The Miller Financial Group
Markets Edgy Over Syria & Tapering 
Weekly Update - September 10, 2013
In This Issue
Markets ended the short week in the black despite sustained volatility as traders worried about escalating tensions in Syria and the prospect of an end to the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 1.36%, the Dow climbed 0.76%, and the Nasdaq rallied 1.95%.[1]
Tensions in Syria accounted for a lot of the volatility we saw last week as members of the Obama administration urged humanitarian intervention in the country's bloody civil war. Investors also reacted nervously to sabre rattling between President Obama and Russian President Putin over Syria. The prospect of military action has also affected oil markets, causing the price of West Texas Intermediate to close at $110.63, its highest close since May 2011.[2]

Stocks shot up midweek following a weaker-than-expected August jobs report, a key factor in the Fed's deliberations about tapering. While the headline unemployment rate fell to 7.3% - a 4 year low - nonfarm jobs grew by only 169,000, missing expectations and raising questions about whether the Fed will wait to cut back on its easy money policy. A positive jobs report was expected to be a crucial piece of evidence in the Fed's debates about when to taper its $85 million per month bond-buying program. However, the tepid report casts doubt on whether the Fed will turn down the dial after its September 17-18 FOMC meeting.[3] While we're not sure what will happen this month, Fed hawks (officials who aggressively support tapering) and doves (those who support quantitative easing) agree that the Fed will cut back on quantitative easing this year.[4] 

Looking ahead at this week, we're expecting another jolt of volatility as Congress debates authorizing a military strike against Syria and analysts ponder the upcoming Fed tapering decision. A Senate vote on Syria could come midweek and a vote by the House several days later.[5] Investors will also be closely monitoring economic reports on consumer sentiment, August retail sales, and business inventories.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Import and Export Prices, Treasury Budget
Friday: Producer Price Index, 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 and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

 

Mortgage applications rise. Applications for U.S. home loans rose for the first time in four weeks as mortgage rates slipped slightly from their recent highs. Although demand for loans has dropped in recent weeks, rates remain near historical lows and economists expect demand to recover.[6]

 

Manufacturing spending grows in August. The U.S. manufacturing sector grew last month at the fastest pace in two years, which could boost overall economic growth in the second half of the year. Despite the effects of reduced government spending, increases in manufacturing activity show that the sector is doing well.[7]

 

Service sector growth near eight-year high. Companies in the U.S. service sector expanded at a very fast rate as sales and orders grew, and firms boosted hiring. This is a very encouraging sign for the labor market because the service sector employs nearly 90% of the U.S. workforce, including retail, construction, healthcare, and financial services.[8] 


U.S. retailers rely on deals to woo shoppers. While U.S. retailers are reporting strong sales in August, many have had to rely on deep discounts to bring back-to-school shoppers in the door. The high discounting may affect their margins and profits in the third quarter but may be part of a new norm as consumers retain thrifty habits.[9] 

 

 

 

Quote Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
Fountain Pen

 

"The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible."  - Arthur C. Clarke 

 

Recipe Of The Week
Recipe Of The Week
Fork and Knife

Molasses-Ginger Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

 
   
Combine store bought ingredients for a delicious treat. Recipe from RealSimple.com.

Ingredients:

16 Molasses-Ginger Cookies or store-bought molasses or ginger cookies
2 pints chocolate chip ice cream, slightly softened

Directions:

Put ice cream on the top half of the cookies, dividing evenly, then sandwich with the remaining cookies. Serve immediately. 

 

 

 

Tax Tips
Tax Tips
Document

Watch Out for Tax Preparer Fraud


Most tax professionals are honest and will file accurate returns on a client's behalf. However, some dishonest tax preparers will defraud their clients by skimming a portion of their refund or charging inflated fees for their services. Some will attract clients by promising refunds that are too high to be true.

Be careful when hiring a tax preparer and be sure to check the reputation of anyone you choose. All paid tax preparers must sign the return they prepare and enter their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). You can look up this number on the IRS tax preparer information website: ww.irs.gov/chooseataxpro 
 
Golf Tip
Golf Tip
Golfer

Don't Overswing

 

Many amateurs overswing because they have a poor understanding of how power is generated and an overswing will diminish power and accuracy. More than 70% of your power comes from the ability to maintain the fully loaded wrist set established at the top deep into the downswing. Maintaining this position as long as you can then releasing the clubhead through impact accelerates the speed at which your clubhead moves through the hitting zone. Tip courtesy of Golf Tips Magazine. 

 

Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle
Medical Cross

Give Your Knees a Break

 

Your knees do a lot of work for your body and it's critical to take steps to protect your knees and prevent injury.

  • Each week, do some strengthening exercises for your quads (the large muscle group on the front of your thigh). Building these muscles will strengthen the area surrounding your knee. Leg extensions and lunges are good exercises for most people.
  • Listen to your body avoid causing an overuse injury to your knees.
  • Try low-impact sports like swimming or cycling. They will work your body while protecting your knees.
Green Living
Green Living
Leaf

Use an Eco-Friendly Dish Detergent


Americans pour gallons of chemical dishwashing liquids down the sink every year and this can be very damaging to the local environment when these chemicals leak into waterways. When it's time for a new bottle, check your store for one of the environmentally friendly dishwashing detergents that are affordable and much better for the environment.


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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 Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.

  

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 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

  

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.

  

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.

  

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[1] http://briefing.com/investor/markets/weekly-wrap/weekly-wrap-for-september-3-2013.htm 

[2] http://www.cnbc.com/id/101015627 

[3] http://www.cnbc.com/id/101014306 

[4] http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/06/us-usa-fed-idUSBRE98511J20130906 

[5] http://www.cnbc.com/id/101015627 

[6] http://www.cnbc.com/id/101006973 

[7] http://www.cnbc.com/id/100999894 
 
[8] http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/09/05/ism-service-sector-growth-rate-rises-august/ 

[9] http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/06/us-usa-retail-samestoresales-idUSBRE9840MU20130906 


 

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