March 28, 2011 Weekly Market Commentary

The Commerce Department’s final estimate of 4Q 2010 GDP is +3.1%, an improvement from the previous estimate of +2.8%. The revision reflects increased consumer spending, exports and business investment during the quarter – and with this alteration, the Bureau of Economic Analysis now puts U.S. GDP at +2.9% for 2010. Compare that to the -2.6% economic output of 2009.1

By the looks of February’s home sales figures, recovery may not begin for a while. New home sales slipped 16.9% last month according to the Census Bureau, and were 28.0% under year-ago levels. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales fell by 9.6% last month; the median sales price for a single-family home was $157,000 (-5.2% from a year ago) with distressed homes making up 39% of the market (up 4% from a year ago). While monthly home sales figures are often later readjusted and have a sizable margin of error, the numbers are still troubling; for example, existing home sales were up for each of the preceding three months.2,3

High gas prices and the unresolved nuclear power plant crisis in Japan likely impacted the University of Michigan’s final March consumer sentiment survey. The final March number was 67.5, the poorest reading the index has registered since November 2009.4

Durable goods orders confounded the forecasts of economists, diminishing last month by 0.9%. Minus transportation orders, the decline was 0.6%.5

While the three major Wall Street indexes are still negative for March, they all posted gains last week: DJIA, +3.05% to 12,220.59; S&P 500, +2.70% to 1,313.80; NASDAQ, +3.76% to 2,743.06. The Russell 2000 was up 3.67% last week and the “fear index”, the CBOE VIX, fell 26.72%.6

THIS WEEK: February consumer spending and January pending home sales reports arrive Monday. The Conference Board’s March consumer confidence index and the January Case-Shiller home price index come out Tuesday, plus earnings from Lennar. Thursday, we have initial and continuing claims and a report on February factory orders. Both the March unemployment report and the March ISM manufacturing report will be released on Friday.

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.”
– Thomas Edison

Do you save a regular amount per month? Those who do find they have money for an emergency fund or other objectives. As you look at your monthly budget, determine the amount you can save each month and pay yourself first. Increasing your employer retirement plan contributions, takes the money out of your hands before you get it.

Best Regards,

Kevin Kroskey

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This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal 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. 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.

Future Posts at

Any future blog posts will be done at . Thank you, Kevin Kroskey, CFP, MBA