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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Comfortably Numb

After climbing the wall to five-month highs in March 2012, Treasury yields are back down to their lowest levels since late February. The three-week spring break excitement in the bond market that witnessed the 10-year Treasury spike briefly to 2.4% is likely over, and Treasury yields have moved steadily lower since early April.…

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Comfortably Numb

Most Asked Fed Question May Go Unanswered

This week marks the first anniversary of the latest round of increased transparency by the Federal Reserve (Fed) as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will kick off a second year of post-Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting press conferences on Wednesday, April 25. Bernanke’s first post-FOMC press conference was held on April 27, 2011. Bernanke also held press conferences after the FOMC meetings that ended on June 22, 2011, November 2, 2011, and January 25, 2012. While the media is likely…

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Most Asked Fed Question May Go Unanswered

Spring Allergies or Something Worse?

In April, the markets seem to be suffering from a case of spring allergies. One day they are feeling better and climbing higher, the next they weaken and drop. Like pollen-induced sneezes, the almost involuntary market spasms at each of the data points have resulted in a noticeable uptick in volatility after a very quiet first quarter. In fact, so far during April nearly half of the trading days, six out of 14, have seen more than a…

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Spring Allergies or Something Worse?

Deliberating Defaults

Bond investors, both taxable and municipal, pay close attention to bond defaults, which in turn can affect the prices of high-yield bonds. With a bond’s maturity price capped at par (100), defaults open up bond investors to receive significantly less than par value and can more than wipe out the value of interest income received over the life of a bond.

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Deliberating Defaults

Beige Book Shows Modest Growth

The Beige Book compiles qualitative observations made by community bankers and business owners about economic (labor market, prices, wages, housing, nonresidential construction, tourism, manufacturing) and banking (loan demand, loan quality, lending conditions) conditions in each of the 12 Federal Reserve (Fed) districts…

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Beige Book Shows Modest Growth

A Taxing Issue for Investors

This Tuesday, April 17, is tax day — and it may never be the same. The 2012 elections hold major consequences; one of them is tax policy. While there is much that we could present regarding the potential changes, we will constrain our comments to how tax changes may directly affect investors in the stock and bond markets…

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A Taxing Issue for Investors

529 Plans and Financial Aid Eligibility

Is it true that if you save for college in a 529 plan the government will just short your financial aid? Here’s your answer.

529 Plans and Financial Aid Eligibility

What Investors Should Watch This Earnings Season

After a strong first quarter, the stock market, measured by the S&P 500 Index, got off to a weak start in the second quarter with a decline of -0.7% last week. Investors focused on the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) lack of support for round three of quantitative easing (QE3) in the minutes that were released from the March Fed meeting. As we noted a few weeks ago in our commentary…

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What Investors Should Watch This Earnings Season

Long-term Health Care Planning

Aging is part of the human experience. While we may not always like the aging effects, most of us would opt for aging over the alternative. Incorporating aging into your planning process is important, especially when it relates to increasing health care costs and insurance premiums. These increases reflect the ever increasing cost of providing health care…

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Long-term Health Care Planning

Jobs Looking for People

A number of key reports due out this week will tell market participants how many jobs were added in March 2012, in what industries the jobs were added, how much workers were paid, and why workers were unemployed. If the consensus is correct, the private sector economy will add more than 200,000 jobs for the fourth consecutive month, and the nation’s unemployment rate will stay at 8.3%. Each month, financial markets and the media turn the monthly jobs report into the most…

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Jobs Looking for People