Weekly Market Wrap: Stocks posted their second straight week of losses as news from overseas continued to weigh heavy on the markets. The S&P 500 lost 1.9% on the week to finish at 1,279. Oil gave back a fraction of its gains finishing marginally lower at $101.07 per barrel. Gold was slightly higher this week at $1,419 per oz. up 0.13%. The dollar continued to trend lower this week against other major world currencies losing 0.9% to $76.04.
Year-To-Date the major indexes are at: The S&P index +1.71%, The Dow Jones Index +2.43%, The NASDAQ -0.35%, The Russell 2000 Small cap Index + 1.40%, EAFE International -1.04%. In the Bond market the 10 year treasury is currently yielding 3.28% and the 30 year yielding 4.43%
Monday the S&P index dropped 8 points as Japan’s possible nuclear meltdown continued to weigh on the markets. There was little US economic news to move the markets.
Tuesday the index dropped another 15 points as news of further radiation leaks out of Japan pushed the market lower. Positive economic news including increased New York manufacturing activity and improving home builder sentiment along with positive comments from the fed that the US economy is “on firmer footing” helped to stabilize after the early sell off.
On Wednesday the index dropped 25 points more as Japans worries escalated. On the US economic front mortgage applications, housing starts and building permits all came in lower than expected and wholesale prices climbed.
The index rebounded 17 points on Tuesday as focus came back to the US economy. Jobless claims fell more than expected, the Philly manufacturing index was better than expected and the index of leading economic indicators posted its 8th straight gain. Oil pushed higher, back over $100 per barrel.
Friday’s market posted a gain of 5 points despite Japan’s woes and increasing tensions in Libya. China continued to tighten their monetary policy to keep inflation in check. Banks passed their stress tests and raised dividends and stock buybacks. Cisco announced its first ever dividend.
Volatility continues as the market posts a loss for the second consecutive week. Events outside the US continue to direct market moves as disaster in Japan and continued unrest in Libya drive the headlines.
Economic news in the US continues to be mixed with a definite lean to the positive as jobless claims were lower than expected and manufacturing activity continues to surprise to the upside.
Mortgage rates moved slightly lower this week. The Schwab Bank 15-year rate is now at 4.23% and the 30-year rate is at 4.875%. These rates are as of 03/18/2011 and assume no points, no origination fee and a $250,000 conforming rate mortgage.
The Week at AAM (to highlight what I do for clients and how I am different than most advisors):
Some of the highlights of my last two weeks include:
- Met with a prospect to give her a second opinion on what she had done with another advisor.
- Worked with a client to help them prepare for the purchase of a new home.
- Met with the son and future daughter-in-law of an existing client. I love helping new clients get started on the right financial foot!
- Delivered a financial plan to a new client and showed him that he is on track to achieve his goals with a few minor adjustments and assumptions. It is great to deliver good news.
- Continue to help clients prepare for tax completion and work with their tax preparer to make sure the taxes are done right.
- Attended a couple of chamber events. One that helped me learn more about blogging and another with community leaders to learn the state of our local economy.
I hope you had a great few weeks as well. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you or if something has changed in your financial situation to warrant a meeting or a change of investment policy.
Ronald J. VanSurksum, CFP®
Advanced Asset Management, LLC