3/3 Weekly Update

WEEKLY QUOTE “One man practicing sportsmanship is better than a hundred teaching it.” - Knute Rockne

WEEKLY TIP Consider scheduling automated bill payments and account transfers. It could remove some “busy work” from your financial life.

WEEKLY RIDDLE I have rosy cheeks, I am round and cute – yet debate persists over whether I am vegetable or fruit. What might I be? (SHARE your answer below for a chance to win - see video for details)

Last week’s riddle: I’m comprised of solid ground, and yet I see water all around. What exactly am I?

Last week’s answer: An island.

MIXED RESULTS FROM CONSUMER INDICES Wet, cold weather didn’t dampen the consumer outlook in February – at least according to the month’s final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which came in at 81.6. The index finished January at 81.2. On the other hand, February’s Conference Board consumer confidence index slipped 1.3 points to 78.1 (January’s reading was revised down to 79.4).(1,2)

PACE OF NEW HOME SALES PICKS UP Wall Street and Main Street cheered the Census Bureau’s announcement of a 9.6% jump in new home buying in January – the rate of new home sales was the best in any month since July 2008. The National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index rose 0.1% in January, a nice change from the 9% fall it took in the past year. December’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 13.4% yearly gain in home values, down from a 13.7% improvement in the November edition.(2,3)

Q4 GDP REVISED SIGNIFICANTLY DOWNWARD Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis lowered its fourth-quarter growth estimate from 3.2% to 2.4%. This did not shock economists – in a MarketWatch poll, the consensus was for a 2.4% reading. Lagging economic indicators released in February were worse than anticipated. In news pertaining to Q1 GDP, January saw a 1.0% drop in overall durable goods orders.(2)

STOCKS END FEBRUARY AT NEW RECORD HIGH On February 28, the S&P 500 settled at a new record close of 1,859.45 and a gain of 1.26% on the week, even with growing concerns about Russian military action in Ukraine.  The Dow stood at 16,321.71 after a 1.36% weekly advance; the NASDAQ ended the week at 4,308.12 with a 5-day gain of 1.05%.(4,5,6)

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THIS WEEK: Monday, the January consumer spending report arrives from the Commerce Department, along with ISM’s February manufacturing PMI, data on February auto sales, and earnings from Acura and Icahn Enterprises. Tuesday, quarterly results are out from AutoZone, Smith & Wesson and Radio Shack. ISM’s February service sector PMI comes out Wednesday, plus a new Federal Reserve Beige Book, the latest ADP employment change report and earnings from Revlon, BigLots! and PetSmart. Thursday brings the new Challenger job-cut report, new initial claims data, a report on January factory orders and earnings from Kroger, H&R Block, Pandora, Costco and Chesapeake Utilities; a European Central Bank policy meeting also occurs. The Labor Department’s February employment report will be released Friday.    

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Citations.

1 - reuters.com/article/2014/02/28/us-usa-economy-sentiment-idUSBREA1R12S20140228 [2/28/14]

2 - marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic [2/28/14]

3 - dailyfinance.com/2014/02/28/contracts-buy-homes-barely-budge-january/ [2/28/14]

4 - money.cnn.com/data/markets/dow/ [2/28/14]

5 - money.cnn.com/data/markets/nasdaq/ [2/28/14]

6 - money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/ [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=2%2F28%2F12&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=2%2F28%2F12&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=2%2F28%2F13&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=2%2F27%2F09&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=2%2F27%2F09&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=2%2F27%2F09&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=2%2F27%2F04&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=2%2F27%2F04&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]

7 - bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=2%2F27%2F04&x=0&y=0 [2/28/14]   

8 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [2/28/14]

9 - treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [2/28/14]

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