The Miller Financial Group
It Was a Busy Week
Weekly Update - November 5, 2012
In This Issue
Golf Tip
Health Tip
Green Fact
The Markets:
It was a busy week as Hurricane Sandy pounded the East Coast; securities exchanges were forced to close on Monday and Tuesday; and a slew of economic reports were released. Stocks ended the shortened week with a selloff Friday, erasing gains made earlier, and finishing basically flat. For the week, the S&P gained 0.16% and the Dow climbed 0.12%, while the Nasdaq trimmed 0.19%.[1]

Although the economic impact of Hurricane Sandy won't be known for weeks or months, the true cost of a disaster like this is always the human suffering. It is painful to see beautiful homes and townships devastated by natural forces, and our thoughts go out to all those impacted. If you or someone you love has been affected in any way, and if there is anything we can do, please don't hesitate to let us know.

On the bright side - without making light of this disaster - it should be noted that major storms rarely have a lasting impact on the U.S. economy. Generally, even large disasters like this one aren't costly enough to damage the enormous economic machine that is the U.S. economy. Insurance companies may be stuck footing a large bill, and the government may have to pay for relief efforts, but economic snags of this type are usually temporary. The major exception to this general rule was Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and caused over $100 billion in estimated damages. One of the major reasons Katrina was so expensive was because of the area's economic importance as a major shipping port and oil and gas hub.Although the effects of Sandy are widespread, the storm would have had to shut down major cities for weeks to achieve similar effects.[2] Fortunately, it passed somewhat quickly, and major recovery efforts are underway.

One note of positive news could be found in last week's Labor Department report showing that employers added 171,000 new jobs last month. Although the unemployment rate ticked slightly upwards to 7.9%, the increase was attributed to discouraged workers restarting job searches, which is a positive sign for the economy.[3] This good news combined with recent consumer confidence highs indicate that we may be able to expect consumer spending to increase during the holiday season, which would be excellent for retailers.

As earnings season continued last week, markets responded positively to some solid results. Consumer discretionary stocks edged higher as several well known travel companies and luxury retailers beat estimates.[4] 
Overall, the corporate earnings picture has improved as more companies have reported; according to November 2nd data, of the 378 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, 61.9% have beat expectations, which is in line with the 62% average since 1994. While we may see additional volatility in the weeks ahead, solid earnings and upbeat economic reports mean that investors have a lot to be pleased about right now.[5] 
Monday: ISM Non-Mfg. Index
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: International Trade, Jobless Claims
Friday: Import and Export Prices, Consumer Sentiment



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. N/A means not available.


Euro crisis strikes Greek hospitals. German drug maker Merck KGaA has stopped delivering a critical cancer drug to Greek hospitals due to unpaid bills. Although Greeks can still buy the popular prescription drug in pharmacies, until public hospitals are able to pay down their debts, the drug will not be available to hospital patients.[6]
Consumer confidence rises to four-year high. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence index rose in October to the highest level since February 2008. Despite tough economic conditions, Americans were more confident about their finances and expected the job market to improve in the next six months. [7]
Planned layoffs jump to five-month high . The number of planned employee layoffs by U.S. firms jumped 41.1% to the highest level since May. While the last three months of the year historically see the largest number of layoffs, analysts believe that the deteriorating situation in Europe and worries about the fiscal cliff are leading companies to cut back on staffing.[8]
Long-term shifts in retail may hinder employment growth. The retail sector is a key provider of employment. As consumer confidence grows, and mortgage refinances put money back in consumers' pockets, retailers are beginning to increase hiring. However, structural shifts towards self-checkout and online sales may limit the pace of hiring increases.[9]
Quote of the Week

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength,

not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will."

-Vince Lombardi

Recipe of the Week


Peppermint Patty Brownies

1 19-ounce box brownie mix
16 York Miniatures Peppermint Patties (13.6 grams each)
1) Oil an 8-inch square pan. Prepare the brownie batter according to the package directions.
2) Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Top with the peppermint patties, leaving an even border of batter all around the edges of the pan.
3) Spread the remaining batter on top and bake according to the package directions. Let cool, then cut into 16 squares.


Golf Tip
Playing in Windy Weather

While hitting in windy conditions, try to control your ball flight by keeping the ball on a flatter trajectory. The following things do NOT work:
  • Hitting the ball harder than normal
  • Moving the ball back in your stance
  • Closing the face of the club
Instead, try to swing at 75% or 80% of your normal swing rhythm and pace. This will allow you to make a better swing, hit a more solid shot, and will reduce the amount of spin on the ball. Spin makes the ball rise - something you don't want in windy conditions. 

Healthy Lifestyle

Take Calcium in Smaller Increments
Want healthy bones? Don't wash down your 500 mg calcium supplement with a tall glass of milk. Instead, drink your milk now and save the supplement for later, or vice versa. Why? Your body absorbs the mineral best in increments of 500mg or less.
Green Living

Reduce Your CO2 Emissions

Want to reduce your household's CO2 emissions? These simple tips can help.
  • Switch your incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents to use 60% less energy per bulb and save 300 pounds of CO2 a year.
  • Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket and insulate your pipes to save 1,000 pounds of CO2 a year.
  • Improve your gas mileage and reduce your CO2 emissions by inflating your tires to their proper pressure. Every gallon of gas you save will reduce CO2 emissions by 20 pounds.  
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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.

Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets

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.

The Housing Market Index (HMI) is a weighted average of separate diffusion indices based on a monthly survey of NAHB members designed to take the pulse of the single-family housing market. Each resulting index is then seasonally adjusted and weighted to produce the HMI.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator of housing activity,  measures housing contract activity, and is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos and co-ops.  The PHSI looks at the monthly relationship between existing-home sale contracts and transaction closings over the last four years. The results are weighted to produce the index.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index (VIX) is a weighted measure of the implied S&P 500 volatility. VIX is quoted in percentage points and translates, roughly, to the expected movement in the S&P 500 index over the upcoming 30-day period, which is then annualized.

The BLS Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers
for a representative basket of goods and services. Survey responses are seasonally adjusted and weighted to produce a composite index.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) is a composite economic index formed by averages of several individual leading economic indicators, which are weighted to produce the complete index.

Google 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.

Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative or named Broker dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

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Robert G. Miller, CFP , RFC, LUTCF
The Miller Financial Group
7700 West Camino Real
Suite 400
Boca Raton, FL 33433
[email protected]