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Monthly Newsletter - April 2015

A brief overview of recent market activity and expectations follows below. Our investment topic for this month is Alternative Investments.  

You will find past investment articles by clicking on the relevant Quick Links on the right, or peruse the subjects by clicking the Articles tab above or directly on our website. If there is a topic of interest you would like to see covered in the future, please email us at info@landmarkwealthmgmt.com to let us know, or click here .

Recent Market Activity
Recent market activity

March saw continued volatility, in a year that so far has rotated back and forth between negative and positive returns across the major market indices.  While February had erased the January losses, March just like the winter lion that has gripped much of the country became a winter bear, taking back much of February's bounce back. 

Two of the major month's stories revolved around: 

1. Strong dollar weighs especially heavy on large-caps

The strong dollar is taking a disproportionate toll on the earnings of large-cap companies in the S&P 500, which get well over one-third of their revenues from overseas. In contrast, the small-cap companies in the Russell 2000 Index get roughly one-fifth of their revenues from foreign sales. In the final quarter of 2014, small-cap companies enjoyed more than three times the earnings growth and over five times the sales growth of their large-cap counterparts. 

2.  Fed decision and Janet Yellen's press conference  

The Fed removed the word "patient" and are setting the stage for slight rate increase before year end.  They are conflicted because while jobs look good and people are spending money aided by the extra money they are saving on gas, housing still looks weak, the stronger dollar is hurting exports, and there is still no inflation.  The Fed continues it's agonizing choice of words in terms of the language used, in apparent fear of causing a "temper tantrum" in the markets.  A return to a more normal level of interest rates would be very helpful for the Fed to have as a tool to fight the next recession, whenever it comes. 


Major Market Indices

 

Below is a summary of Q1 performance of some of the major indices:

 

Index 1st Quarter 2015 YTD
US Treasury 3 Month T-Bill
0.03% 0.03%
Barclay's US Aggregate Bond Index
1.61% 1.61%
Barclay's Municipal Bond Index
1.01% 1.01%
S&P 500 Index
0.95% 0.95%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.33% 0.33%
MSCI EAFE (International Equities) 5.03% 5.03%
MSCI Emerging Markets 1.91% 1.91%
S&P Mid Cap 400 (MID)
5.31% 5.31%
Russell 2000 Index (Small-Cap Stocks)
4.32% 4.32%
Morningstar Commodity Index
-6.03% -6.03%
Morningstar REIT Index
4.58% 4.58%

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On the Investment Horizon
Upcoming Key Dates on the Economic Calendar 
  • Friday, April 3: Stock markets closed; banks open.
  • Friday, April 3: Unemployment report for the prior month, released at 8:30AM.
  • Wednesday, April 8: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) issues minutes of its meetings with a lag. The minutes of the previous meeting are reported three weeks after the meeting. Released at 2PM.
  • Friday, April 17: Consumers Price Index (CPI), released at 8:30AM.
  • Tuesday April 28-Wednesday, April 29: The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets, and releases their announcement at 2PM.


IRA Contribution?

If you are eligible to make IRA contributions for 2014 (Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP-IRA), and have not done so, the  April 15th deadline  is fast approaching.  If you are unsure about your ability to contribute, or feel that you cannot contribute, please let us know and we will explore your individual circumstance. 

This Month's Investment Topic:
Alternative Investments

This month we focus on what alternative investment strategies are, the possible use of them in your portfolio and how they may benefit you. To read the article, please click here

If you desire an appointment, have any questions on any of this material, or any other financial subjects may relate to your own financial circumstance, please reach out to us at the contact information below:

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 


Brian Cohen, CCO; email: brian@landmarkwealthmgmt.com; phone: 631-923-2487
Joe Favorito, CFP?; email: jfavorito@landmarkwealthmgmt.com; phone: 631-930-5336

Direct office email: info@landmarkwealthmgmt.com 



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