Economic Update March 14, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.” – Andre Gide WEEKLY TIP               If your student will graduate from college with multiple, large student loans with different lenders, consolidating those loans may leave just one payment to one lender at one low interest rate. If your student has multiple but relatively small student loans, just paying them off as quickly as possible is often a better choice than consolidation.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              What mathematical symbol can be put between 5 and 9 to get a number bigger than 5 and smaller than 9?      Last week’s riddle: You drop a coin into a bottle through its opening. Then, you push a cork into that same bottle opening to seal the opening. How do you get the coin out of the bottle without breaking the bottle or taking out the cork?   Last week’s answer: Push the cork into the bottle.           March 14, 2016     STOCKS SETTLE AT 2016 Highs A 5-day gain of 1.10% left the S&P 500 at 2,022.19 at the closing bell Friday. Settling at 17,213.31 Friday afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.20% for the week while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.67% to end the week at 4,748.47. On March 11, the S&P settled above its moving average for the first time since December 30, and both the S&P and DJIA had their highest closes of the year, reaching peaks unseen since intraday trading on January 4.1     OIL RALLIES, GOLD RETREATS Light sweet...

Economic Update March 7, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well.” – Dan Rather WEEKLY TIP               Simplify things for your tax preparer or CPA by organizing your financial records into three categories: income statements, expenses and deductions, and investments.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              You drop a coin into a bottle through its opening. Then, you push a cork into that same bottle opening to seal the opening. How do you get the coin out of the bottle without breaking the bottle or taking out the cork?       Last week’s riddle: I go back and forth constantly, but I never go forward. What am I?   Last week’s answer: A pendulum.           March 7, 2016     242,000 NEW JOBS CREATED IN FEBRUARY Hiring picked up in America last month. In reporting this sizable net job gain in the second month of the year, the Labor Department also revised December and January hiring totals upward by a total of 30,000. That means payrolls have expanded by an average of 228,000 hires over the past three months. The headline unemployment rate remained at 4.9% last month while the U-6 rate including the underemployed fell to 9.7%. A year ago, the U-6 rate was at 11.0%.1     ISM INDICES BEAT EXPECTATIONS The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI rose 1.3 points in February to 49.5; its non-manufacturing PMI showed a February reading of 53.4. While the latest number on the manufacturing PMI still indicated contraction, both indices surpassed the forecasts of economists...

Economic Update February 29, 2016

Phillip Allen Inc.   WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE     WEEKLY QUOTE                “We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.” – Tobias Wolff WEEKLY TIP               Once a year, you should look at your insurance policies (life, disability, any others) to see if your coverage has any weak spots.   WEEKLY RIDDLE              I go back and forth constantly, but I never go forward. What am I?       Last week’s riddle: Everywhere on earth I am found, I should not make you frown, I will always bring you down, but I will never send you up. What am I?   Last week’s answer: Gravity.           February 29, 2016     GOOD NEWS ABOUT CONSUMER SPENDING, Q4 GDP Personal spending and personal wages both increased 0.5% in January, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The BEA also revised Q4 growth up to 1.0% from its initial estimate of 0.7%. As a footnote to all this, capital goods orders jumped 4.9% in January.1     CONSUMER CONFIDENCE WANES The Conference Board’s much-watched monthly index tumbled 5.6 points in February to a 7-month low of 92.2. Rather than a significant monthly fall, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index took only a small one: it declined 0.3 points from its final January mark to a final February reading of 91.7.1,2    HOME PRICES, EXISTING HOME SALES ADVANCE Despite severe weather in many parts of the nation, existing home sales rose 0.4% in January, the National Association of Realtors announced. The Census Bureau reported a 9.2% fall for new home sales in January, countering an 8.2% ascent in...