Jan 202015
 


It was an interesting week last week as yields on Treasury Notes are high right now. Bespoke Investment Group says that when ever this happens in relation to stock divined yields, it is a very positive thing for the stock market.

Last week update

Last week saw a pretty volatile market but after a bad start, the market rallied big on Friday. Precious medals out performed the markets probably because of nervousness in Europe. Retail Sales numbers on Wednesday under performed, down 1%. Jobless claims rose to the highest number since February.

This week we will get data numbers on existing home sales and pending home sales. The reason these numbers are important to investors is because of the rippling effect it can have on many industries. For example, our research shows that when home sales rise, people tend to buy new furniture and services to go with that new house.

Watching gold prices

The price of gold is something we’ve been watching very closely. Commodity prices, including milk, have been going down mainly because of a rising dollar, which is based on gold. Interestingly, gold has continued to rise in spite of dropping commodity prices most likely because commodities are priced in US dollars. This means other countries have to convert their money to dollars before they can buy them.

A big week for Europe

This week could be big for Europe as we wait to see if they will initiate quantitative easing. The estimates right now are that this quantitative easing will be to the amount of 600 billion dollars. Quantitative easing will be more problematic for Europe than here in the United States because the European Union is fragmented (See our video from last week here).

The next four years

The opposite is happening here in the United States as the Fed continues to back down quantitative easing and looks to begin raising short interest rates sometime soon. The last time we saw this was in the 1990s after which the economy did quite well for the next four years. We are thinking this impact could be the same. While we don’t see interest rates going up any time soon we think treasuries could have a good year.

China is no longer a driver of growth

China’s growth numbers came out last week at 17.4%, just slightly below the government’s expectation. That is the lowest number since 1990. It has been a long time since China has not been the driver of growth. This could be why the IMF lowered their global growth down to 3.5%. We are now seeing that the US will be the driver of growth globally.

This is a lot of information we stay on top of because all of this can affect your investments. If you have any questions, please call us at (205) 989-3498 or email us below.
Gold Prices
Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant
Email here

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email here

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

Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email here

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice-President
Email 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.

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

Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. 

Jan 092015
 

How do we create investment strategies?

Many of our clients ask us about the process our Portfolio Strategies Team uses to research market trends and how we create our investment strategies.

Our investment strategy process

Our process begins with each of us on the Portfolio Strategies Team conducting our own research and data gathering. Then, picture me walking into our daily team meeting to facilitate the sharing our findings in a bullet point fashion, followed by health debate and brainstorming.

Trends, data and research

Here are some recent bullet points we are debating and researching now:

  • The economic growth, since the recovery began mid-2009, will continue to be lower than previous post recession recoveries.
  • It could be a full 4 years before the Fed is in a position to raise interest rates.
  • The Great Recession still persists for most Americans. Real hourly wages have risen only 0.7% since the recession ended and are 7.5% below the 1973 level.
  • Birth rates continue to fall. Last year the U.S. birth rate was 600,000 below trend.
  • The Fed has used up most of its ways to improve the U.S. economy. The Fed can raise or lower short term interest rates and buy and sell securities. The Fed had hoped quantitative easing would create a rise in stock prices and other asset prices that would inspire consumers and businesses to spend money. That hasn’t really happened.
  • The unemployment numbers are tainted. The government will tell you it is 5.8% but the reality is closer to 13% due to the aging and retirement of baby boomers, as well as discouraged job seekers who have given up.

These are just a small handful of the trends, data and research we are looking at and debating as a team when we are developing investment strategies. As all five of our Portfolio Strategies Team members meet every morning and throughout the day, we are looking at every angle to create investment strategies designed with the goal to grow our clients’ wealth.

New market update

I will have a new market update letter going out to our clients next week with these bullet points and more as we look for new investment strategies. Please email me here or call me at (205) 989-3498 if you would like to talk with me about your investments or market concerns.
Investment Strategies
Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant

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Greg Powell is President and CEO of fi-Plan Partners, 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. No strategy ensures success or protects against a loss.

Jan 052015
 

Happy New Year! We hope that watching Investors’ Insights will be a part of your New Year’s resolution. We produce a new Investors’ Insights Podcast every Monday to give you insights as to what happened last week in the markets and what you need to be aware of for the coming week.

We are cautiously optimistic about the markets. There are many positive elements in our economy. There are also some concerns.

So goes January, so goes the market

Research shows that what happens in January can give investors an idea of how the markets will perform over the rest of the year. This has been true about 86% of the time according to Stock Traders Almanac. What could make this even better is that we are in a pre-presidential election year. Usually near the end of a president’s term in office they want to be more accommodating in working with Congress to get legislation past and build their legacy.

Key pieces of economic data this week

There are three pieces of economic data coming out this week that we will be watching closely. The International Trade numbers will be reported, the Fed’s minutes from their meeting in December will be released mid-week, and the employment numbers come out on Friday.

Housing market issues

One very positive piece of economic data is new home construction which topped the million homes mark for the first time to since 2007. We feel like this might encourage economic growth. Economic data has shown that since 2008, younger people getting married, having children, and buying a home is down 59% from its normal level. The new economic data reports that this number is reversing. As the economy is improving, younger people are more comfortable in moving forward with their lives.

Impact on investors

The down side is that more new apartments are being built than single family homes. Also, Baby Boomers are wanting to downsize but there are no buyers coming in behind them to buy their homes. In contrast, as consumers become more confident, they are more inclined to buy real estate and invest their money in the markets. We are looking for the right place to invest in an economy with these dynamics.

Please send us your comments and questions or call us at (205) 989-3498. We want to give you the information you are looking for.
economic data 2015
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. 

Dec 292014
 

It has been an eventful year with a lot of volatility in the markets and a lot with regards to the Fed. We feel like going into 2015, fixed income and interest rates will continue to be a major topic. While no one is expecting a rate increase until possibly October or November of 2015, these are some of the details we are going over as we conclude this year and are looking ahead to 2015.

Santa Claus came last week

Santa Claus delivered great economic news to the markets last week. The US Economy continued to grow very strongly, including the best growth we have seen in 11 years. The GDP came out much higher than expected and consumer spending rose. We are also watching to see if the current lower oil prices here in the fourth quarter will actually increase consumer spending even further.

International issues

Even as the US Economic numbers are coming out strong, we are still watching closely the weakness in international markets. In Japan, industrial production and retail sales were down for the second time. This caused the Japanese cabinet to approve another stimulus. We are also watching deflation in China that could spill over into other markets. We feel as though these and other issues in the European markets will continue to be big topics as we look ahead to 2015.

This week and looking ahead to 2015

The consumer sentiment going in to the end of the year was just published and it is the best it has been in seven years. Many economists are looking forward to growth in the GDP for next year at 3.5% or higher which would be a solid market year. With the New Years holiday, we do not have a lot of economic data coming out this week. One thing we are watching this week and for 2015 are the Greek elections. There is the potential for a party change and Greece could start the beginning of the unraveling of the European Union. We are also watching the fact that Obamacare will be kicking in even deeper in 2015 and this will impact owner managed businesses.

Several times in 2014 we have used the expression, “The U.S. is the best house in a bad neighborhood”, which could also be true as we are looking ahead to 2015. International issues, labor markets, the Fed, and any unknowns, like the natural disasters we have seen in the past, will all have an impact on the year to come. The overall setup for 2015 is very good for growth in the Unites States. The question will be how long can the U.S. do it alone? The US represents more than 20% of the global economy and approximately 45 – 50% in terms of the stock markets. We play a major role all across the globe. Ironically, a lot of Europeans and Asians have more confidence in our economy and our markets than we as Americans do.
At fi-Plan Partners we are still very bullish on U.S. equities, although we are optimistically cautious. We see a modest acceleration in growth in the year ahead and it will be fueled by relatively low commodity prices, an improving labor market, rising but still low interest rates, and more supportive fiscal policy. These are just some of the factors we are watching as we look ahead to 2015.

Active management vs. passive management

This year some of the indices such as the S&P 500 or the DOW Jones Industrial Average have done really well with passive management. At fi-Plan Partners, when we look at clients’ portfolios we not only take into consideration the upside, but also the unexpected downside. We are proactively looking at how much risk we are taking in relation to the return. With the debates about interest rates and global economies as we move into 2015, you need to know that we want to get the highest return possible for our clients, but we will do it by taking the least amount of risk and looking to protect the downside. While neither forms of management have any guarantees, this is one of the biggest differences between active and passive management. One thing is for sure, we will always try very hard to be as proactive as possible for our clients.

We wish you a very Happy New Year and we thank you for believing in us!

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

Looking_Ahead_to_2015

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

There are no guarantees for either passive management or active management.

Stock investing involves risk including potential loss of principal. No strategy ensures success or protects against a loss.

Dec 222014
 

Did the Fed “spike” the punch bowl?

We saw a lot of positives in the markets last week. The Fed took action and instead of taking the punch bowl away, they actually “spiked” the bowl. This spike was a major positive for the markets.

Last week in the markets

Last week in the markets was one of the best weeks we have had in a while. The rally we saw Wednesday through Friday of last week was actually the best we have had since March of 2009. The Fed meeting, rising oil prices, increased industrial production, and a drop in jobless claims all were contributing factors. Additionally, US manufacturing rose 1% which is back at a pre-recession level.

In Europe, we are continuing to watch some weaknesses in the markets. We are always aware that this is a global economy so we want to watch what is happening in the markets overseas, as well and monitor how they may impact your portfolio.

In our past blogs, we have stated that we feel that the Fed is fighting more of deflation. While so many others in our industry have been talking about how quickly the Fed was going to raise interest rates we believed that this would take a while. Last week the Fed confirmed our belief and we are proud that we have stayed on top of that.
The Fed meeting and the press conference were both positive in the markets. Janet Yellen confirmed that rates are going to stay put longer than a lot of others were anticipating. We are also seeing an increasing effort among banks around the world to make sure that there continues to be liquidity. We feel that history will judge these actions positively.

This week in the markets

Even with this week being a short week because of Christmas, we do still have a lot of Economic data coming out. We will see existing home sales and durable good orders come out this week. We will also see a favorite report of the Feds to watch, personal income and expenditures. Finally, as we do each week, we will also see reports on new home sales and jobless claims.

Overall, the Fed has continued to stimulate the Economy, which is good, but at some point we would like to see the economy stand on its own and the markets react to great Economic news.

Happy Holidays

We would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. We hope that each and every one of you are living the best life for you, and you have a joyous occasion with your family and friends. We are looking forward to a prosperous 2015.

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

Fed_Spike_The_Markets

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

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Email Franklin Bradford 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 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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Your Email (required)


Please leave this field empty.

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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.