Free Market News for the Week of March 15, 2010

Presented by Mark Lund, The Investor Coach.

Quote of the week. “Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them.”– Norman Vincent Peale

Good news at the cash register. Commerce Department data showed retail purchases up by 0.3% in February despite all the snow, sleet and rain, and 3.9% above where they were a year earlier. Most retail sales sectors had month-over-month increases.1

Signs of rising demand. Business sales increased by 0.6% in January (business inventories were flat). January 2010 business sales were 6.8% better than a year before. Other Commerce Department data shows wholesale sales jumping by 1.3% in January and wholesale stockpiles decreasing by 0.2%.2,3

Consumer confidence wavers. The preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey is in for March. The index reads 72.5, down from a final 73.6 in February. However, things have improved notably from March 2009 when the gauge stood at 57.3.4

Gold & oil retreat. Gold had its poorest week since mid-January as prices dipped 2.93% last week to settle at $1,101.50 Friday on the COMEX. Oil fared better, losing just 0.32% across five days. Oil futures were $81.24 a barrel at Friday’s NYMEX close.5

Nice gains on Wall Street. Stocks pulled off weekly gains during a stretch of five trading days with only mild volatility. The DJIA advanced 0.55% last week, while the S&P 500 rose 0.99% and the NASDAQ gained 1.78%. The S&P 500 closed Friday at a 17-month high: 1,149.98.6

% Change


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S&P 500





Real Yield


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5 Yrs Ago

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(Source:,,,, 3/12/10)6,7,8,9
Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be
invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends.

Riddle of the week. Three light switches are in the “off” position. Each connects to a light bulb in an adjoining room that you cannot see into. You can freely switch the light bulbs on and off, but you can only go into the adjoining room once to check on the state of the bulbs. Is it possible to tell which switch controls which bulb?

Contact my office or see next week’s Update for the answer.

Last week’s riddle: What should the last entry be in the following sequence of numbers … 9|18, 8|46, 7|94, 6|63, 5|52, 4|__?

Last week’s riddle answer: Each sequence represents the square root of a number with digits reversed (9 is the square root of 81, 8 is the square root of 64, and so on). So the missing number is 61 (4 is the square root of 16).

1 [3/12/10]
2 [3/12/10]
3 [3/10/10]
4 [3/12/10]
5 [3/12/10]
6 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
7 [3/12/10]
8 [3/12/10]
8 [3/12/10]
9 [1/12/00]

These views are those of Peter Montoya Inc., and not the presenting Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice. 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. 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. The 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 other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards.