Weekly Update – February 13, 2012
As the old expression goes; what goes up must come down. During the final minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average trimmed its gains, falling 89.23 points, or 0.7%, locking in a weekly loss of 0.5%. For the day, only one of the Dow’s 30 components rose. The broad-based S&P 500 fared similarly, retreating 9.31 points, or 0.7%, for a loss of 0.2% for the week, while the tech heavy Nasdaq declined 23.35 points, or 0.8%, ending the week down 0.1%.[i]
In an action reminiscent of 2011, worries about stalling efforts to keep Greece from defaulting sparked this pre-weekend decline. As stocks fell, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX) jumped above 20 for the first time in nearly two weeks, rising more than 11%.[ii] While we don’t view this as a major cause for alarm, it is a reminder that all is not yet well with our European counterparts. After a week dominated by both hopes and fears about a nation at the center of Europe’s debt crisis, stocks finally snapped their five-week winning streak as negotiations faltered.
Equity markets have been red-hot this year, and frankly, last week’s pullback should come as little surprise. If stocks continued their ascent at the same fiery pace we’ve seen so far in 2012, the S&P would end the year up over 60%! Such remarkable gains are completely unrealistic to expect, and would be totally unsustainable. Healthy markets move up and down on a daily basis. While it is generally accepted that the stock market will grow in value over time, short-term movements can happen for a variety of reasons too numerous to list. It’s just the nature of the stock market.
It may be easier said than done, but we encourage you not to let unpredictable short-term moves in the market overly influence your investment decisions. In the long run, we believe Europe is going to muddle through this, though there are bound to be bumps along the way.
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NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories
Wednesday – Empire State Manufacturing Survey, Treasury International Capital, Industrial Production, Housing Market Index, EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Minutes
Thursday – Housing Starts, Jobless Claims, Producer Price Index, Ben Bernanke Speaks at 9:00 AM ET, Philadelphia Fed Survey
Friday – Consumer Price Index, Leading Indicators