Market Update through 01/31/12

as of January 31, 2011        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD January
Stocks        
Russell 3000 3.86% 5.05% 5.05% 5.05%
S&P 500 4.22% 4.48% 4.48% 4.48%
DJ Industrial Average 9.12% 3.55% 3.55% 3.55%
Nasdaq Composite 5.30% 8.06% 8.06% 8.06%
Russell 2000 2.86% 7.06% 7.06% 7.06%
EAFE Index* -12.36% 5.25% 5.25% 5.25%
*EAFE index does not include dividends.        
         
Bonds        
Barclays US Aggregate 8.66% 0.88% NA 0.88%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit 6.47% 1.02% NA 1.02%
Barclays Municipal  14.10% 2.31% NA 2.31%
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $98.55    $99.88
Natural Gas    $2.41    $2.48
Gold    $1,749.50    $1,659.50
Euro    $1.31    $1.27

Mark A. Lewis

Director of Operations

Share this:

IRA Contribution Rules

The deadline to contribute to your Roth or Traditional IRA for the tax year 2010 is April 17, 2012. You can contribute $5,000 or the amount of earned income for the year, whichever is less. If you’re over 50, you can contribute an additional $1,000.

Your income determines if you qualify for a tax-deductible Traditional IRA contribution, or if you qualify to make a Roth IRA contribution.

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-OutRange
Single, participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan $56,000 – $66,000
Married, participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan $90,000 – $110,000
Married, your spouse participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but you do not. $169,000 – $179,000
 
Do you qualify to contribute to a Roth IRA?
Single $107,000 – $122,000
Married, filing jointly $169,000 – $179,000

 

Harli L. Palme, CFA, CFP®

Financial Advisor

 

Share this:

Parsec Prize Deadline Approaching

The deadline is approaching for 2012 Parsec Prize submissions.  Our deadline is February 15.  This year we are giving $20,000 each to four non-profit organizations.  You can visit the Parsec Prize page on our web site to learn more about how to apply. 

We plan to celebrate the Parsec Prize award with our 2nd annual Parsec Prize 5k this fall.  This is a great opportunity for the Prize recipients to get more publicity and to get more people interested in their cause.  It’s also an opportunity to raise a little extra money for the Prize recipients.  

Training for a 5k doesn’t take too long, but there’s no time like the present to get in running shape to join us for this event.  Also, there’s still time to encourage your favorite non-profit to apply for the Parsec Prize.

 

Harli L. Palme, CFA, CFP®

Financial Advisor

Share this:

Changes Are Good!

Welcome to 2012! Are you ready for a year full of change? I know I am! 2011 was quite a year around our office.

As you are all aware, Parsec began making some changes in 2011. Well, 2012 is going to be even better! We plan to proceed with our electronic report delivery, as we feel this will essentially be a more efficient way for our clients to view and manage their quarterly reports. I won’t ruin any surprises for anyone, but I will inform you that we will be making some vast improvements in the upcoming months. Keep your eyes & ears open! We will be notifying everyone of our upcoming changes very soon!

On a different note, I would like to take a moment to discuss our lifestyles. This past Monday, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. On August 28, 1963 Dr. King delivered a powerful and memorable speech. One quote from his speech was, “I Have a Dream.” The speech delivered was regarding racial equality. As you may agree, this is not the time nor the place to discuss this topic. So, don’t worry, that isn’t where I am going with this. That famous quote can be used in a different context. Why don’t we all take a step back and apply this to our own personal lives? This is the month of January, the time when we are all making our resolutions for the new year. How many of you can honestly say you keep your resolutions all year long? I know I can’t! Most people can’t. So, instead of going for the typical resolutions, I am personally going to pursue a “dream” this year.

For example, some of you may have a dream of earning more income from your investments or your career. Myself, I would like to advance in my career. That is the dream I am pursuing in 2012. Each dream must have a plan. So, make a plan and stick to it. This is the year for change.

Welcome to 2012! Make the best of it!

Samantha Williams, RP

Client Data Specialist

Share this:

Market Update through 1/13/2012

as of January 13, 2012        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD MTD
Stocks        
Russell 3000 1.63% 2.78% 2.78% 2.78%
S&P 500 2.55% 2.58% 2.58% 2.58%
DJ Industrial Average 8.76% 1.76% 1.76% 1.76%
Nasdaq Composite 0.13% 4.07% 4.07% 4.07%
Russell 2000 -3.26% 3.17% 3.17% 3.17%
EAFE Index* -16.37% 0.19% 0.19% 0.19%
*EAFE index does not include dividends.        
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $99.88    $93.88
Natural Gas    $2.48    $3.12
Gold    $1,659.50    $1,586.20
Euro    $1.27    $1.30

Mark Lewis
Director of Operations

Share this:

She’s a Super Frack

Normally, I entertain you with rather dry, technical topics relating to investing and finance. I thought I would change direction dramatically and entertain you instead with a dry, technical discussion relating to geology, in honor of the 374th birthday of Nicolas Steno, “The Father of Geology” (I know about this thanks to Google’s Doodle on the 11th – it’s not like it was on my calendar or something). 

Fracking has been in the news a lot lately, as reports of contaminated groundwater have bubbled to the surface in areas where fracking has been employed. In case you don’t know, fracking is a process wherein oil and gas reservoir rocks are fractured and injected with sand, water and chemicals in order to get more hydrocarbons out of the ground. I just read that they are now entertaining the idea of “super fracking” which sounds like it will be well-received by critics. Oilfield services companies are also trying to refine the current fracking process – one company has actually developed something called “disintegrating frack balls” that turn into powder like an Alka-Seltzer tablet, according to one description. Boom, boom, fizz, fizz, oh what a big crack it is…

Why all the fracking? Basically, energy companies have recovered a lot of the easy-to-get hydrocarbons and are now looking toward reservoirs that are known to contain oil and/or gas, but won’t give up their precious contents quite so easily. Oil and gas are found in sedimentary rocks, which may generally be categorized as sandstone, limestone, or shale. These rocks have varying degrees of porosity and permeability – the former measures the size of the spaces in between the individual grains, and the latter measures how interconnected those spaces are. Sucking oil and gas out of a highly porous and permeable rock will be relatively easy, whereas getting it out of a rock with low permeability will be difficult – the hydrocarbons will remain locked inside the reservoir rock. Shales are notoriously impermeable, thanks to the size and shape of the mineral grains. This is where fracking comes into play – the rock is fractured and the cracks are propped open with a more permeable substance, like sand, which allows the hydrocarbons to flow out of the reservoir and up the well bore. As it becomes harder and harder to find and develop reserves, you can see how technologies like fracking will become increasingly important to energy companies. Still, nobody wants to be able to light their tap water on fire. Hopefully, critics and proponents will be able to find some sort of middle ground, preserving our precious groundwater while enabling energy companies to retrieve the resources we need.

Sarah DerGarabedian, CFA

Director of Research

Share this:

Weekly Market Update through 12/31/11

as of December 31, 2011        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD 4th QTR Dec
Stocks        
Russell 3000 0.92% 0.92% 12.12% 0.82%
S&P 500 2.09% 2.09% 11.82% 1.02%
DJ Industrial Average 8.46% 8.46% 12.77% 1.58%
Nasdaq Composite -1.17% -1.17% 8.21% -0.51%
Russell 2000 -4.91% -4.91% 15.48% 0.66%
EAFE Index* -14.37% -14.37% 2.86% -1.03%
*EAFE index does not include dividends.        
         
Bonds        
Barclays US Aggregate 7.84% 7.84% NA 1.10%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit 5.80% 5.80% NA 0.78%
Barclays Municipal  10.70% 10.70% NA 1.90%
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $101.41    $93.88
Natural Gas    $2.98    $3.12
Gold    $1,590.20    $1,586.20
Euro    $1.30    $1.30
Share this:

A Subtle Secret about Financial Planning

Considering the time of year this is written, one might expect a financial planning and investment management firm to share virtues of saving and investing. More than likely, most people already know that they should be saving and investing. However, what some may not have considered are the subtle secrets about their personal financial affairs. In fact, if you or your house suffers from this secret, I hope you might consider taking the advice in this blog and making it your New Years resolution.

In many marriages and partnerships, we find that there is one person who is the bill payer and also handles financial matters. In an environment where more and more bills are able to be paid online, we find that there are as many websites and passwords too. As we age, our financial affairs become more complicated, with more account numbers, passwords, and various forms of insurance policies. Thus, our organization and filing system becomes more complicated too. Herein lays the subtle secret: because our financial affairs have become more complicated and the demands for our time and attention have become greater, there is a good chance that a lot of this financial “data” is stored in one’s head. Simply put, there is a good chance that this information is either poorly organized or poorly communicated.

To take this a step further, consider for a moment what happens when the bill-payer passes away and inadvertently did not organize and communicate their financial matters, such as those mentioned above. Now imagine the other spouse trying to find a password, pay a bill, or locate an insurance policy. As you might have figured, it can be extremely challenging. Tragically, we encounter this situation more often than we would like to admit.

Four years ago, I resolved to help my wife by organizing and centrally locating important information like passwords, insurance policies, bills, and our estate plan. For me, the hardest part was knowing where to start. Luckily, I found a really neat organizer called Life.doc and it has been a tremendous help. Essentially, it puts all of our financial matters at our fingertips. During a time of grief and sorrow, the last thing I want for my wife is to have to dig through our filing cabinet and not be able to find something. The process was liberating because I have confidence in knowing she will be able to spend her energy on more important things, such as raising our daughter.

Neal Nolan, CFP(R)

Financial Advisor

Share this:

Market Update through 12/15/11

as of December 15, 2011        
  Total Return
Index 12 months YTD QTD MTD
Stocks        
Russell 3000 -0.52% -2.46% 8.25% -2.66%
S&P 500 0.49% -1.36% 8.01% -2.42%
DJ Industrial Average 6.39% 5.26% 9.52% -1.35%
Nasdaq Composite -1.91% -3.27% 5.51% -2.99%
Russell 2000 -5.58% -7.49% 11.48% -2.83%
EAFE Index* -16.48% -17.48% -0.35% -4.12%
*EAFE index does not include dividends.        
         
Bonds        
Barclays US Aggregate 8.80% 7.51% NA 0.79%
Barclays Intermediate US Gov/Credit 6.38% 5.56% NA 0.55%
Barclays Municipal  11.03% 10.03% NA 1.29%
         
    Current   Prior
Commodity/Currency   Level   Level
         
Crude Oil    $93.88    $99.74
Natural Gas    $3.12    $3.61
Gold    $1,586.20    $1,734.60
Euro    $1.30    $1.34
Share this:

Tax Loss Selling

‘Tis the season for tax-loss selling. As the year winds down investors often have an eye toward the taxable capital gains they incurred during the year. When possible, you can sell securities that have losses to offset those gains, wiping out the taxation on the gains.

At Parsec we routinely look at the gains our clients incur, and try to offset with losses. There aren’t always losses that can be taken, and sometime even when there is a loss, we don’t necessarily want to sell that particular security because we like its future prospects too much to sell it.

It’s important to keep perspective on capital gains. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but realizing that the gains are due to money that you made on your investment makes it easier to swallow. Also, the capital gains tax rate is relatively low, lower than many taxpayers marginal tax bracket.

Harli L. Palme, CFA, CFP®
Financial Advisor

Share this: