2014 Mid Year Update

The Armstrong Report


Here we are half way through the year and things seem good and very quiet. Maybe too good and too quiet.

The Economy

The economy continues to confound the experts. We had promises of a strengthening economy and yet the first quarter came in at negative 2.9%! The weather was blamed for much of this, but it does make you wonder. Certainly the data in the second quarter was much more encouraging, and a recession seems unlikely. Although I do want to mention that recessions usually begin suddenly, not gradually. Still, we currently seem to be on track for stronger growth in the second half of the year.

The Markets

After a very hot 2013 for US equities, things have been a bit cooler. Equities are up, but at a more measured pace. Other equities that did not do as well in 2013 such as emerging markets, real estate, and energy stocks, are having a much better 2014. Most significantly, fixed income has had positive returns after a very difficult 2013. So what’s the prognosis? Not sure, but US equities seem to be getting quite expensive here by many measures. A market correction will eventually come; the further we go without a correction the more severe the correction will likely be. This is a time to stick with broad diversification and to your allocation.

The Firm

On this front we continue to roll out value-added services. LPL has improved Account View fairly significantly. Most recently, for example, you can opt to receive prospectuses via email instead of paper. My daughter finished her time here (sounds like prison, huh) and she helped us confirm it is time to hire a receptionist in order to keep our service level highly effective. So in May we hired Mrs. Rhonda Haynes. A former paralegal for an attorney in town, it will most likely be her pleasant voice that answers the phone from now on.

Personal

My daughter was married on June 21 in Atlanta. I guess I am officially “old” now as I have a son-in-law. Thank you for all your well wishes.

Client Spotlight

One of our clients, Brenda Remmes, recently authored her first novel, The Quaker Café. The Quaker Café is a novel set in Eastern North Carolina in the 1990s, where Brenda and her husband Bill lived for twenty-three years. The book focuses on a small community named Cedar Branch that was originally settled by Quakers. More information regarding Brenda and her book is available at her website at Brendaremmes.com or on the Amazon.com book site under The Quaker Café.

Finally, thank you for your continued trust.

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