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The Weekly Market Snapshot from Frazier Allen for the week of January 29th, 2012

Weekly Market Snapshot

Market Commentary by Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Chief Economist

Scott J. Brown Ph.D., Chief Economist Raymond James Investment Services
Scott J. Brown Ph.D., Chief Economist Raymond James Investment Services

The Federal Open Market Committee left short-term interest rates unchanged and did not embark on another round of asset purchases. No surprise there. However, the FOMC lengthened the period it expects to keep rates exceptionally low: the FOMC “currently anticipates that economic conditions – including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run – are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014” (vs. the previous “through mid-2013”).

Keeping to its dual mandate (price stability and maximum sustainable employment) the Fed adopted an explicit inflation target (inflation in the PCE Price Index at 2% per year) and a soft target for employment (currently, an unemployment rate between 5.2% and 6.0%). In the post-meeting press briefing, Chairman Bernanke said that officials were still debating whether to increase the Fed’s asset purchases.

The economic data were mixed . Real GDP rose at a 2.8% annual rate in the advance estimate for 4Q11 – not far from expectations (+3.0%), but two-thirds of that was in inventories. Consumer spending rose at a moderate 2.0% annual rate, but business fixed investment advanced at a meager 1.7% pace (vs. +15.7% in 3Q11). Durable goods orders exceeded expectations in December, boosted by a further increase in aircraft orders – ex-transportation, orders were mixed across industries. New home sales disappointed, edging down in December. The dovish Fed stance pushed bond yields back down and weakened the dollar, but generated some confusion for the equity markets, as investors pondered why the Fed needed to extend the expected period of low short-term interest rates.

Next week, the January economic data will start to flow in. The focus should be on the Employment Report. Seasonal adjustment will be an important factor (as the economy typically loses more than 2.5 million jobs prior to adjustment). December’s increase in delivery personnel (up 42,200 after seasonal adjustment) should unwind in January. Note that the payroll figures will incorporate annual benchmark revisions, which are expected to lift the March 2011 level of payrolls by about 192,000 (or +0.1%).

Indices

  Last Last Week YTD return %
DJIA 12734.63 12623.98 4.23%
NASDAQ 2805.28 2788.33 7.68%
S&P 500 1318.43 1314.50 4.84%
MSCI EAFE 1505.67 1464.78 6.59%
Russell 2000 792.91 782.37 7.02%

Consumer Money Rates

  Last 1-year ago
Prime Rate 3.25 3.25
Fed Funds 0.08 0.16
30-year mortgage 3.89 4.81

Currencies

  Last 1-year ago
Dollars per British Pound 1.571 1.588
Dollars per Euro 1.315 1.368
Japanese Yen per Dollar 77.460 82.440
Canadian Dollars per Dollar 0.999 0.997
Mexican Peso per Dollar 12.937 12.044

Commodities

  Last 1-year ago
Crude Oil 99.70 87.33
Gold 1724.80 1330.73

Bond Rates

  Last 1-month ago
2-year treasury 0.21 0.26
10-year treasury 1.93 1.89
10-year municipal (TEY) 2.92 2.79

Treasury Yield Curve – 1/27/2012

Treasury Yield Curve – 1/27/2012S&P Sector Performance (YTD) – 1/27/2012

S&P Sector Performance (YTD) – 1/27/2012

Economic Calendar

January 30th

 —

Personal Income and Spending (December)
January 31st

 —

S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (November)
Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (January)
Consumer Confidence (January)
February 1st

 —

ADP Payroll Estimate (January)
ISM Manufacturing Index (January)
Motor Vehicle Sales (January)
February 2nd

 —

Jobless Claims (week ending January 28th)
Bernanke Testimony (House Budget Committee)
February 3rd

 —

Employment Report (January)
ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (January)
February 5th

 —

Super Bowl XLVI (Indianapolis)
February 14th

 —

Retail Sales (January)
February 20th

 —

President’s Day Holiday (markets closed)
March 13th

 —

FOMC Policy Decision (no press briefing)

Important Disclosures

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.

Material prepared by Raymond James for use by its financial advisors.

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 26th, 2012.

©2012 Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA / SIPC.

Frazier Allen
Frazier Allenhttp://www.raymondjames.com/frazierallen
Frazier Allen, WMS, CRPS, Financial Advisor with F&M Bank 50 Franklin Street | Clarksville, TN 37040 | 931-553-2048
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