Market Update Through 4/15/2014

as of April 15, 2014
Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD MTD
Stocks
Russell 3000 22.03% -0.02% -1.96% -1.96%
S&P 500 21.25% 0.29% -1.49% -1.49%
DJ Industrial Average 14.10% -1.27% -1.12% -1.12%
Nasdaq Composite 27.05% -3.10% -3.89% -3.89%
Russell 2000 25.03% -3.46% -4.53% -4.53%
EAFE Index 11.56% -2.21% -2.04% -2.04%
Bonds
Barclays US Aggregate -0.22% 2.58% 0.73% 0.73%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit -0.08% 1.51% 0.50% 0.50%
Barclays Municipal 0.65% 4.32% 0.97% 0.97%
Current Prior
Commodity/Currency Level Level
Crude Oil $103.75 $101.58
Natural Gas $4.57 $4.37
Gold $1,300.30 $1,283.80
Euro $1.38 $1.37

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

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Market Update Through 3/31/2014

as of March 31, 2014
                                                              Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD March
Stocks
Russell 3000 22.61% 1.97% 1.97% 0.53%
S&P 500 21.86% 1.81% 1.81% 0.84%
DJ Industrial Average 15.66% -0.15% -0.15% 0.93%
Nasdaq Composite 30.18% 0.83% 0.83% -2.45%
Russell 2000 24.90% 1.12% 1.12% -0.68%
EAFE Index 15.88% -0.18% -0.18% -0.43%
 
Bonds
Barclays US Aggregate -0.10% 1.84% 1.84% -0.17%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit -0.13% 1.00% 1.00% -0.30%
Barclays Municipal 0.39% 3.32% 3.32% 0.17%
 
  Current Prior
Commodity/Currency Level Level
 
Crude Oil $101.58 $98.89
Natural Gas $4.37 $4.43
Gold $1,283.80 $1,379.00
Euro $1.37 $1.39

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

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Consumers Ride to the Rescue Again

Despite recurring unpleasant experiences with ice, sleet, snow, exceptionally low temperatures, wind and rain so far in 2014, consumers have kept on spending. On March 13, the Census Bureau gave us our first look at retail and food services sales for February.

The chart shows this story. After a 0.6 percent decline in January from December, total retail and food services sales posted a 0.3 percent increase in February from January. The total of $427.2 billion is the best February ever and 1.5 percent above February 2013.

untitledhttps://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/RSAFS

It is the fourth-best month ever, behind only October, November and December (in descending order) of 2013. In what is undoubtedly at least partially due to the unusually bad weather endured by so many parts of the nation, by far the best increase (6.3 percent) above February 2013 was racked up by nonstore retailers. So long as people had electricity they could order over the Internet or by telephone.

The second biggest increase was posted by “Health and personal care stores,” where sales rose by 5.5 percent above a year before. “Building materials and garden equipment supplies dealers” were next with a 3.2 percent year-over-year rise.

Gasoline stations had sales 4.6 percent lower than a year earlier. That was the result of slightly lower crude oil prices and less demand.

No matter the weather, people kept eating. Sales at “Food and beverage stores” were up 2.8 percent from a year earlier with the grocery stores part up 2.4 percent. “Food services and drinking places” (aka bars and restaurants) saw sales rise by 2.6 percent.

Consumers remain reasonably optimistic about the economic future for good reasons. The demand for labor is rising, which means that jobs are easier to find while wages and salaries are also growing.

With rising incomes, consumers have more money to spend on goods and services. This causes increases in retail sales and new orders from retailers to restock shelves keep industrial production growing. That in turn leads to more employment and more income. Economists call this lovely situation a virtuous cycle.

While the period since the end of the recession in June 2009 is still the weakest expansion in over 100 years in the US, we are finally entering a virtuous cycle. This year should be the first year with real GDP growth above 3.0 percent since 2005. That would be very good news indeed. The weather will improve and most of the output lost in the first quarter will be made up in April, May and June.

There will be some impact on the monthly profile of retail sales in 2014 because Easter is several weeks later this year than last. This year it will be on April 20 and last year it fell on March 31. Thus, we may have to wait for May to get a clear picture of exactly how robust retail sales are.

The Census Bureau will release revised data on retail and food services sales for the period from January 2012-March 2014 on April 30. Those data may change our understanding of consumer spending patterns somewhat. They will undoubtedly reaffirm the vital contribution of consumer spending to US economic growth.

Dr. James F. Smith
Chief Economist

 

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Market Update Through 3/14/2014

as of March 14, 2014        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD MTD
Stocks        
Russell 3000 21.45% 0.57% 0.57% -0.85%
S&P 500 20.28% 0.07% 0.07% -0.88%
DJ Industrial Average 13.21% -2.53% -2.53% -1.47%
Nasdaq Composite 31.98% 1.90% 1.90% -1.41%
Russell 2000 25.60% 1.75% 1.75% -0.06%
EAFE Index 10.26% -3.54% -3.54% -3.78%
         
Bonds        
Barclays US Aggregate 0.56% 2.01% 2.01% -0.01%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit 0.60% 1.31% 1.31% 0.00%
Barclays Municipal  0.76% 3.34% 3.34% 0.19%
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $98.89    $102.59
Natural Gas    $4.43    $4.61
Gold    $1,379.00    $1,321.60
Euro    $1.39    $1.38

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

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Market Update Through 2/28/2014

as of February 28, 2014        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD Feb
Stocks        
Russell 3000 26.74% 1.43% 1.43% 4.74%
S&P 500 25.37% 0.96% 0.96% 4.57%
DJ Industrial Average 19.01% -1.07% -1.07% 4.34%
Nasdaq Composite 38.10% 3.36% 3.36% 5.15%
Russell 2000 31.56% 1.81% 1.81% 4.71%
EAFE Index 18.48% 0.26% 0.26% 3.74%
         
Bonds        
Barclays US Aggregate 0.15% 2.02% 2.02% 0.53%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit 0.31% 1.31% 1.31% 0.38%
Barclays Municipal  -0.21% 3.14% 3.14% 1.17%
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $102.59    $100.30
Natural Gas    $4.61    $5.21
Gold    $1,321.60    $1,318.60
Euro    $1.38    $1.36

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

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Market Update Through 2/15/2014

as of February 14, 2014        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD MTD
Stocks        
Russell 3000 24.29% -0.08% -0.08% 3.18%
S&P 500 23.45% -0.26% -0.26% 3.31%
DJ Industrial Average 18.46% -2.19% -2.19% 3.16%
Nasdaq Composite 34.42% 1.76% 1.76% 3.52%
Russell 2000 26.06% -1.14% -1.14% 1.67%
EAFE Index 17.62% -1.57% -1.57% 1.85%
         
Bonds        
Barclays US Aggregate 0.02% 1.45% 1.45% -0.03%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit 0.39% 1.01% 1.01% 0.09%
Barclays Municipal  -0.87% 2.21% 2.21% 0.26%
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $100.30    $97.49
Natural Gas    $5.21    $4.94
Gold    $1,318.60    $1,239.80
Euro    $1.36    $1.34

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

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Market Update Through 1/31/2014

 

as of January 31, 2014    
     Total Return
Index 12 months YTD/QTD/JAN
Stocks    
Russell 3000 22.60% -3.16%
S&P 500 21.52% -3.46%
DJ Industrial Average 16.07% -5.19%
Nasdaq Composite 32.33% -1.70%
Russell 2000 27.03% -2.77%
EAFE Index 16.31% -3.36%
     
Bonds    
Barclays US Aggregate 0.12% 1.48%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit 0.41% 0.92%
Barclays Municipal  -1.07% 1.95%
     
  Current Prior
Commodity/Currency Level Level
     
Crude Oil  $97.49  $94.17
Natural Gas  $4.94  $4.33
Gold  $1,239.80  $1,238.30
Euro  $1.34  $1.35

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

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Market Update through 1/15/2014

as of January 15, 2014    
       Total Return
Index 12 months YTD/QTD/MTD
Stocks    
Russell 3000 29.28% 0.24%
S&P 500 28.24% 0.07%
DJ Industrial Average 24.79% -0.50%
Nasdaq Composite 37.28% 0.94%
Russell 2000 34.18% 0.69%
EAFE Index 24.05% 0.90%
     
Bonds    
Barclays US Aggregate -1.29% 0.60%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit -0.55% 0.42%
Barclays Municipal  -2.07% 1.19%
     
  Current Prior
Commodity/Currency Level Level
     
Crude Oil  $94.17  $98.42
Natural Gas  $4.33  $4.23
Gold  $1,238.30  $1,202.30
Euro  $1.35  $1.37

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

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2013 IRA Contribution Rules

The deadline to make IRA contributions for tax year 2013 is April, 15 2014.  The maximum contribution is $5,500 of earned income or $6,500 for those 50 and over.   These amounts will stay the same in 2014.

There are income limits which determine whether you can deduct your Traditional IRA contribution or if you qualify to make a Roth contribution.  The following table gives the phase-out range for the most common circumstances.

Do you qualify to deduct your   Traditional IRA contribution?
 If   your income is less than the beginning of the phase-out range, you   qualify.  If your income is over the phase-out range, you do not.  If   your income falls inside the range, you partially qualify.
  Modified   Adjusted Gross   Income                                           Phase-Out   Range
Single,   participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan $59,000-$69,000
Married,   participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan $95,000-$115,000
Married,   your spouse participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but you do   not. $178,000-$188,000
 
Do you qualify to contribute   to a Roth IRA?
Single $112,000-$127,000
Married,   filing jointly $178,000-$188,000

If your filing status differs from those listed above, please contact your advisor and he or she can help you determine whether you qualify.

 

Harli L. Palme, CFA, CFP®

Partner

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Market Update Through 12/31/2013

 

as of December 31, 2013        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD DEC
Stocks        
Russell 3000 33.55% 33.55% 10.10% 2.64%
S&P 500 32.39% 32.39% 10.51% 2.53%
DJ Industrial Average 29.65% 29.65% 10.22% 3.19%
Nasdaq Composite 40.12% 40.12% 11.10% 2.94%
Russell 2000 38.82% 38.82% 8.72% 1.97%
EAFE Index 27.46% 27.46% 6.40% 1.41%
         
Bonds        
Barclays US Aggregate -2.02% -2.02% -0.14% -0.57%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit -0.86% -0.86% -0.14% -0.63%
Barclays Municipal  -2.55% -2.55% 0.33% -0.26%
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $98.42    $96.60
Natural Gas    $4.23    $4.35
Gold    $1,202.30    $1,235.70
Euro    $1.37    $1.37

Mark A. Lewis
Director of Operations

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