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From the Desk of Bob Centrella, CFA: 7/18/2011
Hope you all enjoyed the sunshine over the weekend as here in NJ it was a great one to be outside. I spent part of the
weekend building a storage shed. I've got all the walls up but now need to add the ceiling after changing my plans and
raising the ceiling to 8 feet. (See where I am going with this yet? I'm trying to come up with a clever analogy to get me
over to this weeks' big issue of the US government raising the debt ceiling.) So after reworking my plans and making
some compromises, I've come up with a new plan that will allow the larger shed to hold more stuff. Basically, this is what
our government is trying to go through, allowing it to store more stuff -- stuff being debt. However, both political parties are
having a tough time compromising and it is becoming the latest thorn in the side of the financial markets. So we should
follow the headlines this week as we head to the August 2nd deadline and hope that calmer heads prevail and a deal is
Following is this week's complimentary market update. Below are some highlights of the past week:
The trade deficit in goods and services expanded by $6.6 billion to $50.2 billion in May. The consensus expected a trade
deficit of $44.1 billion. Exports declined $1.0 billion in May, led by petroleum. Imports increased $5.6 billion, led by oil
and computers. The rise in oil imports was due to both higher volume and prices.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) fell 0.4% in June, a larger decline than the consensus expected (-0.2%). Producer prices are
up 7.0% versus a year ago. The June drop in the PPI was all due to energy, which fell 2.8%. Food prices rose 0.6%. The
"core" PPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.3%, a larger increase than the consensus expected (+0.2%).
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.2% in June versus a consensus expected decline of 0.1%. The CPI is up 3.6% versus a
year ago. The fall in the CPI was all due to a 4.4% drop in energy prices. Food prices were up 0.2%. Excluding food and
energy, the "core" CPI increased 0.3% versus a consensus expected gain of 0.2%. Core prices are up 1.6% versus last year.
Although core prices are still up only 1.6% in the past year, they increased 0.3% in June following another 0.3% increase in
May. In the past two months 'core" prices are up at a 3.3% annual rate, the fastest two-month pace since 2006.
Industrial production increased 0.2% in June, coming in slightly below the consensus expected gain of 0.3%. Industrial
production grew modestly in June but is going to surge sharply in July as automakers start to recover from the supply-chain
disruptions coming from Japan. Overall capacity utilization was unchanged at 76.7% in June. Manufacturing capacity use
was unchanged at 74.4%.
US stocks fell across the board pulling back over 2% as investors worried about the debt crisis on both sides of the Atlantic.
Investors sold into strength during the week as the market could not hold early gains.
Investors will await the true beginning of earnings season this week. Outlooks provided by companies could set the tone for
the rest of the month. Consensus expectations call for S&P earnings to grow 11.8% on average from last year.
Foreign equity markets were also red just about everywhere. Euro stocks declined between 3% and 4% while Asian markets
dropped. The lone exception was China where the Shanghai composite rose .8%.
Treasury prices rose amid all the turmoil with the 10-year US Treasury yield falling back under 3% to 2.91%. Over the past
2 weeks the 10-yr yield has moved down 30 basis points. On the short end, the 2-year note yielded .36%, down .03%.
Bernanke reiterated that the Fed is ready to provide further stimulus to the economy if growth and inflation slow much more
but also said that time has not yet come.
Two major ratings agencies put the US on notice that AAA could be in jeopardy if Congress fails to raise the debt limit by
the Aug 2 deadline.
Italian bond yield soared to over 6% early in the week only to pull back after Italian politicians backed austerity measures.
Commodities & Currencies
Crude oil increased $1.04 to $97.24 per barrel.
Gold prices gained $48.6 or 3.15% on the flight to safety to close at a record high.
The US Dollar declined slightly against the Euro and gained against the Yen.
Weekly Index Performance:
DJIA: 12479.73 (-177.47, -1.4%)
S&P 500: 1316.14 (-27.67, -2.06%)
S&P MidCap: 976.11 (-28.87, -2.87%)
S&P Small Cap: 445.89 (-11.99, -2.62%)
NASDAQ Comp: 2789.8 (-70.01, -2.45%)
Russell 2000: 828.78 (23.79, -2.79%)
DJ Global (ex-US) 221.98 ( -2.31%)
Strong Sectors: Oil & Gas, Utilities, Basic Materials
Weak Sectors: Financials, Industrials, Telecom
NYSE Advance/Decline: 774 / 2,403
NYSE New Highs/New Lows: 166 / 91
AAII Bulls/Bears: 39.3% (-2.5) / 29.25% (+4.6)
Have a great week.
Bob Centrella, CFA
Forza Investment Advisory, LLC
Registered Investment Advisor
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