“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The New York Giants are the Super Bowl Champs. They have won the biggest sports prize in America. On Sunday, Eli Manning and his teammates drove 88 yards in the final minutes to score a victory over Tom Brady and his boys 21-17. Madonna’s half-time show was electric. Big prizes last month went to “The Help”, “The Artist” and “The Descendants” at the Golden Globes and SAG awards. The stock market won no prizes in 2011, but that has already changed in 2012. With rising employment figures and relative financial calm in Europe…last month the DOW rose to its highest levels since May of 2008. The NASDAQ found itself at an 11-year high. Will the celebration in the Big Apple throw a touchdown to Wall Street?
There were 243,000 new jobs created in January: 70,000 in business and professional sectors, 50,000 in manufacturing, 44,000 in leisure and hospitality, 31,000 in healthcare, and 21,000 in construction. Companies in the S&P 500 paid $240 billion in 2011, the largest payout since 2008. Telecommunications, utilities, and healthcare were the big prize winners. Gold, fixed income, and real estate ended last year with positive returns, but emerging markets and most commodities suffered. 
Pacific Sun Financial had a very good year in 2011. Our assets grew by 7.8%. We welcomed 10 new clients, and our account retention rate was 99%. Our birthday luncheons at the Five Crowns were a big success and brought us many fine referrals. We remodeled and refreshed both our website and our office. We kept our client fees low and increased our webcam meetings via Skype. We renegotiated leases that will save us money in the future. I was able to spend more one-on-one time with clients and business friends in ‘11. Aaron passed all of his securities exams and Paige said “Yes” to Scot’s marriage proposal.
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Taxes and Suitability are in focus for February. You will be receiving your 1099R summary reports this month. You can also view your tax reports and access your year-end statements online. These resources should provide all of the necessary tax data for your returns. If you show an “unknown” cost-basis, you can use several Internet sites to help determine your cost. Try Market Watch or Yahoo that have excellent tools for historical research. Our compliance department requires regular updates of your investment profile and financial suitability. Please allow us a few minutes this month to ask you about your risk tolerance.
Are your financial affairs in order? Last month, we had two unusual stories related to service well beyond the realm of investment portfolio management. I received a call about a client in critical condition at a local hospital. When I arrived in the ICU that evening, I was surprised to see our client sitting up in bed and smiling at me. We talked for awhile and the next day, a new trust document was prepared by our attorney. Authorized, signed and notarized, these pages named new beneficiaries and agents for health care. It’s good to report that the patient was released and on a path to recovery. At another medical center down the street, one of our favorite ladies was being treated for kidney failure. Her children had been in touch: “Mom is coming home for her last days. She’s 91 and lived a wonderful life. Is there anything we need to do?” As it turned out, there was an important financial job left to do. We learned that her home had not been placed back in the name of her trust following a recent loan refinance. That same day, quitclaim documents were prepared by the lawyer. Paige took these to the hospital to be notarized and then drove the papers to the county recorder’s office. This action should save the family from the considerable pains and delays of probate court…and a sizeable fee, too.
Predictions for 2012: I wish I had a dollar for every time an economic forecaster says “10% next year”. This seems to be the safest standard for S&P 500 growth. Last year, the S&P 500 started at 1257 and ended 1257. Not a penny gained in value until you count the 2.1% dividends. So how do these guys come up with 10% all the time? Here are a few 2012 forecasts from a recent survey by Pensions & Investments:
“The index will be in the upper 1400’s”, James Paulsen, (Wells Capital); “There is a lot of worry, but the market should be up 10% to 20%”, Milton Ezrati, (Lord Abbett); “I am looking for a 10% gain on price return”, Dan Morris, (J.P. Morgan). To paraphrase Mark Twain: “They used to be modest but they grew out of it.”
Although some gurus enjoy a statistical approach, others build charts and graphs, and many use politics (“the S&P tends to do pretty well in an election year”)…there is no true way to predict the future. On the other hand, “Buy Low – Sell High”, and choosing good fundamental investments usually works out well in the long-run.
Today’s the day.
National Asset Management, Inc. (NAM) is a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC. NAM provides fundamental investment management services. The views expressed contain certain forward-looking statements. NAM believes these forward-looking statements to be reasonable, although they are forecasts and actual results may be meaningfully different. Actual events may cause adjustments in portfolio management strategies. This material represents an assessment of the market at a particular time and is not a guarantee of future results. This information should not be relied upon as research or investment advice regarding any security. One cannot directly invest in an index. Index performance returns do not reflect any management fees, transaction cost or expenses. Indices are unmanaged. S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 common stocks chosen to reflect the industries in the US economy. The Nasdaq is a weighted index of more than 3000 weighted equities listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The DOW Jones Industrial Index is an index that shows how 30 large, publicly owned companies based in the United States have traded during a standard trading session in the stock market. Securities offered through National Securities Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through National Asset Management, Inc SEC Registered Advisor and affiliate of National Securities Corporation. NAM or Pacific Sun Financial does not offer any legal or tax advice. One should consider consulting with a legal or tax professional before implementing investment strategies.
 Yahoo Finance 2/1/12,  Wall Street Journal 2/3/12,  Donald Selkin 2/2/12,  J.P. Morgan Asset Management 1/2/12,  Orion Advisor Services,  Pension& Investments 1/9/12