The Miller Financial Group
The Rebound

Weekly Update - April 22, 2014 

In This Issue
Markets closed out the holiday-shortened week on an upbeat note, with the S&P 500 posting its best week since July. For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.71%, the Dow grew 2.38%, and the Nasdaq rose 2.39%.[1]
Markets shook off the previous week's losses and rallied on earnings data and a better-than-expected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report from China. Though earnings season is still young, the overall picture is not as bad as investors had feared. Thomson Reuters estimates that first-quarter earnings increased 1.7% from a year ago, which is much lower than the high-flying estimates at the beginning of the year, but not too bad considering the rough winter.[2]
Though China's first-quarter GDP report is not rosy - it showed that economic growth slowed to 7.4% as compared to the previous year - analysts had expected it to drop even further to around 7.0%.[3] The data shows that China's economic growth is indeed slowing, but markets still counted it as a win (for now). China is a trading partner to many countries around the world, and its economic strength is a bellwether for the health of the global economy. A slowdown in China could have knock-on effects elsewhere in the world.

On the domestic front, economic data is looking up. Retail sales surged in March, recording their largest gains in 1 years as consumer demand came roaring back. Increasing consumer demand could indicate that economic growth is set to accelerate in the spring.[4]

The number of new unemployment claims filed last week rose less than expected, staying close to the 6 year low achieved the previous week. The four week moving average, a less volatile measure, fell to the lowest level since October 2007, indicating that labor market growth is accelerating.[5]

Fed Chair Janet Yellen spoke last week and reiterated her opinion that the economy and labor market are still not fully recovered. She stated that future policy moves would not be based on a single indicator, but on a comprehensive analysis of the economy's health.[6]

Looking ahead, earnings season will kick into high gear this week when nearly one third of S&P 500 companies report.[7] If investors see strong earnings performance, markets could shake off the doldrums and resume the rally. On the other hand, weak performance could lead to significant volatility.


Tuesday: Existing Home Sales
Wednesday: PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, New Home Sales, EIA Petroleum Status Report
Thursday: Durable Goods Orders, Jobless Claims
Friday: Consumer Sentiment

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.  



U.S. housing starts lag in March. Builders broke ground on fewer houses in March than expected, and new building permits fell, suggesting that weakness in the housing market could persist through warming weather.[8]


Manufacturing output rises in March. Factory production rose for the second straight month, extending its rebound after the cold winter. Overall industrial production was up 0.8%, beating analysts' expectations, and indicating that manufacturing is set for a positive second quarter.[9]


Russia threatens shutoff if gas bill not paid. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that natural gas supplies to Europe might be disrupted if Ukraine does not pay its gas debts, which Russia claims total $2.2 billion. Both Russia and the European Union (EU) are scrambling to find other markets for natural gas in the event the Ukrainian situation continues. [10]


Mortgage applications rose last week. Falling interest rates caused a surge in mortgage applications as Americans rushed to lock in lower rates. Rates on fixed 30 year mortgages fell to 4.27%, the lowest they've been since November 2013.[11]




Quote Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
Fountain Pen

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

- Michael Jordan

Recipe Of The Week
Recipe Of The Week
Fork and Knife

Lemon Semifreddo




This citrusy dessert is the perfect finish to a light spring meal. 



Serves 12

6 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sliced almonds  



  1. Create a double boiler by setting a heatproof bowl over a saucepan. Boil 1-2 inches of water in the saucepan. Whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice and zest, salt, and 1 cup of sugar in the bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly for 12-15 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  2. Pour the lemon mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the bowl and press into the surface of the lemon mixture. Refrigerate until cool.
  3. Use an electric mixer or whisk to whip the cream and remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the lemon mixture, being careful not to over mix. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and freeze for at least four hours.
  4. Roast almonds in an oven or toaster oven at 375 F for 4-6 minutes until golden brown. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Serve scoops of the semifreddo garnished with almonds.

Recipe adapted from Charlyne Mattox | 




Tax Tips
Tax Tips

Beware of IRS Phone Scams

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: Be suspicious of any phone calls claiming to be from the IRS. Identity thieves and scammers are targeting taxpayers seeking money and personal information. If you receive an unsolicited phone call claiming that you owe the IRS money, it may be a scam. Thieves will threaten taxpayers with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a driver's license and demand money by wire transfer or Western Union.

The IRS will nearly always contact you by mail about unpaid taxes and will not ask for payment over the phone. If you believe that you may be on the phone with a scammer, hang up, and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.

Tip courtesy of[12]
Golf Tip
Golf Tip

Practice Barefoot to Develop Balance  

Practicing barefoot can help you develop better balance and footwork in your shots. Take off your socks and shoes and run a simple drill with an iron. Focus on maintaining balance throughout the swing and keeping your feet underneath you. A balanced finish puts your chest, face, and belly button all facing the target, with the bulk of your weight on the front foot. Practice until you can swing smoothly while maintaining balance.

Tip courtesy of Barry Goldstein | Golf Tips Mag[13]
Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle
Medical Cross

  Stay Fit While Watching TV

Use your TV time to stay in shape and avoid turning into a couch potato. Here are some simple exercises you can do while watching your favorite shows:
  • Bicep curls: While seated, take a book or weight in each hand and curl each arm toward your body, bending at the elbow and holding the upper arm against your torso.
  • Trunk twists: Sit upright with your back straight and slowly rotate your torso to one side, keeping your elbows bent and tight against your body. Hold for a count of ten and then rotate towards the other side.
  • Calf lifts: Sit towards the front of the couch or chair, keeping your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your heels off the floor, keeping your toes against the floor. Increase the difficulty of the exercise by placing a heavy book or weight across your thighs.
Tip courtesy of AARP[14]
Green Living
Green Living

   Switch Your Fan


Most modern ceiling fans have two directional settings. In hot weather, fans cool rooms by drawing colder air down from the ceiling. In the winter, switch the fan's direction to pull cool air up and warm air down. Avoid using bathroom or kitchen fans too much in the summer since they will blow your cooled air out of the house.

Tip courtesy of AARP[15]



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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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