Libya and oil prices continue to fuel market volatility this afternoon. Lowe Wealth Advisors believes that potential stabilization will occur when the Libya situation is resolved. Oil prices could relax and our domestic stock markets could recover.
The wildcard remains a spreading of the unrest to other major oil producing nations. While Lowe Wealth Advisors has a strategy ready to implement should such a scenario for our actively managed discretionary accounts. However, we believe that it is unlikely we would have to utilize it.
The domestic economic good news has continued this week. According to Ned Davis Research, consumer confidence has hit the highest level in over 3 years, mass layoffs continue to trend lower and weekly chain-store sales are up.
Lowe Wealth Advisors has been researching how bonds have reacted historically during times of rising oil prices. Interestingly, according to Ned Davis Research, oil prices have risen about 18% over the past three months. Historically, when the three month change in oil prices was over 9%, Treasury bond prices have fallen. The recent turmoil in the Middle East has created an environment of risk aversion where bond prices are moving up with the price of oil. We believe this will be a short-lived phenomenon. Lowe Wealth Advisors will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Market Notes February 2, 2011
Lowe Wealth Advisors hopes that those of you who are located here in the Baltimore-Washington region have had minimal disruption from the recent winter weather. The good news is that in the first sign of spring, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in about two weeks!
We would like to update you regarding the current financial landscape and are pleased to provide an updated commentary.
Our outlook for 2011 was first provided in the Lowe Wealth Advisors January 1 Market Notes. Since that time and as January came to a close, the movement of the equity market and economic environments was consistent with our expectations. Equity markets have, in fact, experienced volatility that is primarily driven by lingering concerns regarding the European financial crisis and unstable conditions in the Middle East as well as Egypt.
Commodities such as gold, oil and other natural resources have been particularly unpredictable of late. This spurred Lowe Wealth Advisors to take some of the profits off the table in our gold allocation (only in actively managed discretionary accounts). We have retained our core position in gold, but in many cases sold a portion of gains in order to manage the current precarious sector. (Note: This is not a recommendation to execute a particular investment strategy.)
According to the Wall Street Journal, on February 1st the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see index disclaimer) closed above 12,000 for the first time since June 2008. Investors seemed to brush aside the concerns about the new instability in Egypt and the continuing Middle East turmoil, and instead focused on corporate earnings and positive economic news. Lowe Wealth Advisors will continue to monitor the developments in Egypt and the Middle East and for additional signs of unrest spreading to other nations such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
January 2011’s big story was the return of consumer spending, which resulted in a boost to the economy for the fourth quarter of 2010. We do expect that consumers will restrain from the higher levels of spending that we saw in the fourth quarter of last year and early in 2011, as they replenish their savings accounts. Winter weather could also hamper spending and economic numbers related to auto and home sales may show a dip for the year’s first quarter.
At this time we believe the themes we have focused upon as outlined in our January 1 Market Notes are in line with the developments in the economy and equity markets; therefore, Lowe Wealth Advisors’ outlook remains consistent. During February, we plan to rebalance our actively managed discretionary accounts in order to target allocations to adjust for market activities.
Lowe Wealth Advisors has posted your tax summary to our website. Please view this via KeepTrack and let us know if you have any questions.
Also, all tax statements from Fidelity are expected to be mailed by February 15th. It is possible that you may receive your tax statements for multiple accounts at different times. If you have not received your Fidelity tax statements by February 20th, please call Lowe Wealth Advisors and we will assist you.
Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. Not all portfolios are actively managed. If you have a question about how your account is being managed please contact us. Generally accounts less than $150,000 are not actively managed. An Index is a portfolio of specific securities (common examples are S&P, DJIA, NASDAQ), the performance of which is often used as a benchmark in judging the relative performance of certain asset classes. Indexes are unmanaged portfolios and investors cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
- Not all portfolios are actively managed. If you have a question about how your account is being managed please contact us.
- No diversification can completely protect against market risk or other risk factors with investing. A diversified portfolio could still lose money.
- An Index is a portfolio of specific securities (common examples are S&P, DJIA, NASDAQ), the performance of which is often used as a benchmark in judging the relative performance of certain asset classes. Indexes are unmanaged portfolios and investors cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Foreign investing carries additional risk such as currency risk, political risk and different accounting standards.
*Lowe Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor.