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Weekly Stock Market Update

Stock Market Update – Week of 7/28/2014

Market Overview

20140729 - Stock Market Update Chart

Sources: Rates Data —Bloomberg Markets as of 7/28/14; Equity Market Returns and Fixed Income and Alternatives Data—Wells Fargo Advisers as of 7/28/14

 

Happening Now

2nd Quarter Results show Earnings and Revenue Growth

Earnings season is about half way over as 228 of the S&P 500 companies have reported Quarter 2 results as of July 28. Since the economic recession occurred 6 years ago, companies have cut costs and gone a long way to become leaner, more efficient operators. This has resulted in profit margins that are high from a historical standpoint and have allowed companies to continue to grow their earnings despite having stable sales. This earnings growth has allowed companies to remain evenly valued from a historical standpoint as JP Morgan notes that Large Cap U.S. Stocks are actually 3.4% cheaper than historical averages with a Current Price to Earnings ratio of 15.6 as of the end of the second quarter vs. the 20 year average of 16.2.

We are encouraged to see that this quarter, not only are earnings beating expectations but top line sales figures are also now starting to experience growth. As Market Watch reports, in addition to the 79% of companies that have reported earnings that beat expectations, 66% have also beaten revenue estimates. This should bode well for equity investors. To this end, Jerry Webman, Chief Economist of Oppenheimer Funds, reminds those worried about P/E ratios that they should, “Keep an eye not just on the numerator (price), but on the denominator, as well. P/E ratios don’t have to keep climbing for equity market gains to continue. As long as earnings grow, prices can rise even if valuations don’t. And so far, earnings appear to be doing just that.”

 

Important Information and Disclaimers

Past Performance is not a guide to future performance.

Investing in foreign securities presents certain risks not associated with domestic investments, such as currency fluctuation, political and economic instability, and different accounting standards. This may result in greater share price volatility. These risks are heightened in emerging markets.

There are special risks associated with an investment in real estate, including credit risk, interest rate fluctuations and the impact of varied economic conditions. Distributions from REIT investments are taxed at the owner’s tax bracket.

The prices of small company and mid cap stocks are generally more volatile than large company stocks. They often involve higher risks because smaller companies may lack the management expertise, financial resources, product diversification and competitive strengths to endure adverse economic conditions.

Investing in commodities is not suitable for all investors. Exposure to the commodities markets may subject an investment to greater share price volatility than an investment in traditional equity or debt securities. Investments in commodities may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity.

Products that invest in commodities may employ more complex strategies which may expose investors to additional risks.

Investing in fixed income securities involves certain risks such as market risk if sold prior to maturity and credit risk especially if investing in high yield bonds, which have lower ratings and are subject to greater volatility. All fixed income investments may be worth less than original cost upon redemption or maturity. Bond Prices fluctuate inversely to changes in interest rates. Therefore, a general rise in interest rates can result in the decline of the value of your investment.

Definitions

MSCI- EAFE: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australasia and Far East Index, a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure developed-market equity performance, excluding the United States and Canada.

MSCI-Emerging Markets: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Market Index, is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the performance of global emerging markets of about 25 emerging economies.

Russell 3000: The Russell 3000 measures the performance of the 3000 largest U.S. companies based on total market capitalization and represents about 98% of the investible U.S. Equity market.

ML BOFA U.S. Corp Mstr [Merill Lynch U.S. Corporate Master]:  The Merrill Lynch Corporate Master Market Index is a statistical composite tracking the performance of the entire U.S. corporate bond market over time.

ML Muni Master [Merill Lynch U.S. Corporate Master]: The Merrill Lynch Municipal Bond Master Index is a broad measure of the municipal fixed income market.

Investors cannot directly purchase any index.

LIBOR, London Interbank Offered Rate, is the rate of interest at which banks offer to lend money to one another in the wholesale money markets in London.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unweighted index of 30 “blue-chip” industrial U.S. stocks.

The S&P Midcap 400 Index is a capitalization-weighted index measuring the performance of the mid-range sector of the U.S. stock market, and represents approximately 7% of the total market value of U.S. equities. Companies in the Index fall between S&P 500 Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 Index in size: between $1-4 billion.

DJ Equity REIT Index represents all publicly traded real estate investment trusts in the Dow Jones U.S.  stock universe classified as Equity REITs according to the S&P Dow Jones Indices REIT Industry Classification Hierarchy. These companies are REITSs that primarily own and operate income-producing real estate.