“A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.”
– John D. Rockefeller
As 2012 ends, remember that you can gift up to $13,000 (or $26,000 as a married couple) to any individual without the gift counting against your lifetime exclusion.
Hannah went to a local hardware store to buy some small items. One would cost $2, two would run $4 … but buying 122 would only cost $6. She bought 122, yet she was not buying in bulk at all; she could carry what she bought with one hand. What did she purchase?
Last month’s riddle:
How can you turn the Roman numeral for 9 (IX) into 6 merely by drawing a single, continuous line?
Last month’s answer:
Draw an S to the left of the IX to get SIX.
THE MONTH IN BRIEF
Stocks pulled back in October: the S&P 500 had its poorest month since May, retreating 1.98%. The Q3 earnings season proved disappointing, just as many analysts had warned. Elsewhere, the unemployment rate fell and home values continued to rebound. Our service and manufacturing sectors seemed to be expanding again. Oil prices dropped along with gas prices. Finally, “superstorm” Sandy closed trading at the NYSE for two days and left flooding and destruction throughout the Tri-State Area.1
DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH
The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% in October, having dipped to 7.8% in September. That was because more Americans returned to the job hunt. Labor Department revisions showed the economy adding an average of 173,000 jobs per month in August, September and October; the October gain was 171,000; a better showing than the five-figure monthly payroll expansions seen earlier in the year.2
The nation’s two most-watched consumer polls showed confidence rising: the Conference Board’s October survey improved 3.8 to a mark of 72.2 (the highest since February 2008) and the University of Michigan’s final October survey rose to 82.6, a 61-month peak. Consumers were in a buying mood, and they weren’t just spending more of their incomes on gasoline. Households increased spending by 0.8% in October, with incomes rising 0.4% and the savings rate heading to an 11-month low of 3.3%. The Commerce Department also said that consumer spending had increased 2.0% in the third.3,4,5
America’s service and manufacturing sectors seemed to have gotten out of mid-year doldrums. The Institute for Supply Management’s October manufacturing PMI rose to 51.7, a 0.2% increase from September; its September service sector PMI showed a 1.4% increase to 55.1.6,7
Gas prices jumped 7% in September (after a 9% leap in August), so the Consumer Price Index advanced 0.6% in September. Still, the overall and core CPI only showed yearly increases of 2.0%, right at the Federal Reserve’s target. The Producer Price Index jumped 1.1% in September as energy prices climbed 4.7% for the month; core PPI remained flat, however. Annualized wholesale inflation hit 2.1% in September, the highest rate since March. Inflation did not hurt retail sales; they rose 1.1% in September, and they were up 0.9% even with gas, auto and home improvement purchases factored out.8,9,10
A “superstorm” named Sandy, a ferocious product of a tropical hurricane meeting a winter jet stream, forced a two-day closure of the stock market toward the end of the month. IHS Global Insight says Sandy may cause as much as an 0.6% drag on U.S. GDP in the fourth quarter; it estimates the storm did $20 billion in real estate damage and will result in $30 billion in lost business.11
GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH
In the eyes of many economists, Europe was the region poised to impede global growth in 2013. The latest available data showed the overall unemployment rate for the European Union rising for a 17th consecutive month in September, hitting 11.6%; in Spain and Greece, unemployment was above 25%. The eurozone’s manufacturing sector shrank for a 15th straight month in September, with its overall PMI dropping to 45.4; of 17 EU nations, only Ireland had a manufacturing PMI above 50 for the month.12,13
In contrast, activity in China’s manufacturing sector showed improvement. The PRC’s official PMI indicated sector growth again, moving to 50.2 last month from 49.8 in September. HSBC’s private-sector PMI for China rose to 49.5 in October – up considerably from the previous 47.9 reading to the highest mark recorded in eight months. China’s growth rate had been 7.4% in Q3 2012, the lowest GDP reading in three years – but estimates of 4Q GDP ranged from 7.8-8.4%. Manufacturing activity in Taiwan, India and South Korea also improved in October, with Taiwan’s PMI hitting a 4-month peak.14
Performances ran the gamut last month. Some indices fell: Argentina’s MERVAL (5.35%), Russia’s MICEX (2.39%), Korea’s KOSPI (4.22%), China’s Shanghai Composite (0.83%), Brazil’s Bovespa (3.56%), India’s BSE Sensex (1.37%) and Taiwan’s TWSE 50 (5.69%). Others posted minor or major gains for October: Australia’s All Ordinaries (2.93%), Canada’s TSX Composite (0.86%), France’s CAC 40 (2.22%), the U.K.’s FTSE 100 (0.71%), Mexico’s Bolsa (1.84%), Germany’s DAX (0.62%), Japan’s Nikkei 225 (0.66%), Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (3.85%) and Malaysia’s KLCE Index (2.22%). Among regional and multinational indices, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 rose 0.66% while the MSCI World Index and MSCI Emerging Markets Index respectively fell 0.76% and 0.95% in U.S. dollar terms.15,16
Gold ended October at $1,719.10, with prices falling 3.1%; it remained up 9.7% YTD. Silver slipped 6.5% in October, copper 6.4%, platinum 5.5% and palladium 4.8%. Natural gas gained 11.2%, but oil fell 6.5% and wrapped up last month at just $86.24 a barrel. Heating oil lost 3.1%, RBOB gasoline fell 9.9% on the month, and retail gasoline prices also descended 7.0%. Some key crops were also among the October losers: corn, -0.2%; cotton, -0.8%; wheat, -3.5%; coffee, -10.9%.17,18
Shrinking inventory, especially at the low end of the market, contributed to a 1.7% reduction in existing home sales in September; still, the National Association of Realtors did note an 11.0% year-over-year increase in sales levels, and a 0.3% September gain in pending home sales. The Census Bureau said new home buying increased 5.7% in September, while the Commerce Department reported a 15.0% jump in housing starts. September’s 20-city S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed an overall yearly gain of 2.0%, up from 1.2% in August.19,20
Comparing Freddie Mac’s October 4 and November 1 Primary Mortgage Market Surveys, we see small increases in mortgage rates. The average on the 30-year fixed rose from 3.36% to 3.39% in that period; the average rate on the 15-year FRM ticked up from 2.69% to 2.70%. Average rates on 5/1-year ARMs went from 2.72% to 2.74% and average rates on 1-year ARMs edged up to 2.58% from 2.57%.21
LOOKING BACK…LOOKING FORWARD
The S&P, NASDAQ and Dow all slipped in October and so did the Russell 2000, which fell 2.24% to a month-ending close of 818.73.22
||1 YR AGO
||5 YRS AGO
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|10 YR TIPS
Sources: money.cnn.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 10/31/121,23,24,25,26,27,28
Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.
These returns do not include dividends.
So much is up in the air as we enter November. Who will win the presidency, and what will happen with health care reforms, the debt ceiling and the Bush-era tax cuts? Will the present lame-duck Congress punt the issue of the fiscal cliff to the incoming one, arriving at a compromise for the short term? Or will the scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts be allowed to happen in full? Will Wall Street turn merely cautious in the face of all this, or bearish? There is still a surprising amount of bullish momentum, aided by recent employment, manufacturing, housing and retail data. This data stream was not quite positive enough to overcome the letdown leveled by the Q3 earnings season; indicators will need to show additional strength to ease Wall Street’s collective anxiety this month.
UPCOMING ECONOMIC RELEASES: The news feed for November continues with ISM’s October non-manufacturing index (11/5), September wholesale inventories and the University of Michigan’s initial consumer sentiment survey for the month (11/9), October’s PPI and retail sales, September business inventories and FOMC minutes from October 24 (11/14), the October CPI (11/15), October industrial output (11/16), October’s existing home sales and the November NAHB housing market index (11/19), October housing starts and building permits (11/20), the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment survey for the month and the Conference Board’s October Leading Economic Indicators index (11/21), October durable goods orders, the Conference Board’s October consumer confidence survey, the September Case-Shiller home price index and the November FHFA housing price index (11/27), October new home sales and a new Federal Reserve Beige Book (11/28), October pending home sales and the second estimate of Q3 GDP (11/29) and then October consumer spending (11/30).
This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is not a solicitation or recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. The US Dollar Index measures the performance of the U.S. dollar against a basket of six currencies. The MERVAL Index (MERcado de VALores, literally Stock Exchange) is the most important index of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange. The MICEX 10 Index is an unweighted price index that tracks 10 most liquid Russian stocks listed on MICEX-RTS in Moscow. The KOSPI Index is a capitalization-weighted index of all common shares on the Korean Stock Exchanges. The SSE Composite Index is an index of all stocks (A shares and B shares) that are traded at the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The Bovespa Index is a gross total return index weighted by traded volume & is comprised of the most liquid stocks traded on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange. BSE Sensex or Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitivity Index is a value-weighted index composed of 30 stocks that started January 1, 1986. The TWSE, or TAIEX, Index is capitalization-weighted index of all listed common shares traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Index represents the 500 largest companies in the Australian equities market. The S&P/TSX Composite Index is an index of the stock (equity) prices of the largest companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) as measured by market capitalization. The CAC-40 Index is a narrow-based, modified capitalization-weighted index of 40 companies listed on the Paris Bourse. The FTSE 100 Index is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalized companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Mexican Bolsa IPC index (Indice de Precios y Cotizaciones) is a capitalization-weighted index of the leading stocks traded on the Mexican Stock Exchange. The DAX 30 is a Blue Chip stock market index consisting of the 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Nikkei 225 (Ticker: ^N225) is a stock market index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). The Nikkei average is the most watched index of Asian stocks. The Hang Seng Index is a freefloat-adjusted market capitalization-weighted stock market index that is the main indicator of the overall market performance in Hong Kong. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index comprises of the largest 30 companies by full market capitalization on Bursa Malaysia’s Main Board. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 is an index of the 300 largest companies ranked by market capitalization in the FTSE Developed Europe Index. The MSCI World Index is a free-float weighted equity index that includes developed world markets, and does not include emerging markets. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index consisting of indices in more than 25 emerging economies. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.
1 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/ [10/31/12]
2 – www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-jobs-unemployment-20121102,0,642852.story 6 [11/2/12]
3 – articles.marketwatch.com/2012-11-01/economy/34847281_1_lynn-franco-director-of-economic-indicators-confidence-readings [11/1/12]
4 – www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-26/michigan-consumer-sentiment-index-increased-to-82-6-in-october.html [10/26/12]
5 – www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-29/consumer-spending-in-u-s-increases-0-8-as-incomes-climb-0-4-.html [10/29/12]
6 – www.ism.ws/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm [11/1/12]
7 – www.ism.ws/ISMReport/NonMfgROB.cfm [10/3/12]
8 – articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/17/business/la-fi-inflation-20121017 [10/17/12]
9 – www.nasdaq.com/article/us-producer-prices-rise-11-core-ppi-flat-20121012-00342#.UHh9YaCMLHp [10/12/12]
10 – www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/15/us-usa-economy-idUSBRE89E0RI20121015 [10/15/12]
11 – abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/10/business-winners-losers-from-sandy/ [11/2/12]
12 – www.guardian.co.uk/business/economics-blog/2012/oct/31/europe-leaders-unemployment-economic-disaster/print [10/31/12]
13 – www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/02/us-pmi-manufacturing-eurozone-idUSBRE8A10F520121102 [11/2/12]
14 – www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-31/china-oct-dot-manufacturing-pmi-50-dot-2-vs-50-dot-2-economists-estimate [10/31/12]
15 – markets.on.nytimes.com/research/markets/worldmarkets/worldmarkets.asp [10/31/12]
16 – mscibarra.com/products/indices/international_equity_indices/gimi/stdindex/performance.html [10/31/12]
17 – www.coinnews.net/2012/10/31/gold-silver-prices-dive-in-october-us-bullion-coins-firm/ [10/31/12]
18 – money.msn.com/market-news/post.aspx?post=144836a9-4549-4019-9bfb-6419b9dfe935 [10/31/12]
19 – www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/10/25/us-pending-home-sales-rise-03/ [10/25/12]
20 – briefing.com/investor/calendars/economic/2012/10/29-02 [11/2/12]
21 – www.freddiemac.com/pmms/ [11/2/12]
22 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/russell/ [10/31/12]
23 – montoyaregistry.com/Financial-Market.aspx?financial-market=an-introduction-to-the-stock-market&category=29 [10/31/12]
24 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/dow/ [10/31/12]
25 – money.cnn.com/data/markets/nasdaq/ [10/31/12]
26 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=10%2F31%2F11&x=0&y=0 [10/31/12]
26 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=10%2F31%2F11&x=0&y=0 [10/31/12]
26 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=10%2F31%2F11&x=0&y=0 [10/31/12]
26 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=10%2F31%2F02&x=0&y=0 [10/31/12]
26 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=10%2F31%2F02&x=0&y=0 [10/31/12]
26 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=10%2F31%2F02&x=0&y=0 [10/31/12]
27 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [10/31/12]
27 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [10/31/12]
28 – treasurydirect.gov/instit/annceresult/press/preanre/2002/ofm71002.pdf [7/10/02]