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By Burt White Chief Investment Officer, LPL Financial
Jeff Buchbinder, CFA Market Strategist, LPL Financial

Weekly Market Commentary

The Nasdaq Composite just hit 5000 today as this report was going to press and is nearing its all-time record closing high of 5048 set during the peak of the internet bubble in March 2000. The 15-year journey back to these highs after the bubble burst included two recessions along the way — one of them “Great.” This accomplishment has sparked renewed concerns that the Nasdaq’s ascent reflects a stock market bubble that may soon burst. Even with the Nasdaq at 5000, based on valuation and sentiment measures, we do not believe stocks have reached bubble territory. As we walk down memory lane to the days when we got stock picks from cab drivers and chat rooms, we see that the Nasdaq’s foundation is much stronger today.


To assess whether the Nasdaq reflects excessive speculation that has historically characterized bubbles, we look at several measures of valuation and sentiment. A comparison between where these measures stand today and their levels back in 2000 reveals that the environment then was very different. This comparison enhances our comfort with our positive stock market view, based on our investment process incorporating fundamentals, valuations, and technical analysis.

See our infographic, A Very Different Nasdaq,
for more comparison of 2000 and 2015.

Get the Full Market Report Here: Market Commentary 03022015

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Weekly Market Commentary

By John Canally Chief Economic Strategist, LPL Financial

In June 1980, the U.S. economy was just exiting the first of two back-to-back recessions. The June 2, 1980, cover of TIME magazine was “The Big Blowup,” referring not to the awful state of the U.S. economy, but to the recent eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. The Business and Economy section of the magazine that month, however, was full of stories about just how bad the U.S. economy was:

  • ƒƒJune 9, 1980, “Consumers Feel the Pinch”: “With the economy in a downward spiral of still uncertain depth, many consumers have decided to cut their losses. …More Americans are unemployed, many others are doing without overtime pay, and inflation has eroded earnings.”
  • ƒƒJune 16, 1980, “The Bad News Gets Worse”: “…not only has the next recession begun, but it is already shaping up to be one of the worst slumps since the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
  • ƒƒJune 30, 1980, “Harder Times in the U.S.”: “While the Europeans generally hope to suffer only a mild slowing of economic growth, U.S. business continues to reel downward.”

The unemployment rate hit 7.6% in June 1980 and the inflation rate (as measured by the year-over-year percent change in the consumer price index [CPI]) soared to an incredible 14.4%, pushing the Misery Index (year-over-year percent change in CPI plus the unemployment rate) to 22.0% [Figure 1]. In retrospect, the 14.4% reading on the CPI in June 1980 marked the high point for inflation in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Unfortunately, for the U.S. economy, the next recession (the one that would begin in mid-1981 and last through the end of 1982) would ultimately drive the unemployment rate to 10.8%. The economy in the early 1980s was truly miserable, matching the nation’s mood.

Read Full Report Here: Economic Commentary 03022015






WASHINGTON, D.C.- Machinery Dealers National Association recognizes the MDNA Chicago Chapter for their generous contribution of $5,000 to this year’s upcoming 74th Annual Convention & Business Meeting in Washington, D.C.

John Conroy, Chairman – MDNA Convention Committee says, “I cannot tell you how much my entire Convention Committee and I appreciate the generosity of the Chicago Chapter. As the costs of putting on this Convention escalate every year, we have been successful in having only one minor increase in our Convention Registration Fee in the last 15 years thanks to the generosity of sponsors like the Chicago Chapter. It is our goal to make the Convention affordable to all members of our Association while at the same time making each one a smash hit. Please extend my thanks and the thanks of my entire committee to all of the members of the Chicago Chapter.”

The Chicago Chapter has stepped up countless times in support of the MDNA.  This sponsorship money will go towards making this Convention more affordable for all members of this Association.  MDNA hopes that by recognizing this chapter it provides a visible acknowledgement of the importance that their contributions have made on our Association and its members.

The MDNA thanks the Chicago Chapter for their support—your generosity is inspiring.

How Can Others Participate in Convention Sponsorship?

Your company’s donation or your chapter’s donation will improve the quality of our event by making it possible to continue to keep the registration fees low while still delivering great social, business, educational and networking activities at the MDNA Convention.

To support the MDNA Convention as a Sponsor please contact the MDNA National office or Convention Committee Member, Jean Harris.

About the MDNA Convention: MDNA’s 74TH Annual Convention & Business Meeting is scheduled to take place on April 23rd- 26th, 2015 at The Historic Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC, Hotel. The MDNA Convention is open to MDNA members, MDNA Premier Vendors, sponsors – and invited guests who have not attended an MDNA function in the last five years. LEARN MORE ABOUT CONVENTION HERE





Jennifer Gray, Marketing Director

Phone: 703.836.9300 Email:

dan wheeler 3 edit

Young Guns of MDNA, Wheeler

Meet the first of our featured Young Guns, Dan Wheeler of Wheeler Machinery Sales, Inc.young guns text 1

A west coast family man, President of Wheeler Machinery Sales, and walker to a furry dog named Elvis, Dan is a car loving, motorcycle riding, boar & bird hunting, football & little league coaching, father of 3 ranging in age from 3  to 11 and reports daily to the lovely Mrs. Gina Wheeler.

dan wheeler 3 edit



Mr. Wheeler is undoubtedly someone to keep an eye on with 20 years’ experience in machinery sales already and he’s got plenty of years ahead being just 40 years young.

His talents advanced at a young age while obtaining his BS in Engineering from California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo. Dan is also an AMEA Certified Equipment Appraiser and (ASA) American Society of Appraisers certified.

Dan came into the family business in the mid 90’s to help his dad out.  Eventually he became a full-time salesman, selling a wide variety of machines ranging from fabrication to general machine tools.  At his dad’s passing in January 2012, he purchased the company from his mom and sister.  He is a third generation machinery dealer.

“Many years ago I asked my grandfather what led him into getting involved in the business and he said he met Milton himself on Pacific Blvd in Los Angeles and he use to polish his shoes.” 

His grandfather got his start as a set-up man for Milton Wershaw Auctioneers – based out of Los Angeles, CA.  He was 16 years old at the time.  His grandfather eventually broke away and started Wheeler Machinery Co. on San Pedro St. in Los Angeles.  Dan’s father worked for his grandfather, but would eventually go on his own, hence the name Wheeler Machinery Sales.

Wheeler Machinery Sales, founded by Dan’s father Crist Wheeler, opened its doors in 1969.  For many years they were located on Santa Fe Ave. (Machinery Row) in Los Angeles, CA.  Recently, their business moved into a newer more modern structure in Pomona, CA, approximately the same size as their facility in Los Angeles.

Dan says “We concentrate mostly on Fabrication Equipment and General Machine Tools, from small to very large.

Wheeler Machinery Sales, Inc., Pomona, CA


“Our staff holds a lot of experience with the low man on the totem pole having minimum 10 years’ experience.  We employ 4 full time staff members and we all participate in sales and repair.  We have a great reputation and concentrate on quality and customer service.”

Dan is an active member within Machinery Dealers National Association and is passionate about the success and development of the used metalworking and capital equipment industry.

If you are interested in this incredible “Young Guns” sponsorship opportunity, please reach out to the MDNA office - and stay tuned as we introduce you to the new breed of MDNA members and future leaders of the industry –  at this year’s Convention and throughout the coming year.

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By John Canally Chief Economic Strategist, LPL Financial 

The top 25 global economies make up 90% of global gross domestic product (GDP). Through Friday, February 13, 2015, 13 of these economies (including countries and political unions) have already reported Q4 2014 GDP results, including the four largest economies (U.S., Eurozone, China, and India). As this commentary was being prepared for publication, Japan, the world’s fifth-largest economy, released Q4 GDP results. Between now and the end of February 2015, Thailand, Mexico, and South Africa will report Q4 2014 GDP; and in the first half of March 2015, reports are due out from Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and Sweden. In late March and early April 2015, key emerging market economies, Brazil and Russia, will report Q4 2014 GDP results.

See our infographic, “Global GDP at a Glance” for a breakdown of
developed and emerging markets’ contributions to global GDP.

Our infographic and the following table, arranged in order of Q4 2014 GDP report date, indicate:

  • Whether a country is a developed or emerging market economy
  • The size and relative size of the economy compared to global GDP
  • ƒƒThe result (if available) and consensus estimate (as compiled by Bloomberg News)

Unless otherwise indicated, the actual GDP readings and forecasts in the graphic are year-over-year readings.

In the table following the infographic, we’ve also included a comment on the economy as it relates to oil, indicating, where pertinent, whether the country is a net importer or exporter of oil, how the oil price decline is likely to impact the economy in 2015, and for the larger economies (the top 10 or so), a general comment on how the GDP outlook is shaping up for 2015. We derive these comments from the January 26, 2015, Weekly Economic Commentary, “Gauging Global Growth: An Update for 2015 and 2016.” As we noted in that commentary, the market continues to expect that global GDP growth will accelerate in both 2015 and 2016, aided by lower oil prices and stimulus from two of the three leading central banks in the world; but, in a twist on recent history, the consensus has been raising its estimate for growth in 2015 for developed economies and sharply lowering its estimate for emerging markets. We also noted that even though other factors are in play (inflation, war, sanctions, weather, fiscal and monetary policy, longer-term secular trends like demographics, etc.), the drop in oil and other commodity prices over the past year or so has played a key part in the progression of GDP forecasts across the globe… Read the Full Report here: Economic Commentary 02172015

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Weekly Market Commentary
By Burt White Chief Investment Officer, LPL Financial
Jeff Buchbinder, CFA Market Strategist, LPL Financial

No sector is getting more attention right now than energy. Market participants are attracted to the potential upside after both oil and the energy sector suffered substantial declines in recent months. Many see the sector as cheap, something that is not easy to find these days in the U.S. equity market. We drive by gas stations every day where we see prices have been cut in half, serving as a constant reminder of how cheap oil is. In this commentary, we discuss what we are watching to assess the opportunity in energy.


Here are some of the key factors we are watching to assess the potential upside
opportunity in the energy sector:
Supply. The massive drop in domestic oil prices (more than 50% since June 20,
2014) has been almost entirely supply driven, with modest contribution from slowing
global growth. Thanks to booming U.S. oil production [Figure 1], inventories are not
only well above the five-year range for this time of year [Figure 2, page 2], but they
are near their highest levels on record. According to the International Energy Agency


(IEA), the global oil market is currently about 800,000 barrels per day oversupplied (for perspective, the global oil market is roughly 94 million barrels per day). We do not expect a rapid supply response from producers given low marginal costs of continuing the most cost-efficient production, which means that lower prices may be required to balance the market. We would expect the bottom in oil to be put in once the market sees actual and meaningful supply reductions, which has not happened as of yet and… Read Full Report Here: Market Commentary 02172015

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Weekly Market Commentary
By Burt White Chief Investment Officer, LPL Financial
Jeff Buchbinder, CFA Market Strategist, LPL Financial

Despite the massive drag from the energy sector and the negative impact of a strong U.S. dollar, fourth quarter 2014 earnings are on track to exceed the prior Thomson-tracked consensus estimate of 4.2% (as of quarter end on December 31, 2014). In fact, despite a slow start, earnings growth for the quarter (after all 500 companies have reported) should approach 7%, reaching the average historical upside surprise of 3%. As of February 6, 2015, with about two-thirds of S&P 500 companies having reported, S&P 500 earnings were on track for a 6.4% year-over-year increase for the quarter according to Thomson. In this commentary we look at some of the highlights and lowlights of this earnings season as it enters the home stretch.


Industrials defying skeptics. The industrials sector had many skeptics coming into this earnings season. The sector is one of the most global and was expected to see among the biggest negative currency impacts, both in terms of translation of foreign profits and pricier U.S. exports (a strong dollar makes imports more expensive for foreign buyers). A significant portion of energy capital spending flows to the sector, so reductions in oil exploration and production investment have negatively impacted the industrials sector. Lackluster economic growth in Europe and slowing growth in China add to the challenges. But strength in North America and expanding profit margins helped offset the drags, and industrials are on pace for 12% earnings growth in the quarter, 2% above prior expectations as of quarter end. Although guidance has led to estimate reductions, as it often does for all sectors, 2015 estimates are still calling for a solid 7% earnings gain compared with 2014. Our industrials sector outlook remains positive.

Technology producing big upside surprise. The technology sector is on pace for a solid 17% year-over-year gain in fourth quarter earnings, nearly double the prior 9% expectation, representing the biggest upside surprise among all 10 equity sectors [Figure 1]. The sector has also posted the highest “beat rate” among all sectors with 88% of S&P 500 companies beating on the bottom line (tied with healthcare). This achievement is particularly impressive given the significant drag from the strong U.S. dollar (like industrials, technology is among the most global sectors). The biggest driver of the upside was Apple, which by itself generated about 2 percentage points of S&P 500 earnings growth after increasing earnings per share by 48%, well above consensus. The technology sector has benefited from revenue and earnings gains across the hardware, software, and semiconductor groups, with tailwinds from trends in mobility, cloud computing, security, and data analytics. Our technology sector view remains positive.

The biggest driver of the upside was Apple, which by itself generated about 2 percentage points of S&P 500 earnings growth.

Typical guidance reduction (ex-energy). Historically, bottom-up consensus estimates have fallen by.. Read Full Report here: Market Commentary 02092015

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Weekly Economic Commentary
By John Canally Chief Economic Strategist, LPL Financial

In the wake of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision to embark on a bond buying program (quantitative easing or QE), policymakers and investors alike are looking for signs that the program is working. Although it is still too soon to tell — QE in Europe was only just announced on January 22, 2015, and the bond purchases themselves won’t begin until next month — the economic data in Europe in recent weeks have begun to exceed lowered expectations, and market based measures of inflation expectations have moved higher. But, market participants looking for an immediate and sustained response by the Eurozone economy to QE may be disappointed. Recall that the Federal Reserve (Fed) began its first round of QE in late November 2008, and after three years (2011, 2012, and 2013) of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth near 2.0%, the economy finally found its footing in 2014, and we continue to expect that the U.S. economy may grow at 3%+ in 2015.*

Lower oil prices and a falling euro may also help to nudge Eurozone growth higher in the coming months and quarters.

As was the case in the United States in 2008 and 2009, the Eurozone economy cannot start getting better until it stops getting worse. Even before the ECB’s announcement on January 22, 2015, key readings on the economy and banking system had stabilized and had begun to turn higher, providing the Eurozone economy with a little momentum ahead of the QE. In recent weeks, several economic data reports (listed below) all suggest that the Eurozone economy had stopped getting worse in late 2014 — after another year of subpar growth. In addition, lower oil prices (Europe is a big oil importer) and a falling euro (which makes European goods and services cheaper in the global marketplace) may also help to nudge Eurozone growth higher in the coming months and quarters….Read the Full Report here: Economic Commentary 02092015

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High or Low multibreifs article

Has the oil price hit its floor?

By Stefanie Heerwig via Multibriefs 

Video credit: Center for Strategic & International Studies

Abdulla Al-Badri, secretary general of OPEC, announced this week that oil prices might have reached their floor and could even rise to up to $200 per barrel in the near future.

This is a surprising comment, given OPEC’s resistance to decrease its oil production and complaints by struggling oil exporters like Nigeria and Venezuela, of which the former had to devalue its currency in late November 2014..

In fact, Al-Badri’s comment was in response to the biggest one-day gain in oil prices since 2009. Brent rose almost 8 percent and finished above $50 per barrel while Western Texas intermediate crude jumped by 7 percent to $53 per barrel.

Over the past half-year, oil prices had been falling from an astronomical height of over $110 in mid-June to almost half of that at the beginning of January 2015.

The jump in oil prices is indeed good news for cash-strapped net oil exporters like Nigeria and the U.S. shale industry, which has faced harsh cuts in revenues after years of high oil prices since 2007.

In the U.S., the oil rig count has been continuously declining since November 2014 while the shale industry is staggering.

Oil field services provider Baker Hughes announced in mid-January to lay off about 7,000 workers, 11 percent of its workforce. Meanwhile, Halliburton told investors that it was also planning to lay off workers, as the rig count has fallen by nearly 15 percent over the past months.

But this plunge in oil prices might only be a temporary phenomenon, according to Al-Badri and some industry specialists.

One reasons for this is that while the oil price has been falling, the industry has cut back investments in future oil production which will contract global supply in the medium to long-term. On the other hand, rising global demand (partially due to lower oil prices) will do its bit to drive up prices even faster.

Ellen Anderson, executive director for the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, for instance, notes that “it’s possible that we are at a bottom, but (near term) I don’t see this as a signal of a sustainable trend.”

The majority of market analysts are however very cautious about overly optimistic prospects and confirm that it will still take some time until the oil price fully recovers.

The oil price might have hit its floor, but U.S. oil production just hit its 31-year high of 9.2 million barrels per day.

Equally, despite Al-Badri’s empathetic comment, Saudi Arabia is not planning to reduce its production in the near future.

What therefore needs to happen is that the natural decline in production due to current low investments has to squeeze global oil supplies. This must happen, sooner or later.

 About the Author

Stefanie Heerwig

Stefanie Heerwig is a an international energy consultant and development economist. Her work has focused on fossil fuel subsidies and extractive industry governance in developing countries. She holds a BA (Hons) degree in economics and politics from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

relationship curve

The relationship curve: A different approach to marketing and sales

By Randall Craig via Multibriefs 

relationship curveHave you ever felt that you were being “sold” to? Perhaps an over-the-top marketing campaign, or perhaps a slightly-too-pushy salesperson?

If so, then you’re not alone. The question, however, is why. And why do organizations so often encourage such off-putting activities?

Some of the obvious reasons:

  • The momentum of the past. (“We’ve always done it this way.”)
  • Management focus on current-period sales. (“We must make our numbers.”)
  • Overly aggressive commission plans. (“And If they don’t make their quotas, we’ll fire them.”)
  • Aggressive ad agencies looking to sell another campaign. (“This will drive leads so your salespeople can sell, and you can make your numbers.”)

Beyond these reasons (and many more), the main reason why organizations market and sell the way they do is because it works. But might there be another way to drive sales that is more aligned to how a prospect thinks? And might these other approaches be even more effective?

The “relationship curve” client journey model provides some clues.

The relationship curve describes the strengthening relationship between an organization and a prospect, as the prospect becomes aware of his/her need and aware of the organization, prefersthe organization over competitors, goes through a trial (or “test drive”), and ultimately commits.

From the prospect’s perspective, a simple example:

  • Awareness: My car just died. I need a new one.
  • Preference: I prefer Toyota, and specifically the Toyota Sienna minivan.
  • Trial: I’ll go to the dealership and take a test drive.
  • Commitment: I’m ready to sign the contract.

Unpacking this model yields some interesting insights. For example, how might the prospect feel at different stages of the relationship curve? What is his/her emotional state of mind?

  • Awareness: Annoyed — didn’t expect to replace the car.
  • Preference: Curious about the alternatives.
  • Trial: Excited to try something new.
  • Commitment: Nervous about the purchase, but confident in the decision.
  • Post-commitment: Satisfied, with some possible uncertainty (buyer’s remorse).

At each stage, the prospect has a number of questions: if answered satisfactorily, the prospect will move up the relationship curve:

  • Awareness: How do I decide what to get?
  • Preference: Does Toyota make a minivan?
  • Trial: I wonder if I will like it? Does it really meet my needs?
  • Commitment: Should I get it here? Or somewhere else? Can I really afford it? Should I buy or lease?

Using these concepts, the questions for marketers should be different:

  • How might we develop campaigns or initiatives focused on each of awareness, preference, trial and commitment?
  • How might we remove friction along the curve, to make it easier for the prospect to go from one stage to another?
  • How might we address the prospect’s mindset and emotional state at each stage of the journey?
  • How might we create content to answer the prospect’s likely questions at each stage of the journey?

Here’s the challenge: look at your current marketing and sales plans — what changes need to be made to answer these questions and move prospects up the curve, instead of down it?

If you feel that you are being sold to, it is either because the marketing is aimed at answering the wrong question, or because the marketing activities do not take your emotional needs into account.

Said another way: Answer the right questions and address the emotional needs at each stage of the relationship curve, and the buying process will be consummated, seemingly all by itself. There really isn’t a need to “sell,” if you spend your time helping prospects help themselves through the buying process.

Randall Craig

Randall Craig is the author of seven books, including the recently-released “Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business.” He is the president of consulting firm 108 ideaspace, and speaks on digital marketing, social media strategy and risk. More at