The Miller Financial Group
Special Quarterly Edition: 
Markets End Quarter on High Note 
Weekly Update - July 7, 2014
In This Issue
After a slow start to the year, the second quarter of 2014 may be a redemption story. Multiple indices reached new records and the S&P 500 logged its longest quarterly rally since 1998.[1] For the quarter, the S&P 500 gained 4.66%, the Dow grew 2.56%, and the Nasdaq gained 4.46%.[2]
What are some of the factors that contributed to strong market performance in Q2?

Economic fundamentals were solid. Despite some gloomy first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results showing the economy contracted 2.9%, it appears that underlying fundamentals are returning to trend following the chilly winter. Retail and vehicle sales grew as consumers unlimbered their wallets.[3] Manufacturing also picked up significantly after the winter slowdown, supporting the belief that the sector, which contributes 12.5% to GDP, is rebounding strongly.[4]

The employment picture is much brighter. The labor market hit an important psychological milestone by regaining all of the 8.7 million jobs lost in the recession.[5] While demographic shifts and labor market growth mean that we haven't yet hit full employment, job growth could be picking up speed. The June employment situation report showed the economy created 288,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1%.[6] All told, roughly 800,000 new jobs were created last quarter, which is great news.[7]

The Federal Reserve has continued to express optimism about the economic recovery and is committed to wrapping up quantitative easing programs by this Fall.[8] Much of the bull market we've seen for the last couple of years can be attributed to the Fed's easy money policies and its commitment to supporting economic growth. Now that the country is finally on better footing, investors are taking comfort from the Fed's readiness to take the training wheels off the economy and return to normal monetary policy.

What could act as headwinds in the weeks and months to come?

Geopolitical issues are on the radar as the security situation continues to deteriorate in Iraq and the crisis in Ukraine still simmers. Ukraine and Iraq play key roles in the natural gas and oil industries, respectively, and supply disruptions - or even just the threat of disruptions - could drive up prices and make investors skittish.

Rising food and energy prices may start to be felt in consumer spending.[9] If Americans are taking hits to their pocketbooks, they may be less willing to spend, which could drag on the economy and financial markets.

Investor optimism is also very high, which can sometimes presage a market pullback as investors take profits and wait for better news. After flirting with the top for days, the Dow finally broke 17,000 last week for the first time in its 118-year history.[10] Though we don't put a lot of faith in technical indicators, 17,000 is a big psychological number and investors may become more cautious on the other side.

What does this mean for future market performance? Hard to say. Economic fundamentals going into the third quarter are strong, and if the earnings picture is bright, stocks could see some further upside. However, we can expect more volatility and possibly even a correction in the months to come. As always, it's important to stay focused on long-term goals instead of short-term market performance.


Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Minutes
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Treasury Budget

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.


Vehicle sales accelerate in June. Sales of automobiles spiked unexpectedly last month, reaching an annualized rate of 16.98 million units. This is good news for the economy because it indicates that consumers are willing to purchase big-ticket items.[11]


June manufacturing jumps. June was a very strong month for manufacturing as domestic demand caused new orders to spike. Foreign demand for U.S. goods barely changed, indicating that global demand is still suffering.[12]


ECB unlikely to buy bonds. While the European Central Bank has committed to quantitative easing to boost stagnant growth in Europe, the organization will likely stop short of taking on the Federal Reserve-style bond purchases.[13]


IMF hints at global forecast cut. The International Monetary Fund may cut its global economic growth forecast, citing weak public and private sector demand. Weak global growth could spell trouble for U.S. firms who rely on exports for revenue.[14] 





Quote Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
Fountain Pen


"Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident."
- Mark Twain 


Recipe Of The Week
Recipe Of The Week
Fork and Knife

Creamy Carrot Apple Slaw


Use this healthful slaw as a side at your next barbecue!


Serves 4

1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 pound large carrots (2 to 3), peeled
2 Granny Smith apples, halved and cored
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Whisk vinegar, yogurt, cumin, tsp salt, and tsp pepper in a large serving bowl.
  2. Grate carrots and apples into the bowl.
  3. Add raisins and cilantro and toss.
Recipe adapted from Kate Merker |

Tax Tips
Tax Tips

Which Tax Form Should I Use?


While most Americans today choose to e-file their taxes for convenience, some taxpayers still prefer to fill out paper forms. If you are filing on paper, you need to know which form to fill out. Here are some tips from the IRS on how to choose the right tax form:

Use the 1040EZ if: 

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;
  • You are not claiming any dependents;
  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less.

Consider the 1040A if: 

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • You have capital gain distributions;
  • You claim certain tax credits; 
  • You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

Use the 1040 if: 

  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;
  • You claim itemized deductions;
  • You are reporting self-employment income;
  • You are reporting income from sale of a property.

For more information about tax forms, consult a tax advisor or read RS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.  

Tip courtesy of [15]
Golf Tip
Golf Tip
Get Over Your Mistakes

Golf is a mentally taxing game, and it's easy to let a bad shot eat away at your confidence. While it's important to train for the physical aspects of the sport, the mental side of the game becomes more critical as you improve as a golfer.
  • Snap a rubber band against your wrist every time you catch yourself thinking negatively;
  • Reset yourself for each shot with a mental routine to get in the right frame of mind;
  • Go through a full practice shot routine whenever you catch yourself making frequent mistakes;
  • Play without expectations. Don't judge yourself after every shot.

Tip courtesy of John Stahlschmidt, PGA| Golf Tips Mag [16]
Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle
Medical Cross

 Stay Healthy on Planes

Planes are not very healthy environments. The dry, pressurized, crowded environment is perfect for passing on germs. Stay healthy on your next flight with these tips:
  • Stay hydrated! Start preparing by drinking lots of water at least 24 hours before your flight. Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks on the flight to avoid further dehydrating yourself in the arid air.
  • Keep active. Deep vein thrombosis and blood clots are serious risks on long flights. Get up and walk around and keep your legs moving during the flight.
  • Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face when traveling. Try to avoid touching door knobs or bathroom handles with your hands.
  • Wear socks through security scanners to avoid walking on the floor with bare feet.
Tip courtesy of WebMD [17]

Green Living
Green Living

 Buying a new home? Think about simplifying.

If you're in the market for a new house, think about how you might be able to downsize and reduce the amount of space you need. Sprawling homes require more resources to heat, cool, and maintain, and may be farther away from work, friends, and shopping, requiring more driving.

Tip courtesy of Seattle PI [18]

Share the Wealth of Knowledge!

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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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The Miller Financial Group
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