Financial Tech

How Uncertainty Affects the Market and the European Economy – The Guide Rock Capital Market Commentary – FT038

Robert Burns, father of fourteen and writer of Auld Lang Syne, once said, “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” Was he ever right! Here are a few sure things: · The Federal Reserve intends to reduce economic stimulus by tapering quantitative easing (QE). · Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke plans to retire. · Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was positive in Europe during the second quarter. Listen Mobile: Here are some of the uncertainties which may arise from them: · When will QE begin to end? How will changes in the program affect world economies and markets? · Who will be the new Fed chairman? What policies will be pursued? · Was the second quarter a turning point for the Euro area economy? Is Europe moving out of recession? How has uncertainty affected things? Well, it has left Treasuries a whole lot less popular than they once were. China and Japan reduced their holdings of Treasuries by about $40 billion recently. According to Reuters, a Chinese economist said the sale of Treasuries could be attributed to expectations that bond yields will rise and prices will fall as QE ends. In the same article, a Japanese policymaker said expectations about changing Fed policies created market volatility that forced some Asian central banks to defend their currencies and that led to the sale of Treasuries. In total, about $67 billion of foreign investment money was pulled out of Treasuries in June. Uncertainty didn’t do much for American stocks, either. At the end of last week, most major stock markets had moved lower. Data as of 8/16/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) NA Gold (per ounce) DJ-UBS Commodity Index DJ Equity All REIT TR Index Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, , London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable. IS IT THE BEGINNING OF THE END? MAYBE… Last Tuesday, Eurostat, which provides statistical information on the European Union (EU), announced that its flash estimate showed positive economic growth (up percent) for the Euro area for the second quarter. Media outlets embraced the news with tremendous enthusiasm and some informed the world that Europe was, once again, on its feet. · Euro Zone Emerges from Recession – The Wall Street Journal · Euro Zone Exits Longest Recession in Over 40 Years – CNBC · Germany, France Haul Euro Zone Out of Recession – Reuters While it’s possible the second quarter will prove to be a turning point for Europe’s economy, the headlines were a bit rash. Perhaps the blog, written by Ollie Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, should have been read before crafting their headlines. Rehn wrote: “Add today’s quarterly GDP figures to other recent positive survey data and you will find reasonable evidence suggesting the European economy is gradually gaining momentum… I hope there will be no premature, self-congratulatory statements suggesting “the crisis is over.” For we all know that there are still substantial obstacles to overcome: the growth figures remain low and the tentative signs of growth are still fragile; the averages hide important differences between Member States… So there is still a very long way to go before we reach our ultimate goal of a sustainable growth model that delivers more jobs.” Officially, the end of the Euro area recession will be determined by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). This organization is similar to the National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER) in the United States. In both regions, business cycle dating is a tricky business. The CEPR assesses GDP and other factors, such as the components of output and labor market data when determining the start and end dates for recessions and expansions. One of the biggest hazards to cycle dating is data revision so you can be sure the CEPR will be paying attention when Eurostat issues revised second quarter numbers in early September. Weekly Focus – Think About It “True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.” —George Washington, President of the United States Best regards, ANDREW HUNT CFP® President of Guide Rock Capital Management, Inc. 1001 Gallup Drive Omaha, NE 68102 Communication | Woo | Achiever | Ideation | Relator   Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through Shareholders Service Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. * This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. * The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/AndrewDHunt Andrew’s Blog: Contact the show at Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Visit the new Facebook page for the The Average Guy Network
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Financial Tech

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Fiddles while the US Markets Rocket Forward – Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Jul 15 – FT035

One of these things is not like the other… If you find yourself humming that old Sesame Street standard when you think about financial markets and world economies, you’re probably not alone. To the consternation of many, the Dow Jones Industrials Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rocketed to new highs last week just as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global economic growth forecast for 2013 and 2014. Listen Mobile: Many in the media pointed fingers and announced, “That’s the problem right there!” Of course, the fingers were pointing at Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve which continued to dither about Quantitative Easing (QE) last week. While it may feel good to lay blame, the Fed is just one tree in the forest of market volatility and economic growth. Let’s take a look at another section of the forest: emerging markets. They are expected to power 60 percent of the world’s economic activity by 2030. Yet, just last week, China’s exports slumped, and Brazilian and Indonesian central banks raised interest rates (which generally slows growth). Turkey’s central bank may do the same next week. Is slowing growth in emerging markets the Fed’s fault? While higher rates in the may hurt emerging markets, many of those countries have problems of their own, including infrastructure bottlenecks and excessive credit expansion. Last March, the Financial Times quoted Deutsche Bank strategist John-Paul Smith who wrote: “We believe that 2013 will mark the year when economists and investors focus on the underlying imbalances within the Chinese economy and, accordingly, reduce their expectations of sustainable growth over the medium term. The deterioration in the perception of China is likely to have a very disruptive effect on (global emerging market) equities…” Smith’s forecast proved out. Early last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered expectations for China’s growth to the high-seven percent range. Of course, it’s not easy to predict the future. Irrefutable evidence of that arrived a few days after the IMF’s report when Lou Jiwei, China’s Minister of Finance, said his country’s growth rate could fall to percent or even lower. Economists gasped. China’s official growth target (set by the National People’s Congress) is percent, not percent or lower. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Such a sharp downshift in China’s growth would send ripples around the world economy, hitting everything from iron-ore demand in Australia to sales of luxury handbags in Hong Kong stores.” Data as of 7/12/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) N/A Gold (per ounce) DJ-UBS Commodity Index DJ Equity All REIT TR Index Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, , London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable. IN AMERICA, PEOPLE ARE STILL PULLING THEMSELVES UP BY THEIR BOOT STRAPS. Three-fourths of the folks who participated in the2013 Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth (all of whom have $3 million or more in investable assets) made their money the old fashioned way. They worked, owned businesses, and/or invested. Most believe they’re financially secure and feel confident about the future. While that proved true for many aspects of financial planning, the study uncovered some unrecognized risks, many of which have been created by a volatile investment environment and changing tax laws. They include: Incomplete retirement planning. Although the vast majority of those surveyed are very confident about having the income they need during retirement, many have overlooked factors which affect income and assets such as lifestyle expectations, out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, long-term care costs, and others. Financial support for extended family. Almost one-half of those surveyed provide significant support to members of their extended families (including parents, in-laws, siblings, and grown children). However, the majority have not included that fact in their financial plans. Conflicted emotions about investing. The majority of survey participants said growing assets is more important than preserving them today; however, they also said lowering risk is a higher priority than pursuing higher returns. Tax law changes. A majority of wealthy people do not understand the ways in which tax law changes may affect their income, investments, or estates. Few understand the tax strategies which may be available to them. Weekly Focus – Think About It “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” —Benjamin Franklin, inventor and statesman Best regards, ANDREW HUNT CFP® President of Guide Rock Capital Management, Inc. 1001 Gallup Drive Omaha, NE 68102 Communication | Woo | Achiever | Ideation | Relator   Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through Shareholders Service Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. * This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. * The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/AndrewDHunt Andrew’s Blog: Contact the show at Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Visit the new Facebook page for the The Average Guy Network
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Financial Tech

Quantitative Easing, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is it Good or Bad and What is the Best Index to Follow? Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Jun 3 – FT030

The Fed will taper… the Fed will not… the Fed will taper… the Fed will not… Last week, investors and traders obsessed about the Federal Reserve and the possibility it might begin to end its quantitative easing program. The Fed began its first round of quantitative easing during the financial crisis in an effort to prop up the American economy. In general, quantitative easing helps increase money supply and promote lending and liquidity. Investors’ fears about what may happen when the program ends were apparent when, despite abundant positive economic news, major stock markets lost value last week. Listen Mobile: On Tuesday, after the Memorial Day holiday, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index posted its biggest gain in seven years. Housing prices increased in every one of the 20 cities it tracks. stock markets initially responded positively to the news. However, it wasn’t long before investors began to worry that stronger housing prices might speed up the Fed’s timetable for quantitative easing, and stock markets moved lower on Wednesday. On Thursday, weaker-than-expected economic data – first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the United States was revised downward from percent to percent – pushed markets higher. On Friday, positive news – the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of sentiment showed consumer confidence had reached its highest level in six years – caused markets to move lower. stocks generally finished higher for the month of May despite last week’s performance. The Dow Jones Industrial Index gained percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose by percent, and the NASDAQ was up percent. Treasuries, however, delivered their worst monthly performance since 2010. During the last four weeks, yields on 10-year Treasury notes rose from percent to percent – an increase of 50 basis points. Data as of 5/31/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) N/A Gold (per ounce) DJ-UBS Commodity Index DJ Equity All REIT TR Index Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, , London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.   SOME SAY THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (CFPB) unnecessarily limits consumers’ choices and is not subject to sufficient oversight; others say it protects consumers from unethical business practices and unnecessary financial hardship. Regardless of the hoopla surrounding it, consumers have begun turning to the CFPB for help. The CFPB is funded by the Federal Reserve and operates independently of Congress which is one reason some believe it does not have sufficient oversight. According to the CFPB’s web site, its purpose is: “Above all… ensuring that consumers get the information they need to make the financial decisions they believe are best for themselves and their families – that prices are clear up front, that risks are visible, and that nothing is buried in fine print. In a market that works, consumers should be able to make direct comparisons among products and no provider should be able to use unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices.” From July 2011 (the date the CFPB became effective) through February 2013, the CFPB had received and worked to address more than 131,000 consumer complaints, including 5,000 issues raised by members of the military, veterans, and their families. The complaints typically are related to mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts and services, private student loans, consumer loans, and credit reporting. According to a recent article in Barron’s, the CFPB is: “…Progressing in its original mission of reducing predatory lending by mortgage and auto lenders, credit-card issuers, and other consumer-finance outfits… So far, the agency has forced financial institutions to repay $425 million to consumers, and tackled bias in auto loans made by finance companies via car dealers. The CFPB has formulated tighter mortgage-lending rules that are being challenged in Congress. The bureau is about to begin regulating an estimated 22,000 payday offices.” For banks and financial firms, complying with CFPB rules may require operational makeovers and the not-insignificant expenses which may accompany them, according to American One financial institution spent 900 hours analyzing how its mortgage operations, servicing, collections, and legal compliance measured up to CFPB rules. Then it modified its systems, processes, and training programs (or created new ones) to ensure it would remain in compliance. One outcome was the firm’s compliance team grew from four to 17 employees. So, what is the CFPB? Is it an overreaching compliance nightmare or an effective consumer watchdog? Only time will tell. Weekly Focus – Think About It “The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.” —J. Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist Best regards, ANDREW HUNT CFP® President of Guide Rock Capital Management, Inc. 1001 Gallup Drive Omaha, NE 68102 Communication | Woo | Achiever | Ideation | Relator   Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through Shareholders Service Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. * This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. * The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/AndrewDHunt Andrew’s Blog: Contact the show at Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Visit the new Facebook page for the The Average Guy Network Intro and Exit Music from “Motion” by Adelaide.  Hear more great tunes at 
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Financial Tech

University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey and Phenomenon Called Heuristics – Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary May-20 FT029

Much like elementary school children trying to capture the attention of someone they have a crush on, the American economy sent lots of mixed signals last week. Conflicting reports emerged about consumer sentiment during the week. The Conference Board, a non-profit research organization, reported consumers remained somewhat pessimistic about the direction of the economy. In contrast, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey rose to a six-year high, according to ABC News. The Index moved from in April to in May indicating consumers are feeling more confident about the economy. Listen Mobile: On the employment front, more people filed first-time unemployment claims last week than had filed the week before; however, claims remained well below the levels experienced from mid-2008 to 2011. Additionally, data shows during the past six months the average length of unemployment has dropped, the number of hours worked has risen, and earnings have increased. Messages from the Federal Reserve were more consistent than economic data. Members of the Philadelphia, Dallas, and San Francisco Federal Reserve Banks suggested it may be time to begin slowing quantitative easing. Currently, the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing efforts have it buying about $85 billion of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities each month as it works to support the economy. According to reports, quantitative easing could slow to a stop during 2013. Fed comments helped push yields on 10-year Treasuries higher for the week. Stock markets remained undaunted by uncertain economic conditions and the prospect that quantitative easing may end soon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Indices surged to new highs last week. Markets rallied across the pond, as well, with some major European stock indices reaching levels last seen five or more years ago, according to Reuters. Data as of 5/17/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) N/A Gold (per ounce) DJ-UBS Commodity Index DJ Equity All REIT TR Index Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, , London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable. HEURISTIC IS JUST ANOTHER NAME FOR A SHORTCUT. When academics look to psychology and economics to explain why people make financial decisions the way they do, it’s called behavioral finance. This field of study describes a phenomenon called “heuristics.” In general, a heuristic is a mental shortcut that lets someone solve a problem using a rule of thumb. Heuristics may be handy, but they may not take you exactly where you mean to go. For example, consider some of the shortcuts investors have developed to predict the direction of the stock market. You may have heard of the: Hemline Index: In 1926, George Taylor suggested the length of women’s skirts was a useful market predictor. Short hemlines were a positive predictor while long hemlines were a negative predictor. Taylor later became Professor of Industrial Relations at Wharton and became known as the father of American Arbitration. Super Bowl Indicator: Washington and Lee professor George Kester introduced the idea the Super Bowl winner could predict market performance. His theory was the market would move higher for the year when an original National Football League team won the Super Bowl and lower when an original American Football League team won. Presidential Election Cycle Theory: The idea behind this gem is the stock market follows a predictable pattern during each American President’s term. The year after an election produces the weakest stock market performance while the third year offers the strongest. Anyone who remembers The Chicago Daily Tribune’s headline, Dewey Beats Truman, or CNN and Fox News’ headlines indicating the Supreme Court struck down the individual mandate, knows predicting the future can be challenging. In general, it’s a good idea to remember that the drivers of market performance tend to be economic factors, investor sentiment, and company fundamentals. Weekly Focus – Think About It “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” —Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist Best regards, ANDREW HUNT CFP® President of Guide Rock Capital Management, Inc. 1001 Gallup Drive Omaha, NE 68102 Communication | Woo | Achiever | Ideation | Relator   Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through Shareholders Service Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. * This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. * The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/AndrewDHunt Andrew’s Blog: Contact the show at Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Visit the new Facebook page for the The Average Guy Network Intro and Exit Music from “Motion” by Adelaide.  Hear more great tunes at 
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Financial Tech

Sell in May and Go Away and Where Will You Live When You Retire? Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary May-13 FT028

‘Sell in May and Go Away’ is a trading maxim which, according to Investopedia, encourages an investor to “sells his or her stock holdings in May and get back into the equity market in November…” Traders who adhere to that adage may be pondering averages and exceptions right now. During the first two weeks of the month, the Dow Jones Industrials Average, the Standard & Poor’s 500, and the Russell 2000 Indices all reached new highs. The Dow passed 15,000, the S&P reached 1,600, and the Russell 2000 hit 968. Listen Mobile:   Bulls are in the majority among investors, although there is some bearish sentiment, according to the Bull and Bear Wise Index. Investors’ changing expectations are reflected in CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index which showed investor sentiment has shifted from ‘fear’ one year ago to ‘extreme greed’ last week. The premise of the index, which measures seven indicators, is investors are driven by two emotions: fear and greed. When investors are fearful, stock markets may fall more than they should; when investors are greedy, markets may be pushed higher than they should be. Investors’ inclination toward stocks may be one of the reasons for declines in the value of gold and commodities last week. Although there was little of it, economic news generally was positive last week. The Labor Department announced the number of Americans filing initial claims for jobless benefits dropped unexpectedly. Approximately 323,000 people filed for unemployment benefits which was about the same number that filed each week before the recession started in December 2007. According to Bloomberg, investors took the news as a sign the economy is improving which helped push yields on 10-year Treasuries higher. Perceived economic strength in the caused the dollar to gain against many of the 16 major world currencies last week, as well as the 24 emerging countries’ currencies tracked by Data as of 5/10/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) N/A Gold (per ounce) DJ-UBS Commodity Index DJ Equity All REIT TR Index Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, , London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.   WHERE WILL YOU LIVE DURING RETIREMENT? As with many of life’s important questions, the answer depends on you and, possibly, your partner or spouse. Before you make a decision and decide to retire to wherever your grandchildren live (or in your favorite vacation spot) you might want to take a moment and consider the tax implications of your decision. If your grandchildren live in Alaska, Nevada, Wyoming, Mississippi, or Georgia, you’re probably okay. Each year, reviews the tax rules of each of the 50 states, giving special consideration to states which offer attractive tax incentives to retirees and then provides a list of those states it deems most tax-friendly for retirees. For 2012, Kiplinger reported the five states listed above were the most tax-friendly. According to the article, “All of these tax havens exempt Social Security benefits from taxation (and some impose no state income tax at all). Many of them exclude government and military pensions from income taxes, and some exempt private pensions, too. A few offer blanket exclusions up to a specific dollar amount of retirement income from a wide variety of sources, which is important if you depend on distributions from IRAs and 401(k) plans rather than traditional pensions. Review all of your sources of income before you decide which state may be the best fit for your retirement home.” reported the least tax-friendly states included Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Montana, and Minnesota, which have one or more of the following: · Estate or inheritance taxes · High property taxes · No tax breaks on Social Security benefits · No special treatment for various types of retirement income Source: No matter where you decide to settle, it’s important to evaluate all of the factors which may affect your income during retirement.   Weekly Focus – Think About It “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” —Oscar Wilde, Irish writer and poet Best regards, ANDREW HUNT CFP® President of Guide Rock Capital Management, Inc. 1001 Gallup Drive Omaha, NE 68102 Communication | Woo | Achiever | Ideation | Relator   Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through Shareholders Service Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. * This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. * The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/AndrewDHunt Andrew’s Blog: Contact the show at Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Visit the new Facebook page for the The Average Guy Network Intro and Exit Music from “Motion” by Adelaide.  Hear more great tunes at 
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Financial Tech

The Fed Makes a Mistake and Reversion to the Mean – Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Apr-15 FT024

Last week, the term ‘Easy Money’ conjured both comedian Rodney Dangerfield and the Federal Reserve, and no one was certain how much respect either one should get. The Fed accidentally e-mailed its market-moving Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes to congressional staffers and trade lobbyists on Tuesday at 2 The minutes weren’t supposed to be released to anyone until Wednesday at two. Once the mistake was realized, the Fed released the minutes early on Wednesday morning. Listen Mobile:   Markets enthusiastically embraced the minutes which appeared to focus on the idea quantitative easing will continue. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high more than once last week, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is already nearing analyst’s targets for the full year. The minutes indicated committee members were less clear on the issue, according to the Washington Post, which reported: “A few Fed officials think QE (Quantitative Easing) should be stopped immediately; a few think it should be shrunk fairly soon; many think it should be slowed if we see a rebounding job market; a few think it should continue at its current size until the end of the year; and a couple think it may need to be increased. The minutes also make clear Fed officials are not all on the same page in determining the economic climate that would trigger that tapering.” Committee members are not the only ones who don’t know what to think about the economy. Consumer sentiment has been volatile. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index showed consumer sentiment improved significantly from mid- to late-March only to decline again from late-March to mid-April. speculated weaker consumer sentiment may have been the result of the payroll tax roll and weaker economic data. Data as of 4/12/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) N/A Gold (per ounce) DJ-UBS Commodity Index DJ Equity All REIT TR Index Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, , London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable. IT HAS BEEN SAID STOCK MARKET RETURNS REVERT TO THE MEAN, but what does that mean? Reversion to the mean is a statistical phenomenon. It’s the idea the further something is from the mean – or average – the more likely it is the next thing that comes along will be closer to the mean. For example, if a baseball player has a batting average of .330 and hits .180 in a game, it’s likely that player will hit better in the next game (unless, the player’s in a slump, but that is a different topic). Reversion to the mean is the theory behind a variety of investment strategies. Analysts who employ the theory may look at an average price, an average return, or another financial statistic they find relevant. For example, they may consider whether a company’s recent performance varies significantly from its historical average performance. If its performance is worse than average, some analysts may decide the company’s price is likely to revert to the mean. In that case, they may choose to invest in the company. If the company’s performance is better than average, analysts may decide to sell shares. Similarly, if a market or index – such as the Treasury market or the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index – performs significantly worse than its mean, investors may decide better performance is ahead, and vice versa. In 2009, an article in Forbes stated, “Mean reversion is an odd concept because it’s clearly not causal. The market’s historic return of 9 percent a year is based on over 100 years of data (what’s typically considered the modern stock market), and, of course, the ride to 9 percent is a bumpy one with major double-digit up years and big double-digit down years all averaging to that 9 percent number.” The point is any average is a moving target. After all, a significant downward movement pushes the historical mean lower and a significant upward shift pushes it higher. Regardless of the investment theories employed by analysts and money managers, investors may want to set financial goals, carefully choose asset allocation strategies, hold well-diversified portfolios, and maintain their long-term perspective. Weekly Focus – Think About It “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” —Buddha Best regards, ANDREW HUNT CFP® President of Guide Rock Capital Management, Inc. 1001 Gallup Drive Omaha, NE 68102 Communication | Woo | Achiever | Ideation | Relator   Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through Shareholders Service Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. * This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. * The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Financial Tech

There’s a New Bric in Town and Japanese Stagflation – Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Apr-08 FT023

investors puzzled over disparate pieces of economic and world news last week. By the end of the week, major markets had tumbled indicating investors didn’t like what they’d seen. Under new leadership, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced an aggressive stimulus program that will inject $ trillion into its economy over the next two years. The effort is intended to end decades of stagflation. Stagflation is a period of economic stagnation characterized by rising inflation, higher unemployment, lackluster consumer demand, and lack of growth in business activity. Shares in the Japanese market, which closed before jobs numbers were announced, rose to almost a five-year high. Listen Mobile:   Elsewhere in Asia, escalating rhetoric from North Korea kept tensions high on the Korean Peninsula and negatively affected investor sentiment. In the , economic news was largely disappointing and suggested a slowdown in the economy may be ahead. Manufacturing and service numbers came in below expectations, and a Department of Labor report showed far fewer jobs were added last month than expected. On the positive side, a different report showed unemployment had ticked lower, moving to percent from percent. After hitting an all-time high on Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the week down 1 percent. The Dow Jones Industrials and NASDAQ Indices also tumbled, finishing the week down percent and down percent, respectively. Treasury markets benefitted from uncertainty about the strength of economic growth, the outcome of the Japanese stimulus program, and the potential for violence in Korea. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to percent. Data as of 4/5/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) N/A Gold (per ounce) DJ-UBS Commodity Index DJ Equity All REIT TR Index Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, , London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable. There’s a new bric in town. You’ve probably heard of the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The nickname was created in 2001when Jim O’Neill, an economist and the future Chairman of Goldman Sachs, used it to describe the countries of the world that would drive future economic growth. He was right about the fact they would drive economic growth. According to The Economist, “The BRICS alone have been responsible for 55 percent of global growth since the end of 2009. Dragged down by debt and austerity, the 23 countries that make up the developed world contributed just 20 percent to that growth.” You may have noticed The Economist capitalized the ‘S’ in BRICS. That’s because South Africa recently joined the team. It’s the smallest BRICS country with a population of just 50 million compared to more than 1 billion for both China and India. South Africa’s GDP isn’t all that impressive either. It ranks 28th in the world, according to The Guardian, while China ranks 2nd, Brazil 6th, Russia 9th, and India 10th. The statistical comparison begs the question: Why was South Africa added to the list of the world’s powerful emerging countries? According to The Economist, geographic inequity was the driving force behind the new addition. The original BRICs did not include any countries in Africa which currently is the world’s fastest growing continent. Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is averaging about 6 percent a year, a pace that is expected to remain constant for another decade. Over the decade ending in December 2012 Africa has seen: Foreign direct investment more than tripled to $46 billion A 30 percent increase in real income per person A 74 percent decline in HIV infections A 30 percent decline in malaria deaths Mobile communications grow: now there are three mobile phones for every four people A 10 percent increase in life expectancy Steeply falling infant mortality rates An increase in secondary school enrollment Source: The Economist Africa is changing so rapidly many believe the continent deserves to have a voice as an emerging region of the world. How to give it that voice? The solution was to add South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, to the BRICS. Weekly Focus – Think About It “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Supreme Court Justice Best regards, ANDREW HUNT CFP® President of Guide Rock Capital Management, Inc. 1001 Gallup Drive Omaha, NE 68102 Communication | Woo | Achiever | Ideation | Relator       Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through Shareholders Service Group, Member FINRA/SIPC. * This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. * The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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