pbTrumpBits #1

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This is it—the backside of Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s go-to White House in Palm Beach, FL. That’s the Intracoastal Waterway, aka Lake Worth. It separates Palm Beach Island from West Palm Beach and the rest of the world. I took the photo from the same vantage point all local, national and international reporters and journalists use—a spit of land right off Southern Blvd. Bridge. It’s one of three bridges that connects you to the island of PB.

 

Happy President’s Day and welcome to the first pbTrumpBits blog entry!

No matter how you feel about our new president, or which party you’re a party to, there is no denying that there always has been and always will be an interest in Palm Beach, Florida.

This slender little perfectly manicured island is and always has been home to America’s—and the world’s– rich and famous. And now with President Trump making his exclusive private club Mar-a-Lago his go-to White House, the appeal to learn more about the island is greater than ever.

With that in mind, pbTrumpBits will bring to its readers tidbits and stories about life on the island as it relates to our new Commander-in-Chief. Content in this blog won’t be a snarky—there are plenty of other sources where you can read that. My intent is to bring to you another view of the new and changing life Trump has brought to Palm Beach as this our 45th President who— even without revealing his tax returns—is said to be America’s richest President ever.

Thanks for reading and hope you will share this new blog with others.

Happy President’s Day.

Back soon.

Dian

POCKETBOOK:Week ending Feb. 18, 2017

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  • If it walks and talks like a bull…

Doug Kass is a stock trader, manages bundles of money,  lives in  Palm Beach  and  has recently changed his outlook on the market.

In his Doug Kass News and Commentary email, dated Feb 15, 2017, he wrote: “As traders, it’s our job to adjust to whatever environment the market presents.

“This is a bull market, the S&P 500 is trading at all-time highs, and corporate taxes are likely to be slashed in the near future. If the market (or an individual stock) wants to go higher, why fight it?”

Okay.

But stock prices are one thing and personal household debt is quite another.

According to a recent CNNMoney.com story, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that  total household debt was $12.58 trillion at the end of 2016.

From the same CNNMoney piece came this: “For the year, (2016), household debt ballooned by $460 billion—the largest increase in almost a decade.

“That means the debt loads of Americans are flirting with 2008 levels, when total consumer debt reached a record high of $12.68 trillion.”

That’s no bull.

Investors beware

 

  • Market Quick Glance

MORE….

More big time scores for the major indices as the week ending Feb. 17, 2017 came to a close. The upward trend was realized in all of the four indices followed below as each reached new all-time highs.

Below are the weekly and 52-week performance results— including the dates each  reached its high—for four popular stock indices, according to data from CNBC.com. Most are based on the close of business prices on Friday, Feb. 17, although a few represent closing prices data from Feb. 15 and Feb. 17. (I don’t know why the different dates but that’s how CNBC reported them.)

-Indices:

-Dow Jones + 4.36% YTD way up from last week’s 2.56%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.34% down from last week’s 27.36%

The DJIA reached a 52-week high of 20639.87 on Feb. 16, 2017 (previous all-time high was 20,298.21 was reached on 2/10/17).

 

-S&P 500 +5.02% YTD way up from last week’s 3.45%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.02 % down bit last week’s 25.07%

The S&P 500 reached a 52-week high of 2,351.31 on Feb. 16, 2017 (its all-time high of 2,319.23 was reached on 2/10/17).

 

-NASDAQ +8.46% YTD way up from last week’s +5.27%

  • 1yr Rtn +28.77% down from last week’s 33.86%

The Nasdaq reached a 52-week high of 5,838.58 on Feb. 17, 2017 ( its all-time high of 5,743.43 was reached on 2/10/17).

 

-Russell 2000 +3.15% up from last week’s +2.34%

  • 1yr Rtn +38.44 % down from last week’s +44.15%

The Russell 2000 reached its all-time high of 1,405.21 on Feb.15, 2107 (its previous high of 1,392.71 was reached on 12/9/16).

 

-Mutual funds

Upward and onward.

The average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund had another good week as, at the close of business on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, the year-to-date return on funds under that  heading was +4.59%, according to Lipper. That’s a decent  jump from last week’s average of +3.11%.

The losing group under that big umbrella  heading was Equity Leverage Funds, at – 12.37% on average. Winning group:Large-Cap Growth Funds, + 7.41%.

Four fund  types under the Sector Equity Funds umbrella heading now have year-to-date average returns of +10% or greater. They include Precious Metals Funds, the  average + 22.50%; Basic Metals Funds, + 10.36%; Commodities Precious Metals Funds, + 10.34%; Global Science/Technology Funds, + 10.23%; and Commodities Base Metals Funds, + 10%.

Latin American Funds,  on average + 13.36%, and India Region Funds, + 10.77%, are the two  biggest YTD  winners so far this year under the World Equity Funds heading.

The average return of the 4,497 funds under the World Equity Funds umbrella is  + 6.40%.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

 

  • For the love of our pets and animals

If you’re a dog, or a cat,  a pig, cow, snake or whatever lover, listen up: The global Animal Medication market is projected to reach $42.9 billion by 2018.

That’s according to a management story, “Animal health market to hit $43 billion in five years”, from WesternFarmPress.com.

That medication estimation, however, isn’t even close to the  figures from the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Their estimate for  2016 is $62.75 billion. In 2015, the U.S. Pet Industry Expenditures figures totaled  $60.28 billion, according to APPA.

While those figures are vastly different as the global Animal Medication and APPA represent two different  segments  of the huge pet industry/market, each show what many of us  already know: Every year we spend  a whole lot of money on our pets and animals.

For example, going back to figures from the APPA,  in 2006 U.S. pet industry expenditures totaled$38.5 tillion. In 1996, $21 trillion.

I mention this because the cost and care of our pets, animals and livestock  has been  a huge and growing industry for some time now. And, it might be one in which you’d like to invest.

In the WesternFarmPress.com story the names of the “major players” in the global medication market included companies that most of us  have heard of as they are the makers of many of the meds we two-legged folk take.

If  you’re interested in catching this  pet medication market– hope-it’s-not-too-late– trend by the tail and  would like to research some of the companies  included in the WesternFarmPress piece, they  included: Abbott Animal Health, Bayer HealthCare AG, Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Ceva Santé Animale S.A., Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC, Eli Lilly and Company, Merck Animal Health, Merial Limited, Novartis Animal Health, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., Vetericyn, Inc., Vétoquinol SA, and Virbac SA.

 

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb. 11, 2017

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  • It’s golden

Don’t know if it’s just because of Valentine’s Day but gold has regained popularity once again. Any why not? Who doesn’t love a golden bobble and wouldn’t covet a closet full of gold bars.

The ask price of an ounce of gold was $1226.30 at 9:24 this morning, 2/13/17, according to Kitco.com where you can follow live prices of it and other precious metals. For a point of reference, between August 15,2016 through Feb. 10, 2017, gold traded as high as $1352.10 an ounce in August to its December low of $1128.20, according to the site.

Word is, the rally in it is supposed to continue. If you are a believer, you can buy the stuff in various easy, or not-so-easy, ways to handle. Or, consider individual mining stocks, mutual funds or ETFs.

To begin your research make sure to read the Feb. 6, 2017, CNBC.com pieced titled, “Look out:Gold and bonds are sending a signal reminiscent of 1987 and 1973 market crashes”.

That warned, a very few of the ETFs you might want to research include SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), iShares Gold Trust (IAU) and ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (SGOL) . Gold mners ETFs such as Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) and Sprott Gold Miners ETF (SGDM). Or triple leveraged ones like Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NUGT) and Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3x Shares.

Don’t forget, gold is touchy and as such can be a very fickle investment. Handle with care inside and outside of your portfolio.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Big time scores on the major indices for the week ending Feb. 10, 2017 with new all time highs reached on three of the four indices followed below.

A few changes in the Market Quick Glance figures: Gone is the P/E ratio and added is the date each index  reached it all time high. And, I’ve also changed sources for the data because Bloomberg.com has changed its format. As a result, the new site, its look and changes for the free user aren’t as complete as they previously were.

So…below are the weekly and 1-year performance results— including the dates each has reached it high—for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices at the close of business on Friday, Feb. 10, according to CNBC.com

-Indices:

-Dow Jones + 2.56% YTD, up from last week’s 1.56%

  • 1yr Rtn +27.36% up from last week’s 22.86%

The DJIA reached its all time high of 20,298.21 on 2/10/17 (previous high was 20,125.58 on 1/26/17).

 

-S&P 500 +3.45% YTD up from last week’s 2.62% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +25.07% up bit last week’s 20.86%

The S&P 500 reached its all time high of 2,319.23 on 2/10/17 (previous high was 2,300.99 on 1/26/17).

 

-NASDAQ +5.27% YTD up a bit from last week’s 5.20%

  • 1yr Rtn +33.86% way up from last week’s 25.81%

The Nasdaq reached its all time high of 5,743.43 on 2/10/17 ( previous high was 5,669.61 on 1/26/17).

 

–Russell 2000 +2.34% up from last week’s +1.53%

  • 1yr Rtn +44.158% up from last week’s 36.38%

The Russell 2000 reached its all time high of 1,392.71 on 12/9/16.

 

-Mutual funds

A good week for mutual funds! Turns out the year-to-date return for the average fund was 3.11% at the close of biz on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2011, according to Lipper. That’s a big jump from the previous week’s close of 1.81% for funds included under the U.S. Diversified Equity Fund umbrella.

Under the Sector Equity Funds heading, biggest scores went to Precious Metals Funds, up on average 21.19% and biggest losers were Commodities Equity Funds, down 5.73%.

BTW, the average Sector Equity Fund was up 3.49%. That’s more than the return for the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund and way less than that of the average World Equity Fund. It’s up 5% thanks in part to the average India Region Funds’ return of 11.68%.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

 

  • Dear Valentine

With all of the commercial hoopla about Valentine’s Day going on, its easy to forget—or simply overlook—the fact that this day may not be the greatest for everyone. In fact, I’d say that having a sad, sour or disappointing Valentine’s Day is a reality for many, if not most, of us.

That said, last week I received an email about this Feb.14th day, that’s worth a read. It’s about making the most of this day no matter what your circumstances are.

Written by author Susan Alpert, I’m going to guess that if you follow any one or number of her suggestions that your Valentine’s Day this year will have more meaning to it than you ever could have imagined.

Here is it: “Surviving Loss During Valentine’s Day

February 14th, Valentine’s Day, is almost here.  Everywhere you go you see colorful and enticing ads for flowers, jewelry, and photos of blissfully happy couples. Does it make you smile or make you want to crawl up into a ball and hide? There are millions of people who are without that special love, through death, divorce, separation or personal situations.  Are you one of them?

If that iconic Valentine’s red heart is broken in your eyes, there are steps you can take to put a patch on it, even for just this one dreaded day.  You’ll find there can be pleasure, joy and smiles; even if it’s not in the form you envisioned. Happiness comes in the most surprising ways:

  • First acknowledge that you’re feeling alone and in pain, it’s natural.
    Give yourself permission to feel down and even depressed, it’s your right.
    Make certain to get dressed, get out of your house and socialize.  It’s a temporary fix, but it helps.
    Reach out to someone else who needs love.
    Give a valentine card or heart to a little child. Sometimes they get left out in school. Watch the smile on their face.
    Buy yourself a present.  You deserve it. Repeat to yourself that you are loved by others.
    Help a stranger; volunteer at a charity, a shelter.  It will automatically make you feel better.
    Take yourself, or better yet, go with a friend, to a movie (not a romantic, mushy one), exercise; another positive diversion.
    Thank someone who has loved you; a parent, relative, friend, children, grandchildren).  Wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day.
    Remember the good times and remind yourself that there will be more to come. Then, believe it and it will happen.”

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb. 4, 2017

  • img_1539REPEAT: Markets hate uncertainty

This was the opening piece in last week’s POCKETBOOK but it’s worth rereading particularly given the decisions, actions and tweets of President Trump over the past week.

Funny thing about the stock market: On the one hand it looks ahead, on the other it doesn’t like uncertainty. Or social unrest and there is plenty of that going on.

So, with a new President in town, and one who takes bold actions and is hard to figure, investors would be wise to expect a fair amount of market volatility going forward. Also, that life is going to be more expensive on a number of fronts for individuals and the country.

Re the country, expect more debt..

Even though the GOP is no fan of debt, President Trump has been called the King of Debt. Which is okay when your kingdom is a privately held corporation. But not so okay when you are a public servant.

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed over 20,000 and at 20,071.46 on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. Nonetheless, the Dow lost ground over the week from its previous week’s close —and— for the past year.

Looking at just the 1-year returns, the Russell 2000 appears to have been the place to be: Up over 36% for the past year. But numbers can be deceiving—the Russell 2000 hit its all time high in December 2016 unlike the other three indices followed here. Each of them reached their new highs in January.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices at the close of business on Friday, Feb. 3, according to CNBC.com. (I’ve changed sources here because Bloomberg.com has changed its format and, in my opinion, the new site, its look and the changes for the free user are horrible.)

-Indices:

-Dow Jones + 1.56% YTD, down a bit from last week’s 1.78%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.86% down from last week’s 25.32%

The DJIA reached its all time high of 20,125.58 on 1/26/17

 

-S&P 500 +2.62% YTD up a bit from last week’s 2.60% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +20.86% down bit last week’s 20.86%

The S&P 500 reached its all time high of 2,300.99 on 1/26/17

 

-NASDAQ +5.27% YTD up a bit from last week’s 5.20%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.81% way up from last week’s 24.36%

The Nasdaq reached its all time high of 5,669.61 on 1/26/17

 

–Russell 2000 +1.53% up from last week’s +1.05%

  • 1yr Rtn +36.38% up from last week’s 34.36%

The Russell 2000 reached its all time high of1,392.71 on 12/9/16

 

-Mutual funds

A bit of a downer as far as the average goes for the 8,479 funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Fund umbrella. At the close of business on Thursday, Feb.2, 2017 the average year-to-date return for those funds was 1.81%, according to Lipper. That was down the previous week’s 2.61% average.

Under that broad U.S. Diversified Equity Fund heading, Equity Leverage Funds which were hotsy totsy the week before lost ground from their up 7.52% average with  YTD returns now at  5.59%. Next in performance were Large-Cap Growth Funds up 4.27% followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 4.14%.

Precious Metals Equity Funds scored the highest under the Sector Fund heading, up 17.38% on average. The average YTD return for the 2,307 funds under the Sector Fund heading was up 2.48%.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

 

  • Let’s talk unemployment and say “Thank You, Obama.”

When it comes to the unemployed, there are fewer of them now (on record) than there were seven years ago.

Jon Erlichman, a journalist for Fortune, the Business News Network and a number of other outlets, posted the U.S Unemployment Rates based on end of January figures.

In a nutshell, they reveal that at the end of Jan. 2010 the unemployment rate was 9.8%—at the end of Jan. 2017, that rate stood at 4.8%.

Thank you, President Obama.

The bar has now been set for President Trump, who took office officially on Jan. 20, 2017.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan.28, 2017

  • 7be6974a-a70c-449c-b75f-92ef077bf8a2 Markets hate uncertainty

Funny thing about the stock market: On the one hand it looks ahead, on the other it doesn’t like uncertainty. Or, social unrest and there is plenty of that going on.

So, with a new President in town, and one who takes bold actions and is hard to figure, investors would be wise to expect a fair amount of market volatility going forward. Also, that life is going to be more expensive on a number of fronts for individuals and the country.

Re the country, expect more debt.

Even though the GOP is no fan of debt, President Trump has been called the King of Debt. Which is okay when your kingdom is a privately held corporation. But not so okay when you are a public servant.

  • Market Quick Glance

It was a week of ups and downs and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing over 20,000. How long the DJIA stays at the level—and continues upward– is anybody’s guess.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices at the close of business on Friday, Jan. 27, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones + 1.78% YTD up from last week’s 0.43%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.32% down from last week’s 26.53%

P/E Ratio 18.55 down from last week’s 18.66

 

-S&P 500 +2.60% YTD up from last week’s 1.55% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +20.86% down from last week’s 21.73%

P/E Ratio 21.28 down a tad from last week’s 21.22

 

-NASDAQ +5.20% YTD up from last week’s 3.23%

  • 1yr Rtn +24.36% up from last week’s 22.65%

P/E Ratio 34.91 up from last week’s 34.39

 

–Russell 2000 +1.05% way up from last week’s -0.35%

  • 1yr Rtn +34.36% down a bit from last week’s 34.44%

P/E Ratio 48.27 up from last week’s 49.19

 

-Mutual funds

The average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund ended the week up with a year-to-date return of 2.61% at the close of business on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, according to Lipper.

Under that broad U.S. Diversified Equity Fund heading, it was Dedicated Short Bias Funds that lost the most, down on average 5.58%.They were followed by Alternative Equity Market Neutral funds, down 0.08%.

On the plus side, Equity Leverage Funds were up 7.52% nearly double the previous week return of 3.59%. Next in performance were Large-Cap Growth Funds up 4.81% followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 4.60%.

The average Sector Fund was up 2.73% up from 1.43%; World Equity Fund up 4.47% from 2.55%; and Mixed Asset Funds doubled their average return in a week to close at 2.10% from last Thursday’s close of 1%.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

  • Actions have consequences

If there is one thing that President Trump’s slew of executive orders signed during his first full week in office has shown everyone,  it is that actions have consequences. They always have. They always will. Unfortunately the consequences part of that equation never really shows its head until after an action has taken place.

Take the executive order signed on Friday to stop travelers from seven countries coming to America. BTW, none of those countries were places that Trump has business relationships.

Clearly that action had political, emotional and economic consequences felt around the globe. I’m not sure if the administration had anticipated any of those consequences but am certain travelers and the general public did not.

Or the order signed to build a wall along the U.S. and Mexican border. One of its many consequences will be its cost.

One of the curious things about executive orders—other than their extraordinary power– is that when you really begin to think about them as actions, the first question a reasoning person has to ask themselves is “Why was it put in place?” and the second, “What purpose will it/they actually serve?”

Word is President Trump has a bunch of executive orders he is prepared to present and sign. As for what the consequences of each of those actions will be, the answer is: We shall see.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan.21, 2017

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•Bookies bets and recession realities

Wall Streeters aren’t the only ones who consider odds. Turns out the gambling world does too. According to Paddy Power, an online betting site, the odds of Trump not completing a full term as President of the United States is 7 to 4.

Additionally, the odds of Trump being impeached or forced to resign are 4 to 2; to split from Melania in 2017, 16 to 1; and to paint the entire White House gold, 500 to 1.

On that last point, Trump has made quite a dent with that gold thing. Seems this golden-haired guy has already had gold curtains installed in the Oval Office along with a gold rug and who knows where else you’ll find his golden touch.

While gold may be his thing, color the entire economic picture of the United States of America gray as the likelihood of a Trump recession during his tenure in office is 100 %.

As I wrote a few weeks back, there has been a recession during every single Republican president’s administration since World War II.

  • Market Quick Glance

In case you’ve forgotten, there were only 4 trading days last week—Monday was the Martin Luther King holiday and markets were closed. Oh, and there was the inauguration of our 45th President–a holiday for some.

So it was a four-day Wall Street week and as it turned out, not a great one for investors with the indices all  closing  lower than they had the week previous.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices  on Friday, Jan. 20, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones + 0.43% YTD down from last week’s 1.07%.

  • 1yr Rtn +26.53% up from last week’s 23.63%.

P/E Ratio 18.66 up from last week’s 18.80.

 

-S&P 500 +1.55% YTD down from last week’s 1.67%.

  • 1yr Rtn +21.73% down from last week’s +23.63%.

P/E Ratio 21.22 up from last week’s 20.36.

 

-NASDAQ +3.23 YTD down from last week’s3.57%.

  • 1yr Rtn +22.65% down from last week’s 25.87%.

P/E Ratio 34.39 down from last week’s 34.47.

 

-Russell 2000 -0.35%YTD way down from last week’s +1.13%

  • 1yr Rtn +34.44% down from last week’s +38.0%.

P/E Ratio 48.13 down from last week’s 49.19.

 

-Mutual funds

Average year-to-date returns were lower at the close of business on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, as the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund ended the week up 0.94%, according to Lipper ( it closed on 1/12/17 at 1.38%).

Even Equity Leverage Funds were off at 3.59% from the previous week’s  4.62% average return. Large-Cap Growth Funds were a tad off at 3.11% from their 1/12/17 showing of 3.13%.

The average year-to-date  Sector Fund was up 1.43%; World Equity Fund up 2.55%; and Mixed Asset Funds ahead by 1%.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

  • Fidelity stock fund managers and the stocks they like.

Ever now and then I get  an email from Jim Lowell, editor of Fidelity Investor, an investor advice newsletter.

In the one received on Jan. 22, he listed Fidelity’s Top 20 Favorite Stocks that he wrote were

“ the most owned, and hence most liked, by Fidelity’s top managers.”

While I can’t verify that. Or, don’t know the date when the list was compiled or when they were gleaned precisely from where, or if those holdings are still in portfolios, I did find the list interesting and thought you might too.

With that in mind, the list of 20 includes:

#1) Alphabet (GOOG)

#2)Apple(APPL)

#3) Facebook (FB)

#4) Amazon (AMZN)

#5) iShares ETFs

#6) Microsoft (MSFT)

#7) Berkshire Hathaway (BRK):

#8) Visa (V)

#9) UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

#10) Medtronic (MDT)

#11) Salesforce (CRM)

#12) Amgen Inc. (AMGN)

#13) NVIDIA Corp (NVDA)

#14) JP Morgan Chase (JPM)

#15) Wells Fargo (WFC)

#16) Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI)

#17) Home Depot (HD)

#18) Chevron (CVX)

#19) MasterCard Inc. (MA)

#20) QUALCOMM Inc. (QCOM)

 

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A great day for a rally

Thousands of women — and a few good men–showed up for the Palm Beach County Women’s March –Local  Rally– at the Meyer Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Fl. today (1/21/17).

No marching, however. Just a good ole peaceful political rally in a magnificent setting where  Pete Seeger’s songs were sung and their lyrics heard loudly and clearly.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan.14, 2017

  • 7be6974a-a70c-449c-b75f-92ef077bf8a2•Where’s the beef?

Whether you want to admit it or not, the vast majority of Americans don’t have enough money to fully finance life during their retirement years or cover any out-of-the-blue expenses today.

For anyone who has believed soon to be President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, when it comes to making money and it having a positive difference in one’s life, that privilege will continue to go to the  top 1%ers and not the majority of working Americans.

And, until the huge spread between the incomes of those at the top of the income heap vs those in the middle and the bottom is significantly reduced, that’s how things will remain going forward. Period.

So, for the nearly 60% of Americans who, according to a report from Bankrate on CNNMoney.com, don’t have $500 to $1000 to cover an unexpected expenses, ‘great again’ ain’t gonna happen.

Bottom line: Expect life going forward to be more expensive than it is today.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

We’ve lived through a second week of market action and low and behold, things have changed: While the major indices all had YTD returns on the plus side of the scale, not all were higher.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices at the close of business on Friday, Jan.13, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +0.68%YTD down from last week’s 1.07%

  • 1yr Rtn +23.63% down from last week’s 25.44%

P/E Ratio 18.80 down from last week’s 18.96

 

-S&P 500 +1.67%YTD down from last wee’s 1.76%

  • 1yr Rtn +23.63% up from last week’s 21.08%

P/E Ratio up from last week’s 20.36

 

-NASDAQ +3.57%YTD up from last week’s 2.58%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.87% up from last week’s 20.51%

P/E Ratio 34.47 up from last week’s 34.39

 

-Russell 2000 +1.13%YTS up from last week’s 0.76%

  • 1yr Rtn +38.0% up from last week’s 32.67%

P/E Ratio 49.19 down from last week’s 49.42

 

-Mutual funds

Not much changed in Mutualfundland by the close of business on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 as the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund ended the week up 1.38%, a hair lower than it had the previous week (1.39%), according to Lipper.

Equity Leverage Funds were a bit weaker but still the strongest of the lot, up on average 4.62% (last week 4.73%). Large-Cap Growth Funds showed their muscle, up on average 3.13%.

Looking only at the performance of the 25 largest mutual funds, the Fidelity Contrafund was up 3.21%, the Vanguard Total Stock Index (institutional), up 3.02% and the Vanguard Total Stock Index (investors), up 2.99%.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

  • Martin Luther King

Acknowledging the two sides of celebrating the MLK holiday begins with honoring the extraordinary works and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King. And, accepting the reality that racism in America is still very much alive and exists.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan.7, 2017

IMG_0204•It’s time to go to Europe

Lots of talk about the strength of the U.S. Dollar and one major sized plus of its current value that’s not getting much attention is that your greenback will buy more when traveling across the pond.

So, If you love Europe and would like to take advantage of exchange rates —on currencies such as the euro and British Pound Sterling— their exchange rates are attractive.

Given that exchange rates are always changing, as of Jan.9 around 9:30 a.m., here’s a look at the EUR-USD rate 1.0528, according to Bloomberg. And the BPS (GPS-USD) rate of 1.226.

Flipped those exchange rates read like this: EUR, 0.95 and GBP,0.815.

Happy spending and safe travels.

 

•Market Quick Glance

The first week of the New Year was off to a positive start for all four indices followed. And that’s the good news.

The uncertain news is what’s to follow.

With an economy that some say is heating up and other’s cooling down, inflation a concern for all and a new president with a bullying style and

not always known for keeping his word, what’s in store for Wall Street in 2017 is anyone’s guess.

I’m hoping for the positive.

On that note, below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices  on Friday, Jan.6, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +1.07% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +25.44%

P/E Ratio 18.96

 

-S&P 500 +1.76% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +21.08%

P/E Ratio 20.36

 

-NASDAQ +2.58% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +20.51%

P/E Ratio 34.39

 

-Russell 2000 +0.76% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +32.67%

P/E Ratio 49.42

-Mutual funds

The New Year brought with it positive results for the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund, too. At the close of business on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, the average return for the 8,471 funds that come under that broad heading was up 1.39%, according to Lipper.

Curiously, it was Equity leverage Funds, there are 200 of them tracked, that scored the best—up on average 4.73%. The lowest returns? Specialty Diversified Equity Funds, up 0.73% followed by last year’s winner, Small-Cap Value Funds, up 0.96%. In 2016, Small-Cap Value Funds’ scores were the highest with the average return up 27.25%.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

 

•Vanguard brings in big big bucks

If you’ve ever wondered where some investor money is going, it’s to the Vanguard Group. They are the largest mutual fund manager around and in 2016 brought in $305 billion beating their 2015 take of $276.4 billion.

According to Vanguard representative, John Woerth, most of that money went into Vanguard index funds although about $50 billion made its way into that fund family’s actively managed stock and bond funds.

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Why DJIA didn’t hit 20,000 yesterday

bjcgdm-mjl0-andy-bealesMarkets don’t like risk. Or political, social and economic unrest. Or any threat of terrorism— be it perceived or real.

So here’s how I saw yesterday’s market activity:  On Friday, January 6,  right after 1 in the afternoon —-just as the champagne corks were about to pop and celebrations were about to begin on Wall Street as the DJIA was cozying up to the  wildly anticipated 20,000 marker— another more important event  was also going on: At the Ft. Lauderdale Airport in Florida,  in the baggage claim area, one disturbed individual had taken out his gun and was shooting and killing innocents.

In case you may have forgotten, risk happens fast. Changes in the direction of the markets  do too. And no matter if it’s the bulls or the bears that appear to be running Wall Street, what’s behind their strength  are the social, economic and political risks of the day.

If there are  lessons to be learned from January 6th’s horrible incident. let the first be about the realities of making money. And the more important second,  a reminder of the frailties of life.

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