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 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 092015
 

The market factors you should watch this week include; Greece, Europe, oil prices, retail sales and much more. We have an eventful week a head of us and last week wasn’t too dull either.

Last week’s market factors

Last week was a volatile week but to the up side as the DOW rose by 650 points. Even though the S&P 500 was up 3%, if you look at it since January, it has just been running in place.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

The Jobs Report showed good numbers last week and the last few months were revised up. The market ended down when this came out and many believe that is an indication of the market not thinking the Fed is going to be accommodating. We don’t necessarily agree and we see this as a buying opportunity. There are no guarantees but we don’t see interest rates going up any time soon.

Market factors this week: China, BDI and retail sales

Trade data was down 20% for China but this might have something to do with the upcoming Chinese New Year. The country basically shuts down during this time for the celebration.

The Baltic Drive Index (BDI) is at an all time low but this doesn’t necessarily mean the economy is slowing down. The economy still hasn’t absorbed the supply off of some large tanker ships that started about 5 years ago (More in the video).

We will be watching retail sales this week. As gas prices continue to stay low, it will be interesting to see where retail sales numbers will end up. Retail sales are two thirds of our economy and these numbers can give us a good indication about where the economy is heading.

US export data concerns

The US export data is starting to drop as it is now down about 1%. The cause for this is the strength of the US dollar. While many countries around the world are lowering their interest rates, the US continues to keep their’s stable which creates a stronger dollar. While this is good for the dollar, it’s making it harder for other countries to buy our goods.

We are researching US companies that are heavily dependent on exporting and evaluating their stock in relation to our portfolios. If this starts to have a reflection on earnings we will take appropriate action. On the other hand, it could become a buying opportunity for the long term.

A special thanks to those of you who have shared our videos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and forwarded it to your friends. It it greatly appreciated.

Please let us know if you have any questions or topics your would like us to cover.
Market Factors
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

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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.

Feb 022015
 

We are seeing interesting times in the financial markets. The markets have been running in place as they are in the same place they were 3 months ago. The financial markets could also be building a base within a certain range.

Last week’s financial markets

We saw a lot of volatility in last week’s financial markets as both the S&P 500 and the DOW were down about 3%. Several technology companies reported better earnings than projected showing how certain sectors of the financial markets are doing better that others.

The report this morning on consumer spending shows a decline which indicates people are saving the money with which they would normally be using for gas. This pushed the savings rates up from 4.3% to 4.9%. We know this means that consumer savings is building up to be spent in the future.

This week’s financial market watch

This is a big week for new economic data. The biggest one we are watching is the employment report which comes out at the end of the week. Earnings season is going well and of the companies that have reported, 75% have beaten their earnings expectations.

Technicals of the financial markets

1985 – 1990 on the S&P 500 is a spot where investors have entered the financial markets in the past. We would like to see it go back over 2065 which we hit in January which will give us an indication the markets may be going to new highs. We believe there is a lot of strength in the financial markets. If we see the market trading down, there is no reason to panic as long as it stays above 1985. This could be an excellent buying opportunity rather than going to cash.

2015 market outlook

The saying, “So goes January, so goes the year”, is only right about 75% of the time. This indicator has been wrong five times since 2000 including last year. Even though this is a component to our analysis, we are not basing all our decisions on it.

Smoke screens in the markets

The big word de jour right now is “infrastructure” as the news media is focused on this spending in President Obama’s budget. Dams, roads and any kind of large public work is what politicians love to talk about because there is a lot to look at. If it’s done right, it can really help the economy like the Panama Canal or the Marshal Plan in Europe. Most politicians though, go for the projects that have high visibility rather than the one that works.

We don’t see the political helping the economy or our clients’ portfolios. The real benefit to their portfolios is in good old fashion economics of getting consumers to spend their money on good quality products in spite of what the government is doing.

Please call or send us your comment. We love the dialogue.
Financial 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

Bobby Norman, CFP®
Vice President
Wealth Consultant

Trey Booth, CFA®
Vice President

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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

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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.