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Category Archives: Financial Planning

MacGray Matters – Financial News – Week of August 2, 2010

MacGray MatterTM                                           August 2, 2010

THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE BACK UP:  After a horrible June, the domestic equity markets ended a very positive July.  The Dow Jones Industrials was up 0.40% for the week ending up 7.54% for July.  The S&P 500 was down 0.10% for the week, ending a July that was up 7.23%.  The NASDAQ Composite was down 0.65%, ending July up 7.3%.  All three indices are hovering near break even for the year.

EARNINGS GOOD, GDP..NOT SO MUCH:  Second quarter earnings reports continue to be positive, with Merck, Samsung, Chevron, Honda and FEDEX (see below) some of the big names announcing very positive reports.  However, the second quarter GDP report was disappointing.  The report on GDP for the second quarter of 2010 showed a gain of 2.4%.  That was a big drop from the 3.7% rise in the first quarter.  There was strength in business investment, which was up 17%, but consumers increased their spending by less than 2%.  Consumer confidence data continues to move downward, which explains why consumer spending is not picking up. 

LAZY PEOPLE:  Businessweek.com recently analyzed some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in order to determine which state has the laziest people.  They meant “lazy” as a measure of leisure time spent doing sedentary activities compared with activities that require more physical effort.  The winner was Louisiana, with Mississippi and Arkansas coming in second and third.  Lest you think that it was all southern states that led the way, Delaware and New York cracked the top 20.  To give you some idea what the average person does in the laziest state, in Louisiana, individuals (age 15 and older) sleep on average 8 hours and 44 minutes, watch 3 hours and 5 minutes of television, socialize for 54 minutes and “relax” for 29 minutes.  The average American sleeps 8 hours and 35 minutes, watches television for 2 hours and 38 minutes, socializes 44 minutes, and relaxes for 18 minutes.  The “least” lazy state is North Dakota.  For more, see here.

USING LEFT OVER COLLEGE FUNDS TO PAY SCHOOL LOANS?  Withdrawals from a 529 College Savings plan are tax-free if the money withdrawn is used for “qualified higher education expenses,” or QHEE. The list of eligible expenses includes tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies, equipment. It also includes a capped amount of room and board if the beneficiary is at least a half-time student. However, QHEE does not include student loan repayments.  Some may argue that student loans merely represent the expenses incurred by the student in past years and should be counted as QHEE when the loans are repaid. The IRS apparently does not buy this argument and will count a student loan only for the year when the loan is taken out to pay the eligible expenses, not for the year the loan is repaid.

AS FEDEX GOES..:  FEDEX is often seen as a bellwether company.  If shipping is increasing then FEDEX will do well.  If shipping in increasing, it is a sign of increased activity, so the argument goes.  FEDEX reported last Monday that it expects to earn between $1.05 and $1.25 per share for the first quarter ending Aug. 31. That’s up sharply from a previous forecast of 58 cents per share.

Douglas R. MacGray, J.D., C.F.P.©, C.E.A.© 

Principal, Senior Vice President Financial Planning

300 Conshohocken State Road, Suite 670 | W. Conshohocken, PA 19428 

(610) 783-4265 (direct) | (302) 463-3377 (mobile) 

dmacgray@compass-ionadvisors.com

Investment Advisory services offered through Comprehensive Capital Management, Inc. an SEC-Registered corporation.  Securities offered through Comprehensive Asset Management and Servicing, Inc. Member, FINRA/SIPC/MSRB 2001 Rt. 46 Ste. 506, Parsippany, NJ 07054, 1-800-637-3211

MacGray Matters – Financial News – July 26, 2010

MacGray MatterTM                                                                                            July 26, 2010 GOOD NEWS DROWNS OUT BAD, EQUITIES RISE:  There was a fair bit of bad news this past week in the unemployment and housing numbers.  In addition, Ben Bernanke’s testimony was far from a Knute Rockne speech.  However, the markets gained.  A big driver for domestic equities was positive earnings reports. Continue Reading

MacGray Matters – Financial News Update – July 19, 2010

MacGray MatterTM                                                                                            July 19, 2010 FINANCIAL REFORM:  Early this week, President Obama will sign the Financial Reform Act passed by the Senate this past week.  What does the bill say?  Once again, it is very, very long and rather confusing.  One of the main reasons I can’t tell you what it all means is thatContinue Reading

MacGray Matter – Financial News Update – July 5, 2010

MacGray MatterTM                                                                                            July 5, 2010 UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS ADD TO A NEGATIVE WEEK:  On Friday, the Department of Labor reported that non-farm payrolls dropped by 125,000 jobs due largely to the Census Bureau laying off 225,000 temporary workers.  Private sector job growth was positive by 83,000 jobs, but that was less than “expected” and not nearContinue Reading

Financial Market Update – July 21, 2008

THE MARKETS:  Volatility remains the watchword on Wall Street.  At least this week the volatility was the kind people like:  positive volatility.  The Dow was up 3.57% (down 13.33% for the year) and the S & P 500 was up 1.71% (down 14.14% for the year).      CITIBANK BEATS EXPECTATIONS:  Citigroup lost $2.5 billion and still beat analysts’Continue Reading

Financial Market Update – July 14, 2008

BEAR MARKETS:  Credit and money supply concerns, plus resurgent oil prices seemed to be the drivers behind further negative movement in the equity markets on Friday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded below 11,000 for the first time since August 2006 but finished at 11,100. The S&P 500 finished the day in bear territory, as well.  There was much reportingContinue Reading

Weekly Financial Market Update – June 30, 2008

THE MARKETS:  June has been a negative month for the equity markets.  For the month, the S&P 500 is down 8.7% and the Russell 2000 is down 6.19%.  For the quarter, the S&P 500 is down 3.35% and the Russell 2000 is up 1.84%.  The Dow Jones AIG Commodity Index is up 9.59% for theContinue Reading

Weekly Market Update – June 16, 2008

NOT MUCH MOVEMENT LAST WEEK:  The markets did not move much:  The Dow was up 0.80% and the S & P 500 was down 0.05%. NEXT INTEREST RATE MOVEMENT WILL BE UP?:  The Fed’s increased public anti-inflation discussion has led to market expectations of one or more rate hikes by the year end. The Fed funds futures marketContinue Reading

Weekly Market Update – June 8, 2008

EQUITY MARKETS HAVE A POOR WEEK:  Some modest positive news early in the weak was drowned out by rising oil futures prices and a radical jump in unemployment numbers.  The Dow Jones Industrials were down 3.39% and the S & P 500 was down 2.83%.  REITS BOUNCING BACK:  Real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) outperformed other major market benchmarksContinue Reading

Weekly Financial News Update – Week of May 12

For the week the Dow lost -2.39%, the S&P 500 -1.81%, Nasdaq -1.27%, and the Russell 2000 -0.78%. Markets around the world also offered poor weekly returns with the one key exception in Russia which soared +9%.GROWTH:  The US economy grew by +0.6% (in size) during the 1st quarter 2008 (i.e., quarter-over-quarter change expressed as anContinue Reading