BCN Home
Financial Retire Estate Taxes College Real Estate CalPERS
 
 
BCN Advantage
Financial Planning
Retirement Planning
Estate Planning
College Planning
Long Term Care
Long Term Disability
Welcome

Service Requests
On each page, special subject-related forms will help you request specific financial planning services. If you have a general question or comment, feel free to contact us.

Get help for this subject
Search our site
Contact us for more information
Page 1, from 1 to 5 of 1,582.

 
Sign In -  Join
 
User Name
Password
Password help
 
 
BCN Advantage - June 2014June 03, 2014
It's worth comparing the frequent headlines trumpeting new stock market highs with actual performance. Five months into 2014, the Dow is +0.3%, the S&P is +3.3% and the Nasdaq is +1.2%. The majority of growth stock funds are up less than 2% year-to-date. 2014 first quarter earnings were both dismal and deteriorating. A year ago, Q1 2014 estimated earnings were $30.45.Actual earnings came in at $24.80, a miss of -19%. First quarter earnings typically are much stronger than the previous year's fourth quarter. You have to go all the way back to Q1 2001 to find a first quarter with flat - much less falling - earnings. But that pattern was broken decisively this year, with Q1 2014 earnings declining -6.3% from Q4 2013. Perhaps mostdisturbing: 2014 first quarter earnings barely edged out Q1 2013 ($24.80 vs.$24.22), this despite the S&P 500 ending March more than three hundred points and +19% higher than its level twelve months prior. This is stunning when you consider the massive amount of debt corporations have saddled themselves with in an effort to buy back shares and artificially inflate their earnings. The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the financial crisis. U.S. government debt outstanding has surged to a record $12 trillion, up from $4.5 trillion at the end of 2007. And global corporate bonds have also soared during the period, with issuance totaling more than $21 trillion. The -1.0% contraction in first quarter GDP was far below expectations, yet the Fed continues to cut its massive bond-buying program. Tapering will close an era of quantitative easing that has seen the Fed's balance sheet quadrupled to more than $4.2 trillion. Minutes from the central bank's April 29-30 meeting showed policymakers brainstorming ways of raising interest rates above the near zero level maintained since late 2008. "Because the Federal Reserve has not previously tightened the stance of policy while holding a large balance sheet, most participants judged that the Committee should consider a range of options and be prepared to adjust the mix of its policy tools as warranted," the minutes read. Analysts expect the Fed to end its bond buys by October this year and begin hiking rates in mid-2015. But the implication is that the Fed doesn't have a clear path for what it will do next. Uncertainty in unwinding such massive and unprecedented monetary stimulus does not bode well for the economy. As we stated back in January, we are about to enter a period that could be worse than 2008. This time around, stocks, bonds and real estate could all fall in value - perhaps precipitously. Already, home sales have been slowing, with loan applications to buy a home down 15% vs. a year earlier. Housing has been a major driver of an otherwise tepid economic recovery. If housing activity continues to wither, it shouldn't be long before stocks slump as well. This cyclical bull rally since March 2009 (fueled by Fed bond-buying) is getting long in the tooth. After 5 years and 2 months, only 2 rallies since 1929 have lasted longer.

Unemployment Rates Rise in 24 States September 23, 2014
Christopher S. RugaberSource Address    Yahoo - Finance
Unemployment rates rose in nearly half of U.S. states in August, even as employers in two-thirds of the states added jobs. The Labor Department says unemployment increased in 24 states, fell in 15 and was unchanged in 11. Hiring picked up in 35 states, while it fell in 15. Unemployment rates can rise ...

Fed Hints at Steeper Rate Hike Path September 22, 2014
Michael Flaherty Source Address    Yahoo - Finance
The Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time," but also indicated it could raise borrowing costs faster than expected when it starts moving. Many economists and traders had expected the U.S. central bank to alter the rate guidance it has provided since ...

ECB Plans QE as Europe Nears Danger ZoneSeptember 17, 2014
Andrea RiquierSource Address    Investors Business Daily
The European Central Bank lowered interest rates and announced new measures to buy asset-backed securities, steps that markets had long awaited as the eurozone economy stagnated and inflation growth spiraled downward. The bank cut two key interest rates by 10 basis points and trimmed the interest paid ...

Half of Nasdaq Mired in Bear MarketSeptember 15, 2014
Lu WangSource Address    Yahoo - Finance
Beneath the U.S. stock market's record-setting gains, trouble is stirring. About 47 percent of stocks in the Nasdaq Composite Index are down at least 20 percent from their peak in the last 12 months while more than 40 percent have fallen that much in the Russell 2000 Index and the Bloomberg IPO Index. ...