Mar 302015
 

Last week in the markets

Last week was a rough week in the markets worldwide. The GDP declined and came in below expectations. Also, corporate profits fell. Most analysts feel like this is because of the higher dollar, which is something we have been talking about for weeks. However, there was some good news, as consumer confidence and new home sales both grew.

This week in the markets

We have a good bit of data coming out this week that we will be watching. Personal income has already come out this morning, and Wednesday we will see ISM Manufacturing numbers. Thursday we will see jobless claims, international trade data, and Janet Yellen’s speech. The big news on Friday will be the employment situation. Additional data we will continue to monitor as it comes out this week will be the Case–Shiller Home Price Index and consumer confidence reports.

Personal income data and an impact in the markets

Disposable income is inching up a little which is good. We are also seeing a little wage growth and the employment situation getting better. Interestingly, the savings rate has now risen to about 5.5 %, which is around 1.5% higher than we saw last year after the first quarter. Additionally this year we are seeing tax refund checks trending higher. For most people, this is their largest singular payment. We think that higher tax refunds this year, combined with the increased saving rate, can be very impactful and help with a pickup in the markets. As a reminder, the majority of the markets are consumers so people being confident and spending can be very powerful.

Greece

In the beginning of this year Greece was front page news. Since then they were able to get a holdover from their creditors in order to put together a plan. They are now supposed to present that plan this week, so we could see Greece move back to more of a front page news story again. The concern is that if Greece can’t meet what their creditors need, they may exit the Euro. We don’t expect this to happen, however, it could bring some volatility back in the markets in terms of perception.

If you have any specific questions or comments, please email us here or call us at (205) 989-3498.

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Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Ashley Page here


Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Bobby Norman here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President
Email Trey Booth here

Finding The Positives In The Markets fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.

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.

Mar 232015
 


Today we will be talking about how fast the dollar is going up, how will that affect your portfolio, job and other assets around the world, and answer the question, “Have the markets peaked?”

The Fed is supporting the market

On last week’s Investors Insights we talked about how the market is really being moved by the Fed. As the week went on, the Fed announced they have removed patience from their statement. This made everyone, as well as the markets, concerned the Fed would raise interest rates. However, the Fed lowered their expectations for economic growth. While that sounds bad for the economy, it is good for the market because it shows the Fed is supporting it. At fi-Plan Partners we are still in the opinion that interest rates will not be going up any time soon.

Last week’s market snapshot

Last week was great for domestic and international markets. Both the DOW and the S&P 500 were up 2%. The bank of Japan continued its bond buying program and other countries are looking to reduce energy cost to encourage consumer spending.

Housing starts went down 17% in February which is the lowest in four years. There is speculation that this is because of tighter mortgage lending.

What to expect this week in the market

Investors will get two more looks at housing numbers this week with new and existing home sales reports. Investors will also get to see the Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers, which helps determine inflation and deflation. Durable Good Orders and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers will also be coming out.

The fast and furious dollar

The dollar is continuing to strengthen and it is causing problems for companies that sell multi-nationally. When the dollar goes up, their goods become less competitive. On the other side, smaller to mid-size domestic companies (small caps) are doing better because of a stronger dollar. The speed that the dollar is rising is faster than ever. This is causing commodity prices to come down, like the cost of milk and gas. Since all commodities are priced in U.S. dollars, international money is flowing into the United States making America an oasis in the desert right now. That’s why you may be seeing profits falling but the prices in equities are going up.

Have the markets peaked?

Since the NASDAQ and S&P 500 are at an all time high, the question is, “Have the markets peaked?” While the typical thought is to always buy low and sell high, there is also the ability to buy high and sell higher. Just because there is a new all time high doesn’t mean the markets peaked. Remember, every new market high eclipses an old market high. When you peel back the onion you will see there are a lot of positive things going on in our country and in the markets. Investors will be seeing a lot of negative news in mainstream media but there are many positive stories “on the back pages.” So, have the markets peaked? In our opinion, we believe that it could go higher.

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Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant
Email Greg Powell here

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Ashley Page here


Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Bobby Norman here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Trey Booth here

Have the markets peaked
fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.

The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted.

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.

Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal.

Mar 162015
 

The dollar is very strong right now and everyone is watching Europe and the Fed here in the United States. The word patience will continue to be debated in relation to the decision to raise or not raise interest rates.

Good news and bad news from last week

The bad news is that last week was an over all down week with retail sales reporting lower numbers than expected. The good news is foreclosures are down from last year and applications for new homes rose. Also, in January there were 5 million job openings, the highest since 2001. While the economy is improving, our research indicates it is not ready for interest rates to go back up.

Why we believe the Fed won’t raise interest rates

The unemployment number that the news media reports is the U.S. Labor Department U-3 number, is at about 5.5%. Normally we would consider 5% at full employment. At fi-Plan Partners, however, we look at the Labor Department’s U-6 number ,which includes the underemployed and those on the fringe. That unemployment rate is around 11%. Our Fed has a dual mandate concerning unemployment and interest rates. This makes it difficult for the Fed to raise interest rates as it will have a negative impact on the unemployed.

The Fed will also be debating unemployment as multi-national earnings come down due to a strong dollar, and these companies decide to layoff workers. Lower oil prices will also be also be a factor as the growth in that industry has been a big producer of jobs in America.

It’s an important economic week:

  • Industrial production report on Monday
  • Fed meeting on Tuesday
  • Fed announces what Wednesday
  • Jobless claims on Thursday
  • Triple Witching on Friday

Why everyone is concerned about interest rates

Right now the S&P 500 sits at about 3% off an all time high. The key to the market going higher is what comes out of the Fed this week as we are patiently waiting for things to evolve. In 1937 the Fed raised rates, stalling the economy from which America didn’t come out of until WWII. This is why people are so concerned about interest rates going up.

There is also the political factor. Politicians will want the economy to be good or they will want it to be bad as elections grow closer depending on what side of the election a candidate is on. Fortunately the Fed is not supposed to be affected by this but investors need to know this will be talked about in the news media.

Patience is the keyword for interest rates

When the Fed uses the word patience in their report, it means they will not be raising interest rates for the next four to six months. If they keep that word in their report this week, that means they will keep rates low, providing liquidity in the markets. If they don’t use the word patience, it will be interesting to see and very hard to predict, what word they will use to replace it, and what that will mean. Investors should watch this and we will keep you updated on our interpretation and what you need to know about it.

Please forward this to a friend who could benefit from our research.

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Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant
Email Greg Powell here

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Ashley Page here


Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Bobby Norman here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President
Email Trey Booth here

fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.

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.

Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. 

Mar 092015
 

Last week there was a lot of volatility in the markets. A strong jobs report came out causing investors eyes to be on the Fed to see if they will raise interest rates. We still believe this will not happen until later in the year.

Support for a positive market

Economic reports were strong as there was a jump in personal income, salary, wages, and consumer spending. Also, the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%. In spite of the good week for the economy the markets went down. From a technical standpoint, the markets look favorable. We are in an area of the market where investors could start to buy bonds. If this happens, interest rates could go up. We believe this still won’t happen for quite a while.

Market reports this week

This week we will see reports on retail sales and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation. The news media have given a lot of attention to inflation recently, but we are still very concerned about deflation.

Money flows from Europe

The European Central Bank starts its massive bond buy back today and the U.S. should see a lot of that money flow its way. In Europe bonds have a negative yield, which means you are paying the government to hold your money. This is good for the government but not for European investors.

Positive market outlook

The Fed conducted a stress test of the top 31 banks in the country to determine how well they could survive another recession. For the first time since 2009, all 31 banks passed the stress test. This has the potential to turn back on the spigot for commercial and industrial loans, which is important for economic growth. We are seeing the banking system start to normalize again so the quantitative easing can start to flow to the borrower. Combine this with the current low interest rates and it becomes a very positive market outlook.

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Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Ashley Page here


Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Bobby Norman here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President
Email Trey Booth here

Positive Market Outlook
fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.
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.
Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. 

Mar 022015
 

Today we will be discussing global and domestic events that can impact your portfolio along with other economic growth news.

Positive economic growth in Europe

For the first time across the board Europe is starting to see growth again. There are four reasons for this:

  • Their currency is much weaker so they can sell more products. Europe is also experiencing lower oil prices which will help their GDP about 1.5%
  • Their version of quantitative easing starts this week
  • Deposits in European banks are starting to grow and banks are making more loans
  • For the first time since 2007 the European Commission is forecasting positive growth for all members of the European Union

Negative economic growth for China

Over the weekend China cut its interest rates by 25% basis points because of deflation and property growth. We are all still in agreement here at fi-Plan Partners that deflation is and will continue to be an issue.

February’s economic growth

Last week was a mixed bag in the markets but the month of February was excellent as consumer spending grew 4.2 percent which is the highest in four years. We contribute this to lower gas prices and job growth. While there are no guarantees, we believe March could be another good month.

Looking at this week

Besides watching where China will forecast its potential growth, we will be watching the PCE report (Personal Consumption Expenditure), which the Fed likes to watch for inflation. There are four Fed governors speaking this week in Congress which will be a Q & A and interpretation of what the Fed said last week. Janet Yellen will speak on the regulation of New York State banks but the Q & A will likely be more lively. We will also be watching the weekly jobless claim numbers and the Jobs Report. Globally, Germany reports its retail sales and the Purchasing Managers Index in Europe with be reported. If it’s over 50, it means expansion and if it’s under 50, it means contraction.

NASDAQ has hit a new high but that doesn’t mean it cannot go higher. We are watching the down side even as the S&P 500 is in the 2060-2070 range where buyers normally come in to the market.

Please send us your comments and questions or topics you’d like us to discover. We like to keep you updated.economic growth

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Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant
Email Greg Powell here

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Ashley Page here


Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Bobby Norman here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President
Email Trey Booth here

fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.
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.
Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. 

Feb 232015
 

Today we are discussing market volatility, activity in Europe, which categories look like they are better performers, and more.

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Strong market last week

Last week the market ended strong as the Eurozone extended the Greek bailout by four months. US jobless claims were lower than expected but there was weakness in manufacturing and housing starts. This could be due to the recent weather in the Northeast.

The impact of weather

Our research shows that the economic impact from weather issues will not be as bad as last year because it has been confined to the Northeast. Last year the run of bad weather covered 60-70% of the country.

What in the world did the Fed say?

This week Janet Yellen will be sitting before Congress and hopefully investors will get a clearer picture of the Fed minutes released last week. Because the minutes were very confusing, the market only reacted by moving a few points. Usually there is more market volatility from such an event. It appeared that the Fed said interest rates would not be going up any time soon. We believe Congress will try to confirm this in the meeting this week.

Market indicators to watch this week

Existing home sales and new home sales numbers will be reported this week because of it’s ripple effect on other areas of the economy. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, will also be reported this week. The CPI is also a gauge for deflation which we have been talking about for over a year now. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers will also be reported which is important for investors to watch as it measures everything we do in this country in regards to the economy.

No resistance in the markets

Our analysis tells us there is no resistance from a technical stand point in the market at this level. We are seeing support between the 2070 to 2060 range. What this means is that we believe if the market started trading back, buyers would step in at that level.

The cause of January’s market volatility

Our research shows that the market volatility in January was due to high frequency trading and ETFs which was about 70% of the trading. The volatility was not from long term investors. This is something investors should watch closely as it is one of many factors that contribute to market volatility.

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Market Volatility
Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant
Email Greg Powell here

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford here

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Ashley Page here

Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Bobby Norman here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Trey Booth here

fi-Plan Partners is an independent investment firm in Birmingham, AL, serving clients across the nation through financial planning, wealth management and business consulting. fi-Plan Partners creates strategies in the best interest of their clients using both fee based investing and transactional investing.

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.

Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal.