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Top Stories Last Week

  • Greek Bailout

The European finance ministers approved a new bailout of 130 billion euros to help Greece avoid default. Private lenders that hold Greek bonds, have agreed to take 53.5% loss on the face value, the equivalent of 75% loss. However, doubts still persist about Greece's ability to carry out the tough austerity measures or to manage its weakened economy.

  • Stock Markets Rose

The S&P 500 Index closed the week at its highest point since June 2008. On a total return basis, the index is only 3.68% below its peak on October 2007. The worst bear market since the 1930s is on the verge of being erased in just three years. It is incredible.

  • Improvements in US housing and labor markets

US existing home sales rose by 4.3% in January, up from a revised 4.38 million in December, making further improvement of housing sector as record low mortgage rates remained and job market gained. The number of Americans filing initial jobless claims last week held at a four-year low, indicating an improving job markets.

  • Eurozone PMI Data

European services and manufacturing output unexpectedly contracted in February as Eurozone Purchasing Manager Composite Index was reported at 49.7, lower than expectation. Though there are signs of stabilization in the Eurozone, the economies are still too weak to avert a recession.

Top Stories to Watch This Week

  • G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Mexico City

The Finance Ministers and Central bankers from the Group of 20 developed and developing economic powers kicked off a summit this weekend. The top officials called on the eurozone to boost its firewall to prevent the crisis spreading.

  • ECB Longer-term Refinancing Operation (LTRO)

European Central Bank on February 29th will provide liquidity to European banks under the Longer-term refinancing operation. The expected amounts range from 300 billion to 600 billion euros. This injection of liquidity will have impact on Euro as well as market sentiments.

  • US ISM Manufacturing Index

US ISM Manufacturing Index is expected to be 54.5, indicating continued expansion in the manufacture sector.

  • Bernanke's Congressional Testimony

Fed Chairman Bernanke will give his semiannual monetary policy report to the congress and testify before the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on March 1. Watch out for any hint on monetary policy.

  • Chinese PMI Index

Chinese PMI manufacturing index is expected to be 50.8, an expansion reading.

  • Japan employment report

Japanese jobless rate is expected to be 4.5% , indicating continuing improved labor markets.

Weekly Performance Summary

All the portfolios gained as markets rose last week.

Portfolio Solutions WTD MTD YTD 1-YR
(as of 12/11)
(as of 12/11)
(as of 12/11)
Aggressive 0.9% 4.0% 9.2% 12.4% 16.4% 16.1%
Moderate 0.9% 3.2% 7.5% 12.4% 14.8% 14.4%
Conservative 0.9% 2.3% 5.6% 12.5% 13.7% 12.8%
Defensive 0.7% 1.1% 3.6% 13.2% 12.5% 11.1%
S&P 500 Index 0.4% 4.3% 9.1% 2.0% -0.3% 2.9%
Barclays Bond Index 0.2% -0.4% 0.3% 10.3% 6.9% 5.8%
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Disclosure: I am long SPY, IWM, EFA, VWO, IYR, AMJ, GLD, GSG, HYG, JNK, AGG, TIP, IEF, TLT, VNQ.