Jan

13

Could 2014 Be a Great Year?

More improvement may be in store for the economy & the stock market.

Will the economy & the bull market make further strides this year? On both Wall Street and Main Street, 2013 turned out better than many analysts expected. Will the recovery gain additional momentum in 2014, and will stocks climb even higher?

Optimism is widespread. Do you remember how gloomy things got at the end of 2012? Fears about imminent economic damage from the fiscal cliff and sequester cuts were pervasive, and bears sensed that stocks might retreat. The economy and the market withstood these anxieties and others. Look at last week for another example. Hours after the Federal Reserve announced it would scale back its asset purchases next year, the Dow closed at a fresh all-time high of 16,167.97. December 18 was the index’s best day in more than two months.1

Weren’t investors supposed to be disappointed when the taper occurred? Let’s just say the timing was right. In August, just the hint of an oncoming taper resulted in a 5.6% dip for the Dow. Months ago, some investors were still questioning the strength of the recovery. Today, there is less to question. As Wells Capital Management chief investment strategist James Paulsen commented in USA TODAY, the Fed’s move amounted to a “vote of confidence in the future,” mirroring the confidence on Wall Street.1

The taper to QE3 was relatively small ($10 billion) and came with a pledge to hold interest rates down “well past the time” unemployment declines to 6.5%. So the Fed likely intends to maintain its accommodative stance for some time, which is just fine by investors. (In fact, the Wall Street Journal says that only two of ten Fed officials believe the central bank will raise interest rates next year.) The Fed’s monetary policy has been instrumental to the stock market’s record-setting performance, and it isn’t going away – which is good news for 2014.1,2

Easing isn’t the only thing powering this bull market. The unemployment rate fell to 7.0% in November, a 5-year low. It was 7.9% in January. The economy is projected to generate 2,269,500 new jobs in 2013, and assuming it does, this will be the fourth straight year with a gain in annual job creation. The Fed sees GDP improving more than half a percentage point to 2.8-3.2% in 2014 and growth of 3.0-3.4% for 2015. Housing starts have doubled in the past four years and rose 22.7% in November to a 5½-year peak. The most recently released Case-Shiller Home Price Index (September) showed a 13.3% overall annual gain in home values, and even though year-over-year existing home sales declined in November for the first time in 29 months, the National Association of Realtors said existing home prices had improved 9.4% in a year.2,3,4,5,6,7

The global outlook may also improve. Economists at China’s National Academy of Economic Strategy feel that the PRC will maintain GDP of about 7.5% this year and see as much as 7.8% growth in 2014. Citing Eurostat and Bloomberg research, Money reports that the eurozone economy is projected to grow about 1.4% per year for the next 3-5 years, notably better than the annual 0.2% pace of expansion recorded so far in this decade.4,8

No one is saying there won’t be challenges or surprises this year, and stock market gains in 2014 may not approach those we have seen in 2013. That said, many indicators are signaling that this year could hold considerable promise for both Wall Street and Main Street.

 

Citations.
1 – usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2013/12/18/five-reasons-why-stocks-rose-despite-taper/4114075/ [12/18/13]
2 – blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/12/18/fed-projections-see-no-rate-increase-until-2015/ [12/18/13]
3 – ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/national-employment-monthly-update.aspx [12/19/13]
4 – money.cnn.com/2013/12/09/news/economy/economic-outlook-2014.moneymag/index.html [12/10/13]
5 – reuters.com/article/2013/12/18/idUSLNSINE9BF20131218 [12/18/13]
6 – bostonglobe.com/business/2013/12/01/five-financial-trends-thankful-for/3FyGVa4OpIZNKlNSzHwIbO/story.html [12/1/13]
7 – mortgagenewsdaily.com/12192013_existing_home_sales.asp [12/19/13]
8 – usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2013-12/10/content_17162933.htm [12/10/13]

This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., for Mark Lund, The 401k Advisor, Investor Coach and author of The Effective Investor. Mark offers investment advisory services through Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc. an independent, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisor firm providing 401k consulting for small businesses and private investment advisory services for select individuals. Stonecreek is located in Salt Lake City and Provo Utah.

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About the Author ()

Mark K. Lund is the firm's founder, CEO and author of The Effective Investor, a #1 Best Seller. He has written articles for or been quoted in: The Wall Street Journal, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Enterprise Newspaper, The Utah Business Connect Magazine, US News & World Report, and Newsmax.com, just to name a few.  Mark publishes two newsletters called, “The Mark Lund Growth Report” and “Mark Lund on Money.”  Mark provides CPE (continuing professional education) courses for CPAs.  You may also have seen him on KUTV Channel 2, or as a guest speaker at a local association or business. Mark provides investment and retirement planning services for individuals and 401(k) consulting for small businesses. In his book, The Effective Investor, Mark exposes the false narrative magazines, media, big Wall Street firms, and most advisors want you to believe. The good news is that Mark will show you that you don’t need their speculative ways of investing in order to be successful. Get a free copy when you schedule your initial consultation.

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