Archives For Todd Burkhalter

Weekly Update – January 14, 2013

Markets were upbeat last week, closing positive for the second week in a row as traders digested the
first fourth-quarter earnings reports and fresh economic data. The S&P 500 was pushed to a new five-year high, gaining 0.38%, while the Dow rose 0.4%, and the Nasdaq increased 0.77%.[i]

The debt ceiling debate is already in swing, with headlines dominated by the idea of minting a trillion
dollar coin as a way to sidestep a vote on the ceiling. The comedic suggestion was made in an act of political one-upmanship but isn’t a true solution. We hope that with that suggestion out of the way, Congress can get back to its job of making necessary decisions to tackle the deficit and put the U.S. back on firm fiscal ground.[ii]

With equities at five-year highs, it’s time to start thinking about whether the fundamentals can support
further upside. Next week, analysts will turn their attention to a slew of economic reports and more earnings data. According to FactSet Research, S&P 500 companies are expected to report overall earnings growth of 2.4% for the fourth-quarter of 2012. This is much better than the third-quarter’s 1%
decline; however, much of the growth is expected to come from the financial sector, meaning that other sectors are expected to see growth of just 0.2%.[iii]

Perhaps even more important than the data will be the attitude of business leaders about their prospects
this year. Their opinions could provide us with an important clue about growth prospects for the U.S. and global economies. Analyst opinions are mixed, as some expect an upbeat outlook from businesses, while others think we’ll see more guarded opinions.[iv]

Analysts will be also listening closely to Ben Bernanke’s first appearance of the year; scheduled for Monday,
January 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM. The Fed chairman will be speaking about the economy, and some Fed watchers believe he may discuss a potential end to the Fed’s asset-purchase program.[v]

Whichever way markets move in the coming weeks, we’ll be paying close attention and seeking out opportunities where they arise. While we’re pleased with the way markets have performed thus
far, we’re always on the look out for reversals and turbulence, and we strive to build portfolios that can withstand short-term gyrations.



[i]
http://www.briefing.com/investor/markets/weekly-wrap/weekly-wrap-for-january-7-2013.htm

[ii]
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/12/usa-debt-platinum-idUSL2N0AH0S220130112

[iii]
http://money.cnn.com/2013/01/11/investing/stocks-markets/index.html?iid=A_INV_News

[iv]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100373960

[v]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100373960

The Cost of Care

January 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

 

__ This content was provided by Entreprenuer.com at http://m.entrepreneur.com/blog/225449

 

 

And We’re Off…

January 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

Weekly Update – January 7, 2013

Markets finished the first week of 2013 with a bang, upbeat over resolution surrounding fiscal cliff talks. The S&P 500 closed up 4.6% for the week, hitting a high of 1,466 on Friday; a level not seen since December 2007. The other indices also closed up, with the Dow gaining 3.8% and the Nasdaq climbing 4.77%.[i] Although soon-to-be-released fourth-quarter earnings data could slow things down, a flood of new pension and 401k money has potential to keep the rally going.[ii] Only time will tell the story.

 

Though you may be following this already, we feel a responsibility to recap some recent events and their
outcomes. The U.S. Senate was finally able to reach a deal with the Whitehouse in the early hours of January 1, after which the House ratified the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Major provisions of this bill include:

  • Raise $600 billion in revenue over 10 years through tax increases. Postpone for two months the start of $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts. (Unfortunately, postponing spending cuts just means that we’ll be revisiting the issue again soon.
  • Permanently extend the Bush Tax Cuts for income below $400,000 per individual, or $450,000
    per family. Income above that level would be taxed at the highest rate of 39.6%. For earners in the top bracket, capital gains and dividend tax rates would return to 20% from 15%.
  • Permanently patch the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and index it to inflation.
  • Extend unemployment benefits for one year for the long-term unemployed.[iii]

 

Although Americans are relieved that the fiscal cliff quagmire is over, a Gallup poll shows that
opinions are split over the deal, with 43% showing approval, while 45% disapprove.[iv]
There is still much work to be done when it comes to balancing our nation’s finances, and this deal barely puts a dent in the budget deficit, but we hope lawmakers will remain committed to formulating lasting solutions.

Looking ahead, fourth quarter earnings will kick off this week and American corporations will be under the microscope as analysts try to decide whether fundamentals support further market upside.[v]

 


[i]
http://www.briefing.com/investor/markets/weekly-wrap/weekly-wrap-for-december-31-2012.htm

[ii]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100355691

[iii]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100346815

[iv]
http://www.christianpost.com/news/americans-split-over-fiscal-cliff-deal-gallup-poll-shows-87767/

[v]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100355691

[vi]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100357141

[vii]
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100356657