Market Commentary

Leverage and Derivative Investment Vehicles

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investment vehicle

When it comes to investing there are many options. For the investor looking to participate in the stock market one can obviously buy individual stocks. Over the years mutual funds became the investment of choice and still dominate in retirement accounts employers provide. Then came ETFs (Exchange Trading Funds) which are very popular for those […]

Market Commentary

ETF vs ETN

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etf vs etn

Recently questions have been asked about the difference between exchange traded funds (ETF) versus exchange trading notes (ETN). ETNs are structured products that are issued as a senior note whereas ETFs is a stake in the underlying equity. So an ETN is like a bond in that they are unsecured and that hold various types […]

Market Commentary

February Jobs

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handshake for job

This morning the official jobs report for February was released and the number was much bigger than the experts estimated at 313,000. They were off by about 100,000. The previous two months were revised as well by an increase of 54,000. Surprisingly the unemployment rate did not change and salaries in this tight labor market […]

Market Commentary

Inflation is Key to Interest Rates

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The Consumer Price Index report, a gauge of inflation at the consumer level, showed a .2% increase for February. This matched the core inflation number as well. That was expected, coming down from the month before of a .5% increase. This left the 12 month rate of 1.8% well within the FED’s expectation. Most of […]

Market Commentary

Productivity

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While everyone is focused on trade this week, which to me seems the wrong focus, productivity for the fourth quarter was revised downward to flat from a mere .1% growth when first reported. U.S. productivity is far more important than speculating about a trade war, which isn’t likely to happen. How productive we are goes […]

Market Commentary

Financial Literacy Test

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There has been survey after survey that show that Americans fail financial literacy tests. One area that needs improvement is the types of retirement savings vehicles available to individuals:   Traditional IRA – This could also be called a Rollover IRA or Individual IRA. The money you invest is before income taxes. As the name […]

Market Commentary

New Home Sales

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For January, sales of new homes fell hard down 7.8% from December and were 1% lower than a year ago. Prices were stable, and inventory reached 6 months’ supply, a far greater number then the 3 month supply for existing homes.   No one thinks this is a bad omen for housing as weather and […]

Market Commentary

How Does the Government Count Inflation?

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For consumers the CPI (Consumer Price Index) comes out every month and it measures the rate of increase of certain products. The government also measures inflation at the producer level known as the PPI. For CPI there is a basket of goods and services they price which includes food, gas, energy, utilities, clothes, automobiles, other […]

Market Commentary

Mortgage Rates

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The rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage, the most common length of a mortgage, rose to 4.32% this week which is a 4 year high. This was not due to the recent FED hike, even though it does influence other rates, the FED can only raise the rate they charge for other banks to […]

Market Commentary

Inflation

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U.S. consumer prices rose .5% in January, the biggest monthly increase since 2012, and core consumer inflation rose. 3%. That was higher than expected and certainly puts the FED on course to raise interest rates in March. If this continues, it also may mean a stronger indication of continued increases for the rest of the […]