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Market Commentary by Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Chief Economist
The economic calendar was thin. Retail sales disappointed in December, rising just 0.1%. However, sales rose 0.3% if one excludes the 1.6% decline in gasoline sales (which reflected lower gasoline prices). In addition, November sales were revised slightly higher. Auto dealership sales advanced 1.5% last month. Sales of building materials rose 1.6%. Core retail sales, which exclude autos, building materials, and gasoline, slipped 0.2%, but still advanced at a somewhat fast pace in 4Q11. Jobless claims rose sharply, but it’s not unusually to see large week-to-week swings this time of year (due to the difficulties in seasonal adjustment).
Expectations for Europe varied, with some concern about the pace of reforms in Greece and rumors of possible downgrades of European sovereign debt. A three-day weekend may have limited the amount of risk-taking in the U.S., weakening share prices.
Next week, many of the mid-month economic reports (CPI, industrial production, residential construction) will be important, but none is likely to alter the bigger picture and figures could be distorted by the seasonal adjustment. Attention will turn toward next week’s monetary policy decision, where the Fed will begin publishing projections for the federal funds rate target.
Consumer Money Rates
S&P Sector Performance (YTD) – 1/13/2012
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. There are special risks involved with global investing related to market and currency fluctuations, economic and political instability, and different financial accounting standards. The above material has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. There is no assurance that any trends mentioned will continue in the future. While interest on municipal bonds is generally exempt from federal income tax, it may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax, state or local taxes. In addition, certain municipal bonds (such as Build America Bonds) are issued without a federal tax exemption, which subjects the related interest income to federal income tax. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss.
US government bonds and treasury bills are guaranteed by the US government and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and guaranteed principal value. US government bonds are issued and guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by the federal government. Treasury bills are certificates reflecting short-term (less than one year) obligations of the US government.
Commodities trading is generally considered speculative because of the significant potential for investment loss. Markets for commodities are likely to be volatile and there may be sharp price fluctuations even during periods when prices overall are rising. Specific sector investing can be subject to different and greater risks than more diversified investments.
Tax Equiv Muni yields (TEY) assume a 35% tax rate on triple-A rated, tax-exempt insured revenue bonds.
The information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Data source: Bloomberg, as of close of business December 12th, 2012.
Frazier Allen, WMS, CRPS, Financial Advisor with F&M Bank
Web Site: http://www.raymondjames.com/frazierallen
TopicsCapacity Utilization, Consumer Price Index, Economic Data, European Debt, Federal Open Market Committee, Financial Markets, Frazier Allen, Global Equity Markets, Gross Domestic Product, Index of Leading Economic Indicators, Manufacturing Output, Raymond James, Raymond James Investment Services, Scott J. Brown, Seasonal Adjustment, Short-Term Interest Rates, Volatility, Weekly Market Snapshot
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