February 19, 2013

The Markets:

The U.S. financial markets were closed today for the President’s Day holiday, and last week’s trading was quiet as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average didn’t stray far from 14,000, as it ended the period down just 11.21 points to 13,981.76, or a loss of 0.1% (MarketWatch). Meanwhile, daily changes in the S&P 500 Index could be counted on one or two fingers during the entire week.

It goes without saying that we’re half way through the first quarter, and early indicators suggest conditions are stabilizing in Japan (Bank of Japan), while the decline in Europe seems to be slowing (MarketWatch.com)

In the U.S., retail sales in January rose 0.1%, in line with the Bloomberg forecast. Excluding autos, sales were up 0.2%, also matching expectations.  The first broad look at how the payroll tax hike is affecting spending suggests consumers are taking the increase in stride, but it’s still early. Let’s see how February and March impact outlays since it may take a couple of months before the full effect is felt.  Longer term, retail sales have been growing at a relatively modest pace since early 2012. We’re not seeing any major acceleration nor are we seeing a marked deceleration. It’s growth, but unimpressive growth.


Gold has been in retreat recently.  The obvious question – why has gold slipped?  Well, there are a number of factors that may have dampened recent interest. These include:

  • Calmer credit markets – gold is a safe-haven asset and a lack of volatility may be diminishing interest in the metal.
  • Expectations of an improving global economy, mostly in the U.S. and China, which lessens credit market concerns and interest in a safe-haven asset. Stronger economic growth may also increase the attractiveness of productive assets as an investment versus gold.
  • A lack of any meaningful inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Gold is typically viewed as a hedge against inflation.
  • Upbeat performance in U.S. stocks may be diminishing the appeal of gold.

Our outlook basically remains the same:  We view the recent decline as temporary and still feel commodity prices overall, including gold, could very well outperform stocks in general over the next 12-18 months. We took advantage of the recent weakness in gold prices to add to our positions in gold based assets for various risk levels last week.  We will keep you posted.


God Bless,

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




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1099’s Available: 1099’s are now available online! Please access your account now to view them online for your Trust Company of America account(s).  “Hard” copies were also mailed out for all taxable accounts last Friday from the Trust Company of America.  REMEMBER:  Most of you will received two 1099’s for 2012:  One from NFS and one from Trust Company of America.

Watch Your Mail and Save the Date!

We have set the date and venue for our 2013 Client Appreciation Event.  We will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year as an independent investment advisory firm.  We have mailed all of you a “Save the Date” card with the details.   Be sure to watch for this special mailing coming to you soon!