August 20, 2013 

TDG News: Sean Named to List of Top Wealth Managers in Westchester County

Sean M. Dowling, CFP, EA, President of The Dowling Group Wealth Management, was recently awarded a spot on the 2013 Top Wealth Managers of Westchester County list as compiled by Five Star Professional. Sean was recognized in the August edition of Westchester Magazine along with the other recipients of this year's prestigious award.

To be awarded a "Top Wealth Manager", recipients must be nominated by clients and/or peers. The Five Star Professional organization then evaluates nominees based on 10 criteria including experience, credentials, positive conduct and client satisfaction. Fewer than 3% of Westchester Wealth Managers are named to the Five Star Wealth Managers List.  

How Has Uncertainty Affected Things?

Robert Burns, father of fourteen and writer of Auld Lang Syne, once said, "There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing." Was he ever right! 

Here are a few sure things:

  • The Federal Reserve intends to reduce economic stimulus by tapering quantitative easing (QE).
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke plans to retire.
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was positive in Europe during the second quarter.

Here are some of the uncertainties which may arise from them:

  • When will QE begin to end? How will changes in the program affect world economies and markets?
  • Who will be the new Fed chairman? What policies will be pursued?
  • Was the second quarter a turning point for the Euro area economy? Is Europe moving out of recession?

How has uncertainty affected things? Well, it has left U.S. Treasuries a whole lot less popular than they once were. China and Japan reduced their holdings of U.S. Treasuries by about $40 billion recently. According to Reuters, a Chinese economist said the sale of Treasuries could be attributed to expectations that bond yields will rise and prices will fall as QE ends. In the same article, a Japanese policymaker said expectations about changing Fed policies created market volatility that forced some Asian central banks to defend their currencies and that led to the sale of Treasuries. In total, about $67 billion of foreign investment money was pulled out of Treasuries in June.

Uncertainty didn't do much for American stocks, either. At the end of last week, most major U.S. stock markets had moved lower.

Data as of 8/16/13 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -2.1% 16.1% 17.0% 15.3% 5.3% 5.2%
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.8 NA 1.8 2.6 3.8 4.5
Gold (per ounce) 4.6 -19.2 -14.7 3.8 11.5 14.3
DJ-UBS Commodity Index 3.2 -6.8 -9.2 -0.6 -7.2 0.9
DJ Equity All REIT TR Index -6.4 -1.1 1.4 13.0 5.2 9.7

Notes: S&P 500, Gold, DJ-UBS Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT TR Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron's,, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Is it the beginning of the end? Maybe... Last Tuesday, Eurostat, which provides statistical information on the European Union (EU), announced that its flash estimate showed positive economic growth (up 0.3 percent) for the Euro area for the second quarter. Media outlets embraced the news with tremendous enthusiasm and some informed the world that Europe was, once again, on its feet.

  • Euro Zone Emerges from Recession - The Wall Street Journal
  • Euro Zone Exits Longest Recession in Over 40 Years - CNBC
  • Germany, France Haul Euro Zone Out of Recession - Reuters

While it's possible the second quarter will prove to be a turning point for Europe's economy, the headlines were a bit rash. Perhaps the blog, written by Ollie Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, should have been read before crafting their headlines. Rehn wrote:

"Add today's quarterly GDP figures to other recent positive survey data and you will find reasonable evidence suggesting the European economy is gradually gaining momentum... I hope there will be no premature, self-congratulatory statements suggesting "the crisis is over." For we all know that there are still substantial obstacles to overcome: the growth figures remain low and the tentative signs of growth are still fragile; the averages hide important differences between Member States... So there is still a very long way to go before we reach our ultimate goal of a sustainable growth model that delivers more jobs."

Officially, the end of the Euro area recession will be determined by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). This organization is similar to the National Bureau for Economic Research (NBER) in the United States. In both regions, business cycle dating is a tricky business. The CEPR assesses GDP and other factors, such as the components of output and labor market data when determining the start and end dates for recessions and expansions. One of the biggest hazards to cycle dating is data revision so you can be sure the CEPR will be paying attention when Eurostat issues revised second quarter numbers in early September.

Weekly Focus - Think About It

"True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation."

George Washington, President of the United States

Best regards,
Sean M. Dowling, CFP, EA
President, The Dowling Group Wealth Management

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  • The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
  • The DJ Global ex US is an unmanaged group of non-U.S. securities designed to reflect the performance of the global equity securities that have readily available prices.
  • The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
  • This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
  • Gold represents the London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.
  • The DJ Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
  • The DJ Equity All REIT TR Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
  • Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
  • Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
  • Past performance does not guarantee future results.
  • You cannot invest directly in an index.
  • Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. (Click on U.S. & Intl Recaps; Simply Economics article 'A Muddling Economy'; refer to Equities by the Day chart)


ADV & Investment Objectives: 

Please contact The Dowling Group if there are any changes in your financial situation or investment objectives, or if you wish to impose, add or modify any reasonable restrictions to the management of your account. Our current disclosure statement is set forth on Part II of Form ADV and is available for your review upon request.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure:   

Pursuant to requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any tax-related matter. Please contact us if you wish to have formal written advice on this matter.