Explore Our
“Off The Wall” Blog

Unique, straight-forward, unfiltered opinion on topics of concern for individuals with newfound wealth.

“A double Polar Burger wit’ everything.”

Uh, I’m not very hungry; just gimme a double Polar Burger wit’ everything” John Travolta as Danny Zuko in Grease, 1978.

Last week the S&P 500 finished ‘up’ for the 7th week in a row thanks to the performance of the financial sector and a solid earnings report from one of the big banks.  Also adding a boost to the index was the technology and energy sectors, which benefited from good earnings reports.

However, there were some economic releases that detracted from the good earnings reports…

The equity markets we track were all up last week.  The DJIA gained 0.96% to finish at 11,787, the S&P 500 Index gained 1.71% to finish at 1,293 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.93% to finish at 2,755.  The Russell 2000 index, which tracks the performance of small capitalization stocks, gained 2.51% to finish at 808. 

Retail sales for December were a little soft due to bad weather around Christmas time, but when the sales numbers from after Thanksgiving are factored in, the ‘holiday sales’ numbers look pretty darn good – especially compared to the same period in 2009.  In fact, the +7% increase over the 2009 period (Nov and Dec) was the best 2 month performance since 1999 (remember 1999!?) and retail sales have climbed back to their mid-2007 numbers.  This shows the consumer is strong – good stuff.

The report that had most people concerned last week (keeping in mind the S&P 500 posted a 1.71% return…) was that the inflation numbers (CPI) posted a pretty significant increase.  As many of you know, the inflation numbers are always reported as “Headline” and “Core”, the latter of which is reported with the impact of food and energy stripped out.  The headline CPI number jumped 0.50% between Nov and Dec – which is a lot – mostly thanks to gas prices (increasing 8.5%).  This was the biggest jump since June of 2009.

However – when looking at the Core, it shows only a 0.1% increase for the month (December) and only 0.8% increase year over year (Dec 2009 compared to Dec 2010).  The Fed targets the Core and their proclaimed comfort zone is between 1.5% and 2.0% (year/year).  So at 0.8%, it’s still below what makes them nervous.

We will be looking to see how much of the food and energy increases creep into the Core prices over the next few months.  If the Core does not spike up, it means producers are having trouble passing along higher prices to consumers.    

We still have a positive outlook on the equity markets and are over-weight the small and mid cap space and the technology sector.  We are still looking at investments in areas OTHER THAN bonds for fixed income allocations.

Call us for help or if you have any questions. 

Securities and Financial Planning offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC

**Standard Compliance Disclosures
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.  To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.  All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.  All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.  Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average is comprised of 30 stocks that are major factors in their industries, and widely held by individuals and institutional investors. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index (S&P 500) is an unmanaged capitalization weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries. The NASDAQ Composite Index measures all domestic and non-U.S. based common stocks listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The market value, the last sale price multiplied by total shares outstanding, is calculated throughout the trading day, and is related to the total value of the Index. The Russell 2000 Small Stock Index is an unmanaged index generally representative of the 2000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000 Index.  The Russell 2000 companies with lower price-to-book ratios and lower forecasted growth values.

David B. photo

David B. Armstrong, CFA

President & Co-Founder

Dave got into the industry when he discovered his passion for finance in his mid-20’s. He’s a combat veteran and served as an officer in the United States Marines Corps on both active duty and in the reserves, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving on active duty, Dave was unable to spend money on deployments, so he became a self-taught investor. Along with a few bucks cash as a bouncer, his investing performance grew to be good....

Learn more ...


Please remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Capital Management, LLC [“Monument”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. No amount of prior experience or success should be construed that a certain level of results or satisfaction will be achieved if Monument is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Monument is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.

A copy of the Monument’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures. Please Note: Monument does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Monument’s website or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Historical performance results for investment indices, benchmarks, and/or categories have been provided for general informational/comparison purposes only, and generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges, the deduction of an investment management fee, nor the impact of taxes, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results.  It should not be assumed that your Monument account holdings correspond directly to any comparative indices or categories. Please Also Note: (1) performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes; (2) comparative benchmarks/indices may be more or less volatile than your Monument accounts; and, (3) a description of each comparative benchmark/index is available upon request.

Please Remember: If you are a Monument client, please contact Monument, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services.  Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.

Stay up to date!

Subscribe to our “Off the Wall” Blog for articles and videos on all things wealth management, by all members of our Team. Unlike Facebook, we will never share your data with anyone.