Articles tagged with: S&P 500

The Long Ascent of the S&P 500

The index has overcome obstacle after obstacle through the years.

No one knows what will happen tomorrow on Wall Street. Even the most esteemed analysts can only make educated guesses. As the old saying goes: past performance is not indicative of future results.

All that said, the market has had many more positive years than negative years. The history of the S&P 500 is worth considering in light of recent market volatility. The S&P is the broad benchmark that economists, journalists, and investors regard as shorthand for the “market.” As the S&P 500 includes about 500 companies, it represents overall market performance better than the 30-component Dow Jones Industrial Average.

If you look at the annual returns of the S&P since 1928, you will see a long ascent with periodic interruptions, and a historical affirmation of equity investment. Looking at the total returns of the S&P (with dividends reinvested), the numbers are even more impressive.

The S&P advanced in 63 of the 87 years from 1928-2014. The average total return during those 63 profitable years was 21.5%. The average total return during the 24 down years was not as bad: -13.6%.1

The index has endured only four multi-year slumps in this 87-year period: 1930-31, 1940-41, 1973-74 and 2000-02. As for extremes, the total return for 1954 was 52.56%; the total return for 1931 was -43.84%.2

Narrowing the time frame a bit to reflect the investing experience of baby boomers, the S&P advanced in 31 of the 40 years from 1975-2014.3

Have market gains typically outpaced inflation? Looking at data since 1950, the answer is yes. Only in the 1970s and 2000s did U.S. equities climb less than consumer prices. The nadir came in the 1970s, when yearly inflation averaged 7.4% while the S&P’s average price return was 1.6% and its average total return was 5.8%. Contrast that with the 1990s. In that decade, the annual price return for the index averaged 15.3%, the average total return 18.1%; mean yearly inflation was just 2.9%.4

When it seemed like the market was coming apart, the S&P recovered. As the oil crisis and inflation threatened to unglue venerable economies in the 1970s, the S&P posted total returns of -14.31% in 1973 and -25.90% in 1974. Then it roared back, gaining 37.00% in 1975 and 23.83% in 1976. When the dot-com bubble burst, the total return was -11.85% in 2001, -21.97% in 2002; after that, the S&P’s next two annual total returns were +28.36% and +10.74%. When the credit crunch and the Great Recession occurred, the index delivered an abysmal -36.55% total return in 2008; the next year, the total return improved to +25.94% and stayed positive through 2014.2

The S&P’s compound returns are especially encouraging. In studying the index’s compound annual returns, we get a solid understanding of how staying in the market has benefited the U.S. equity investor. Average returns are interesting, yet they do not factor in cumulative gains or losses over a given period.

Examining 40-year performance periods for the S&P from 1928-2014, the poorest such period had a compound return of 8.9%. The best 40-year “window” had a 12.5% compound return. Using an even narrower “window,” we find that the best 15-year stretch was from 1985-99, producing a compound return of 18.3%. The poorest 15-year stretch occurred before many of today’s investors were born: the interval from 1929-43 had a compound annual growth rate of just 0.6%.1

The compound return across 1928-2014 is 9.8%, in simplest terms meaning that a $100 investment in shares of S&P 500 firms in that year would have grown to $346,261 in 2014.1,*

The correction we have just witnessed looks momentary indeed in the light cast by these “windows” of time.

The lesson? Stay patient & keep the big picture in mind. Before this latest correction, the market had been comparatively calm for so long (the previous 10% drop happened nearly four years ago), investors had almost forgotten what a correction felt like. Moreover, that 2011 correction was the culmination of a three-month market descent; it was not so abrupt.5

We cannot predict tomorrow, but we can take comfort (and encouragement) from the history of the market and how well the S&P 500 has performed over time.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email: mikem@cfgiowa.com

Website: www.cfgiowa.com

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

 * This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rates of return used do not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

 The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index which cannot be invested into directly. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. Past performance is not guarantee of future results.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

Citations.

1 – marketwatch.com/story/understanding-performance-the-sp-500-in-2015-02-18 [2/18/15]

2 – pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html [1/5/15]

3 – 1stock1.com/1stock1_141.htm [8/27/15]

4 – simplestockinvesting.com/SP500-historical-real-total-returns.htm [8/27/15]

5 – cnbc.com/2015/08/21/the-associated-press-qa-what-a-stock-market-correction-means-to-you.html [8/21/15]

Long-Term Investment Truths

Key lessons for retirement savers.

You learn lessons as you invest in pursuit of long-run goals. Some of these lessons are conveyed and reinforced when you begin saving for retirement, and others you glean along the way.

First & foremost, you learn to shut out much of the “noise.” News outlets take the temperature of global markets five days a week (and even on the weekends), and fundamental indicators serve as barometers of the economy each month. The longer you invest, the more you learn to ride through the turbulence caused by all the breaking news alerts and short-term statistical variations. While the day trader sells or buys in reaction to immediate economic or market news, the buy-and-hold investor waits for selloffs, corrections and bear markets to pass.

You learn how much volatility you can stomach. Volatility (also known as market risk) is measured in shorthand as the standard deviation for the S&P 500. Across 1926-2014, the yearly total return for the S&P averaged 10.2%. If you want to be very casual about it, you could simply say that stocks go up about 10% a year – but that discounts some pronounced volatility. The S&P had a standard deviation of 20.2 from its mean total return in this time frame, which means that if you add or subtract 20.2 from 10.2, you get the range of the index’s yearly total return that could be expected 67% of the time. So in any given year from 1926-2014, there was a 67% chance that the yearly total return of the S&P might vary from +30.4% to -10.0%. Some investors dislike putting up with that kind of volatility, others more or less embrace it.1

You learn why liquidity matters. The older you get, the more you appreciate being able to quickly access your money. A family emergency might require you to tap into your investment accounts. An early retirement might prompt you to withdraw from retirement funds sooner than you anticipate. If you have a fair amount of your savings in illiquid investments, you have a problem – those dollars are “locked up” and you cannot access those assets without paying penalties. In a similar vein, there are some investments that are harder to sell than others.

Should you misgauge your need for liquidity, you can end up selling at the wrong time as a consequence. It hurts to let go of an investment when the expected gain is high and the Price-to-Earnings ratio is low.

You learn the merits of rebalancing your portfolio. To the neophyte investor, rebalancing when the market is hot may seem illogical. If your portfolio is disproportionately weighted in equities, is that a problem? It could be.

Across a sustained bull market, it is common to see your level of risk rise parallel to your return. When equities return more than other asset classes, they end up representing an increasingly large percentage of your portfolio’s total assets. Correspondingly, your cash allocation shrinks as well.

The closer you get to retirement, the less risk you will likely want to assume. Even if you are strongly committed to growth investing, approaching retirement while taking on more risk than you feel comfortable with is problematic, as is approaching retirement with an inadequate cash position. Rebalancing a portfolio restores the original asset allocation, realigning it with your long-term risk tolerance and investment strategy. It may seem counterproductive to sell “winners” and buy “losers” as an effect of rebalancing, but as you do so, remember that you are also saying goodbye to some assets that may have peaked while saying hello to others that you may be buying at the right time.

You learn not to get too attached to certain types of investments. Sometimes an investor will succumb to familiarity bias, which is the rejection of diversification for familiar investments. Why does he or she have 13% of the portfolio invested in just two Dow components? The investor just likes what those firms stand for, or has worked for them. The inherent problem is that the performance of those companies exerts a measurable influence on the overall portfolio performance.

Sometimes you see people invest heavily in sectors that include their own industry or career field. An investor works for an oil company, so he or she gets heavily into the energy sector. When energy companies go through a rough patch, that investor’s portfolio may be in for a rough ride. Correspondingly, that investor has less capacity to tolerate stock market risk than a faculty surgeon at a university hospital, a federal prosecutor, or someone else whose career field or industry will be less buffeted by the winds of economic change.

You learn to be patient. Even if you prefer a tactical asset allocation strategy over the standard buy-and-hold approach, time teaches you how quickly the markets rebound from downturns and why you should stay invested even through systemic shocks. The pursuit of your long-term financial objectives should not falter – your future and your quality of life may depend on realizing them.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at phone# 641-782-5577 or email: rsmlbyer@mchsi.com

Website: www.cfgiowa.com

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification and Asset Allocation do not protect against market risk.

Standard deviation is a historical measure of returns relative to the average annual return. A higher number indicates higher overall volatility.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. 

Citations.

1 – fc.standardandpoors.com/sites/client/generic/axa/axa4/Article.vm?topic=5991&siteContent=8088 [6/4/15]

How Might Higher Inflation Affect Your Investments?

With the Fed poised to gradually raise rates, this is worth considering.

America once experienced something called “moderate inflation.” It may seem like a distant memory, but it could very well return in the second half of this decade.

A remote possibility? Most economists think the Fed will start raising interest rates in late 2015 and take them higher in 2016 through a series of incremental hikes – a march toward normal monetary policy, in which the Fed funds rate ranges between 3-5%. Once the Fed begins tightening, it usually keeps at it – as an example, the central bank raised rates 17 times during 2003-06 alone.1

Keep in mind that there are two forms of interest rates. Short-term interest rates are mainly controlled by Fed policy. Long-term interest rates ride on the bond market’s expectations. Still, short-term rate hikes have an effect on investors as well as lenders. They influence the mood and outlook of Wall Street; they affect interest rates on credit cards, some home loans and short-term savings vehicles.

What if moderate inflation resumes & the Fed reacts? What might higher inflation (and correspondingly higher interest rates) mean for your portfolio? Under such conditions, your investments may perform better than you think.

Equities should still be attractive. The ascent of the federal funds rate should be gradual over the next couple of years, and the market may price it in. A climbing federal funds rate need not become a market headwind. Remember that as the Fed authorized all those rate hikes in the mid-2000s, the market pushed toward all-time highs. When it becomes apparent that the Fed has taken rates too high, then Wall Street tends to adopt a defensive mindset.

Fixed-income investments may hold up well. It is true, long-term bonds may lose market value in a market climate with rising interest rates (though this will eventually promote additional income for investors with patience). Many investors may see wisdom in a fixed-income ladder, which means putting money into fixed-income securities with staggered maturity dates, typically from one to five years away. As interest rates gradually increase, you can gradually take advantage by replacing the shortest-term security with a medium-term or longer-term security. (Some of the other kinds of fixed-income investments, which have been earning next to nothing, may start to become more attractive; we might see interest-earning checking and savings accounts make a full-fledged comeback.)

In the big picture, consider how unimpeded the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index (in shorthand, the S&P 500 of the bond market) was in prior rising-rate environments. In the six such instances during the past 40 years (and these periods lasted 2-5 years), T-bill rates increased between 2.3-11.9% while the total annual return for the index ranged from 2.6-11.9%, with most of those total returns varying between 4-6%. For the record, the index posted a total return of 5.97% in 2014.2

So, gradually increasing inflation might not hold back the return on your portfolio. Your portfolio aside, what steps could you take that may put you in a better financial position as inflation normalizes?

You may want to adjust your spending habits. If consumer prices start rising notably, you may decide to spend less and buy less often. You may want to buy durable goods such as cars now rather than later in the decade. You may also want to make your house more energy-efficient, drive vehicles that get better MPG, and take full advantage of your health care coverage – as energy, fuel, and medical costs often rise faster than others.

You could live with less debt. As determined by Bankrate.com, the average credit card currently carries a 15.91% interest rate. Can you imagine that going higher? It almost certainly will when the Fed makes its move. Credit card interest rates are based on the prime rate; movements in the prime rate closely mirror movements in the federal funds rate. Credit card issuers frequently adjust interest rates upward right after the central bank does.3

Lastly, remember the upside to rising inflation. A larger annual increase for the Consumer Price Index implies a boost in Social Security income for seniors, and rising interest rates will translate to appreciable yields for risk-averse savers.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email rsmlbyer@mchsi.com

Website: www.cfgiowa.com

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is an index of the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, including both government and corporate bonds.

Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.

No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. 

Citations.

1 – news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=705846 [7/16/15]

2 – marketwatch.com/story/how-your-bond-portfolio-can-survive-higher-rates-2015-04-23 [4/23/15]

Why Well Diversified Portfolios Have Lagged the S&P

Some investors have seen minimal returns compared to the benchmark.

Diversification is essential, yet it comes with trade-offs. Investors are repeatedly urged to allocate portfolio assets across a variety of investment classes. This is fundamental; market shocks and month-to-month volatility may bring big losses to portfolios weighted too heavily in one or two classes.

Just as there is a potential upside to diversification, there is also a potential downside. It can expose a percentage of the portfolio to underperforming sectors of the market. Last year, that kind of exposure affected the returns of some prudent investors.

Sometimes diversification hinders overall performance. The stock market has performed well of late, but very few portfolios have 100% allocation to stocks for sensible reasons. At times investors take a quick glance at stock index performance and forget that their return reflects the performance of multiple market segments. While the S&P 500 rose 11.39% in 2014 (13.69% with dividends), other asset classes saw minor returns or losses last year.1

As an example, Morningstar assessed fixed-income managers for 2014 and found a median return of just 2.35% for domestic high yield strategies. The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index advanced 5.97% in 2014 (that encompasses coupon payments and capital appreciation), while the Citigroup Non-U.S. World Government Bond index lost 2.68%.1,2

Turning to some very conservative options, the 10-year Treasury had a 2.17% yield on December 31, 2014; at the start of last year, it was yielding 3.00%. As March began, Bankrate found the annual percentage yield for a 1-year CD averaged 0.27% nationally, with the yields on 5-year CDs averaging 0.87%; last year’s average yields were similar.3,4  

Oil’s poor 2014 affected numerous portfolios. Light sweet crude ended 2014 at just $53.27 on the NYMEX, going -45.42% on the year. (In 2008, prices peaked at $147 a barrel). Correspondingly, the Thomson Reuters/CRB Commodities Index, which tracks the 19 most watched commodity futures, dropped 17.9% in 2014 after slips of 5.0% in 2013, 3.4% in 2012 and 8.3% in 2011. At the end of last year, it was at the same level it had been at the end of 2008.5,6

The longstanding MSCI EAFE Index (which measures the overall performance of 21 Morgan Stanley Capital International indices in Europe and the Asia Pacific region) lost 7.35% for 2014. At the end of last year, it had returned an average of 2.34% across 2010-2014. So on the whole, equity indices in the emerging markets and the eurozone have not performed exceptionally well last year or over the past few years.7

All this is worth considering for investors wondering why their highly diversified, cautiously allocated portfolios lagged the main U.S. benchmark. It may also present a decent argument for tactical asset allocation – the intentional, responsive shift of percentages of portfolio assets into the best-performing sectors of the market. Whether an investor favors that kind of dynamic strategy or a buy-and-hold approach with a far-off time horizon in mind, it is inevitable that some portion of portfolio assets will be held in currently lagging or underperforming investment classes. This is one of the trade-offs of diversification. In some years – such as 2014 – being ably diversified may result in less-than-desired returns.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com 

website:  www.cfgiowa.com

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

*Tactical allocation may involve more frequent buying and selling of assets and will tend to generate higher transaction cost. Investors should consider the tax consequences of moving positions more frequently.

**There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – qz.com/320196/its-over-stocks-beat-bonds/ [1/2/15]

2 – tinyurl.com/oq6cb7w [2/23/15]

3 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldYear&year=2014 [3/3/15]

4 – bankrate.com/funnel/cd-investments/cd-investment-results.aspx?prods=15,19 [3/3/15]

5 – money.cnn.com/data/commodities/ [12/31/14]

6 – nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11387661 [1/17/15]

7 – mscibarra.com/products/indices/international_equity_indices/gimi/stdindex/performance.html [12/31/14]

Pullback Perspective

This latest stock market pullback has provided an unwelcome reminder that stocks do not always go up in a straight line. Even within powerful bull markets such as this one, pullbacks of 5 – 10% have been quite common and do not mean the bull market is nearing an end. In this week’s commentary, we attempt to put the pullback into perspective. We look beyond this latest bout of volatility and share our thoughts on the current bull market, compare it with prior bull markets at this stage, and discuss why we do not think it’s coming to an end.

Pullbacks Don’t Mean the End of the Bull Market

Pullbacks such as this one, which has reached 5%, have been normal. Sometimes stocks get ahead of themselves. When they do, investor concerns can be magnified and profit taking might take stocks down more than might be justified by the fundamental news. We see this latest pullback as normal within the context of an ongoing and powerful bull market and do not see its causes (European and Chinese growth concerns, the rise of Islamic State militants, Ebola, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, etc.) as justifying something much bigger.

The S&P 500 has now experienced 19 pullbacks during this 5.5-year-old bull market, during which the index has risen by 182% (cumulative return of 217% including dividends). The 1990s bull market included 13 pullbacks; there were 12 during the 2002 – 2007 bull market. At an average of three to four pullbacks per year, we are in-line with history. We understand the nervousness out there, but what we have just experienced looks pretty normal at this point.

When volatility has been so low for so long, normal volatility does not feel normal. Investors have become unaccustomed to what we would characterize as normal volatility. While most of the 5% drop came in a short period of time last week (October 6 –10), the level of volatility experienced last week is not at all uncommon within an ongoing economic expansion and bull market. Volatility tends to pick up as the business cycle passes its midpoint, which we believe it has. Reaching this stage just took longer than many had expected during the current cycle.

Also, keep in mind that the 335 drop in the Dow Jones Industrials that we experienced on Thursday, October 9, 2014, is not as dramatic as it once was. That loss was less than 2%, with the Dow near 17,000 when it occurred, compared with 3 – 4% losses associated with that number of points on the Dow earlier in the recovery.

These pullbacks do not mean the end of the bull market is near, nor does the fact that we have not had a 10% or more correction since 2011. In fact, most bull markets since World War II included only one correction of 10% or more, and the current bull has already had two (2010 and 2011). We do not believe the current economic and financial market backdrop has sufficiently deteriorated for the pullback to turn into a bear market, as we discuss below.

Why This Pullback Is Unlikely to Get Much Worse

So why do we think this pullback is unlikely to turn into a bear market? There are number of reasons:

• The economic backdrop in the United States remains healthy. Gross domestic product (GDP) is growing at above its long-term average, providing support for continued earnings growth; the U.S. labor market has created 2 million jobs over the past year; and the drop in oil prices may support stronger consumer spending.
• Our favorite leading indicators, including the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI), the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Index, and the yield curve, suggest that the bull market may likely continue into 2015 and beyond, with a recession unlikely on the immediate horizon.
• The European Central Bank (ECB) is likely to add a dose of monetary stimulus to spark growth in Europe, the source of much of the global growth fears that have driven recent stock market weakness. China stands ready to invigorate its economy as well.
• Interest rates, and therefore borrowing costs for corporations, remain low. The Federal Reserve (Fed) is in no hurry to raise interest rates.
• Valuations have become more attractive. Price-to-earnings ratios (PE) have not reached levels that suggest the end of the bull market is forthcoming, based on history. We view PEs, which have fallen about 0.5 points from their recent peak, as reasonable given growing earnings and low interest rates.
• The S&P 500 is marginally above its 200-day moving average at 1905. Historically, this level has proven to be strong support. Although the index may dip slightly below this level in the near term, we expect the range around that level (1900 – 1910) to provide strong support for the index again and would not expect it to stay below that range for very long.

Bull Markets Don’t Die of Old Age

The current bull market is one of the most powerful ever at this stage, just over 5.5 years in. Since March 9, 2009, when the current bull market began, the S&P 500 has risen 182% (total cumulative return of 217%), topping all other bull markets since World War II at this stage. The 1949 and 1982 bull markets were close, with gains of 170% and 163% (respectively) at this stage, but were not quite as strong.

So does that mean that this bull market is too old and should end? We don’t think so. Bull markets die of excesses, not old age, and we do not see the excesses that characterize an impending bear market. The labor markets are not strong enough yet to generate significant upward pressure on wages to drive inflation. U.S. factories have excess capacity. As a result, the Fed is unlikely to start hiking interest rates until the middle of 2015, and rate hikes are likely to be gradual. It will likely take numerous hikes to slow the U.S. economy enough to tip it into recession (and invert the yield curve), which is unlikely to come until at least 2016. We do not see stock valuations or broad investor sentiment as excessive. We expect this bull market to complete its sixth year in March 2015 and believe there is a strong likelihood that it continues well beyond that date.

Conclusion
We do not believe the volatility seen in recent weeks, which is in-line with historical trends, is an early signal of a recession or bear market. Nor do we think the age of this bull market means it should end, given the favorable economic backdrop, central bank support, and reasonable valuations. Although we will continue to watch our favorite leading indicators for warning signs of something bigger, we think this latest bout of volatility is nothing more than a normal, though unwelcome, interruption within a long-term bull market. We maintain our positive outlook for stocks for the remainder of 2014 and into 2015.

Mike Moffit may be reached at phone# 641-782-5577 or email: mikem@cfgiowa.com
Website: cfgiowa.com

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance reference is historical and is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Price-to-earnings ratio is a valuation ratio of a company’s current share price compared to its per-share earnings.
INDEX DESCRIPTIONS
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure
performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

China, Ukraine & the Markets

Dow drops again, analysts wonder. March 13 saw another triple-digit descent for the blue chips – the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 230 points, the second market day in less than two weeks to witness a loss of 150 points or greater. The S&P 500’s (small) YTD gain was also wiped out by the selloff. As the bull market enters its sixth year, it faces some sudden and potentially stiff headwinds, hopefully short-term.1,2

In Ukraine, the situation is fluid. As the trading week ended, much was unresolved about the nation’s future. The parliament of its autonomous Crimea region had announced a March 16 referendum, which gave voters two options: rejoin Russia, or break away from Ukraine and form a new nation.3

Ukraine’s government calls the referendum unconstitutional. The United States and key European Union (EU) members agree and claim it violates international law. Russia welcomes the vote – 60% of the Crimean Peninsula’s population is made up of ethnic Russians, and Russian troops more or less control the region now.3

Russia wants the real estate (its Black Sea naval fleet is based on the Crimean Peninsula) and could spread its economic influence further with the annexation of that region. The cost: economic sanctions, probably harsh ones. Should diplomacy fail to stop the secession vote, then Russia can expect “a very serious series of steps Monday in Europe and [the United States],” according to Secretary of State John Kerry.3

So far, the moves have been largely symbolic: a suspension of the 2014 G8 summit and the talks on Russia’s entry into the OECD, and asset freezes for individuals and companies deemed to be hurting democracy in Ukraine. Additional “serious” steps could include financial sanctions for Russian banks, an embargo on arms exports to Russia, and the EU opting to get more of its energy supplies from other nations. Russia could respond in kind, of course, with similar asset freezes and possible pressure on eurozone companies doing business in Ukraine. The fact that Russia has already staged war games near Ukraine adds another layer of anxiety for global markets.4

Investors see China’s growth clearly slowing. Its exports were down 18.1% year-over-year in February. Analysts polled by Reuters projected China’s industrial output rising 9.5% across January and February, but the gain was actually just 8.6%. The Reuters consensus for a yearly retail sales gain of 13.5% for China was also way off; the advance measured in February was 11.8%. These disappointments bothered Wall Street greatly on Thursday. The news also roiled the metals market – copper fell 1.3% on March 13, its third down day on the week.

Besides being the world’s top copper user, China also employs the base metal as collateral for bank loans.1,5,6

As Chinese Premier Li Keqiang noted on March 13, the nation’s 2014 growth target is 7.5%; the respected (and very bearish) economist Marc Faber told CNBC he suspects China’s growth is more like 4%. The upside, Faber commented, is that “4 percent growth in a world that has no growth is actually very good.”6

Will the bull market pass the test? It has passed many so far, and it is just several days away from becoming the fifth-longest bull in history (outlasting the 1982-7 advance). Bears wonder how long it can keep going, referencing a P-E (price-to-earnings) ratio of 17 for the S&P 500 right now (rivaling where it was in 2008 before the downturn), and the 1.9% consensus estimate of U.S. Q1 earnings growth in Bloomberg’s latest survey of Wall Street analysts (down from a 6.6% forecast when 2014 began).1

Then again, the weather is getting warmer and the new data stateside is encouraging: February saw the first rise in U.S. retail sales in three months, and jobless claims touched a 4-month low last week. Maybe Wall Street (and the world) can keep these signs of the U.S. economic rebound in mind as stocks deal with momentary headwinds.1

Michael Moffitt may be reached at 1-800-827-5577 or email: mikem@cfgiowa.com
Website: www.cfgiowa.com

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and, securities are offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment advice offered through Advantage Investment Management, a registered investment advisor and a separate entity from LPL Financial.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries. It cannot be invested into directly.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (the ‘Dow’) is comprised of 30 stocks that are major factors in their industries and widely held by individuals and institutional investors.

The P/E ratio (price-to-earnings ratio) is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual net income or profit earned by the firm per share. It is a financial ratio used for valuation: a higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying more for each unit of net income, so the stock is more expensive compared to one with lower P/E ratio.

International and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.
1 – bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-12/nikkei-futures-fall-before-china-data-while-oil-rebounds.html [3/12/14]
2 – ajc.com/feed/business/stock-market-today-dow-jones-industrial-average/fYjPS/ [3/3/14]
3 – cnn.com/2014/03/13/politics/crimea-referendum-explainer/ [3/13/14]
4 – uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/13/uk-ukraine-crisis-factbox-idUKBREA2C19L20140313 [3/13/14]
5 – cnbc.com/id/101492226 [3/13/14]
6 – cnbc.com/id/101489500 [3/13/14]

Is your portfolio ready for 2014?

Since we’re nearly 5 years removed from the bottom that the S&P 500 index set on March 9, 2009, it’s probably a good time to reexamine where we are and whether or not we’re looking at a possible correction again. Of course, everyone has their own opinion on this and at this point it IS just OPINIONS. But facts (or lack of facts) usually back up a person’s opinions, so let’s try looking at some of the facts and see how those opinions are formed.
First, let’s look at the positives. The economy looks to be growing, albeit slowly. Total retail sales in the USA in calendar year 2013 were $5.085 trillion, up +4.2% from its total in 2012, according to Michael A. Higley’s “By the Numbers” 2/24/14 newsletter. The early February Federal Reserve meeting, the Fed committed to continuing the reduction in bond purchases, with an additional $10 billion reduction in quantitative easing bond purchases. That could indicate the Federal Reserve believes the economy is getting stronger. Their language about conditions and business/consumer spending was generally more optimistic.
The STOXX Europe 600 Index posted a third straight week of gains and climbed to its highest level in six years. News about the Eurozone economic recovery has turned increasingly positive. And with earnings season nearly over, S&P Dow Jones Indices says it’s likely that fourth-quarter 2013 earnings for S&P 500 companies will break a record, as they did in each of the preceding three quarters of 2013. This is a little deceiving, however, as I’ll explain shortly.
John Hancock’s most recent Viewpoints newsletter trumpets “Bias towards higher equity prices remain.” Mark Donovan, CFA, says that “at around 1,800, the S&P 500 Index trades at about 16.5 times estimated 2013 earnings,” and as such, “the equity markets look neither cheap nor overvalued.”

So is there anything to worry about?
Some others see some negative factors. LSA Portfolio Analytics sends us their weekly investment committee minutes. They noted many economic indicators came in weaker than expected in February: Empire manufacturing survey, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, the NAHB housing market index. Housing starts for January fell -16.0% and building permits also lost ground, falling -5.4% compared to an expected decline of -1.6%.

Noted economist Harry Dent, who studies the world’s demographic trends as a predictor of future economic trends, thinks we are in a bubble that will burst soon. He cites the fact that margin debt – borrowing money to buy investments, is approaching the high of 2007. Stock buybacks are reaching very high levels as well, as 83% of the S&P 500 companies are buying back their shares compared to 87% in 2007. Stock buybacks artificially inflate earnings per share and can give the illusion that a company’s earnings are growing when they may not be; if a company for instance has $10 of earnings and 10 shares outstanding, that’s $1 of earnings/share. If they buy back 4 shares, now there’s only 6 shares outstanding, so the earnings per share goes up from $1/share to $1.67/share ($10 of earnings/6 shares) even though the earnings themselves did not change.

As for the market itself, since 2000 each successive major correction has only gotten greater. The 2000-2002 crash was nearly a 50% drop in the S&P 500, the 2007-2009 drop was over 55%. If the market drops to that same general level of support as in 2002 and 2009, the drop will be over 63%. Although there are a few exceptions, most bull markets don’t last much longer than 5 years!

While we are not predicting such a drop, we also would not rule it out. Given that anything is possible, we have been suggesting it would be worthwhile to stress test your portfolio against potential negative outcomes.

The Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks and other major hedge funds use stress testing to project their losses in the event of the unexpected. Stress testing is a routine part of our process.
We start by asking questions like, “Historically, what happened to this group of investments when the dollar crashes, the economy falls into recession/depression, or oil prices skyrocket?” We model over 60 scenarios – both positive and negative.
Our model measures the potential impact of these scenarios on investments using history as a guide, providing insight into the historical characteristics of portfolios.
The software then uses this data to project how your investments might react to future scenarios, both positive and negative. When running a stress test, each investment in your portfolio can be tested against 60+ scenarios in this manner, with the results combined and summarized for easy understanding.
You can see how the stress test works by going to www.cfgiowa.com and click on the “Take Your Free Stress Test” button on the home page.
Investing involves risk including loss of principal.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

CFGIowa Monthly Economic Update November 2013

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Will 2013 go in the books as the best year for U.S. stocks since the mid-1990s? It may. At the end of November, the S&P 500 was already up 26.62% YTD – and that was just its price return. November brought more signals of an improving economy, even with a hot housing market cooling off by degrees. The eurozone economy still looked tenuous; China’s economy showed signs of resilience. Prices of gold, oil and other key commodities dropped. Some foreign stock markets outperformed ours, others lost ground. The Federal Reserve made no moves, but its October policy minutes hinted at trimming its monthly bond buying.1

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH

Early in the month, the Labor Department stated that 204,000 new jobs were created in October, better than the average monthly gain of 190,000 seen during the past year. The jobless rate did tick up to 7.3%; at least that was 2.9% lower than the recessionary peak seen in October 2009. Manufacturing and service sectors appeared healthy judging by the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing manager indices (PMI). ISM’s factory sector gauge reached 56.4 in October (and 57.3 in November, marking a sixth straight monthly advance). Its service-sector PMI rose a full point in October to 55.4.2,3,4

November also brought the federal government’s first estimate of Q3 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – a surprisingly good 2.8%. (Analysts polled by MarketWatch had expected a 2.3% reading.) As for the prime factor in GDP, a delayed Commerce Department report on consumer spending noted only a 0.2% gain in September, even as personal incomes increased 0.5%. Retail sales rose a healthy 0.4% in October, however.5,6,7

Respected consumer confidence polls reached different conclusions last month. The Conference Board’s index fell two whole points to 70.4, far underneath the 74.0 reading forecast by Briefing.com. The University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index for the month offered better news, rising to 75.1.8

Annualized inflation was amazingly tame – just 1.0% as of October, thanks to a 0.1% decline in the Consumer Price Index. As for wholesale prices, October’s Producer Price Index showed a 0.2% retreat, and that meant just a 0.3% gain over the past 12 months – the weakest annual wholesale inflation since 2009. Durable goods orders slipped 2.0% in October.7,8,9

As for the Fed, Janet Yellen reassured Wall Street at mid-month with dovish comments at her Senate confirmation hearing, noting that “supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy.” Days later, however, the October Fed policy minutes noted that if indicators affirmed the FOMC’s “outlook for ongoing improvement” in the labor market, it would “warrant trimming the pace of [bond] purchases in coming months.”10,11

Lastly, the White House dealt with the backlash over the launch of HealthCare.gov. Less than 27,000 people had enrolled in the federal online insurance exchange in October due to glitches. A November repair effort left the site running much more smoothly at the start of December; CNN estimates that at the end of last month, total enrollment at HealthCare.gov and the 14 state-run exchanges surpassed 200,000, up from 106,000 at the end of October. Individuals have until December 23 to shop for health coverage effective on January 1.12

GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH

The EU jobless rate descended 0.1% in October to 12.1%. That was the good news. Annualized eurozone inflation hit 0.9% last month, rising from 0.7% for October (a 4-year low); retail sales slipped 0.8% in Germany in October following a 0.2% retreat for September. As for eurozone manufacturing, Markit’s PMI for the region reached 51.3 in October and a 2-year peak of 51.6 in November. Great Britain’s factory PMI hit 58.4 in November, the highest reading since February 2011. Not all was well: manufacturing PMIs showed contraction in Spain (48.6) and France (48.4).13,14

Indian manufacturing expanded for the first month since July in November, with HSBC’s PMI reaching 51.3. China’s official PMI was flat last month at 51.4 while HSBC’s PMI declined 0.1 points to 50.8. HSBC PMI readings for South Korea (50.4), Taiwan (53.4) and Vietnam (50.3) all showed growth in November. Japan’s official data stream showed yearly consumer inflation at just 0.6% and just an 0.9% annualized rise in consumer spending.13,15  

WORLD MARKETS

Performances were quite varied last month. Notable gains: DAX, 4.11%; Nikkei 225, 9.31%; Shanghai Composite, 3.68%; Hang Seng, 2.91%; IPC All-Share, 3.56%; MERVAL, 10.72%; TSX Composite, 0.26%; Global Dow, 1.65%; Europe Dow, 0.73%; DJ STOXX 600, 0.87%; MSCI World Index, 1.59%. These benchmarks racked up November losses: MSCI Emerging Markets Index, 1.56%; Asia Dow, 0.21%; Sensex, 1.76%; ASX, 1.94%; PSE Composite, 5.72%; Jakarta Composite, 5.64%; TAIEX, 0.51%; Bovespa, 3.27%; FTSE 100, 1.20%; CAC 40, 0.11%; RTSI, 5.23%.1,16

COMMODITIES MARKETS

Oil ended November at $92.72 as prices fell 3.57% on the month. Other energy futures posted monthly gains: heating oil, 2.70%; unleaded gasoline, 1.59%; natural gas, 10.69%. Gold sunk 5.46%, silver dropped 9.21%, platinum retreated 5.39% and copper lost 1.94%. COMEX gold settled at a mere $1,250.60 on November 29. As for crops, coffee rose 4.04%, cocoa 4.76%, cotton 2.81% and soybeans 4.39%; sugar lost 5.77% in November, corn 2.92% and wheat 1.80%. The U.S. Dollar Index ended November at 80.68 for a 0.60% monthly gain.17,18

REAL ESTATE

The National Association of Realtors announced that October had seen a 3.2% retreat in the pace of existing home sales – and a 0.6% slip in pending home sales. Countering the news of these declines, September’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index had house prices up 3.2% in Q3 and up 13.3% YTD. October also saw a 6.2% rise in building permits; the annualized gain was 13.9%. (As a consequence of the federal shutdown, new home sales figures for September and October won’t be announced by the Census Bureau until December 4, and the reports on September and October housing starts won’t arrive until December 18.)7,19,20

Between Halloween and November 27, Freddie Mac charted the following mortgage rate movements: 30-year FRMs, 4.10% to 4.29%; 15-year FRMs, 3.20% to 3.30%; 5/1-year ARMs, 2.96% to 2.94%; 1-year ARMs, 2.64% to 2.60%.21

LOOKING BACK…LOOKING FORWARD

Record closes seemed commonplace last month as the major U.S. indices pushed toward these November 29 finishes: DJIA, 16,086.41; NASDAQ, 4,059.89; S&P 500, 1,805.81. The Russell 2000 gained 3.88% last month to end November at 1,142.89; the CBOE VIX declined 0.36% on the month to settle at 13.70 on November 29.1

% CHANGE

YTD

1-MO CHG

1-YR CHG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+22.76

+3.48

+23.53

+6.44

NASDAQ

+34.45

+3.26

+34.79

+10.71

S&P 500

+26.62

+2.80

+27.53

+7.06

REAL YIELD

11/29 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.60%

-0.78%

2.60%

2.03%

Sources: online.wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 11/29/131,22,23

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

These returns do not include dividends.

The S&P 500 has advanced in each of the past five Decembers, and with the bulls seemingly entrenched on Wall Street, there is little reason to think it might not add to its YTD gain this month. In recent years, December has also been a terrific month for the small caps: across 2008-12, the Russell 2000’s average December gain was 5.01%. Then again, Wall Street is a volatile place – and recent FOMC minutes do raise the possibility of the central bank tapering in December and taking some of the air out of any Santa Claus rally. It could be that stocks advance nicely prior to the December 18 Fed policy announcement and limp through the rest of the month. If the latest bicameral budget reduction committee can’t agree on a plan by the middle of December, investors will have more to fret about. Confidence is still prevalent on Wall Street, however, and the year may end nicely indeed for equities.24

UPCOMING ECONOMIC RELEASES: The data stream for the remainder of 2013 is as follows: September and October new home sales, a new Fed Beige Book and the November ISM service sector PMI (12/4), the second estimate of Q3 GDP out of Washington, the November Challenger job-cut report and October factory orders (12/5), the November employment report, October consumer spending figures and the University of Michigan’s initial December consumer sentiment index (12/6), October wholesale inventories (12/10), November retail sales and October business inventories (12/12), the November PPI (12/13), November industrial output (12/16), the November CPI and the December NAHB housing market index (12/17), the latest Fed policy announcement plus data on September, October and November housing starts and November building permits (12/18), the last estimate of Q3 GDP (12/20), the University of Michigan’s final December consumer sentiment index and Commerce Department figures on November consumer spending (12/23), November new home sales and durable goods orders and October’s FHFA housing price index (12/24), and November pending home sales (12/30).


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«RepresentativeDisclosure»

Fast price swings in commodities and currencies will result in significant volatility in an investor’s holdings.

Investing in foreign securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks.

There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI) is a survey of consumer confidence conducted by the University of Michigan. The MCSI uses telephone surveys to gather information on consumer expectations regarding the overall economy.

The ISM index is based on surveys of more than 300 manufacturing firms by the Institute of Supply Management. The ISM Manufacturing Index monitors employment, production inventories, new orders, and supplier deliveries. A composite diffusion index is created that monitors conditions in national manufacturing based on the data from these surveys.

Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI index is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) program measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. The prices included in the PPR are from the first commercial transaction for many products and services.

The S&P / Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index measures the change in the value of U.S. residential housing market. The S&P / Chase-Shiller  U.S. National Home Price Index tracks the growth in value of real estate by following the purchase price and resale value of homes that have undergone a minimum of two arm’s-length transactions. The index is named for its creators, Karl Case and Robert Shiller.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is not a solicitation or recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks.

The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services.

The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade.

The DAX 30 is a Blue Chip stock market index consisting of the 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Nikkei 225 (Ticker: ^N225) is a stock market index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). The Nikkei average is the most watched index of Asian stocks.

The SSE Composite Index is an index of all stocks (A shares and B shares) that are traded at the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The Hang Seng Index is a freefloat-adjusted market capitalization-weighted stock market index that is the main indicator of the overall market performance in Hong Kong.

The Mexican IPC index (Indice de Precios y Cotizaciones) is a major stock market index which tracks the performance of leading companies listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange.

The MERVAL Index (MERcado de VALores, literally Stock Exchange) is the most important index of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index is an index of the stock (equity) prices of the largest companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) as measured by market capitalization.

The Global Dow is a 150-stock index of corporations from around the world created by Dow Jones & Company.

The Europe Dow measures the European equity markets by tracking 30 leading blue-chip companies in the region.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index is derived from the STOXX Europe Total Market Index (TMI) and is a subset of the STOXX Global 1800 Index.

The MSCI World Index is a free-float weighted equity index that includes developed world markets, and does not include emerging markets. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index consisting of indices in more than 25 emerging economies.

The Asia Dow measures the Asia equity markets by tracking 30 leading blue-chip companies in the region.

The BSE SENSEX (Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index), also-called the BSE 30 (BOMBAY STOCK EXCHANGE) or simply the SENSEX, is a free-float market capitalization-weighted stock market index of 30 well-established and financially sound companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is Australia’s primary national stock exchange and equity derivatives market.

The PSE Composite Index, commonly known previously as the PHISIX and presently as the PSEi, is the main stock market index of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The IDX Composite or Jakarta Composite Index is an index of all stocks that are traded on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX).

The TWSE, or TAIEX, Index is capitalization-weighted index of all listed common shares traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The Bovespa Index is a gross total return index weighted by traded volume & is comprised of the most liquid stocks traded on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange.

The FTSE 100 Index is a share index of the 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalization.

The CAC-40 Index is a narrow-based, modified capitalization-weighted index of 40 companies listed on the Paris Bourse.

The RTS Index (abbreviated: RTSI, Russian: Индекс РТС) is a free-float capitalization-weighted index of 50 Russian stocks traded on the Moscow Exchange.

The US Dollar Index measures the performance of the U.S. dollar against a basket of six currencies.

Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

Citations.

1 – online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3024-m_globalstockindexes.html [11/29/13]
2 – ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/national-employment-monthly-update.aspx [12/2/13]
3 – ism.ws/ismreport/mfgrob.cfm [12/2/13]
4 – ism.ws/ISMReport/NonMfgROB.cfm [11/5/13]
5 – marketwatch.com/Economy-Politics/Calendars/Economic [11/8/13]
6 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2013/11/8 [11/8/13]
7 – news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=620267 [11/20/13]
8 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2013/11/25-29 [11/27/13]
9 – marketwatch.com/story/us-wholesale-costs-fall-again-in-october-2013-11-21 [11/21/13]
10 – bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-13/asian-futures-heed-u-s-rally-as-yelen-boosts-treasuries.html [11/13/13]
11 – bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-21/fed-qe-taper-likely-in-coming-months-on-better-data-minutes-say.html [11/21/13]
12 – cnn.com/2013/12/02/politics/obamacare-website/index.html [12/2/13]
13 – investing.com/news/forex-news/dollar-remains-steady-to-lower-in-thin-trade-255784 [11/29/13]
14 – investing.com/news/forex-news/forex—gbp-usd-hits-fresh-highs-after-u.k.-manufacturing-pmi-255844 [12/2/13]
15 – online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304579404579233363367081556 [12/2/13]
16 – mscibarra.com/products/indices/international_equity_indices/gimi/stdindex/performance.html [11/29/13]
17 – money.cnn.com/data/commodities/ [11/29/13]
18 – online.wsj.com/mdc/public/npage/2_3050.html?mod=mdc_curr_dtabnk&symb=DXY [11/29/13]
19 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2013/11/25-29 [11/27/13]
20 – dailyfinance.com/2013/11/26/case-shillers-housing-index-and-octobers-housing-s/ [11/26/13]
21 – freddiemac.com/pmms/ [12/2/13]
22 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F29%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
22 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F29%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
22 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F29%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
22 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F28%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
22 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F28%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
22 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F28%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
23 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [12/2/13]
24 – cnbc.com/id/101235707 [11/29/13]

CFGIowa Weekly Economic Update December 2, 2013

CONFIDENCE INDEX FALLS, SENTIMENT INDEX RISES

Two respected barometers of consumer mood went different ways in November. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index came in at a disappointing 70.4, down from a revised 72.4 mark for October and well below the 74.0 reading forecast by Briefing.com. November’s final consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan rose to 75.1, topping the Briefing.com projection by 1.6 points.1

HOUSING INDICATORS LARGELY IMPRESS

September’s edition of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index found house prices rising 3.2% for the third quarter, 13.3% YTD and 11.2% across the past 12 months. Building permits rose 6.2% in October, with the Census Bureau measuring a 13.9% annual gain. Pending home sales declined for another month: they fell 0.6% for October, the National Association of Realtors noted.1,2

DURABLE GOODS ORDERS DECLINE

Overall hard goods orders slipped 2.0% in October, partly reversing the 4.1% increase in September. The silver lining? The Census Bureau found that October’s retreat was just 0.1% with transportation orders removed.1

NOVEMBER ENDS WITH FURTHER STOCK GAINS

The NASDAQ was the frontrunner among the big three U.S. indices last week, rising 1.71% to 4,059.89. Both the S&P 500 (+0.06% to 1,805.81) and Dow (+0.13% to 16,086.41) realized tiny gains during the abbreviated trading week. Turning to the NYMEX, oil and gold both had poor Novembers: on the month, gold slid 5.46% to $1,250.60 an ounce and light crude dropped 3.60% to $92.72 a barrel.3,4,5,6

THIS WEEK: Monday, ISM releases its November manufacturing PMI and the Census Bureau provides September and October construction spending data. Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases figures on November auto sales. On Wednesday, ISM puts out its November service sector PMI, the Federal Reserve offers a new Beige Book, the Census Bureau issues long-awaited September and October new home sales figures, and ADP produces its November job change report. The federal government releases its second estimate of Q3 GDP Thursday; also on tap for that day are the November Challenger job cuts report, data on October factory orders, and the latest initial jobless claims numbers. Friday, the Labor Department issues the November employment report, the Commerce Department publishes data on October consumer spending, and December’s preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index arrives.

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+22.76

+23.53

+16.44

+6.44

NASDAQ

+34.46

+34.79

+32.88

+10.71

S&P 500

+26.62

+27.53

+20.30

+7.06

REAL YIELD

11/29 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.60%

-0.78%

2.60%

2.03%

Sources: CNNMoney.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 11/29/133,4,5,7,8,9

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 send us their address (click the link). We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.


«RepresentativeDisclosure»

The consumer confidence index is a survey by the Conference Board that measures how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are with respect to the economy in the near future.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (MCSI) is a survey of consumer confidence conducted by the University of Michigan. The MCSI uses telephone surveys to gather information on consumer expectations regarding the overall economy.

The S&P / Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index measures the change in the value of U.S. residential housing market. The S&P / Chase-Shiller  U.S. National Home Price Index tracks the growth in value of real estate by following the purchase price and resale value of homes that have undergone a minimum of two arm’s-length transactions. The index is named for its creators, Karl Case and Robert Shiller.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks.

The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services.

The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade.

Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.

Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

Citations.

1 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2013/11/25-29 [11/27/13]
2 – dailyfinance.com/2013/11/26/case-shillers-housing-index-and-octobers-housing-s/ [11/26/13]
3 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/dow/ [11/29/13]
4 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/nasdaq/ [11/29/13]
5 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/ [11/29/13]
6 – money.cnn.com/data/commodities/ [11/29/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F29%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F29%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F29%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F28%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F28%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F28%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F28%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F28%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F28%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/28/13]
8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [11/29/13]
9 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [11/28/13]

CFGIowa Weekly Economic Update November 18, 2013

YELLEN EMPHASIZES FURTHER EASING

While conceding that the Federal Reserve’s current stimulus effort “will not continue indefinitely,” Federal Reserve chair nominee Janet Yellen sounded decidedly dovish at her confirmation hearing in the Senate last week. “Supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy,” she noted, which global markets took as a signal that tapering was not in the immediate future. The S&P 500 hit a new record close after her comments Thursday; gold and silver futures and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index all rose 1.4% on the day.1

HEALTHCARE ENROLLMENT ISSUES LINGER

While demand was reasonably high at the new online health insurance exchanges in October (975,000+ people found that they were eligible for coverage), total enrollment for the month was just 106,000. As tweaks continued to be made to healthcare.gov, President Obama announced that insurers don’t yet have to cancel plans that fail to meet Affordable Care Act standards. Friday, the House passed a GOP bill that would let insurers offer such policies to new customers as well as existing ones in 2014; President Obama has indicated he will veto this bill.2,3

EARNINGS GROWTH SURPASSES ESTIMATES

As of Friday, 461 firms in the S&P 500 had reported earnings – and according to Bloomberg, 75% of them had beaten profit forecasts. Bloomberg projects S&P 500 earnings up 4.9% for Q3 and 5.8% for Q4.4

DOW…16,000? S&P…1,800? NASDAQ…4,000?

Soon, the major U.S. indices could top those psychologically important levels. Friday saw another record close for the S&P 500: 1,798.18. The Dow settled Friday at 15,961.70 (also a new record close), the NASDAQ at 3,985.97. Weekly performances were as follows: S&P, +1.56%; DJIA, +1.27%; NASDAQ, +1.70%.5

THIS WEEK: Monday brings earnings from Salesforce, Tyson Foods and Urban Outfitters and the November NAHB Housing Market Index. Tuesday offers earnings from Campbell Soup Co., TJX, Best Buy, Home Depot and Medtronic. Wednesday, NAR publishes October existing home sales numbers, and the federal government issues the October CPI, the October FOMC minutes and the report on October retail sales; ADT, Lowe’s, JCPenney, J.M. Smucker, Deere and Staples announce earnings. Thursday, October’s PPI and new initial claims figures complement earnings from Abercrombie & Fitch, Target, Gap, Gamestop, Ross, Intuit and Dollar Tree. Friday, PetSmart announces Q3 results.

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+21.81

+27.26

+17.57

+6.34

NASDAQ

+32.01

+40.50

+32.56

+10.65

S&P 500

+26.08

+32.87

+21.18

+7.12

REAL YIELD

11/15 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.53%

-0.80%

2.87%

1.87%

Sources: usatoday.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 11/15/136,7,8,9

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 send us their address (click the link). We will contact them first and request their permission to add them to our list.


«RepresentativeDisclosure»

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks.

The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services.

The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards.

This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

Citations.

1 – bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-13/asian-futures-heed-u-s-rally-as-yelen-boosts-treasuries.html [11/13/13]
2 – washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/11/13/what-the-obamacare-enrollment-numbers-really-tell-us/ [11/13/13]
3 – usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/11/15/house-cancelled-plans-bill/3576071/ [11/15/13]
4 – sfgate.com/business/bloomberg/article/U-S-Stocks-Rise-on-Fed-Bets-Amid-Industrial-4985720.php [11/15/13]
5 – fxstreet.com/news/forex-news/article.aspx?storyid=5f3ccc1a-1b74-482b-b7fe-37046d8e5fc4 [11/15/13]
6 – usatoday.com/money/markets/overview/ [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F15%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F15%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F15%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F14%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F14%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F14%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F14%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F14%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F14%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/15/13]
8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [11/15/13]
9 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [11/15/13]