Avoid Disappointment, Aim Low

January 24, 2013

Clear and encouraging signs in a busy week.
-Christian W. Thwaites, president & CEO, Sentinel

No, it's not a life aspiration. But it can work when it comes to investing. We had a rush of gains coming into the end of the year with the S&P[1] up 22% over the year. But it's also one of the more relaxed markets and start we've had in years. The political agenda is still front and clear and we're in a lull until the debt ceiling arguments gain steam. The markets know this but seem comfortably complacent. They're probably right to be. Some deal will be worked out and it's highly unlikely we'll get to the point where debt interest, social security, Medicare or veteran benefits won't get paid. Meanwhile, we had a welcome consolidation week with treasuries ahead, the S&P holding onto gains and Europe mercifully quiet. The one surprise was the ongoing strength of the euro which quickly caused some alarms in export sectors. Talking a currency down or up is tough and while it's good to see stabilization in the euro, any prolonged strength above 1.40 will be hard for recovery.

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