The Miller Financial Group
Mixed Growth Expectations 
Stoke Volatility 
WEEKLY UPDATE - July 28, 2014
In This Issue
Markets ended another volatile week mixed, pummeled by concerns about global growth but buoyed by better-than-expected earnings results. For the week, the S&P 500 ended flat, the Dow lost 0.82%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.39%.[1]
As of last Friday, just under half the S&P 500 companies had reported earnings, and the vast majority (69% and 63%, respectively) had beaten both earnings and revenue expectations.[2] Though there were some high profile-earnings misses, the overall picture seems to be one of redemption and resilience. The percentage of better-than-expected results are up from the first quarter, meaning company growth likely accelerated; it's also a good sign for future expectations, given that the economy is doing much better overall than it did earlier in the year.

That being said, some red flags about economic growth were raised last week. Mixed business spending data - a core component of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) calculations - may erode Q2 economic growth. While businesses spent more on core capital goods like computer equipment and automobiles, the value of shipments declined for the third month in a row, which led the International Monetary Fund to cut its 2014 U.S. growth forecast.[3] On the other hand, durable goods inventories rose 0.4%, which is a great improvement over the slow inventory growth that contributed to the Q1 economic contraction.[4] We'll know more after this week's official GDP report.

The week ahead may be the busiest of the summer, with over 140 S&P 500 companies releasing earnings.[5] The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets on Tuesday and Wednesday to ponder next steps in monetary policy. Will they announce another $10 million taper to bond purchases? Probably. But, their comments will tell us a lot about how they feel about the economy.

The economic calendar is also full of major reports. Traders will get their first look at official Q2 GDP numbers on Wednesday as well as the July Employment Situation report on Friday. Given global worries about economic growth, we can expect some volatility as traders hedge their bets ahead of the data.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR:

Monday: Pending Home Sales Index, Dallas Fed Mfg. Survey
Tuesday: S&P Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report, GDP, EIA Petroleum Status Report, FOMC Meeting Announcement
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Employment Cost Index, Chicago PMI
Friday: Motor Vehicle Sales, Employment Situation, Personal Income and Outlays, PMI Manufacturing Index, Consumer Sentiment, ISM Mfg. Index, Construction Spending




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. 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.

HEADLINES:

Stiffer sanctions rattle Europe. The prospect of new sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine is shaking European confidence over economic growth. Europe is Russia's biggest trading partner, and sanctions could bite deeply into European growth.[6] 

New home sales drop sharply. Sales of new single-family homes fell 8.1% in June to the lowest level since June 2013; May numbers were also revised downward, suggesting that the housing market is still losing steam.[7]

Nationwide, layoffs are rarer. Improving economic prospects and confidence among employers is translating to fewer layoffs, as evidenced by the lowest levels of new unemployment applications seen since 2006. Will this be a turning point in the labor market recovery?.[8]

Consumer inflation rises. Consumer prices, a measure of inflation, rose in June with skyrocketing gasoline prices. However, core inflation, which excludes volatile categories like food and fuel, remained consistent with a gradual increase due to healthy economic expansion.[9]



Quote Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
Fountain Pen

"I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions."  

- Stephen Covey 

 

Recipe Of The Week
Recipe Of The Week
Fork and Knife

Summer Lemon Curd

Use fresh lemons to make a luxurious preserve.

Ingredients:

 

Serves 8

4 large eggs  

1 cup sugar  

1 tablespoon finely grated organic lemon zest  

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 fresh organic lemons)  

Pinch of kosher salt  

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces    

 

Directions:

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and set over medium heat.
  2. Create a double boiler by fitting a metal bowl into the saucepan so that the bottom does not touch the water. Remove the bowl and bring the water to a simmer.
  3. Off the stove, whisk the eggs, sugar, salt, zest, and lemon juice together until well combined. Add the butter and set the bowl back onto the saucepan.
  4. Heat the mixture over the simmering water, whisking constantly, for about 12-15 minutes, until it has thickened to the consistency of yogurt.
  5. Using a spatula, push the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl with parchment paper, plastic wrap, or wax paper, pushing it directly over the lemon curd and refrigerate until completely cool.
  7. Use the curd as a cake or cupcake filling or spread it over crumpets for a delicious brunch treat.

Recipe adapted from Dawn Perry | RealSimple.com  

 

 

Tax Tips
Tax Tips
Document
Selling Your Home? 

 

If you're putting your home on the market, you may be able to avoid paying taxes on capital gains. Here's what IRS regulations say:

  • If you show a capital gain on the sale, you may be able to exclude it from your taxes if you have owned and used it as your main home for at least two out of the last five years.
  • You can exclude up to $250,000 (or $500,000 for joint filers), and the Net Investment Income tax will not apply to the excluded gain.
  • You can exclude a gain from the sale of your main home only once every two years.
  • If you claimed the first-time homebuyer credit, special rules may apply to the sale.

For more information about tax issues relating to real estate, consult a tax professional in your area or refer to refer to IRS Publication 523, "Selling Your Home."  

 

Tip courtesy of IRS.gov[10]   
 
Golf Tip
Golf Tip
Golfer
Don't Shift Too Early

 

Many golfers lose power in their shots by prematurely lifting their right foot and shifting their weight to the left too early. Boost power and distance by keeping your weight behind the ball and anchoring your right foot before impact, driving more power into the shot. After contact, shift your weight smoothly to the left.  

 

Tip courtesy of Art Sellinger | Golf Tips Mag[11]

 

Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle
Medical Cross
Bedtime Snacks That Help You Snooze

 

It's common to sometimes have trouble falling asleep at night, though regular insomnia needs a physician's care. If you occasionally need help settling down for a snooze, try these foods to help you get to sleep:

  • Almonds have loads of magnesium, a mineral that helps relax muscles and regulate sleep.
  • Bananas have tryptophan - the same ingredient found in turkey meat - that is linked to better sleep quality. Magnesium and potassium can also help ward off painful muscle cramps.
  • Cherries are a natural source of the sleep hormone melatonin. Researchers found that study participants who drank a glass of tart cherry juice before bed slept better than the control group.
Tip courtesy of AARP[12]

 

Green Living
Green Living
Leaf
Make Your Washing Machine and Dryer More Efficient

 

After showers, laundry is the biggest water hog in your home. When possible, upgrade old washing machines and dryers to new, more efficient models to save on energy, water, and detergent use. New appliances are often also gentler on your clothes, reducing wear and tear on your wardrobe.

 

For a list of energy- and water-efficient models, check out www.energystar.gov.   

 

Tip courtesy of the Seattle PI[13]

 

 

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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.

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