The Miller Financial Group
Stocks Fizzle Before Quarter's End

Weekly Update - March 31, 2014 

In This Issue
Despite some positive economic news, the major indices ended the week mixed as investors prepared for the end of the quarter and continued to worry about Russia. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.48%, the Dow gained 0.12%, and the Nasdaq fell 2.83%, dragged down by a selloff in the tech sector.[1]
The most recent estimate of Q4 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth found that the economy grew more than was previously thought, clocking in at an annualized rate of 2.6% instead of 2.4%. The revised data shows that consumers spent more last quarter than economists had thought.[2]

Investors were treated to other positive data: The last weekly unemployment report of the month showed that new claims fell to a level not seen in nearly four months, indicating that the job market may be strengthening.[3] Consumer spending grew in February as U.S. household incomes increased for the second straight month.[4] This hopefully means that Americans will be more willing to open their pocketbooks in the weeks and months to come.

Not all of the news was good last week. Consumer sentiment dipped in March as Americans faced the strong possibility that economic growth may have faded this quarter.[5] Factors like harsh weather, slow inventory acquisition by businesses, and cuts to public benefits are likely to depress GDP growth.[6]

The Ukrainian crisis continued to simmer as Russian leaders called for more referendums in Ukrainian provinces on joining the Russian Federation. Western leaders threatened more severe sanctions if Russia doesn't scale back the pressure.[7] Though Russia has repeatedly affirmed its peaceful intentions, troop movements near the Ukrainian border and war games are keeping tensions high.

This week, investors can look forward to hearing Janet Yellen give a speech where she may comment on the timing of future interest rate changes. Investors will also be closely monitoring the March jobs report, which comes out on Friday, to see whether there's any sign of a spring thaw. Positive news could reassure investors that the economy is still accelerating. On the other hand, if economic indicators don't show improvement as the weather warms, markets could lose some steam. Despite the volatility, many analysts continue to predict continued market growth in 2014.[8]


Monday: Chicago PMI, Janet Yellen Speaks 9:55 AM ET, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, Factory Orders, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: International Trade, Jobless Claims, ISM Non-Mfg. Index
Friday: Employment Situation

Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance and International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the DJCBP. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.  



Durable goods orders jumped in February. Orders for long-lasting factory goods rebounded more than expected last month, rising 2.2% over January. The increase came as a result of broad-based growth in demand and ended two straight months of declines.[9]


Pending home sales drop for eighth straight month. Homebuyers signed 0.8% fewer contracts in February than in January, putting home sales 10.5% below where they were a year ago. Realtors blame the unusually harsh winter and suggest that conditions may be improving. However, some analysts believe that high prices and interest rates may be causing a structural slowdown in the housing sector.[10]


Gas prices due to drop before summer. Gasoline prices have averaged a 7.0% increase over the past six weeks, but analysts think that the hike is temporary. Gas prices should drop over the coming weeks and stay low over the summer. However, supply disruptions from weather could still send prices higher.[11]


Chinese leaders commit to supporting economic growth. China's premier sought to reassure investors by stating that Beijing had the tools and political commitment to support the cooling economy. Targeted measures may include infrastructure investments, lowered financing costs for businesses, and an easing of trade requirements.[12]




Quote Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
Fountain Pen

"It's what each of us sows, and how, that gives us character and prestige."

- George Matthew Adams

Recipe Of The Week
Recipe Of The Week
Fork and Knife

Polenta Stuffed Peppers  



Upgrade taco night with this healthy side.



Serves 4

4 poblano peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 plum tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup instant polenta
1 10-ounce package frozen corn
1/4 cup soft goat cheese (2 ounces)
4 scallions, sliced  



  1. Preheat broiler. Place tomatoes, onions, and peppers cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Roast until charred and tender. Stir halfway through.
  2. Switch oven to baking mode and preheat to 400F. While you wait, puree tomatoes and onion with cinnamon, tsp salt, and tsp pepper in a food processor. 
  3. Spread half the sauce in a baking dish and arrange the peppers cut side up.
  4. Bring 2 1/4c of water to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt. Stir in the polenta slowly, using a whisk or fork. Cook the polenta, whisking steadily, until it becomes thick, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn, cheese, and all but 2 TB of the scallions. Remove from heat.
  5. Divide the polenta mixture between the peppers, topping with the remaining sauce. Bake 5 to 10 minutes until heated through. Garnish with the leftover scallions.
Recipe adapted from Kate Merker |

Tax Tips
Tax Tips

Don't Forget to Report Foreign Income

U.S. citizens or permanent residents who lived abroad in 2013 or received income from any foreign sources must report it on their taxes. According to the IRS:

  • Any income from foreign employment, rental income, trusts, and bank & security accounts must be reported.
  • If you live abroad and can't make the April 15 deadline, you may qualify for an automatic two-month filing extension.
  • Review the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which may qualify you to exclude up to $97,000 of earned income in 2013.
  • Don't overlook any credits or deductions. You may be able to deduct any foreign taxes paid on your income earned abroad.
For more information, speak to your tax advisor or see IRS Publication 54, "Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad."

Tip courtesy of [13] 
Golf Tip
Golf Tip
Get the Most Out of Golf While Traveling

Planning a golf holiday? Here are some tips for getting the most enjoyment out of your trip.
  • If possible, leave your clubs at home. Airlines charge steep fees and can damage or lose your gear. Most golf resorts can provide clubs for a modest fee.* Reduce costs by choosing an all-inclusive resort.
  • Book famous destinations early. All the major links book quickly and as a guest, you may be low on the totem pole for tee times. The best way to guarantee your reservation is to choose a time early in the season.
  • Ask about course conditions. Make sure the courses you want to play are in good condition by calling ahead or asking around in online golf forums. If you're accustomed to renting a cart, be sure to find out if the course allows them.
Tip courtesy of Tony Smart | CNN Travel [14]
Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle
Medical Cross

  Get Screened Annually For Kidney Disease


If you're age 60 or older, the National Kidney Foundation recommends that you have an annual test to screen for kidney disease. Research shows that 59% of Americans will develop some kind of kidney disease, making regular screenings important to catching problems early. People who suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure may be at increased risk of developing kidney issues.

Tip courtesy of AARP [15]

Green Living
Green Living

  Re-Use Shipping Boxes


If you like to shop online, you probably get a lot of boxes in the mail. Re-use these boxes to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. The USPS, FedEx, and UPS may reject boxes with writing or old shipping labels. One solution is to cover any writing with recycled paper or brown wrapping paper. Another solution is to flip the box inside out. To do this, remove any tape or fasteners holding the box together; flip the cardboard around, and rebuild the box from the inside out.

Tip courtesy of EarthShare [16]


Share the Wealth of Knowledge!


Please share this market update with family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to our list, simply click on the "Forward email" link below. We love being introduced!  




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 Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index. 


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. 


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, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor 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. 


By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.


[1] Yahoo Finance
































Visit My Site
Email Me
Rob Miller, CFP
The Miller Financial Group
7700 West Camino Real
Suite 400
Boca Raton, FL 33433
[email protected]

Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.