The Miller Financial Group
The Clues Within November Jobs Report
In This Issue
Markets ended the first week of December with a bang, rallying for the seventh straight week, though the Nasdaq gave in to selling pressure and closed slightly down. Investors used an upbeat November jobs report as an excuse to rally, giving the Dow another record close for the year. For the week, the S&P 500 added 0.38%, the Dow grew 0.73%, but the Nasdaq fell 0.23%.[1]
The November jobs report showed that the economy gained 321,000 new jobs last month, though the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%. Job growth was widespread, showing improvement in several sectors of the economy.[2] 

Another report supported the view that the labor market is making great strides. Americans quit their jobs in greater numbers in September than in any period since April 2008. Voluntary separations are a sign of increased dynamism in the labor market as workers quit to take advantage of better opportunities. Young employees are among the most aggressive job-switchers; many that were forced to take low-paying jobs early in the recovery are taking better positions. Employers, who have long held the upper hand, are scrambling to keep key workers, and recruitment for many in-demand areas is up.[3]
What does this mean for the economy? Hopefully, higher incomes, increased upward mobility, and higher consumer spending. We may also see increased demand in the housing market as household formation among young Americans - which dropped precipitously during the recession - picks up.[4]

Black Friday numbers came in last week and showed that spending over the Thanksgiving weekend unexpectedly dropped about 12% over last year.[5] While the results are quite puzzling, given the general improvement in consumer fundamentals, research shows that Black Friday trends are not strongly correlated with overall holiday season shopping.[6] Though the early numbers are a bit of a disappointment, there's still room for a solid retail season. 

Tuesday: JOLTS
Wednesday: EIA Petroleum Status Report, Treasury Budget
Thursday: Jobless Claims, Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices, Business Inventories
Friday: PPI-FD, 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.

Gas prices fall below $2.00/gallon. Pump prices for regular unleaded plummeted across the nation, dropping below $2.00/gallon in Oklahoma. With prices this low, the spread between area prices is growing; Hawaiians have the highest average prices at $3.883.[7]

Factory orders fall for third straight month. New orders for factory goods fell in October for the third month in a row, indicating that manufacturing activity may have slowed down in the fourth quarter.[8]

Federal Reserve Beige Book report optimistic about economy. The Fed's assessment of economic conditions across the country in October and November shows important gains in business conditions and employment, though the housing market remains an area of concern.[9]

Black Friday deal making drives auto sales. U.S. sales of light vehicles grew 5% year-over-year in November, driven by attractive deals, lower gas prices, and increasing wages. Though the November volume may chip away at December sales, the fundamentals are in place for a solid quarter for automakers.[10]

Quote Of The Week
Quote Of The Week
Fountain Pen

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength."

- Corrie ten Boom

Recipe Of The Week
Recipe Of The Week
Fork and Knife

Brie Crostini

These tasty appetizers come together in less than 20 minutes.
Serves 4-6 

1 baguette or loaf of crusty bread
2 cloves garlic, halved
1/4-1/2 pound Brie, thinly sliced
1/2 cup orange or quince marmalade
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced

  1. Slice the baguette or loaf into 1/2 inch rounds. Halve the slices, if necessary, to keep them bite-sized.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Rub each round with the garlic cloves and brush with the olive oil. Top with a slice of Brie.
  3. Place the crostini in a single layer on a baking sheet or pizza stone and sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Place in the pre-heated oven. Bake 3 to 4 minutes until the Brie bubbles. Watch carefully to ensure they don't burn.
  4. Warm the marmalade or jam in the microwave for 30 seconds. Top each crostini with 1/2 teaspoon of preserve and a sprinkle of thyme. Serve warm.

Kay Chun |[11]


Tax Tips
Tax Tips

Check Your Flex Spending Accounts

The end of the year is approaching, and it's time to check the balance on any flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts you have contributed to throughout the year. While flex spending accounts are "use-it-or-lose-it," some employers have adopted grace periods that allow employees to spend 2014 funds as late as March 15, 2015. Check with your benefits provider to learn about the specifics of your program. If you don't have a grace period and have a balance left in your account, plan to make a trip to the dentist, drug store, doctor, or optometrist.

Tip courtesy of[12]
Golf Tip
Golf Tip

Pull the Trigger!


Ever freeze up before a swing? Most golfers have experienced an attack of nerves or had unhelpful thoughts derail their shot. The cure to pre-shot nerves is both mental and physical. A good pre-swing mental routine and a couple of warm-up exercises will help you plan your shot and stay loose. Before addressing the ball, ask yourself some strategic questions:
  • Where do I want to put the ball?
  • What is the lie?
  • Have I played this kind of shot before?
  • What club is best and why?
Tip courtesy of Shawn Clement, CPGA | Golf Tips Mag[13]
Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle
Medical Cross

 Fight the Flu With These Healthful Foods


'Tis the season to catch the flu, and a healthful diet can help you fight off winter colds. To ward off the flu, add these seven foods to your diet:
  • Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system.
  • Black-eyed peas contain zinc, a mineral that can help prevent fatigue.
  • Carrots are full of infection-fighting Vitamin A.
  • Mushrooms are rich in selenium, which has been shown to fight the flu.
  • Tomatoes and citrus fruits have a ton of immune-boosting Vitamin C.

Tip courtesy of AARP[14]


Green Living
Green Living

Reduce Phantom Energy Use

Did you know that many appliances and electronic items continue to draw power even when turned off? Most appliances with internal clocks or stand-by settings as well as chargers for electronic items, continue to use energy after you press the power button. Though the amount of energy used can seem small, it may contribute as much as 10% to your monthly power bill. The cure? Plug items into a power strip and turn off the entire strip or unplug the item from the wall when not in use.

Tip courtesy of Tucson Electric Power[15]
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