Highlights of this Week’s Update:

  1. Call today to schedule your personal review and personal planning update under our new MyWealth system.
  2. Stocks end short trading week little changed.
  3. Interest rates fall, and so do mortgage rates. Be sure to shop around for rates/costs before refinancing.
  4. Jobs number below expectations; various reasons behind the numbers.



Review/MyWealth Planning System:

Be sure to call us today to schedule your personal review and planning session under our new “MyWealth” personal financial management and planning system.  If you have not yet scheduled your review time this quarter, either in person or by phone, be sure to do so today.  This is especially important if you have not set up your own planning under this new interactive service now available.  It is a great tool for you to personally track and monitor your overall finances, as well as assist us in working with you  to help achieve your long term planning goals.  Call today!

The Markets:

The major U.S. stock indices ended little changed in a shortened trading week.  The U.S. stock markets were closed on Friday in observance of Good Friday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week up .29%, but the index is still down .34% so far in 2015.  The Standard & Poor’s 500 inched up .29% as well, keeping it positive by just .39% for the year.  (MarketWatch)

Interest rates fell once again, with the yield for the 10 year U.S. Treasury dropping to 1.85% compared with 2.17% at the end of 2014. (U.S. Treasury)  Mortgage rates also eased, with the range for a 30 year fixed mortgage dropping to 3.625-3.875%, and the 15 year fixed rates from 2.75%-3.25%.  (Bankrate.com, SNB Bank)  It does pay to shop around when looking to refinance or secure a new mortgage.  Let us know if we can assist in evaluating your current situation as to whether refinancing now makes sense or not.  We are here to help.

The Economy:

We’ve experienced plenty of data that suggests last year’s stronger economic growth has given way to a slower pace. It’s common in every economic cycle since activity is never constant. Everything from manufacturing (Federal Reserve) to consumer spending (U.S. Commerce Dept.) simply isn’t humming along at the clip we saw a few months ago.

As last week came to a close, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported nonfarm payrolls rose 126,000 in March, snapping a 12-month streak of 200,000+ readings. Moreover, we saw fairly significant downward revisions to February (295,000 to 264,000) and January (239,000 to 201,000). The unemployment rate held steady at 5.5%.  Again, this figure does not include those that are unemployed but have simply given up looking for a job, or the “underemployed” working part-time or in a position paying less than their qualifications might suggest.


There are a couple of trends worth pointing out in Figure 1. We’re seeing a downturn in the 3-month moving average, highlighting the recent slowdown. But if we go back to 2012, you’ll also notice the gradual acceleration in monthly employment growth – subsequent peaks and valleys tend to be higher.

Potential reasons for the recent economic slowdown include the rough winter in parts of the country, the strong dollar, and cutbacks in spending by energy producers.  However, this winter has not been as difficult as last winter, and that doesn’t explain some of the economic moderation near the end of last year. The strong dollar may be nibbling away at exports, as Fed Chief Janet Yellen recently acknowledged.

There have been sharp cutbacks in the energy sector and related industries as well. That’s probably affecting manufacturing, as spending in energy and related industries is the largest category of business spending per the government’s annual survey of capital expenditures.  Finally, the economic evidence strongly suggests savings at the gas pump haven’t been spent in other places. For example, the savings rate has risen from 4.4% in November to 5.8% in February (Bureau of Economic Analysis).

We hope you all have a great week, and please don’t ever hesitate to call if you have any questions, or if we can be of further service in any way.  We appreciate the privilege to be of service.

God Bless,

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.