Schedule for Online Training Sessions:

There are still openings for our upcoming training sessions for accessing your account information online and review of all the data that is available to you regarding your account.  We encourage you to bring your laptop, iPad, or any device that you will use to access your account information.  These sessions will provide you with a complete overview of the online information and also ample time for questions.  Call now to reserve your spot as seating is limited.  The available dates and times are:

  • Thursday, April 4th: 10:00AM
  • Tuesday, April 9th: 3:00PM
  • Wednesday, April 10th: 4:00PM
  • Friday, April 12th: 10:00AM

Quarterly Review Meetings:

We will continue to offer all of you an individual meeting this quarter, either in person, or by phone.  If you have not yet scheduled your personal review time, and desire to do so, please call now to reserve a day and time that best fits your schedule. This will allow us to discuss your personal situation, risk level, and portfolio.  Your first quarter performance reports will be posted online as usual sometime during the third week of April for your viewing.


The Markets:

Dow, S&P 500 embrace new highs

An agreement between Cyprus and its European lenders that will keep the Cypriot banking system afloat is creating to a new round of tension in Europe. But it did not dampen the upbeat sentiment at home, and the Dow finished the month at another record high, helping the first quarter register its best performance since 1998 (CNNMoney).  The Dow closed out March at 14,578.54.  The S&P 500 Index, which had been flirting with its previous milestone earlier in March, ended the quarter at 1,569.19, or about 4 points above its October, 2007 record closing high (St. Louis Fed).


Since last year we had been expecting the major stock indices to at least touch or exceed the old highs reached in 2007 sometime this year, and that has now occurred.  We continue to remain cautious at this time, and have reduced our net exposure to stocks/equities for all risk levels over the past quarter, and will be watching for weakness in the overall stock markets in order to possibly take advantage of any “correction” that may occur in the near term.  We don’t expect a major stock market drop at this point (in excess of 10%+), but do still see that possibility looking ahead into 2014-2015 as we have stated in previous updates.  Our portfolios produced good returns overall during the first quarter based on risk levels, but did not meet the returns of our target indices for the first three months of this year based on specific risk due to the flat to underperformance of the “alternative” asset category during the quarter.  This included our precious metals and commodity holdings.  Specifically, precious metals underperformed for the first three months of the year, but we still expect these assets to do quite well in the coming 12-18 months relative to the stock market in general.


The Fed – Many have credited the Fed’s pedal-to-the metal monetary policy for the strong returns in the equity markets. Ben Bernanke’s Fed has been buying $85 billion in mortgage-backed and Treasury bonds each month in order to keep longer-term interest rates low and encourage consumers and businesses to borrow and spend.  Further, the Fed has promised to keep the fed funds rate at near zero until the unemployment rate falls to at least 6.5%; it was 7.7% in February. There are also some soft inflation targets, but Bernanke emphasized at his March press conference that the job and inflation targets are not triggers for a rate hike but are thresholds.


Looking Ahead:

Clouds gather in Europe

Elsewhere, with few alternatives, Cypriot officials agreed to onerous terms that will keep its banking system from collapsing. Insured deposits, or accounts with less than €100,000 (about $128,000), will remain intact, but those above the limit could shrink anywhere between 40-80% (Wall Street Journal). This would be the equivalent of bank accounts in the U.S. that exceed the $250,000 FDIC limit being exposed to possible reduction.  The partial “bail-in” may give weary taxpayers in Europe a modest break, but it is generating new anxieties. There is a growing perception that weak banks in troubled nations such as Spain and Italy might one day be faced with a similar choice, potentially creating an atmosphere that could foster a climate that would be conducive to destabilizing bank runs.  Also, this sets a dangerous precedent for others parts of the world as well.

The Cyprus crisis is a stark reminder that euro-zone financial troubles, which had subsided, have not been extinguished.  A political crisis in Italy could create the first real test for European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, since Italy’s bond market is the third largest in the world behind the U.S. and Japan.  Short term, Europe needs a plan to re-capitalize weaker banks and an orderly process to close insolvent ones. But there is still a key piece that’s missing from an increasingly complex puzzle – renewed economic growth on the continent.  We will keep an eye on developments as they occur.

God Bless,

Your TEAM at F.I.G. Financial Advisory Services, Inc.


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.

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.

All items discussed in this report are for informational purposes only, are not advice of any kind, and are not intended as a solicitation to buy, hold, or sell any securities. Nothing contained herein constitutes tax, legal, insurance, or investment advice.

Stocks and bonds and commodities are not FDIC insured and can fall in value, and any investment information, securities and commodities mentioned in this report may not be suitable for everyone.

U.S. Treasury bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and guaranteed principal value. U.S. government bonds are issued and guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by the federal government. Treasury bills are certificates reflecting short-term (less than one year) obligations of the U.S. government.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Different investments involve different degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any investment, security, commodity or investment strategy that is referenced will be profitable or be suitable for your portfolio.
The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation.

Before making any investments or making any type of investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor and determine how a security may fit into your investment portfolio, how a decision may affect your financial position and how it may impact your financial goals.

All opinions are subject to change without notice in response to changing market and/or economic conditions.