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Weekly Market Update
Week of March 07, 2011
The Markets:

As of late, the big question on everyone's mind has been: Will the recovery stick? And while the talking heads have been debating their positions on the issue, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the House Financial Services Committee and a Senate panel last week to offer his semiannual report on the state of the economy.   What was the word?  Bernanke said the economy is gaining traction and stressed that the Fed is prepared to act if higher commodity prices start to have a negative effect on U.S. growth.[1]  His comments also offered a brighter outlook on the status of rising energy costs, inflation risk, and job creation. Good news indeed!

While acknowledging that a prolonged rise in oil prices could pose a danger to the economic recovery, the Fed chief countered that other risks to the economy, including rising commodity prices, were more likely to affect consumer spending.  At the same time, Bernanke reiterated his commitment to keeping inflation low, and added: "I recognize that the increases in gas prices are very troubling... but they are not inflation per se. Inflation is an increase in the overall price level, which is very low. The inflation rate right now is 1.2% for all goods and services".[2]  


As for jobs, Bernanke expressed confidence that growth would increase this year.[3]  Supporting his view, the Labor Department announced on Friday that the nation's unemployment rate fell to 8.9% in February, the lowest level in two years.  The report suggests that companies are gaining confidence in the economy and their own financial prospects.  It also strengthens hopes that businesses will shift into a more aggressive hiring mode to heighten momentum for the ongoing recovery.[4]


Against the backdrop of geopolitical turmoil that has packed the headlines in recent weeks, the Fed chairman's testimony offered a positive perspective on the improving state of the American recovery.

Monday - Consumer Credit                                                          
Tuesday - ICSC-Goldman Store Sales, Redbook                                 
Wednesday - EIA Petroleum Status Report 
Thursday - BOE Announcement, International Trade, Jobless Claims, Treasury Budget    
Friday - Retail Sales, Consumer Sentiment, Business Inventories





Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MSCI Barra. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. NA means not available.


On Tuesday, Apple Chief Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPad2, a sleeker, faster follow-up to the original. The market sent shares of Research in Motion down 0.3%, and Motorola was down by over 4%.  The new iPad2 sports front and back facing cameras, more memory, and a faster processor, but despite the upgrades, the iPad2 starts at $499, while Xoom tablets will run between $599 and $799.[5]


President Barack Obama said Saturday that he is willing to offer deeper spending cuts if it means Republicans and Democrats can work out their differences and reach an agreement on the federal budget.  The standoff over government spending intensified this past week as Republicans ripped the White House's offer to make $6.5 billion in budget cuts this fiscal year, and the threat of a government shutdown lay over the horizon.  Government operations are now running on a stopgap funding measure that expires on March 19.[6]


U.S. manufacturers expanded at the fastest pace in nearly seven years last month, but a sudden rise in the price of raw materials could threaten their profits.  The Institute for Supply Management said its index of manufacturing activity rose to 61.4 in February, the highest reading since May 2004.  But prices paid for steel, plastics, rubber and other raw materials rose for a third straight month, a sign that increasing production costs could spark higher inflation.[7]


National Football League owners and players agreed Friday to a seven-day extension to contract talks in an effort to resolve the league's labor dispute.  The agreement means the CBA will remain in force until the night of March 11 and averts the threat of a lockout by the owners or a lawsuit by the players for at least a week.   The owners were due to earn about $4 billion in TV money this coming season, even in the event of a lockout.[8]



Quote of the Week
"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to
elevate his life by conscious endeavor."  - Henry David Thoreau
Recipe of the Week

Baked Brie


From: Better Homes and Gardens
The topping of tomato preserves or mango chutney over a round of baked Brie keeps this buffet table favorite lightweight and fresh flavored.

Servings: Makes 8 servings.
Prep: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins

1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup tomato preserves or mango chutney
1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 8-ounce round Brie cheese (about 4 inches in diameter)
Breadsticks, assorted crackers, or French bread slices

1. For caramelized onions, cook onion in hot butter or margarine in a small saucepan, covered, over low heat about 15 minutes or until tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, stir together tomato preserves or mango chutney (cut up any large pieces of chutney), rosemary, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.
2. Cut off a thin slice from the top of the Brie to remove the rind; discard. Place the Brie in an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Top with tomato or chutney mixture, then with caramelized onions.
3. Bake, uncovered, in a 325 degree F oven about 10 to 12 minutes or until Brie is softened and warmed but not runny. Serve with breadsticks, crackers, or bread slices. Makes 8 servings.

Golf Tip of the Week

Logo Lineup


One of the most common errors in putting is poor alignment.  Specific sources of trouble can be posture, head position, or ball position.  Many golfers have not trained their eyes to see the line correctly and are aiming their putter to the right or left of the hole without being aware of it.

The next time you head out to play or practice, try experimenting with lining up the logo or marked line.  Start by practicing 2 or 3 footers to ensure that your aim is true. If you have aligned properly, you will see the logo turning straight over the top of the ball as it falls into the hole. Once you are comfortable with these short putts, begin to practice from longer distances.

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Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.


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 Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.


The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.


The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.


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Pat Webb
Pat Webb - Phase 2 Advisors
8100 Turman Ct
Fort Collins, CO 80525