Dec 152014
 

The worst week in the markets in years

We had a pretty big week last week as it was one of the worst weeks we’ve had in US and international markets in several years. Historically, last week is normally a weak week. This is due to tax loss selling and oil prices coming down. The down market over shadowed some good things that did happen as US retail sales rose, and consumer confidence and small business confidence was higher than expected. This week there is a good amount of economic data coming in that will give us a good idea of how the economy is doing.

Federal Reserve last meeting of the year

There is a big discussion on whether or not the price of oil will cause the Federal Reserve to accelerate a change in interest rates. This Monday and Tuesday are the last policy meetings for the Fed this year. Wednesday Janet Yellen will be holding a conference to discuss what went on in those meetings.

Will interest rates rise?

There has been a lot of changes since the last Fed meeting in the 3rd quarter. Besides oil prices coming down, the dollar is up 5.3%. Also 800,000 new American jobs have been created. This is a lot of data for the Fed to consider. We still believe we might see the Fed raise interest rates mid year of 2015. That will put more of a muted variance on inflation. It can go one of two ways. With oil prices dropping it could keep inflation down and we may not see an interest rate hike at all. The prevailing wisdom is that dropping oil prices will continue to help employment, consumer confidence, and allow the Fed to raise interest rates.

Please send us your comments and questions. Rising Interest Rates

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

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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. 

Dec 082014
 


Last week in the markets was very eventful. We are seeing the confidence level of investors and consumers growing in the United States as the drop in oil prices has put more money into consumers’ pockets. We need to see this in China, Japan and Europe as well, because we need consumers globally to buy US products.

Has the unemployment rate really gone down?

Last week the Jobs Report indicated that 100,000 more jobs were added, some of which are seasonal jobs. Investors need to remember that this report only accounts for people actually looking for a job. A more thorough look shows that the unemployment rate is really at 11% which is high compared to the 8% rate back before the recession.

Potential disruption in US markets

Vladimir Putin gave a State of the Economy address last week which was full of propaganda. In Russia, the state funded television makes sure that positive things are said about Putin six times a day. The concern that we have is that all the Russian prosperity has been based on oil for the last 6 or 7 years. Putin continues to justify his actions by comparing Russia’s take over of Crimea to Christians trying to take back the Holy Land. Global situations and tensions like this, as well as in China and Europe, could disrupt US markets.

The struggle to grow personal income

The Jobs Report showed that people are still not growing their personal income by changing to higher paying jobs. Workers were able to do this before 2008 but since then, most people have not been able to do this. While consumer confidence is high, because oil prices are putting more money in their pockets, people are not yet bold enough to start looking for a better job.

These factors play into our investment strategies. As we continue to research and monitor global and US markets, we will keep you updated. Please call or email us here if you have any questions or concerns.

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

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

US Markets

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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. 

Dec 012014
 

6 weeks of strong markets

It’s hard to believe that we’ve seen strong markets for the last six weeks. The question is whether these strong markets will continue as we approach 2015.

Oil prices continue to drop

OPEC met on Thursday and decided not to cut production. Since then, oil prices have fallen to under $70 per barrel. We are keeping an eye on these fluctuating oil prices. Obviously this puts more money in consumers’ pockets which will help the economy during the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday was off about 6% from last year. There has been a trend over the past several years of a growing number of shoppers who are shopping online rather than in retail stores. Online shopping has come on stronger than most people predicted as consumers are finding it more convenient. Today is Cyber Monday which will help online retailers.

Oil Prices help global economy

The amount money generated from the drop in oil prices is equivalent to a $75 billion tax cut in the United States. Globally, two of the top four world economies, China and the European Union, import the mass majority of their oil. Both of these economies have been dragging all year. The current oil price drop could prove to be something that really helps both of these economies as they enter 2015.

The world loves our strong markets

If you look at the rest of the world, other countries are putting there money in the US which is helping our strong markets. To help protect our clients, we are researching and compiling our data to determine if we might see these strong markets pull back before the end of the year or carry on into 2015. We will keep you posted.

We hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. Call or email us with your questions or concerns. We are here for you.
strong markets
Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

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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. 

Nov 242014
 

Last week showed a continuing strong US market, Japan declared they are in a recession, and China surprised everyone last Friday with an interest rate cut. Today we will discuss how these and other international issues can affect US markets and ultimately your portfolio.

Mistakes in evaluating a stock’s move

Think of any stock in the US market. If that stock moves one dollar, we believe there are factors that affect 75% of that move and other factors that affect 25% of it. Most investors focus on the 25% over the 75%. These factors are the individual fundamentals of the company of that stock, such as their balance sheet, how much money they are making, accounts receivable, and their income statements. The factors that cause 75% of the stock’s move are the macro factors. These include what is going on in international markets, other countries’ central banks, and what our market as a whole is doing.

How we evaluate a stock’s move

We spend 75% of our time focused on the factors that make up the 75% of a stock’s move because we think that is a more fair and balanced way to look at the risk. The media and the general public focus just on what the company is doing and not all the other factors that made the stock move. The 25% is important but at the end of the day, it’s the factors that make up the 75% that cause the stock to move.

Potential currency war

The Japanese Yen is declining which is good for Japan because their goods are cheeper to the rest of the world. While they are in a recession, their citizens are tolerant to this as long as everyone is affected equally. This mindset is a part of their culture. But this is putting pressure on Europe because now buyers are starting to buy from Japan instead of Europe. With the Euro still highly valued and the Yen depreciating, we could see a potential currency war. Ultimately, this will impact US markets and your investments.

US market overview

As Japan slipped into a recession last week they delayed an increase in their sales tax. It remains to be seen if that will have an impact. Oil prices continue to decline as the Senate rejected the Keystone Pipeline vote. We are watching to see how oil prices react to the OPEC meeting on Thanksgiving Day. Retail earnings continue to continue to be strong. As we prepare for Black Friday, the reduction in gas prices is like a tax cut which will give consumers more money to spend and help with the already good retail sales. While this is great for the US it’s a whole other story for the Middle East which is being negatively impacted by oil prices coming down and the US becoming more energy self-sufficient.

We hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. We are here all week except on Thursday for the holiday. Feel free to call or email us with your questions or concerns.US Markets

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

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant

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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.

Nov 172014
 

Every Monday we give you our insights on how the markets performed last week and what you, as an investor, need to be aware of this week.

The effect of dropping oil prices

October’s sales numbers came in last week surprisingly better than expected. Dropping oil prices continue with the average price per gallon at $2.92 in the United States. This adds up to 52 billion dollars in savings to consumers which is good news as we head into the holiday season.

Another S&P 500 all time high

The S&P 500 hit another all time high on Friday. This is due to overall positive economic news, better than expected corporate earnings, and belief that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates down.

Recession worries in Japan and Europe

Dropping oil prices brings good news for Asian countries as they import most of their oil, so its cheaper for them. Unfortunately this has not helped out the Japanese and the Europeans. Europe is experiencing extremely slow economic recovery which recently posted only a 0.02% growth. France and Italy would have been in a recession if it had not been for government spending. Germany also barely missed a recession. Japan is experiencing slow growth and will probably have another round of a stimulus package.

Economic data to watch this week

The minutes from the Fed meeting last week will come out this week. We will also see reports on existing home sales and housing starts. We will get a look at US inflation through the CPI numbers. We are watching news from the Bank of Japan meeting in the middle of the week as well as data from Germany and the UK.

If you would like to talk with us about your market or investment concerns, feel free to email us here or call Franklin, Ashley or Bobby at (205) 989-3498.
Dropping oil prices
Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


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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.

Nov 102014
 

What in the world happened last week?

Last week the DOW, the DOW Industrial, the DOW Utilities, and the S&P 500 ended at all time highs. That hasn’t happened since 1998. The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.8 percent but we are still concerned about the labor and participation rate. The United States continues to lead the global recovery as the strongest market in the world. We see this trend continuing.

This week’s market focus

It’s a light week for market data. Our main market focus will be on retail sales reports at the end of the week. This will give us an indication on what consumers are doing. We are also watching the jobless claims which are reported weekly. Tomorrow on Veteran’s Day the Bond Market will be closed but the Stock Market and Futures will be open as usual.

International market focus

Our international market focus is on the Bank of England, which will be giving a quarterly report on inflation. We are interested to see if they will raise interest rates. China will also be releasing a good amount of data including the CPI, the PPI and retail sales.

The Impact of deflation

Deflation is still a negative force in our economy. The Japanese have been dealing with deflation since the late 1990s. They have recently been very aggressive with their Central Bank using stimulus packages as a way to get out of it. This is starting to slowly inflate their economy. Central banks can be very effective against deflation if they focus solely on it. The problem is the many other policy issues that can go along with it. We feel like this is a good lesson for the Europeans to learn. Europe is on the cusp of deflation and there are many comparisons to Japan.

Veteran’s impact on our economy

Without the sacrifice and service of our veterans, we would not live in a free market society and able to live as we do. We are grateful for our nation’s veterans and we hope everyone will celebrate their service tomorrow on Veteran’s Day.

If you have any questions or concerns about your investments, please call us at (205) 989-3498 or email us here.

Market Focus
Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Ashley Page, JD, MBA
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant

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.
TheDow Jones Industrial Average measures the average price of a group of 30 high value stocks. The Dow Jones Utility Average keeps track of the performance of 15 prominent utility companies.

The S&P 500 index is a measure of performance of the broad domestic economy through 500 stocks from major industries.