Highlights of this Update:
- Deadline for filing personal income tax returns or for an extension is Monday, April 18th this year.
- It’s time for your personal financial planning review! Call to schedule yours today!
- The major U.S. stock indices continued to rally the first two weeks of April.
- Our indicators turn positive looking ahead for the next few months.
- The economy continues its slow growth pattern.
READ ON FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS………………………………………
Tax Day is Upon Us:
This year the deadline to file 2015 personal income tax returns or to file for an extension is Monday, April 18th. Every year Washington, D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16, but since the 16th was on a Saturday this year, it was observed on Friday, April 15th. This pushed the filing date to April 18th this year. All IRA contributions for 2015 must be made or postmarked by the 18th to receive credit for a 2015 contribution.
Personal Financial Planning Review:
If you have not yet done so, call today to schedule your personal financial planning and investment portfolio review. We can set up your private review in person or by phone. Don’t let this quarter pass you by without taking time to review your personal financial plan and also utilize the valuable MyWealth system that is available to you now.
After rallying off the February lows in March, the major U.S. stock indices continued higher the first two weeks of April as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 1.2% so far in April as of Friday, April 15th, closing at 17,897.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index gained 1% the first two trading weeks of this month, rising to 2080.73. Both are now in positive territory as of Friday’s market close. (Google Finance)
Interest rates have remained low, with the yield for the 10 year U.S. Treasury now at 1.76%. The average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage ended Friday at 3.62% while the 15 year rate ended last week at 2.74%. (Bankrate.com) The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil stood at $40.40 on April 15th. (CNBC)
Our various indicators are now positive overall, and we have re-balanced portfolios for all risk levels accordingly. We were able to add some equity/stock exposure through the use of both asset allocation and equity funds. We would expect to continue to experience volatility in the markets based on short term events, but overall, look for more positive results in the coming months. We will continue to monitor and make adjustments as warranted.
So far, it’s been far from an exciting economic expansion. For starters, March’s all-important ISM Manufacturing Index was lackluster, but the ISM Services Index might be classified as good.
The lowest reading in weekly jobless claims since 1973 (Dept of Labor) and the longest streak of weekly claims below 300,000 since the early 1970s (St. Louis Federal Reserve) has been very encouraging, but monthly nonfarm payrolls slightly above 200,000 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) have been average to good. Nonetheless, both are encouraging. The labor market recovery is also starting to broaden across various wage ranges. See chart below:
All the talk about cheap gasoline prices fueling spending just isn’t happening yet. The chart below highlights sales at gas station. It’s no surprise they are lower because gas prices have fallen since late 2014.
You’ll note the drop in expenditures over the first three months of this year versus 2015. Moreover, consumers spent $105 billion less in 2015 than in 2014 (U.S. Commerce Dept). That should be plenty of extra cash to fuel spending.
Many analysts are suggesting cautious consumers are saving their mini windfalls or paying down debt.
Bottom line, the economy really is expanding, slowly but surely.
We appreciate the privilege to serve each and every one of you and look forward to working together in the years to come.
Your TEAM at F.I.G. Financial Advisory Services, Inc.
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1 The Dow Jones Industrials Average is an unmanaged index of 30 major companies which cannot be invested into directly. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
3 The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 larger companies which cannot be invested into directly. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
5 New York Mercantile Exchange front-month contract; Prices can and do vary; past performance does not guarantee future results.