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.

Oct 272014
 

Here is a quick update on the market and economic issues you need to be aware of as an investor to live confidently.

Before we start, I want to welcome Bobby Norman who is the newest member of our Portfolio Strategies Team. He brings a wealth of knowledge and value to our team. Read more about Bobby here.

Current economic issues

The media is still talking about the same economic issues that really haven’t changed since last week. These issues are the economies of Europe, Japan, and China, along with the Ebola scare. The markets are watching closely this week as the Federal Reserve starts to talk again about ending Quantitative Easing.

Economic issues in Europe

We saw positive movement in the markets last week in Europe as Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank, made some effective comments. Towards the end of the week there were about two dozen European Banks that were expected to fail a stress test to measure their banking system. The results have just been released and we are assessing those now.

International watch list

Since this is the last week of the month, there is a lot of economic data coming out. In Europe the Spanish GDP numbers will be release and in Asia investors will see reports from Japan on their retail sales, CPI (Consumer Price Index), and PPI (Producer Price Index) which is a gauge of inflation.

The most important economic issues for investors

This is a big week for the US economy which last week had mixed data. Of all the economic issues, the number one thing investors will be watching this week is what the Fed will say about ending Quantitative Easing. Also, investors will see the final numbers for second quarter GDP and durable goods orders.

Keep in mind that the members of the Fed do not want to be known as the people who brought the country to a halt. This means there is an excellent chance they will remain dovish or not end QE3 at all just because of all the other events going on in the world.

Our investment approach

We’ve moved towards a more conservative approach in our portfolios but are constantly researching and analyzing the markets to make adjustments seeking to protect our clients. Do you have questions regarding your investments? We would be delighted to talk with you. You can email us here or call us at (205) 989-3498.

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.
Economic Issues

Oct 132014
 

Last week the focus was on just a few things that could affect the market this week. The IMF reported that the world is slowing down in growth. While it is not slowing down by much, we are watching this closely. The Federal Reserve meeting minutes came out with good indications that interest rates will not be going up any time soon but that still depends on what is going on globally. This is important for investors to follow because it directly affects your investments and finances.

This week we are focused on several things that could affect the markets. The Producer Price Index will be reported and this will tell us if we have too many dollars producing too many goods. Retail sales numbers could also affect the markets because 70% of our economy is consumer driven. This covers everything from groceries to auto sales. We are also watching housing starts because of the rippling effect it has on so many other industries in our economy. We are also watching some volatility that has returned to the market.

As we discover other factors that could affect the markets this week, we will be sure to let you know. Follow us on Facebook (click here) and Twitter (click here) for daily updates.

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

Sep 292014
 

Historically last week is a weaker period in the markets. This usually comes after “Triple Witching” which is when options, futures, and options on futures, all expire so it was not unexpected.

Riots in Hong Kong

Citizens in Hong Kong are demonstrating against ruling China for a more democratic system. The Chinese are pushing back and this is having some negative affects on the market. The ECB (European Central Bank) is meeting this week. Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, is saying he will do whatever it takes to keep the Euro viable as a currency. Internationally these are two issues we are watching closely as they have the potential to impact our clients portfolios.

The US Economy

Domestically, housing starts were down last week which was not a surprise. The Fed kept some positive wording in their statements which the markets took as a positive. We will see a good amount of data come out this week which will give us a great picture of our economy and how we look going into the fourth quarter. Historically since 2009 the economy starts off the year weak and ends strong. It appears from the data we have right now, that we will see this happen again this year.

Are stocks “priced to perfection”?

The term “priced to perfection” has recently become popular in the media and we want you to be aware of it. The Wall Street Journal even has an article about it today. Priced to perfection means that the price is beginning to settle at a level where it was starting to grow. When it is priced to perfection, it would take several factors for that stock to go up or down (more in the video).

Currently we are seeing more up and down movement in the markets than at the beginning of the year. This is causing people to question if stocks are priced to perfection or not. There are still other underlying factors to consider when deciding whether stocks are priced to perfection. We wanted you to be aware that you could hear more about this in the future.

Continue to send us your comments and questions. When you do, it guides us towards giving you the information you need.

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

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Priced To Perfection
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.

Stock investing involves risk including potential 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.

Sep 262014
 

Why chase the S&P 500? The answer might surprise you. Many investors use the S&P 500 as a benchmark for their investments. Often, however, this can derail an investor from their life long financial dreams and goals.

Note: Originally posted on November 21, 2013 but still applicable for investors today.
Greg Powell, CIMA
President/CEO
Wealth Consultant

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Chasing the S&P 500

Sep 222014
 

Today we are giving you some of our insights about the markets and economy that could help you in your decisions about investments and your portfolio.

Interest rates and economic impact

Last week we were closely watching the outcome of the meeting by the Federal Reserve. They indicated that they will leave interest rates considerably low for a longer period of time. Scotland was also on our radar as they voted not to secede from Great Britain. This could have had a tremendous impact on international financial markets.

Inflation remains low and manufacturing is mixed in the United States. This is a very positive sign because if inflation stays down, it allows the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low.

What we are watching in the financial markets

The housing market numbers will be a focus for us this week because of the ripple effect they can have on other areas of the economy. We will also be analyzing the snapshot we will get of the GDP and manufacturing industry, because this will tell us what we are producing in our country and how the economy is doing.

The systemic drag on the financial markets

The big problem in the housing market is that there is not a lot of single family homes under construction. We believe this is the main systemic drag that is keeping the financial markets and your investments from rising.

The two main questions we are asking are:

  1. Are consumers getting credit?
  2. Are consumers going to buy a house in the first place?

The banks clearly became tighter on mortgage lending as we came out of the financial crisis. But the bigger part is the wage dynamism where workers’ incomes are not moving up. Even though banks are starting to loosen up there lending, consumers are not confident enough to begin building single family homes. We really need this component to come back to help accelerate the economy and financial markets.

Do you have concerns about the markets and economy that you would like us to address in our weekly market updates? You can email us here or call us at (205) 989-3498.

Franklin Bradford, CMT
Senior Vice President
Wealth Consultant
Drag on financial markets
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.