The Markets

Like guests feeling the first rain drops at a Memorial Day barbecue, markets responded uncertainly to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke’s congressional testimony and the newly released Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes last week.

Generally, both Bernanke’s comments and the FOMC minutes reiterated what the Fed has been saying for some time. According to FOMC minutes, quantitative easing – the Fed’s purchase of $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion of longer-term Treasury securities each month – will continue “until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability.” The minutes also suggested the Fed’s other method for stimulating the economy – low interest rates – “will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens.”

Initially, stock market investors responded positively to these messages. On Wednesday morning, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Indices gained more than 1 percent. By afternoon, the indices had lost more than 1 percent each. By week’s end, the indices had experienced their first weekly losses since late April.

Uncertainty about the future of quantitative easing affected bond and gold markets, as well. By Friday, the yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note had risen above 2 percent, reaching its highest level in two months. Gold prices firmed during the week.

Fed policymakers will meet twice before Labor Day – in mid-June and late-July. The minutes of those meetings will be released three weeks after each meeting. If markets respond as they did last week, investors may experience a bumpy ride this summer.

Data as of 5/24/13

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

-1.1%

15.7%

25.0%

15.4%

3.6%

5.7%

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

2.0

N/A

1.8

3.2

3.8

3.4

Gold (per ounce)

1.6

-18.0

-11.4

5.4

8.9

14.1

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

0.2

-5.1

-0.3

2.1

-9.5

1.1

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

-3.6

14.0

24.8

20.8

7.0

11.9

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

 

Best regards,

Jonathan K. DeYoe

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added.  This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance.  Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. The DJ Global ex US is an unmanaged group of non-U.S. securities designed to reflect the performance of the global equity securities that have readily available prices.  The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. You cannot invest directly in an index. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/05/week-american-monetary-policy

http://news.yahoo.com/column-many-interpretations-ben-bernanke-164318124.html

http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20130501a.htm

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/27/usa-stocks-weekahead-idUSL2N0E80JW20130527

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/24/3415072/how-the-dow-jones-industrial-average.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/27/markets-precious-idUSL3N0E809S20130527

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/26/us-usa-fed-summer-idUSBRE94P07T20130526

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/05/daily-chart-14

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2013/05/apples-tax-arrangements

http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/budget/collecting-ecommerce-taxes-an-interactive-map.aspx

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidmarotta/2013/05/12/marketplace-fairness-act-adds-automation-to-tax-confusion/

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/senate-passes-marketplace-fairness-act-208385131.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_carlyle.html

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