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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Waiting for the Spring

Municipal bonds have struggled in February following a good start to 2013. Price declines have translated to modest losses for investors in February, but on a positive note, year-to-date municipals still hold a performance advantage to their taxable counterparts (both through February 22, 2013), according to Barclays Index data. The tough slog for municipal bonds may continue in March, leaving investors to…

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Waiting for the Spring

Gasoline Prices Racing Toward Danger Zone

Do you feel like you are paying too much for gasoline? At least you did not have to fill up for the Daytona 500. The special ethanol-blended fuel that NASCAR drivers put into their tanks at the race on Sunday cost more than twice the national average for regular unleaded. And at about 18 gallons per tank, that comes to about $150 a fill up in a car that gets single-digit miles per gallon! Even so, you are paying more. The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline has risen to…

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Gasoline Prices Racing Toward Danger Zone

JOLTS Show Labor Market Still Healing

The nation’s labor market has come a long way since the depths of the Great Recession and its aftermath, but it still has a long way to go to get back to “normal.” We continue to expect modest improvement in the labor market in 2013, with the economy creating between 150,000 and 200,000 jobs per month and the unemployment rate drifting gradually lower from the 7.9% reading in January 2013. How quickly the labor market heals in 2013 will help to determine if…

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JOLTS Show Labor Market Still Healing

Investing in an Up-and-Down Market

On Friday, the S&P 500 was up about 7% from the start of the year. This is very similar to the gains through mid-February in 2011 and 2012. These steady gains then began to be revealed as the first stage of a volatile year that frequently exhibited 5 – 15% swings in the stock market, as you can see…

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Investing in an Up-and-Down Market

Residential Recovery

Over the second half of February 2013, financial markets will begin to digest early 2013 data on the housing market: housing starts, home prices, new and existing home sales, and pending home sales. Housing made a splash in late January 2013, as the gross domestic product (GDP) data for 2012 revealed that housing added to GDP in 2012 for the first time since 2005. Market participants are now asking…

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Residential Recovery

Seeing Shadows

As we all know, the Groundhog Day tradition holds that when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on February 2, if the groundhog sees its shadow the cold winter weather will continue for six more weeks. If not, spring will come early. This Groundhog Day, when looking at the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow), we are seeing shadows of what took place in each of the past three years as a new milestone was reached. As a result, the current levels on the index may linger for six or more months…

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Seeing Shadows

Following the Center of Gravity at the Fed

The Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) policymaking arm, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), meets January 29 – 30, 2013, the first of eight FOMC meetings this year. With several new voting members on the committee, this week’s meeting is likely to garner plenty of attention from the media and markets. Of note, however, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will not…

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Following the Center of Gravity at the Fed