Archives For Todd Burkhalter

Weekly Update – October 22, 2012

Markets declined for most of the week on disappointing third quarter earnings reports, with the technology sector hardest hit. On Friday, the 25th anniversary of 1987’s stock market crash (known as Black Monday)[i], trading was mostly downbeat as investors digested a string of disappointing earnings reports. In spite of this, markets staged a brief comeback in the last hours of trading to close mixed. For the week, the S&P gained 0.32%, the Dow gained 0.11%, and the Nasdaq fell 1.26%.[ii]


Overall this earnings season, Q3 profits have managed to come in just a shade over the doom and gloom estimates. However, the bad news is that top line revenue is much worse than forecasted. One of the big disappointments this week was Google (GOOG), which missed its revenue forecasts for the first time because of its struggling Motorola division and drove a tech selloff on Friday. Market stalwarts GE (GE) and McDonald’s (MCD) also turned in downbeat reports, pushing shares of both companies lower.[iii] With about one-third of S&P 500 companies reporting in, a solid 65% have beaten profit estimates, while just 42% have managed to beat revenue forecasts. This repeats the performance we saw in the second quarter, which shows that companies are learning to do more with less while dealing with challenging business conditions.[iv]


Not all the earnings news is grim though; banks and consumer discretionary companies such as luxury stores and hotels are expected to report the best growth. Banks were given a boost by Fed actions, and, despite the tough economy, luxury retailers and hotel chains are doing well as wealthy consumers continue to spend.[v]

Next week, analysts will turn their attention to two big economic reports on Friday – the GDP report and consumer sentiment. With remaining earnings reports likely to show more of the same, investors will be looking at the GDP report to see whether the Fed’s QE3 activities are giving the economy the boost it needs. Although we can hope for some solid economic performance, there is a good chance the rest of October will be turbulent for markets.


Wednesday: New Home Sales, EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Meeting Announcement

Thursday: Durable Goods Orders, Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales Index


Friday: GDP, Consumer Sentiment


How Far We’ve Come

October 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

Weekly Update – October 15, 2012

Markets declined last week, retreating after initial third quarter earnings reports showed weakness and the World Bank cut its growth estimates in Asia. While the major indexes rallied a bit on Thursday and Friday, overall, investors decided that they didn’t have much to get excited about. For the week, the S&P declined 2.21%, the Dow lost 2.07%, and the Nasdaq lost 2.94%.[i]


While it can be hard to see the big picture when markets slide, it’s important to keep short-term pull-backs in perspective. To help us do this, we can reflect on how far we’ve come since Tuesday’s five year anniversary of the October 9, 2007 peak. In the last five years, markets have overcome a great deal: a catastrophic mortgage meltdown, a plunge that erased 50% of the market’s value, and significant global uncertainty.[ii] Since the darkest days of the “great recession” we’ve made enormous strides towards recovery, and currently, the S&P is within a few percentage points of its 2007 peak. Furthermore, we have reasons to be optimistic about the future. While we could hope for more robust growth, economic indicators are showing that the economy is gradually recovering. Unemployment is decreasing, manufacturing is increasing, and consumers are feeling more confident.[iii]


We definitely have a long way to go before we can state with certainty that the global economy has recovered. And, as many analysts have stated, the next few months could be turbulent for equity markets. Factors such as the ongoing crisis in Europe, weak fundamentals in Asia, poor corporate earnings reports, the presidential election, and the fiscal cliff may create challenges that test your discipline to stay the course.[iv]

On the bright side though, the S&P 500 has gained 11.8% since June 1, indicating that investors are ready to respond to positive news and that there may still be some upside potential this year.[v] In September, the U.S. economy gained 114,000 jobs, driving the unemployment rate down to 7.8%.[vi] The housing market is active, indicating that at least that corner of our economy is doing well.[vii] Although we cannot predict the future, these factors are very encouraging. We’ve certainly come a long way.



Monday: Retail Sales, Empire State Mfg. Survey, Business Inventories

Tuesday: Consumer Price Index, Treasury International Capital, Industrial Production, Housing Market Index

Wednesday: Housing Starts, EIA Petroleum Status Report

Thursday: Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Survey

Friday: Existing Home Sales

Have you ever wondered if you are eligible to receive any Financial Aid for your college bound child? There is quite a bit of mystery surrounding the entire college financial aid application process. This mysterious, even convoluted, process has created a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about who is eligible for receiving financial aid for college. Below are 6 fictional thoughts and 6 facts regarding financial aid eligibility.



The Fiction


1. My Income is too High.

2. My Child Did Not Win a National Merit Scholarship

3. If My Child Does not Qualify for a Needs Based Aid, There is No Hope

4. I Own a Nice Home.

5. The School’s People Can Help

6. It’s a Simple, Easy and Fair Process


The Facts


1. Middle & Upper Middle Income Class Kids Can Qualify.

2. Need Based Aid Based on Income, Assets, Number of Kids, Etc.

3. There are Millions of Dollars of Aid for Kids with Academic, Artistic & Athletic Talent.

4. FAFSA Form Doesn’t Ask for Home Equity, but the Profile Form Does.

5. Colleges are Businesses & are Concerned about Their Own Enrollment & Finances

6. Many Believe it’s Not Simple, Easy or Fair.




Have you ever had any of the thoughts listed above? I would encourage you to consider getting to the truth about YOUR personal situation. College costs differ from person to person. Let me know if you wish to learn more about lowering the cost of college for your family!


The information provided above is provided through a partnership with 123College. 123College is a source for College Financial Planning, Education and Training.  Since 1994, 123College has developed Financial Aid Analysis Software to ensure accuracy and full compliance with the U.S. Dept. of Education’s complicated financial aid formulas.