Market Week: September 30, 2014

September 29th, 2014

The Markets

Volatility was the name of the game last week. In addition to a multination campaign of airstrikes against terrorist targets in the Middle East, a decline in U.S. durable goods orders and an upward revision to U.S. GDP sent equities yo-yoing. Friday’s rally couldn’t overcome earlier losses, particularly those suffered by the Nasdaq and Russell 2000. Meanwhile, increases in the price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury sent its yield lower.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 9/26

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

17279.74

17113.15

-.96%

3.24%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4579.79

4512.19

-1.48%

8.04%

S&P 500

1848.36

2010.40

1982.85

-1.37%

7.28%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1146.92

1119.33

-2.41%

-3.81%

Global Dow

2484.10

2605.20

2551.32

-2.07%

2.71%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0%

0%

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.59%

2.54%

-5 bps

-50 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

· The U.S. economy grew faster during the second quarter than previously thought. The Bureau of Economic Analysis’s final estimate showed gross domestic product rising 4.6% rather than 4.2%; exports and business investment were responsible for much of the upward revision.

· Durable goods orders plummeted 18.2% in August, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. However, the decline followed a 22.5% increase in July and was largely the result of a 74% drop in orders for commercial aircraft and parts, which had hit a record high the previous month. Aside from the decline in transportation-related equipment, new orders actually rose 0.7%.

· New home sales were up 18% in August; the Commerce Department said that was 33% higher than the previous August. However, sales of existing homes fell 1.8% during the month, in part because there were fewer cash buyers. Though the National Association of Realtors® said August’s number represented the second-best pace of 2014, it was 5.3% lower than a year earlier.

· Treasury officials announced new rules designed to make so-called “tax inversions” more difficult. (Inversion is a practice in which domestic corporations merge with foreign firms and reincorporate overseas, which reduces the U.S. corporate taxes owed.) The regulations could affect several pending mergers of U.S. corporations with overseas companies.

· Legendary bond mutual fund manager Bill Gross stirred up the relatively placid bond world by resigning from Pacific Investment Management Co.–reportedly after internal conflicts at the firm–to take a position at Janus Capital Group.

Eye on the Week Ahead

Next week will paint a broad-brush picture of the current state of the U.S. economy, including housing, manufacturing, and consumer spending. As always, unemployment data will be assessed for its potential impact on the timing of future Federal Reserve action. And given recent weak data on overseas growth, any stimulus measures announced by the European Central Bank likely would be welcomed by international investors.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Why WHM is down?

September 25th, 2014

The only stock I’ve lost any significant amount of money on so far this year is Whole Foods (WFM).

I’ve been re-researching it over and over and still don’t know why it’s down so low. Anecdotally brokers tell me that now that organic food has become so popular competition will rise. But so what? Lots of good companies have serious competition. Whole Foods continues to expand, and the new stores are still profitable. They still have the top brand in their niche, and while they do appeal to a wealthy clientele, there are plenty of people willing to pay extra for quality in food.

So I’m holding on. Most of the research I’ve done suggests a fair value of $50 a share, and it’s been hovering around $38 lately. I sold puts at $37.50 so it drops much more I may own twice as much! I’ve also sold call spreads over and over, currently at $45 hedged at $55. So I’m taking in premiums every 2-3 months. I’m down about $30,000 in stock value, but I’m picking up about $8,000 annualized on the option premiums. If I’ve misjudged and the stock doesn’t move up it will take me 4 years to recoup my loss in the stock.

But that ‘s the stock market!

For me, WFM is currently a “buy.” Net profits are up, earnings per share are up, sales are up. Only gross margins are down. Not a bad dividend.

I’m off now travelling for the next 6 weeks. The market is starting a correction as I leave. Buy on weakness!!!

Merv

Market Week: September 23, 2014

September 23rd, 2014

The Markets

Whether it was Fed-induced relief, anticipation of one of the world’s largest IPOs, or anticipation of the tech world’s largest iPhone ever (so far), something put equities investors back in a record-setting mood once again last week–at least those who were interested in large-cap stocks. The S&P 500 and Dow industrials hit their 34th and 18th all-time record highs of 2014 respectively, while the Nasdaq was basically flat and the small caps of the Russell 2000 saw a loss.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 9/19

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

16987.51

17279.74

1.72%

4.24%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4567.60

4579.79

.27%

9.65%

S&P 500

1848.36

1985.54

2010.40

1.25%

8.77%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1160.61

1146.92

-1.18%

-1.44%

Global Dow

2484.10

2593.43

2605.20

.45%

4.88%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0%

0%

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.62%

2.59%

-3 bps

-45 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

· The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee reaffirmed its “considerable time” estimate for starting to raise interest rates once its bond-buying program ends in October (absent any economic surprises). However, increases could be steeper than previously thought. A majority of members expect the Fed funds interest rate (the rate at which banks lend to one another) to rise to almost 1.4% by the end of next year, almost 2.9% by December 2016, and 3.75% a year later. Only three months ago, the 2015 and 2016 rate forecasts were 1.125% and 2.5%. The Fed also will keep reinvesting the proceeds of its existing holdings until rates begin to rise, and will begin to test using so-called reverse repo agreements (essentially a type of money-market instrument) as part of its strategy for raising rates.

· Falling energy costs in August, including gas prices, more than offset higher prices for food and shelter, leaving the consumer inflation rate down 0.2% for the month. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that left the CPI-U index up only 1.7% for the last 12 months–well within the Federal Reserve’s target range. Meanwhile, the BLS said final-stage wholesale prices remained essentially flat for the month, with a 1.8% inflation rate for the last year.

· As the summer wound down in August, housing starts and building permits slowed but remained higher than the previous summer. The Commerce Department said housing starts were down 14.4% for the month but were 8% higher than in August 2013, while despite a 5.6% decline in August, building permits were 5.3% higher than a year earlier.

· U.S. manufacturing data was mixed. While the Philly Fed index continued to show growth, the pace retreated a bit from its three-year high of the previous month, slipping from 28% to 22.5%. Also, the Fed’s gauge of industrial production nudged downward 0.1% in August–the first decline since January–and its July gains were revised downward. However, the Fed’s Empire State index rose to its highest level since October 2009, going to 27.5% from 14.7%.

· The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators continued to rise in August, though the 0.2% increase represented a more sluggish pace than during the previous two months. The Conference Board said housing permits and business spending on capital equipment held back the index.

· (Still) a united kingdom: Scotland voted to remain part of the UK. After an initial relief rally, the British pound saw a post-vote pullback that left it little changed from before Thursday’s election.

· Economic data from China showed slowing in some key areas of the country’s economy. Though industrial production was up 6.9% in August from a year ago, that was down substantially from July’s 9% increase. Also, housing sales were down nearly 11% since the beginning of the year. However, interest in Chinese economic data paled in comparison to the attention paid to the IPO of Alibaba, reportedly one of the world’s largest ever.

Eye on the Week Ahead

With the Fed meeting, the Scottish independence vote, and Alibaba’s IPO now in the rear-view mirror, housing stats plus the final Q2 GDP number will give investors some economic data to focus on.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Market Week: September 15, 2014

September 15th, 2014

The Markets

The record-breaking march of the stock market faltered last week, as all indices posted losses. Perhaps the setback was due to a lack of economic influences, or because investors were nervously anticipating the results of next week’s Federal Open Market Committee (Fed) meeting, wondering whether Chair Janet Yellen will indicate a leaning toward higher rates. Or perhaps, as some observers believe, it was just time for a mild adjustment. Yields on the 10-year Treasury jumped to their highest point since early July.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 9/12

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

17137.36

16987.51

-.87%

2.48%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4582.90

4567.60

-.33%

9.36%

S&P 500

1848.36

2007.71

1985.54

-1.10%

7.42%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1170.13

1160.61

-.81%

-.26%

Global Dow

2484.10

2631.64

2593.43

-1.45%

4.40%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0%

0%

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.46%

2.62%

16 bps

-42 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

· Job openings remained near a 13-year high in July 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). At 4.7 million, the number of open jobs changed very little from a month earlier. The hire rate (3.5%) held steady from June. The number of hires inched upward to approximately 4.9 million in July from nearly 4.8 million in June, reaching the highest level since December 2007.

· In a prime-time address to the nation Wednesday night, President Obama announced an expanded effort to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS. Details included expanding airstrikes in Iraq, introducing airstrikes in Syria, and sending additional troops to Iraq for training and advisory missions.

· The Commerce Department reported that sales by wholesalers rose 0.7% from June to July, and were up 7.5% from a year earlier. Inventories inched up 0.1% from June, and were up 7.9% from a year earlier.

· Consumers shopped at their strongest rate since April, also according to the Commerce Department. Retail sales rose 0.6% from July to August, to a total $444.4 billion. Sales were 5% higher than one year ago.

· The United States joined the European Union in imposing further sanctions on Russia Friday, with impacts on Russian interests in the energy, banking, and defense sectors.

Eye on the Week Ahead

This week promises to make up for last week’s trickle of economic data. Investors will have an eye on industrial production; inflation, manufacturing, and housing data; international capital flows; Wednesday’s Fed meeting; leading economic indicators; and any changes in trading volume due to this quarter’s quadruple witching options expiration at the end of the week.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Market Week: September 11, 2014

September 10th, 2014

The Markets

Amid a flood of mostly positive economic data and what at first blush appears to be good news from Ukraine, nearly all market sectors finished the short week in positive territory. Even surprises from the European Central Bank and Friday’s jobs numbers seemed to have minimal impact on investors, as the S&P 500 continued its record-breaking run.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 9/5

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

17098.45

17137.36

.23%

3.38%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4580.27

4582.90

.06%

9.73%

S&P 500

1848.36

2003.37

2007.71

.22%

8.62%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1174.35

1170.13

-.36%

.56%

Global Dow

2484.10

2618.91

2631.64

.49%

5.94%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0 bps

0 bps

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.35%

2.46%

11 bps

-58 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

· The manufacturing sector reported its strongest economic reading since March 2011. The Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) came in at 59% for August, up 1.9 points from July’s reading of 57.1%. Part of the increase was due to record levels in the New Orders Index, which registered its highest reading in more than a decade.

· The positive results in new orders was echoed by the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that new orders for manufactured goods rose by a record-setting 10.5% in July, the highest reported increase in 22 years. Manufactured goods orders have risen in five of the last six months. Shipments, unfulfilled orders, and inventories also hit record levels. Transportation equipment saw a 74.1% increase, and was the reason for the unprecedented rise. Excluding transportation, new orders actually fell by 0.8%.

· New records were also reported in auto sales, as manufacturers noted sales of nearly 1.6 million cars and trucks in August. Sales are on pace to reach 17.5 million this year, a level not seen since July 2006. Industry observers said that much of the increase was due to low interest rates and other incentives.

· Construction rose by 1.8% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $981.3 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The figure is 8.2% higher than a year earlier. Through July, construction spending totaled $535.4 billion, nearly 8% higher than the $496.3 billion spent during the same time frame in 2013. Growth was led by nonresidential private construction and public construction, particularly highways.

· The Federal Reserve’s beige book report was generally favorable, stating that economic activity had expanded since the previous report and noting that “none of the Districts pointed to a distinct shift in the overall pace of growth.” Notable areas of growth included consumer spending, auto sales, and tourism.

· The Commerce Department announced that the trade deficit shrank to $40.5 billion in July, down from $40.8 billion in June. Exports rose by $1.8 billion, while imports rose by $1.5 billion.

· The European Central Bank (ECB) surprised observers Thursday with the announcement that it would cut all interest rates, and launch programs to buy asset-backed securities and euro-denominated covered bonds. Details surrounding the new programs will be provided at the ECB’s October meeting. In announcing the moves, ECB President Mario Draghi said, “These decisions will add to the range of monetary policy measures taken over recent months,” adding that they reflect significant differences in monetary policy cycle among the eurozone’s major advanced economies. He also noted that the moves will “support the provision of credit to the broader economy.”

· Labor productivity (output per hour) rose 2.3% during the second quarter of 2014, while the costs of labor edged down 0.1%. During the quarter, hours worked rose 2.6% and output increased 5%. Productivity increased 1.1% from second quarter 2013 to second quarter 2014. Unit labor costs increased 1.7% over the previous four quarters.

· After months of positive news, the Labor Department reported disappointing job growth for August, and revised figures downward for earlier this summer. Despite an unemployment rate that continued to decline–down to 6.1% in August from July’s 6.2%–nonfarm jobs rose by just 142,000 in August. For the previous 12 months, nonfarm payrolls increased by 212,000, on average. After accounting for revisions in both June and July, the total number of added jobs in those months was 28,000 less than previously reported.

· Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels signed a truce that took effect Friday evening, local time, in what observers hope will be the beginning of the end of the five-month conflict. Friday also brought news of a new “spearhead” force of several thousand land troops agreed to by NATO allies to address growing threats in the Middle East and other areas, if needed.

Eye on the Week Ahead

In a week that promises minimal influence in the way of economic data, investors may be watching events abroad, particularly to see whether the Ukrainian cease-fire agreement holds.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

A Word from Merv

September 10th, 2014

I’ve been reading reports from bank economic departments, and I think that for the next 12 months any long term correction is unlikely and a continuing slow upward tick in the market is very likely.

On accounts that can afford reasonable risk (not widows and orphans) I am now recommending a ratio of 80% equities and 20% short term bond funds. The equities should be about 20% individual stocks, 20% in an equity index (I now prefer the BFOR to the SPY) and 60% in a diversified group of equity funds. That’s a small change from my prior suggested allocations.

Regarding individual stocks, in order to try to participate in growth beyond the indices, for the moment I suggest Medtroic, Emerson Electric, Cisco, Qualcom and Accenture. I would hold the recent acquisitions of BAC , PG, T, CRM and SDRL all of which have gone up significantly except for BAC, which is stable, but if reasonable premium income is available on calls 5% or more above current price I would sell covered calls on them.

Market Week: September 6, 2014

September 6th, 2014

The Markets

Investors brushed off geopolitical fears last week and regained their appetite for risk, taking the S&P 500 to its 32nd record high of the year and returning the small-cap Russell 2000 to positive territory for 2014. Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury hit a level it hasn’t seen in more than a year as higher demand pushed prices up.

Market/Index

2013 Close

Prior Week

As of 8/29

Weekly Change

YTD Change

DJIA

16576.66

17001.22

17098.45

.57%

3.15%

Nasdaq

4176.59

4538.55

4580.27

.92%

9.67%

S&P 500

1848.36

1988.40

2003.37

.75%

8.39%

Russell 2000

1163.64

1160.34

1174.35

1.21%

.92%

Global Dow

2484.10

2606.33

2618.91

.48%

5.43%

Fed. Funds

.25%

.25%

.25%

0 bps

0 bps

10-year Treasuries

3.04%

2.40%

2.35%

-5 bps

-69 bps

Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.

Last Week’s Headlines

· The U.S. economy grew slightly faster during the second quarter than previously thought. The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the 4.2% figure for gross domestic product was revised upward from 4% primarily because of a higher figure for commercial construction and business investment in equipment. Meanwhile, corporate after-tax profits rebounded from a -16.3% decline in Q1, rising 8.3% during Q2.

· A 318% increase in orders for commercial aircraft led to a 22.6% surge in durable goods orders in July. The Commerce Department said that excluding transportation, orders actually fell 0.8%, while business investment in equipment was down 0.5% after a strong gain the previous month.

· Sales of new homes fell 2.4% in July, according to a Commerce Department report. That raised questions about the state of the housing market, especially since the National Association of Realtors® had reported the previous week that home resales had actually risen 2.4% during the month.

· Meanwhile, home prices showed continued signs of leveling off in cities measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index. Though the index gained 1% in June and was up 8.1% year-over-year, all 20 cities experienced slower annual growth rates for the first time since February 2008. An S&P spokesman predicted that mortgage rate increases, anticipated next year, “will further dampen price gains.”

· Americans spent less and saved more in July as income growth slowed. The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending was down 0.1%, in part because of reduced auto and department store sales, while incomes rose 0.2% rather than the 0.5% seen during the previous two months. As a result, the savings rate hit 5.7%–its highest level since late 2012.

· Burger King became the latest company to draw fire for so-called “tax inversion” by announcing it is negotiating to buy Canadian chain Tim Hortons. The agreement would allow Burger King to move its headquarters to Canada and reduce its corporate tax burden.

· The inflation rate in the eurozone continued to slide, hitting 0.3% in August. The decline, coupled with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s stated willingness to consider additional economic stimulus, prompted speculation that the ECB could take action at its next meeting on September 4. The eurozone unemployment rate was 11.5%, down only slightly from a year earlier.

Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation); U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.