The Miller Financial Group
Resilient Markets, Indecisive Politicians
Weekly Update - January 22, 2013
In This Issue
Golf Tip
Health Tip
Green Fact
The Markets:

Markets closed out another positive week, shrugging off lackluster consumer confidence and moderate earnings reports to hover around multi-year highs. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.95%, the Dow gained 1.2%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.29%.[1]  

In Washington, Congressional Republicans backed off from a debt showdown against a resolute President Obama that could have risked a government default on debt. Republicans said they were prepared to raise the debt ceiling and allow the federal government to borrow operating expenses for the next three months, kicking the fiscal can further down the road.[2]  

To be frank, we're frustrated with Congress' inability to make hard choices about spending and debt. Allowing the U.S. to fall into default would be catastrophic, given that the world treats U.S. government debt as essentially default risk free. Despite their promising rhetoric to use the debt ceiling debate to force widespread fiscal reform, many politicians seem to have abandoned that position in favor of baby steps.[3]  

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke on Monday, showing support for the fiscal cliff deal reached on January 1, but emphasizing that lawmakers still need to come to an agreement over the debt ceiling. The chairman also claimed that the Fed's unusual December move to tie monetary policy to unemployment and inflation targets was designed to provide financial markets with greater clarity.[4]  

Earnings reports show that the final quarter of 2012 ended well, with many firms reporting better-than-expected (but not mind-blowing) results. However, business leaders are still cautious, noting that the debt ceiling debate and uncertainty over potentially higher corporate taxes clouds their 2013 outlook. On the positive side, many firms are bullish on the U.S. economy and are confident that trends show an ongoing recovery.[5] 

In a rare confluence of events, Monday was both a national holiday and the inauguration of President Obama's second term, starting the week off fairly quiet for markets. There will also be relatively few economic reports released this week, meaning that traders will turn their attention to remaining earnings reports from firms like Google (GOOG), Starbucks (SBUX), and McDonald's (MCD). Investors will also be paying close attention to new reports about the strength of the housing market, which are widely expected to show a continued recovery.[6]  

Monday: U.S. Markets Closed for MLK Holiday
Tuesday: Existing Home Sales
Thursday: Jobless Claims, PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Friday: New Home Sales


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.


Greece may need 10 billion euros. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF),Greece may face a significant funding gap between 2015 and 2016, which will need to be filled by its European funding partners. This discovery may pour cold water on hopes that Greece may fully recover in 2014.[7]
U.S. market 'Fear Gauge" drops. The market's so-called fear gauge, the Chicago Board Options Volatility Index (VIX), dropped to a five-year low as traders lost their fear of a debt-ceiling showdown. Historically, a high VIX indicates turbulent markets; contrariwise, a low index indicates that traders do not expect troubling news ahead. A low VIX may also indicate that a market reversal is coming soon.[8]  
Armstrong admits to doping. Cycling legend and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong comes clean to Oprah Winfrey and confesses that he doped throughout his cycling career. His admission comes after years of denials and may open the door to both a deal with U.S. cycling officials (to allow Armstrong to compete again) and to lawsuits from those such as former teammate Floyd Landis whom Armstrong attacked in years past.[9]


January consumer confidence report disappoints. A preliminary reading of the Michigan/Reuters Consumer Confidence index showed that confidence dropped for a second month, driven to the lowest level since December 2011 by fiscal cliff fears. While the news is a disappointment, it's likely that optimism about the fiscal cliff deal may be captured in next month's report.[10] 

Quote of the Week
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
- Helen Keller
Recipe of the Week

Carrots With Spicy Olive-Lemon Oil

Steamed carrots get a Mediterranean spin with olive oil and lemon in this deceptively simple dish. Recipe from

3 pounds carrots-peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces, and halved lengthwise if thick
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 lemon, very thinly sliced, 
plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Steam the carrots in a steamer basket in a large saucepan until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, warm the oil, lemon, olives, and crushed red pepper over medium-high heat until the lemon is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots, lemon juice, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon black pepper and toss gently to combine.

Golf Tip

Cut the Tension

Tension in your golf swing can cause you to lose distance and accuracy. By executing certain fundamentals correctly, tension is avoided.


At a basic level you can decrease tension by working on a proper grip. A grip that has proper tension is achieved by doing the following: Place the grip in the fingers of both hands. With the bottom hand, start the grip in the middle of the fingers. Avoid the palm. Also, place the thumb of the top hand off to the side, away from the target, and place the bottom thumb on the other side of the grip, closest to the target. The thumbs have many nerves at the tips. If the thumbs run directly down the center of the grip, you trigger those nerves. The arms tense up and you now have tension.


Your goal should be to achieve a light grip. If you maintain a light grip during the swing, you will avoid any swing characteristics that cause tension. If you use a tight grip then you also tense your forearm muscles, and this automatically opens the face of the club causing pushed shots

Healthy Lifestyle

Bone Up For Good Health

For folks in their 50s and up, bone density can be a big concern. Weight-bearing activities such as weight training or senior-friendly boot camps can help stimulate your bones to grow stronger and denser, which may prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about vitamin D and calcium supplements, which may help ward off weak bones.

Green Living

Save Energy & Your Clothes

Using cold water in your laundry cycle can save up to 80% of the energy required to wash clothes. Cold-water washes are also less damaging to clothes, lengthening the usable life of your wardrobe.

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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]