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10,000…

Weekly Market Commentary

September 9, 2013

The Markets

 Confluences are the building blocks of the world’s waterways. When two or more rivers meet, changes in velocity and turbulence tend to result in geologic scouring; erosive activity that may alter the shape of the river and its bed. The action may produce a ‘scour hole’ downstream from the confluence. For a river runner, a hole creates “potential for trouble and the need for deft maneuvers.” America may be heading toward a scour hole that is being shaped by a confluence of factors and events, domestic and global, economic and demographic.

Several of these factors were highlighted by last Friday’s employment report which showed unemployment has fallen to 7.3 percent. This may seem like a positive development until you realize just 63 percent of working-age Americans have a job or are looking for one. According to The Washington Post, that’s the lowest workforce participation rate in 35 years.

The change in American employment is rooted in the Great Recession and relatively slow pace of economic recovery, as well as a confluence of demographic trends. Younger Americans of working age are staying in school longer before looking for a job. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the Baby Boom generation has begun to retire at a rate of about 10,000 a day or 300,000 a month, according to PBS NewsHour.

America’s changing employment picture may be a significant challenge to economic growth, but other factors will influence the shape of our future, as well. Congress returned from recess on Monday. They may not get to all of it this week, but their agenda includes determining: America’s response to Syria, the government’s operating budget, the debt ceiling, and funding for the Affordable Healthcare Act.

As if that weren’t enough, next week, the Federal Reserve will be making an important decision about tapering quantitative easing (which could be complicated by a potential government shutdown and debt ceiling expiration if Congress waffles).

We live in interesting times. 

 
Data as of 9/6/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

1.4%

16.1%

15.6%

14.9%

5.5%

4.8%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

2.9

NA

1.7

2.6

3.7

4.4

Gold (per ounce)

-0.6

-18.1

-18.5

3.6

11.4

14.0

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

0.3

-6.0

-10.4

-1.2

-6.1

0.9

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

0.6

0.0

0.3

11.5

4.4

9.5

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

 

In 1835, in Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville said:

“AMONG the novel objects that attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of condition among the people… it gives a peculiar direction to public opinion and a peculiar tenor to the laws; it imparts new maxims to the governing authorities and peculiar habits to the governed… The more I advanced in the study of American society, the more I perceived that this equality of condition is the fundamental fact from which all others seem to be derived and the central point at which all my observations constantly terminated.”

One wonders what he would make of the difference in pay between lawmakers in various states today. A recent chart published in The Economist showed pay for state legislators ranges from nothing in New Mexico, where the median household income from 2007 through 2011 was about $44,600, to more than $90,500 in California where the median household income was about $61,600 during the same period.

If you believe having a greater number of legislators means the opinions of the masses are better represented, then it would seem citizens in states that pay lawmakers more are less well represented. The average number of legislators per million people in the 10 states that pay the most is about 22. In the 10 states that pay the least, it’s about 112 per million people. The exceptions appear to be Alaska, which pays about $50,000 a year and has about 82 legislators per million people, and Texas which pays less than $10,000 and has about 7 legislators per million.

The Economist pointed out lawmaking may be less costly in other ways, too, in states that offer lower salaries to policymakers. As it turns out, about one-third of state legislatures are part-time. States like Texas, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota, where lawmakers meet every second year, tend to spend less than states where legislators meet more frequently.

 

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, American President

 

Best regards,

John Raudat   

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

 

Securities offered through  LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

 

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

                           

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

 

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

 

* Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

 

* The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

 

* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

 

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

 

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

 

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

 

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

 

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=jas.2012.289.295&org=11

http://test.ourhomeground.com/entries/definition/hole

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/economy-added-169k-jobs-in-august-as-the-recovery-grinds-along/2013/09/06/696820dc-16ef-11e3-a2ec-b47e45e6f8ef_story.html

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2013/08/is-baby-boomer-retirement-behi.html

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/ready-washington-quadruple-witching-hour-204821773.html

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/DETOC/preface.htm

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/35000.html

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21584997-some-work-nothing

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/democracy.html

 

 

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Market Commentary, April 15th

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The Markets

Last week, the term ‘Easy Money’ conjured both comedian Rodney Dangerfield and the U.S. Federal Reserve, and no one was certain how much respect either one should get.

The Fed accidentally e-mailed its market-moving Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes to congressional staffers and trade lobbyists on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The minutes weren’t supposed to be released to anyone until Wednesday at two. Once the mistake was realized, the Fed released the minutes early on Wednesday morning.

Markets enthusiastically embraced the minutes which appeared to focus on the idea quantitative easing will continue. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high more than once last week, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is already nearing analyst’s targets for the full year.

The minutes indicated committee members were less clear on the issue, according to the Washington Post, which reported:

“A few Fed officials think QE (Quantitative Easing) should be stopped immediately; a few think it should be shrunk fairly soon; many think it should be slowed if we see a rebounding job market; a few think it should continue at its current size until the end of the year; and a couple think it may need to be increased. The minutes also make clear Fed officials are not all on the same page in determining the economic climate that would trigger that tapering.”

Committee members are not the only ones who don’t know what to think about the economy. Consumer sentiment has been volatile. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index showed consumer sentiment improved significantly from mid- to late-March only to decline again from late-March to mid-April. Bloomberg.com speculated weaker consumer sentiment may have been the result of the payroll tax roll and weaker U.S. economic data.

Data as of 4/12/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

2.3%

11.4%

14.5%

9.9%

3.7%

6.0%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.7

N/A

2.0

3.9

3.5

4.0

Gold (per ounce)

-2.1

-9.3

-8.0

9.8

10.6

16.8

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

-0.2

-3.8

-5.3

-0.2

-8.7

1.8

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

2.6

12.8

24.1

17.6

7.7

12.7

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

It has been said stock market returns revert to the mean, but what does that mean? Reversion to the mean is a statistical phenomenon. It’s the idea the further something is from the mean – or average – the more likely it is the next thing that comes along will be closer to the mean. For example, if a baseball player has a batting average of .330 and hits .180 in a game, it’s likely that player will hit better in the next game (unless, the player’s in a slump, but that is a different topic).

Reversion to the mean is the theory behind a variety of investment strategies. Analysts who employ the theory may look at an average price, an average return, or another financial statistic they find relevant. For example, they may consider whether a company’s recent performance varies significantly from its historical average performance. If its performance is worse than average, some analysts may decide the company’s price is likely to revert to the mean. In that case, they may choose to invest in the company. If the company’s performance is better than average, analysts may decide to sell shares. Similarly, if a market or index – such as the U.S. Treasury market or the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index – performs significantly worse than its mean, investors may decide better performance is ahead, and vice versa.

In 2009, an article in Forbes stated, “Mean reversion is an odd concept because it’s clearly not causal. The market’s historic return of 9 percent a year is based on over 100 years of data (what’s typically considered the modern stock market), and, of course, the ride to 9 percent is a bumpy one with major double-digit up years and big double-digit down years all averaging to that 9 percent number.” The point is any average is a moving target. After all, a significant downward movement pushes the historical mean lower and a significant upward shift pushes it higher.

Regardless of the investment theories employed by analysts and money managers, investors may want to set financial goals, carefully choose asset allocation strategies, hold well-diversified portfolios, and maintain their long-term perspective.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

                                                                                                            —Buddha

 

Best regards,

 

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

 

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues.

 

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

 

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

* The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/10/oops-fed-minutes-inadvertently-released-early-show-a-divided-fomc/

http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2013/04/10/fed-inadvertently-releases-fomc-minutes-to-banks-others-prematurely/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-10/u-s-stock-futures-advance-before-budget-fed-minutes.html

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fearless-investors-buy-rally-as-earnings-ramp-up-2013-04-13?siteid=yhoof2

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/04/12/consumer-sentiment-at-lowest-level-since-july-2012/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-12/michigan-consumer-sentiment-declined-in-april-to-nine-month-low.html

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/ReversiontotheMean.html

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/meanreversion.asp

http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/08/intelligent-investing-mean-reversion-indexing-panelJan9.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/buddha.html#bZoCEd41fpvTO4rQ.99

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Market Commentary, April 8th

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Weekly Market Commentary

April 8, 2013

 

The Markets

U.S. investors puzzled over disparate pieces of economic and world news last week. By the end of the week, major U.S. markets had tumbled indicating investors didn’t like what they’d seen.

Under new leadership, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced an aggressive stimulus program that will inject $1.4 trillion into its economy over the next two years. The effort is intended to end decades of stagflation. Stagflation is a period of economic stagnation characterized by rising inflation, higher unemployment, lackluster consumer demand, and lack of growth in business activity. Shares in the Japanese market, which closed before U.S. jobs numbers were announced, rose to almost a five-year high.

Elsewhere in Asia, escalating rhetoric from North Korea kept tensions high on the Korean Peninsula and negatively affected investor sentiment.

In the U.S., economic news was largely disappointing and suggested a slowdown in the U.S. economy may be ahead. Manufacturing and service numbers came in below expectations, and a U.S. Department of Labor report showed far fewer jobs were added last month than expected. On the positive side, a different report showed unemployment had ticked lower, moving to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent.

After hitting an all-time high on Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the week down 1 percent. The Dow Jones Industrials and NASDAQ Indices also tumbled, finishing the week down 0.1 percent and down 1.9 percent, respectively.

U.S. Treasury markets benefitted from uncertainty about the strength of U.S. economic growth, the outcome of the Japanese stimulus program, and the potential for violence in Korea. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell to 1.7 percent.

Data as of 4/5/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

-1.0%

8.9%

11.1%

9.4%

2.5%

5.9%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.7

N/A

2.2

4.0

3.6

4.0

Gold (per ounce)

-1.9

-7.4

-3.9

11.5

11.1

17.2

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

-2.5

-3.6

-5.3

-0.3

-8.4

1.9

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

2.0

10.0

20.4

16.9

6.2

12.4

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

There’s a new bric in town.  You’ve probably heard of the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The nickname was created in 2001when Jim O’Neill, an economist and the future Chairman of Goldman Sachs, used it to describe the countries of the world that would drive future economic growth. He was right about the fact they would drive economic growth. According to The Economist, “The BRICS alone have been responsible for 55 percent of global growth since the end of 2009. Dragged down by debt and austerity, the 23 countries that make up the developed world contributed just 20 percent to that growth.”

You may have noticed The Economist capitalized the ‘S’ in BRICS. That’s because South Africa recently joined the team. It’s the smallest BRICS country with a population of just 50 million compared to more than 1 billion for both China and India. South Africa’s GDP isn’t all that impressive either. It ranks 28th in the world, according to The Guardian, while China ranks 2nd, Brazil 6th, Russia 9th, and India 10th. The statistical comparison begs the question: Why was South Africa added to the list of the world’s powerful emerging countries?

According to The Economist, geographic inequity was the driving force behind the new addition. The original BRICs did not include any countries in Africa which currently is the world’s fastest growing continent. Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is averaging about 6 percent a year, a pace that is expected to remain constant for another decade. Over the decade ending in December 2012 Africa has seen:

  • Foreign direct investment more than tripled to $46 billion
  • A 30 percent increase in real income per person
  • A 74 percent decline in HIV infections
  • A 30 percent decline in malaria deaths
  • Mobile communications grow: now there are three mobile phones for every four people
  • A 10 percent increase in life expectancy
  • Steeply falling infant mortality rates
  • An increase in secondary school enrollment

Source: The Economist

Africa is changing so rapidly many believe the continent deserves to have a voice as an emerging region of the world. How to give it that voice? The solution was to add South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, to the BRICS.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Supreme Court Justice

 

Best regards,

 

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

 

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

* The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/05/us-markets-global-idUSBRE88901C20130405

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/07/us-imf-boj-idUSBRE93604720130407

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/stagflation

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323646604578401303166664428.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/05/us-markets-forex-idUSBRE92E11120130405

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/wall-street-week-ahead-earnings-000954061.html

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/03/economist-explains-why-south-africa-brics

http://www.economist.com/news/economic-and-financial-indicators/21574491-world-gdp

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/24/south-africa-bric-developing-economy

http://worldpopulationreview.com/population-of-india/

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21572377-african-lives-have-already-greatly-improved-over-past-decade-says-oliver-august

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21572773-pride-africas-achievements-should-be-coupled-determination-make-even-faster

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2013/01/statistics-africa

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_experience.html#ZUhU6twlfK9oHM1G.99

 

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John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

9 North Main Street

P.O. Box 375

Chester, CT  06412

860-526-5000

 

John Raudat is a Registered Representative with, and securities offered through, LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC.

 

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Market Commentary, April 1st

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The Markets

U.S. stock markets finished the week – and the quarter – on a positive note.

The Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy and strong profit growth helped provide the lift needed to propel the S&P 500 Index to a record high. The Dow Jones Industrials Index also finished the week above its previous record close. For the quarter, the S&P 500 was up about 10 percent, the Dow was up about 11.3 percent, and the NASDAQ finished up about 8.2 percent.

Despite the strong performance overall, markets were somewhat choppy during the week. Concerns about Cyprus and the Eurozone debt crisis overshadowed markets early on. A positive report on durable goods from the Commerce Department helped push markets higher, as did a home-price index report from Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller that showed the biggest yearly increase in home prices since the summer of 2006. This report seemed to have held more sway with investors than either weaker-than-expected new home sales or lower-than-anticipated consumer confidence. Late in the week, the GDP growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2012 was revised upward, but remained sluggish at 0.4 percent annually.

The U.S. Treasury market generally has benefitted from worries inspired by the Eurozone debt crisis. The latest episodes in the crisis – the Cyprus bank bailout and Italy’s failure to form a government – helped nudge rates lower last week. The U.S. continues to be perceived as relatively safe.

Fears about Eurozone debt issues generally have had a positive effect on gold prices, too, helping the precious metal reach a record high price in September 2011. That has not been the case this year. Gold finished the quarter down by more than 5 percent.

Data as of 3/29/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

0.8%

10.0%

11.6%

10.2%

3.6%

6.2%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.9

N/A

2.2

3.9

3.5

3.9

Gold (per ounce)

-0.6

-5.6

-4.6

13.0

11.3

17.1

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

-0.4

-1.1

-3.3

1.4

-7.8

2.0

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

1.4

7.9

17.8

16.8

7.1

12.5

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

How fast should the united states’ economy be growing?  According to The Economist, “In the three years since the end of the recession in mid-2009, growth averaged 2.2 percent, barely half the 4.2 percent average of the seven previous recoveries.” This begs the question: How fast should the economy be growing?

Economists, academics, and policy makers have been trying to figure that out. Many have started with an economic theory put forward by noted economist Milton Friedman in 1964. His “Plucking Model” postulates the business cycle is like a string attached to a board. The board represents “the ceiling of maximum feasible output.” Once in a while, the string is plucked down by recession and then it springs back. The idea is the depth of a recession will be mirrored by the strength of the recovery that follows.

At first blush, the Plucking Model doesn’t appear to apply to this recovery. The Great Recession was the deepest downturn since World War II, and the country hasn’t snapped back. According to several recent reports, there may be a reason for this. Our ‘ceiling of optimal output’ – the fastest rate at which our economy is expected to grow – may be lower than it used to be.

  • Productivity and Potential Output Before, During, and After the Great Recession, a working paper from the San Francisco Federal Reserve, found growth in the U.S. was slowing in the mid-2000s although the slowdown was largely unrecognized before the Great Recession.
  • What Accounts for the Slow Growth of the Economy After the Recession, a Congressional Budget Office study, determined about two-thirds of the difference between America’s current growth rate and the average growth after previous recoveries is due to long-term trends including demographic changes. The other one-third is credited to low demand for goods and services.
  • Disentangling the Channels of the 2007-2009 Recessions, by James Stock of Harvard University and Mark Watson of Princeton University, also found slower growth in the U.S. is largely the result of demographic trends such as a limited labor supply as Baby Boomers have begun to retire and the number of women joining the workforce has leveled off.

Considered together, the reports seem to indicate U.S. economic growth began slowing before the recession and, unless demographic trends shift, our country may continue to experience slower growth.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan

Best regards,

John Raudat
Canoga Wealth Management LLC

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues.

Securities offered through  LPL Financial,  Member FINRA/SIPC.

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

* The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with    “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Sources:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/wall-street-week-ahead-pullback-023826452.html

http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/03/28/market-snapshot-sp-500-dow-close-strong-quarter-at-record-highs/

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/hot-stock-minute/p-500-just-shy-record-blackberry-whiplash-penney-200335828.html

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100600047

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/26/markets-usa-bonds-idUSL2N0CI0ZP20130326

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/28/markets-precious-idUSL3N0CK7X020130328

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21573969-demography-may-explain-weakness-americas-recovery-where-did-everyone-go

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/01/new_support_for.html

http://www.asb.unsw.edu.au/research/centreforappliedeconomicresearch/Documents/J.%20Fernald%20-%20Productivity%20and%20Potential%20Output%20before,%20during,%20and%20after%20the%20Great%20Recession.pdf (Introduction)

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43707 (Paragraphs 3 and 4)

http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Projects/BPEA/Spring%202012/2012a_Stock (Pages 126-129) (You may have to copy this URL into your web browser in order to view this document)

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_sports.html#OVs9di1k3zC2GzGi.99

1-154905

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

9 North Main Street

P.O. Box 375

Chester, CT  06412

860-526-5000

John Raudat is a Registered Representative with, and securities offered through, LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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Market Commentary, March 25th

Canoga Logo

The Markets

Like a not-quite-dead villain in a horror film, the Eurozone crisis raised its ugly head again last week, scaring investors and causing many stock markets to close flat or slightly down for the week, according to Barron’s. Investors’ worries strengthened demand for Treasuries, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond lower.

The hero of last week’s drama might have been the United States which delivered a plethora of stronger economic data that included a steady decline in unemployment claims, an increase in factory activity, and a rise in existing home sales. The positive news suggested that the U.S. economy was gaining momentum. In addition, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated the Fed’s commitment to accommodative monetary policy. He set the expectation short-term interest rates will stay at exceptionally low levels until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent. Some believe that could happen in 2015.

Signs of strength in the U.S. economy were overwhelmed by another crisis in the Eurozone. This time the issue was Cyprus, an island nation that accounts for a tiny portion of the Eurozone’s economic production. Cyprus has relatively robust growth and boasts a small budget deficit, so why did it ask for a bailout? According to The Economist, the issue is the country’s banks are bigger than its domestic economy. Since a bank deposit guarantee is only as good as the country providing it, Cyprus needed assistance. Cyprus is a microcosm of the Eurozone which has about “€8 trillion of deposits and only €4.5 trillion of annual government revenues,” according to BCA Research cited in The Economist.

Eurozone leaders responded to the Cypriot bailout request by suggesting the country impose a tax on bank deposits. The Cypriot parliament rejected the suggestion and the European Central Bank responded with an ultimatum: accept a bailout by Monday or else. The government’s decision will affect Cyprus’ largest banks and, possibly, the country’s participation in the Euro.

All eyes will be on Cyprus on March 25.

Data as of 3/22/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

-0.2%

9.2%

11.8%

10.1%

2.3%

6.1%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.9

N/A

2.3

3.7

3.5

4.0

Gold (per ounce)

0.8

-5.1

-1.7

13.6

11.6

17.2

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

-0.3

-0.8

-3.5

1.5

-7.1

2.1

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

-0.3

6.4

17.9

16.3

5.9

12.4

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

you may hate filing taxes, but identity thieves don’t. That’s probably because they expect to get refunds. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports tax refund identity fraud is a rapidly growing crime. During fiscal year (FY) 2011 (which started October 2010), 276 investigations were initiated. For FY2012, that number had increased to 898. During just the first three months of FY2013, 542 investigations have been opened.

How does it work? According to the IRS, identity thieves use stolen personal information to file fake tax returns and collect undeserved refunds. In one case, a criminal filed false returns in the names of deceased taxpayers. In another, criminals broke into a tax preparation office, stole files containing personal information, and filed tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds.

The IRS reports it is taking steps to protect taxpayers. They suggest taxpayers take basic steps to protect themselves, as well:

  • Don’t carry your Social Security card with you
  • Don’t give your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number  to businesses (verbally or in writing) unless it is required
  • Check your credit report at least once each year
  • Protect your personal computers with firewalls, anti-virus software, and updated security patches
  • Choose hard-to-break passwords and change them frequently
  • Don’t provide personal information to anyone unless you know them well and understand how they plan to use it

Source: Internal Revenue Service

If you have aging parents, it’s important to discuss identity theft and encourage them to take necessary precautions. Developing good habits – such always keeping your personal identification numbers and financial documents in a secure place – can go a long way toward keeping personal information safe.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

                                                        –Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

 

Best regards,

 

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

* The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

 

Sources:

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052748704836204578362532521524880.html?mod=BOL_hpp_mag#articleTabs_article%3D1

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20130322-712532.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/21/us-markets-stocks-idUSBRE92A07T20130321

http://www.npr.org/2013/03/20/174867741/federal-reserve-to-hold-interest-rates-low-until-unemployment-improves

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/wall-street-week-ahead-cyprus-021518996.html

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2013/03/bail-out-cyprus-0?zid=307&ah=5e80419d1bc9821ebe173f4f0f060a07

http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2013/03/euro-zone-crisis-2?zid=307&ah=5e80419d1bc9821ebe173f4f0f060a07

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21574041-there-more-one-way-savers-lose-out-financial-repression-levy?zid=307&ah=5e80419d1bc9821ebe173f4f0f060a07

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Criminal-Investigation-Targets-Identity-Theft-Refund-Fraud-2013

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_einstein.html#81odFuJOYg0meFSF.99

1-153031

John Raudat
Canoga Wealth Management LLC
9 North Main Street
P.O. Box 375
Chester, CT  06412
860-526-5000

John Raudat is a Registered Representative with, and securities offered through, LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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Market Commentary, March 18th

The Markets

Like winded runners, stock markets slowed at the end of last week.

Since the start of the year, the Dow Jones Industrials Index has risen by almost 11 percent, hurdling past new highs several times. The S&P 500 Index gained 9.4 percent over the same period. The index moved higher in 10 of the past 11 weeks and finished last week just shy of its all-time high. However, the Dow and the S& P’s momentum – and that of some other U.S. stock markets – slowed on Friday as stronger economic data was offset by an unexpected slump in consumer sentiment.

Economists expected the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index – which gauges Americans’ feelings about their current financial health, the health of the economy over the shorter-term, and growth prospects for the economy over the longer-term – to move higher in March. Instead, the index fell from 77.6 to 71.8, reaching its lowest level since December 2011. Markets fell on the news even though the negative results contradicted those of other consumer confidence measures, such as Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index which has moved higher for six consecutive weeks.

The consumer sentiment surprise also pushed Treasury yields down. Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell to 2 percent. The Treasury market remains concerned that stronger economic data could lead the Federal Reserve to change its policy on quantitative easing. The Federal Reserve’s next Open Market Committee meeting is next week, and may provide further insight to the matter.

Data as of 3/15/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

0.6%

9.4%

11.3%

10.7%

4.1%

6.1%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

2.0

N/A

2.3

3.7

3.3

3.8

Gold (per ounce)

0.9

-5.8

-3.2

13.1

9.6

16.7

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

0.8

-0.5

-5.0

1.8

-7.7

1.7

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

0.5

6.7

17.6

17.8

8.0

12.6

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

The middle class is growing.  In the United States, households that earn between $35,600 a year and $94,600 a year are considered to be middle class. That’s about 40 percent of U.S. households (another 40 percent earn less than the middle class and 20 percent earn more). Scholars and pundits have noted that job insecurity and stagnant income levels have weakened the middle class in the United States during the past few years, but that’s not what’s happening in the rest of the world.

The global middle class has been growing and is expected to continue to grow over the next few decades. The Organization for Economic Development defines the global middle class as including people earning between $10 and $100 a day with purchasing power parity. (Purchasing power parity is the theory that currency exchange rates should adjust so the same goods cost the same in different countries. It’s what the Big Mac Index measures.) By 2030, according to Ernst & Young, the global middle class is expected to more than double, adding three billion new members. These up-and-comers primarily will live and work in rapidly-growing countries.

As the global middle class grows so should its spending power. Between 2011 and 2030, middle class demand for goods and services is expected to increase from $21 trillion to $56 trillion. Forty percent of that spending will be done by the burgeoning middle class in Asia, including China and India. According to Forbes, these consumers are creating demand for all kinds of goods and services including cosmetics, automobiles, cell phone minutes, personal banking, and retirement planning.

For many decades, consumer spending has been an important driver behind economic growth in the United States. It’s likely to play a significant role in the economic growth of emerging countries, too. As developing countries become developed countries, interesting opportunities for investment are likely to emerge.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

Mark Twain, American author and humorist

Best regards,

 

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

* The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Sources:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/wall-st-week-ahead-big-010307323.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-15/michigan-consumer-sentiment-decreased-to-71-8-in-march-from-77-6.html

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/consumer-sentiment.asp#ixzz2NoAVhyIC

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/bond-report-treasurys-gain-after-consumer-sentiment-surprise-20130315-00494#ixzz2NoE2cuQH

http://consumerfed.org/news/594target=_blank

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTABCDE/Resources/7455676-1292528456380/7626791-1303141641402/7878676-1306699356046/Parallel-Sesssion-6-Homi-Kharas.pdf (Page 2)

http://www.oecd.org/dev/44457738.pdf (Page 6, Abstract section and Page 27)

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/06/purchasing-power-parity

http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Newsroom/News-releases/Press-Release_Middle-class-purchasing-power-set-to-triple-by-2030-world-wide-due-to-rapid-growth-in-emerging-markets

http://www.forbes.com/sites/investopedia/2012/12/06/the-finances-of-the-global-middle-class/ (Last paragraph)

http://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/re/articles/?id=2201

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mark_twain.html#TvIMjBVkLGIr23fr.99

1-151009

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

9 North Main Street

P.O. Box 375

Chester, CT  06412

860-526-5000

 

John Raudat is a Registered Representative with, and securities offered through, LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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Market Commentary, March 11th

The Markets

During periods of strong market performance, like the one we’ve experienced since the end of last year, it’s important to remember that markets ebb and flow over time. Since December 31, 2012, the Dow Jones Industrial Index has gained 9.9 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 8.8 percent. Last week, the Dow reached highs last seen during 2007, and the S&P 500 ended the week less than one percent from its record high, which was also realized during 2007.

While the strong performance of U.S. stock markets has given investors reason to smile, significant economic challenges remain. The effect of sequester spending cuts on the American public and economic growth remains relatively unknown. Also, U.S. earnings growth appears to be slowing and that could affect stock prices. (Earnings are a measure of a company’s profitability and influence its share price.)

Global markets were largely up last week, too, as investors seemed to celebrate stronger U.S. and Chinese economic data, as well as the fact that Central banks in Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and Canada met and left their monetary policies unchanged.

In the Eurozone, economic growth remained relatively weak and inconsistent. While the European Central Bank has stepped up to help countries affected by poor demand for bonds, insufficient bank-to-business lending has negatively affected economic growth, especially in southern Europe, leaving some countries mired in recession.

In the United States, yields on 10-year Treasuries rose higher last week despite Federal Reserve assurances that it will continue to pursue its current monetary policy for some time.

Data as of 3/8/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

2.2%

8.8%

13.6%

10.9%

4.0%

6.7%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

2.1

N/A

2.5

3.7

3.4

3.6

Gold (per ounce)

0.0

-6.6

-6.4

12.0

10.3

16.1

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

1.1

-1.3

-4.8

0.7

-8.6

1.1

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

0.8

6.2

20.3

18.5

8.7

12.8

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Is a wedding in your future? If so, prepare yourself.  Between the planner, venue, food, flowers, cake, dress, drinks, photographer, videographer, invitations, programs, and all the rest, you’re likely to be hearing a lot of this: Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

More than $50 billion is spent on weddings in the United States each year. According to the 2012 Wedding Report, the average wedding has about 133 to 143 guests and costs more than $25,000, not including the honeymoon. The good news is the average cost of a wedding in 2011 was less than the average cost in 2007. The bad news is that, according to CostofWedding.com, the cost of any wedding could increase by 50 to 100 percent if the planners choose designer labels, popular event locations, custom products and services, or if they invite significantly more guests.

Here are a few tips that may help ensure wedding costs don’t spiral out of control:

·         Establish a budget. Set a budget for the wedding, but make sure you build in a cushion of 10 to 15 percent for cost overruns, just as you would if you were putting an addition on your house or remodeling.

·         Understand venue and reception costs. When negotiating the cost of your reception, it’s important to ask for the per person cost, all-inclusive. If you’re given an all-inclusive price and you find the words ‘additional costs may be incurred’ or ‘plus the cost of setup and delivery’ in your final contract, ask what those costs are, specifically, and be prepared to negotiate.

·         Make smart liquor choices. The drinks served at the reception often are a significant expense. Many venues charge for every bottle opened. To save on the cost, you could opt to serve beer, wine, and champagne for toasts. Alternatively, you could offer signature cocktails that require a single type of liquor, which can help limit the number of bottles opened.

After evaluating costs, you may decide that the best option is for the happy couple to elope, marry in an exotic locale, and celebrate with a big party when they return. If that’s not an option, make sure to take advantage of the plentiful online resources available.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

Victor Hugo, French poet and novelist

 

Best regards,

 

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues.

Securities offered through LPL Financial Member FINRA/SIPC.

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

* The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/dow-record-not-necessarily-buy-021621887.html

http://www.npr.org/2013/03/10/173837176/double-take-toons-sequester-effects

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/earnings.asp#axzz2N9Euzxvx

http://online.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html (click on U.S. & Intl Recaps and then click on “Keeping the status quo for now” under “International Perspective”)

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21573125-dearth-lending-blights-prospects-recovery-southern-europe-still

http://online.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html (click on U.S. & Intl Recaps and then click on “Punch Bowl and Employment” under “Simply Economics”)

http://www.theweddingreport.com/wmdb/index.cfm?action=db.viewdetail&t=s&lc=00&setloc=y&brand=cw

http://www.costofwedding.com/

http://www.costofwedding.com/index.cfm/action/search.weddingcost/zipcode/00000?sg_sessionid=1362961992_513d2648918947.23893396&__sgtarget=-1&__sgbrwsrid=b994e000041383b6c931e14f9e79d51d#sgbody-1179037 (you may have to Refresh the page to view the information)

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/tips-for-sticking-to-a-wedding-budget.html

http://www.bridalguide.com/planning/wedding-budget/hidden-wedding-costs

http://www.realsimple.com/weddings/budget/save-money-wedding-00000000006530/page3.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/v/victor_hugo.html

 

1-149006

 

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