Free Market News for the Week of April 5, 2010

Presented by Mark Lund, The Investor Coach.

Quote of the week. “It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.”– Martin Van Buren

Job growth at last. Employers added 162,000 jobs in March, the biggest gain in three years. While some of the increase reflected temporary hires for the U.S. Census, private payrolls swelled by 123,000 last month. The jobless rate was 9.7% in March, exactly where it had been in January and February.1

Consumer spending up by 0.3%. February’s gain was in line with the forecast of economists. Wages were flat last month after a 0.1% increase in January.2

Is consumer confidence flat, or rising? Two polls tell two stories. The Conference Board’s March Consumer Confidence Index hit 52.5, up from 46.4 in February. In contrast, the March Reuters survey remained at 73.6, unchanged from February.3,4

Factory orders up 0.6%. The February number represented the tenth gain in the last 11 months. Excluding the defense category, the gain was 1.0%.5

Home prices inch higher. The January S&P/Case-Shiller home price index (of 20 major real estate markets) showed prices up 0.3% for January and down just 0.7% from 12 months earlier, the smallest year-over-year drop in nearly three years.3

Stocks have been red hot. At the close on April 1, the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ had respectively gained 5.83%, 6.66% and 7.34% in a 5-week period. Thursday, the DJIA finished at 10,927.07, its highest close since September 28, 2008. Wall Street trading paused for a day in observance of Good Friday.6

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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. A rooster sits atop a farmhouse. Its roof is unequally pitched. One half slopes down at an angle of 60º, and the other half at 70º. If the rooster lays an egg right on the peak of the roof, on which side is the egg more likely to fall?

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

Last week’s riddle: Two-and-a-half artists spend two-and-a-half hours painting two-and-a-half models on two-and-a-half canvases. How many artists would be necessary to paint 24 models on 24 canvases in 20 hours?

Last week’s riddle answer: This would only require three artists. 24 artists can paint 24 models in 2.5 hours. Since the time available has increased by eight (20 = 8 x 2.5), then you can reduce the number of artists by the same amount (3 = 24 / 8).

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These views are those of Peter Montoya Inc., and not the presenting Representative 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. 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.