The Miller Financial Group
Learning From A Market Drop

Weekly Update - April 15, 2014 

In This Issue
Markets closed a volatile week on a bearish note as the first earnings reports trickled in. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 2.65%, the Dow fell 2.35%, and the Nasdaq dropped 3.10%.[1] One bright spot: Despite the dismal stock performance, economic fundamentals are looking up. What lessons should we take away from last week? We'll get to that in a moment. First, let's review the factors that contributed to last week's performance.
Most of last week's market decline came as a result of investors positioning themselves for a challenging earnings season. Many analysts had predicted a market reversal in 2014 as investors paused to take the pulse of last year's big winners, and that is precisely what we're seeing. Most of the sectors that have been hit hard this year were high fliers in 2013.[2]

On the economic front, consumer sentiment reached its highest level since last July as improvements in the labor market boosted optimism about the economy. [3] However, since sentiment tends to mirror equity performance, if markets don't improve, we may see that optimism wane in coming weeks. The week's unemployment report was also very positive as new unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since May 2007.[4]

The crisis in Ukraine continued to simmer last week as the Ukrainian army sought to eject pro-Russian separatists from a complex near the eastern border.[5] Tensions increased as Russia raised the price of natural gas exports to Ukraine by 80% and Ukraine retaliated by halting payments, pushing the two sides closer to another "gas war."[6] If Russia makes good on its threat to shut off the gas pipeline through Ukraine, EU states that depend on supplies from the Ukraine could be affected.

Recent market troubles offer a teachable moment for investors: Don't buy the hype. Let your long-term personal and financial goals drive your investment strategy and choose solid investments that suit your needs. Market volatility will always challenge investors, but we believe that a prudent investment strategy and active risk management can ultimately lead to better long-term outcomes.

Another important lesson is the need to tune out emotion and stick to a disciplined investment plan. Plenty of investors are looking glumly at their portfolio values, not realizing that a) recent losses may provide opportunities to cherry-pick solid stocks at attractive prices, and b) that economic fundamentals point to a rosier second quarter, giving us hope that equities will rally soon. The real losers will be those who gave in to greed and bought high-performers on the upswing, and who panicked and sold near the bottom.

Monday: Retail Sales, Business Inventories
Tuesday: Consumer Price Index, Empire State Mfg. Survey, Treasury International Capital, Housing Market Index
Wednesday: Housing Starts, Industrial Production, EIA Petroleum Status Report, Beige Book
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Philadelphia Fed Survey
Friday: U.S. Markets Closed for Good Friday Holiday

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.  



Gold prices log weekly gain on Fed hopes. Sagging risk appetites and hopes that the Fed will hold interest rates steady until next year pushed up gold prices. However, analysts expect gold prices to head lower this year as economic fundamentals improve.[7]

IMF issues hard-landing warning for China. The International Monetary Fund warned that though the risk of a sharp decline in China's economic growth was small, overinvestment and structural issues in the financial system pose global risks.[8]

Producer prices edge up. Companies paid more for goods and services last month as wholesale prices rose. This may squeeze company profits this quarter as slack demand makes it hard for retailers to pass those costs on to consumers.[9]

Food prices on the rise in 2014. Drought and harsh winter weather has sent food prices higher by as much as 20%, according to some estimates. While U.S. consumers may not be affected greatly, since growing costs account for only 15% of retail prices, consumers in poorer nations may be hit hard.[10]




Quote Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
Fountain Pen

"Life isn't about getting and having, it's about giving and being."

 -Kevin Kruse

Recipe Of The Week
Recipe Of The Week
Fork and Knife

Poached Salmon & Beet Salad




Substitute arugula or mixed greens for the watercress.



Serves 4

1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream or crme frache
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 bunches watercress, thick stems removed (about 6 cups)
3 medium beets, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped



  1. Heat a thick-bottomed skillet. Season salmon with tsp salt and tsp cracked black pepper. Place the salmon in the pan and cover with cup vinegar and enough water to half cover the fish. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the fish begins to flake.
  2. Remove the salmon from the poaching liquid and refrigerate. Once the salmon is cool, flake it into bite-size portions.
  3. While the salmon is cooling, mix sour cream, horseradish, 1 TB vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Prepare the salad by combining the watercress, beets, and flaked salmon. Just before serving, drizzle with the dressing and garnish with dill.

Recipe adapted from Sara Quessenberry |

Tax Tips
Tax Tips

Filing for an Extension

If you can't file your taxes on time, you can ask for an automatic six-month extension from the IRS. Here are a few things you should know: 
  • Pay on time even if you can't file. To avoid paying interest and penalties for late payment, estimate your tax bill and pay it by the April 15th deadline.
  • File on time even if you can't pay. If you have completed your tax return but owe a hefty tax bill, you can still file on time and pay your taxes in installments. The penalty for paying your taxes late is less than the penalty for not filing on time.
  • Request an extension online or by mail. You can mail Form 4868 or use IRS Free File to request an extension. Your financial advisor can also help you.
For more information on filing extensions, speak to a qualified tax advisor or visit 
Tip courtesy of [11]

Golf Tip
Golf Tip

Improve Your Distance Control  

Make your strokes smoother and improve your ability to read the green with a simple drill. The next time you're out on the practice green, putt a ball about 20 feet. Then, try and roll several more balls right next to it. The goal with this exercise is to improve your short game by refining your ability to read the terrain and giving you more control over where you put the ball.

Tip courtesy of Andy Patnou, PGA| Golf Tips Mag [12]

Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle
Medical Cross

  Stress and Aging

Though the exact link between stress and aging-related illnesses is not well understood, research suggests that long-term stress weakens blood vessels and kills brain neurons. Many Americans find themselves suffering chronic stress from work, caregiving, or other issues. If you find yourself under regular stress, you can avoid health issues with exercise, a healthy diet, and some stress-reduction techniques. 

  • Understand your stress response: Everyone responds to stress in different ways, so it's important to know your own physical responses. Ask yourself: Does your heart race? Do you feel a knot in your stomach or get tension headaches? Do you find it difficult to focus? Take notes on how your body reacts in times of stress.
  • Develop an exercise routine: Regular exercise is critical for folks under chronic stress and movement can help reduce cognitive impairments. Go for regular walks in a favorite park or head to the gym for some low-impact exercise.
  • Take some quiet time: Meditation has been lauded by researchers and practitioners for its ability to quiet the mind. Even if you're not interested in a regular meditation practice, taking some time for yourself everyday to read, think, or just sit peacefully can reduce the effects of stress.
Tip courtesy of AARP [13]

Green Living
Green Living

   Are Green Cleaners As Effective?


Many Americans are trying to reduce the number of chemical residues in their homes by turning to environmentally-friendly cleaners. However, not all cleaners are capable of disinfecting, so it's wise to match the cleaner with its intended use. Fortunately, simple white vinegar will kill E. coli, salmonella, and shigella bacteria on its own, and can be combined with ingredients like thyme oil or tea tree oil to tackle mold.

Tip courtesy of AARP [14]


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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 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. 


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[1] Source: Yahoo! Finance
















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Rob Miller, CFP
The Miller Financial Group
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