipsed. Ben Bernanke reiterated the U.S. Federal Reserve’s intention to keep monetary policy loose until unemployment levels drop. This helped stock markets recover some lost ground. Positive economic news, including higher pending home sales and a rise in consumer sentiment helped push the Dow Jones Industrials, NASDAQ, and Standard & Poor’s 500 Indices even higher, and they finished the week in positive territory.

Market Commentary - Week of 2/25/13

The Markets

Like Canadian geese migrating in anticipation of winter, stock markets moved south last week in anticipation of monetary tightening. Minutes from the January Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting were released mid-week. After reviewing them, many analysts decided that quantitative easing may begin to taper off before the end of the year. Not everyone agreed with this interpretation; however, it caused major U.S. stock markets, as well as some Asian and European stock markets, to dip lower. Many markets recovered ground before Friday, but in the U.S., only the Dow Jones Industrial Index finished the week with a gain.

Market Commentary - Week of 2/19/13

The Markets

Stocks delivered mixed performance last week. The Dow Jones Industrials and NASDAQ Indices moved lower while the Standard & Poor’s 500 and Russell 2000 Indices moved higher for the week. Stocks were helped by positive economic news in the United States, including modestly positive retail sales for January, improved consumer sentiment, and a decline in initial jobless claims. However, these positives were offset to some extent by concerns about weakness overseas. Germany reported that its economy contracted during the fourth quarter of 2012. It’s the country’s worst economic performance since 2009.

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