Economic Update for August 13, 2012

In April, the national average price for a gallon of gas peaked at $3.94. Few analysts think prices will return to that level, though the U.S. average hit $3.67 Friday – an increase of $0.34 since July 1, translating to about $33 more a month for the typical U.S. household. (Consumer demand for gas has dipped 3.5% since the start of July.) The massive refinery fire near Oakland is but one factor – fears over a potential blockade of the Strait of Hormuz by Iran, slipping output from the North Sea and South Sudan and anxiety over the violence in Syria have also had an effect.1,2

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed new rules to help borrowers last week – rules intended to crack down on robosigning, force-place insurance and inadequate consumer disclosures among mortgage service’s. These regulations could be put into place (and modified) after a comment period.

Friday, the S&P 500 notched a 6-day winning streak. On the week, it gained 1.07% to 1,405.87. The Dow (+0.85% to 13,207.95) and NASDAQ (+1.78% to 3,020.86) each logged their fifth straight weekly gain. Some of this was fueled by hopes that the European Central Bank would make moves to reduce borrowing costs for Italy and Spain. The Russell 2000 rose 1.66% last week to settle at 801.53 Friday, while the CBOE VIX lost 5.31% in five days to close the week at just 14.81.5,6

THIS WEEK: Monday, Groupon and Sysco report earnings. The Census Bureau issues July retail sales figures Tuesday, and the July Producer Price Index also appears; Home Depot, Saks and TJX announce Q2 results. Wednesday, the July CPI comes out along with data on July industrial output; earnings are in from Target, Cisco, Abercrombie & Fitch, Deere and Staples. Thursday offers earnings from Sears, Gap, Wal-Mart, Aeropostale and Dollar Tree, new weekly jobless claims figures and data on July housing starts and building permits. On Friday, the Conference Board releases its July index of leading indicators, the University of Michigan’s initial August consumer sentiment survey appears, and Foot Locker, J.M. Smuckers and Ann offer earnings reports.

DJIA +8.11 +23.21 -0.05 +5.10
NASDAQ +15.96 +26.87 +3.74 +13.13
S&P 500 +11.79 +25.44 -0.66 +5.48
10 YR TIPS -0.60% -0.13% 2.56% 3.10%

Sources:,,, – 8/10/126,7,8,9 Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. These returns do not include dividends.

“Once you really commence to see things, then you really commence to feel things.”
– Edward Steichen

Most people save too little for retirement. Consider bumping your retirement plan contribution up to 10%-15% of your pay if you can.

A common English word refers to a person or thing not being in a place. But just by inserting a space within it, you can get two words meaning that a person or thing is present. What is this word?

Last week’s riddle:
A friend wants change for a dollar. All you have in your pocket is change, and it amounts to over a dollar, but you still can’t make the change correctly. What is the largest amount of money you could have in this situation? What coins do you have that prevent you from making correct change?

Last week’s answer:
$1.19 – four pennies, four dimes, and three quarters.

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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 Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc. an independent fee only registered investment advisors firm. Salt Lake City, Provo, Utah. Mark Lund is the author of The Effective Investor.