pbTrumpBits#11

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This is the front gate of Trump’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. If you expected golden gates, you’d be mistaken. Nothing much special–or golden– about them, except  for the $200,000 membership fee it costs to pass through them. And, that they are in need of repair.

Kinda, sorta, not exactly but some might say,  a part-time plunder.

No matter whose numbers you believe, or how much you love or loathe the 45th president of these United States, you’ve got to admit that his Mar-a-Lago private club is one cash cow.

Figures released this week indicate that Trump’s Palm Beach golden nugget brought in somewhere between $20 million to $37.5 million  over a 15-month period ending this spring.

That’s one heck of a chunk of change for a part-time gig. Yes, you read that correctly—the club is only open seasonally.

No doubt there are thousands of U.S. private company owners who can only dream of bringing in revenues of $20-38 million in one year. One full, 12-month calendar year.

Oh well.

And then there is the back door: While the front gates of Mar-a-Lago are closed, the back ones aren’t.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 16, 2017

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  • Inflation

About as sneaky as sneaky can get, inflation quietly reveals itself over time and steals our money in plain sight and right before our very eyes. Now that I think of it, it’s kind of like aging: One day we are young and then what seems like the next day our skin has sagged and wrinkles appear to have come out of nowhere. But they haven’t, day by day, year by year we have grown older and aged in plain site and right before our very eyes.

If I were smart, I’d use the rest of this entry to sell you an amazing stay-young-forever youth cream that comes with an instant bonus pack of how to fight inflation, but I haven’t created that cream just yet. As for inflation, it is something you can prepare for.

Recently, MyBudget360.com had a piece that addressed the four horsemen of inflation; college tuition, medical care, hosing and stagnant wages. I can think of a few others, but it’s there story.

Basically, what each of us needs to remember is that as time goes on, the reason our money doesn’t go as far as it used to is because of inflation’s sublte way of destroying the purchasing power of our dollars. The results—-it takes more dollars to buy goods and services. Anyone remember when a cup of coffee cost 25 cents and refills were free?

So if you’re a teachable moment kind of person, the very best thing an adult can teach a child, friend or loved one is to save, save, and save a portion of every dollar that comes their way for a future that’s guaranteed to cost more than the past.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It’s a go-figure kind of market for equity enthusiasts.

While there is not much more to say on that score, readers here would b wise to remember these two things: One, don’t fight the trend. And two, trees don’t grow to the sky.

Below are weekly and 1-year performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, June 16, 2017.

-DJIA + 8.21% YTD up from last week’s +7.64%

  • 1 yr Rtn +20.59% up from last week’s 18.27%

The DJIA reached a new all-time high of 21,391.97 on June 14, 2017. (Previous highs include: 21,305.35 on June 9, 2017; 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017; and 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.)

-S&P 500 +8.68% YTD up a hair from last week’s 8.62%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.09% up from last week’s +14.95%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,446.2 on June 9, 2017. (Previus highs include 2,440.23 reached on June 2, 2017; 2,418.71 reached on May 25, 2017; 2,405.77 reached on May 16, 2017; 2403.87 on May 9, 2017; 2,400.98 reached on March 1, 2017.)

-NASDAQ +14.28% YTD down from last week’s +15.32%

  • 1yr Rtn +26.97% up from last week’s 25.19%

The Nasdaq reached its most recent new all-time high of 6,341.7 on June 9, 2017. (Previous highs include: 6,308.76 on June 2; 6,217.34 reached on May 25; 6,170,16 on May 16; 6,133 on May 9, 2017; 6102.72 on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

–Russell 2000 +3.65% YTD down from last week’s +4.76%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.52% up from last week’s +20.36%

The Russell 2000 reached its latest all-time high of 1,433.789 on June 9, 2017. (Previous highs include 1,425.7 reached on April 26, 2017 and of 1,414,82 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

The average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund lost ground last week as at the close of business on Thursday, June 15, 2017 the average equity fund’s year-to-date return was 7.58%. The previous week’s figure was 7.90%.

Each week, Lipper provides performance figures for the 25 Largest Mutual Funds. Largest meaning funds with the most dollars invested in them as based on their total net assets.

Curiously, of the 25 funds on that list of biggies, 14 of them are from Vanguard. Seems as though the sales pitches from that family best known for its low-cost cost of ownership has worked.

The largest of the Vanguard funds in that list is the Vanguard 500 Index: Admiral fund with $203,021.6 million in assets as of May 31,2017. Although that fund is second in assets size—the SPDR S&P 500 ETF has more in assets at 235,791.8 million.

But, having a lot of assets in a fund doesn’t necessairly translate into top performance figures.

Big fat funds rewarding their shareholders the most, as of June 15, 2017, include the Fidelity Contrafund, up 17.05%; the Vanguard Total 1 Stock Fund; Inst, up 13.98%; and Vanguards Total 1 Stock fund; Inv, up 13.92%.

The three big funds with the lowest returns include Vanguard’s Total Bond 11 : Investor fund, up 2.715, the Vanguard Total Bond 11: Admiral fund, up 2.76% and the Dodge & Cox Stock fund up 6.06&.

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.

 

  • Millionaires love owning stocks.

Robert Frank writes about all things wealth-related for CNBC. In a recent piece titled, ” Millionaires own a record 45% of the world’s weath—and their share is growing, “ comes these little tidbits:

  • Research from that 45% piece was based on data from the Boston Consulting Group.
  • America has the most millionaires—over 7 millionaire households.
  • Multimillionaires are the biggest wealth winners of all and they expect that pot to get fatter—8.4% fatter by 2021.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 9, 2017

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  • A correction on its way?

 The fine folks at the Bespoke Investment Group have a way of clarifying all things market related using historic facts and figures.

From them comes this bundle of S&P goodies that may or may not help you with your investing goals and expectations:

  • The S&P 500 hasn’t had a 10% correction in the last 16 months.
  • The current rally has lasted 477 calendar days making it the 11th longest run for that index without a 10% correction since 1928.
  • If you think that the S&P 500 is going to continue the rally and hope it becomes one of the longest running rallies around, it needs to run another 173 days.
  • To pull that off, this rally would have to go on past Thanksgiving.

Looks like enthusiastic S&P 500 bulls need to think “turkey trot”.

BTW, Bespoke also reported that when a correction does come along after rallies lasting  10 years or more, the decline has been  15.7% over 142 days. “Compared to all corrections since 1928 where the average decline was 19.5%,…”

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Believe it or not, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ were both down from their previous week’s close and their 1-year returns were down as well. That means the star performing index turned out to be the Russell 2000—it was up on both scores.

Depending upon which money guru you read or take the advice of, the bull market in equities is getting a little long in the tooth or still has plenty of space to run.

Below are weekly and 1-year performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, June 9, 2017.

 

-DJIA +7.64% YTD up from last week’s +7.30%

  • 1 yr Rtn +18.27% down from last week’s 19.08%

The DJIA reached a new all-time high of 21,305.35 on June 9, 2017. That’s one week after the 21,225.04 high reached on June 2, 2017. (Previous high of 21,169.11 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-S&P 500 +8.62% YTD down from last week’s 8.90%

  • 1yr Rtn +14.95% down from last week’s +16.15%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,446.2 on June 9, 2017. That’s one week after the 2,440.23 reached on June 2, 2017. (Previous highs of 2,418.71 was reached on May 25, 2017; the high of 2,405.77 was reached on May 16, 2017; the high of 2403.87 was reached on May 9, 2017; and the a high of 2,400.98 was reached on March 1, 2017. )

 

 

-NASDAQ +15.32% YTD down from last week’s +17.14%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.19% down from last week’s 26.84%

The NASDAQ reached another new all-time high of 6,341.7 on June 9, 2017. (Some of the other previous highs include:6,308.76 on June 2; 6,217.34 reached on May 25; 6,170,16 on May 16; 6,133 on May 9, 2017; 6102.72 on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

–Russell 2000 +4.76% YTD up from last week’s +3.56%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.36 % upfrom last week’s +20.06%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,433.789 on June 9, 2017. (Previous high of 1,425.7 was reached on April 26, 2017 and before that a high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

The average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund was up a tad from the previous week. So, at the close of business on Thursday, June 8, 2017 the average equity fund’s year-to-date return was 7.90%. The previous week’s figure was 7.56%.

Once again, the top performance categories under that heading are beginning to sound like a broken record—with one exception: the order has changed. The top performing group was Equity Leverage Funds, up 17.47 ahead of Large-Cap Growth Funds up 17.21% followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 15.77%

For a second week in a row the average Sector Fund return barely budged and ended the week up 4.79% a hair about the previous week’s close of 4.78%.

It is still a Global Science/Technology Funds world, up 27.58%. And Commodities Energy Funds continued to lose more ground with the average fund -19.37% ( previous week the figure was -16.07%).

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.

 

  • Rate hikes

The Fed is expected to raise rates by 25 basis points—that translates to one-quarter of one percent.

That means life has gotten more expensive for anyone with an adjustable mortgage or home equity line of credit, or who is applying for a new mortgage, car loan or has with credit card debt that isn’t paid off in full each month.

It also means banks will be getting more of your money should you have any of the relationships mentioned above in place.

Unfortunately, an interest rate increase like that won’t mean much for savers who earn interes on their savings accounts.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 2, 2017

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  • About us

Each week I receive Jonathan Clements’ Humble Dollar newsletter. Data from a recent one included stats from a 2016 General Social Survey that shows how much attitudes about our financial lives have changed over 44 years.

Here’s what that survey revealed:

-“30% of Americans said they were very happy in 2016, unchanged from the 30% who described themselves that way in 1972. Over this 44-year stretch, inflation-adjusted per capita disposable income rose 120%. More money, it seems, hasn’t bought happiness.”

-“29% of Americans were satisfied with their financial situation, versus 32% in 1972. Meanwhile, the percentage who aren’t at all satisfied has climbed from 23% in 1972 to 27% in 2016.”

-“31% of Americans felt their incomes were below average or far below average, compared with 24% in 1972.”

-“58% agreed or strongly agreed that they had a good chance of improving their standard of living, versus 72% in 1987.”

If you’re a survey results believer, it seems like those of us who have been around for a while were  financially happier in ’72 than we are today.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It was a week of new all-time highs reached for the  DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ but not  the Russell 2000. The Russell did, however, see a nice move upward in its year-to-date performance.

For the past few weeks I’ve been pointing out that the 1-year return figures have been worth watching and I’ll say the say the same this week. Even though most saw gains, they were modest at best. Any trend seekers might want to keep their eyes on that longer view for no other reason, perhaps, than to have something to talk about.

Although the 1-year return for our major indices are attractive, they pale in comparison with that of the Caracas Stock Exchange, Caracas General: Its year-to-date return through June 2, 2017 is + 146.46% and for 1 year is up 403.44%.

Below are weekly and 1-year performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, June 2, 2017.

-DJIA +7.30% YTD up from last week’s +6.67%

  • 1 yr Rtn +19.08% up from last week’s 18.24%

The DJIA reached a new all-time high of 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017. (The previous high of 21,169.11 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-S&P 500 +8.90% YTD up from last week’s 7.91%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.15% up from last week’s +15.58%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,440.23 on June 2, 2017. (Its previous high of 2,418.71 was reached on May 25, 2017. Prior to that, the previous high of 2,405.77 was reached on May 16, 2017. Before that the high of 2403.87 was reached on May 9, 2017and before that, the a high of 2,400.98 was reached on March 1, 2017. )

 

-NASDAQ +17.14% YTD up from last week’s +15.36%

  • 1yr Rtn +26.84% up a tad from last week’s 26.69%

The Nasdaq reached another new all-time high of 6,308.76 on June 2, 2017. (Its previous all-time high of 6,217.34 was reacged May 25, 2017. Then before that a high of 6,170,16 was reached on May 16, 2017; the high of 6,133 was reached on May 9, 2017; a high of 6102.72 was reached on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 hit on April 5, 2017.)

–Russell 2000 +3.56% YTD way up from last week’s +1.85%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.06 % down from last week’s +21.28%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

As you might expect, the year-to-date return for the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund was up from the previous week. This, thanks to the new highs reached by equity prices. So, at the close of business on Thursday, June 1, 2017 the average equity fund’s year-to-date return was 7.56%, up a healthy amount from the previous week’s figure of 6.70%.

The top performance categories under that heading are beginning to sound like a broken record a Large-Cap Growth Funds continued to lead the way, now up 16.40 %—that week the figure was15.59%. Once again behind it were Equity Leverage Funds, up 16.02% (last week it was15.26%) and then followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 15.14% (last week’s figure was14.17%).

While the average Sector Fund return barely budged, it ended the week up 4.78% a breath above the previous week’s figure of 4.77%.

That said, Global Science/Technology Funds continued to lead the performance game, up on average 25.29% ( last week’s figure was 24.73%) while Commodities Energy Funds lost more ground during the week with an average return of -16.07% ( the previous week the figure was -13.72%.)

It continues to be the wide great big world that we live in where the most money looks like it’s being made. The average return for the 4,495 funds that fall under the World Equity Funds heading were up 15.48%–that’s up from last week’s 15.01%.

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.

 

  • Is a June Swoon on the way?

Wall Street seers have always had a way of coming up with clever ways to describe the investment world. A world in which making heads or tails about what’s going can only be read in a rearview mirror.

With May behind us, so goes the “Sell in May and go away” quip and in comes the “June swoon”.

In 30 days we will know if there is any truth to that little ditty.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 25, 2017

 

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Lifted from The American Legion, photograph by Andrew Lichtenstein
  • Remember and give thanks

One by one. That’s how we bury those we love and those who have given their lives in battle for us.

On this Memorial Day, why not take one added step to remember and give thanks for all who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms by participating in a national moment of remembrance: At 3 p.m. today,  join with millions of others and take a minute to be silent and give thanks honoring all of those who have died in service to our country.

It’s the right thing to do no matter what political beliefs you may have or don’t have.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Last week I pointed out how the 1-year returns for the indices below have been mighty impressive. This week those figures are worth looking at again because all the year-to-date returns were up for the week but the 1-year figures have lost ground.

Could that longer look be an indication of a downward trend? While we won’t know for sure until more time passes, one thing is hard to argue with: Unless you’re a day trader, it’s over the longer term where most money is made.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, May 26, 2017.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +6.67% YTD up from last week’s 5.27%

  • 1yr Rtn +18.24% down from last week’s 19.33%

The DJIA reached an all-time high of 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.

 

-S&P 500 +7.91% YTD up from last week’s 6.38%

  • 1yr Rtn +15,58% down from last week’s +16.75%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,418.71 on May 25, 2017. (Previous high of 2,405.77 was reached on May 16, 2017. Before that the high of 2403.87 was reached on May 9, 2017and before that, the a high of 2,400.98 was reached on March 1, 2017. )

 

-NASDAQ +15.36% YTD up from last week’s +13.01%

  • 1yr Rtn +26.69% down from last week’s 29.10%

The Nasdaq reached another new all-time high this year of 6,217.34 on May 25, 2017. (NASDAQ previous highs were as follows: 6,170,16 on May 16, 2017; 6,133 reached on May 9, 2017; 6102.72 reached on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 hit on April 5, 2017.)

 

–Russell 2000 +1.85% YTD up from last week’s +0.75%

  • 1yr Rtn +21.28% down from last week’s +24.90%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

The year-to-date return for the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund had a good performance week. At the close of business on Thursday, May 25, 2017 it stood at 6.70% That’s up a tidy sum from the previous week’s figure of 4.77%.

Large-Cap Growth Funds continued to lead the way, up 15.59%. Close behind it were Equity Leverage Funds, up15.26% followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 14.17%.

Lots of pluses and minuses in the Sector Funds world with the average fund under this broad heading up 4.77%. Those invested in Global Science/Technology Funds enjoyed an average return of 24.73% while Commodities Energy Funds’ had an average return of -13.72%.

But it’s World Equity Funds where things continue to be going well as the average fund under this heading was up 15.01%.

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.

 

  • What’s behind “Sell in May and go away”

Some of the they’s on Wall Street are saying that because this market has been so confounding and difficult to call that this time it’s different. Time will tell if the they’s have it right. Or, they don’t.

In the meantime, here’s what history has taught us about the May-November six-month investment strategy that coined the “Sell in May and go away” saying.

From a recent Reuters.com story comes this: “In the last 20 years, a $100 investment in the S&P from November through April would have become $343 while a $100 investment in May through October in the same years would have slipped to $98.50, according to Bespoke Investment Group…”

“From 1928 to 2017 the $100 would have become $4,270 from November through April but would only be worth $257 from investing from May through October,according to Bespoke…”

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 19, 2017

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  • Loving our rides

About 43% of the population has an auto loan. That translates to a record 107 million Americans and up from 80 million in 2012, according to figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Of those 107 million, roughly 6 million people are 90 days or more behind on their car payments.

Oh dear. That’s bad news for people who need their vehicles but can’t afford them. And good news for those with the how-in-the-world-can-they-do-that-job Repo Man.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Although the 1-week and 1-year returns on all of the four indices below show mixed results, what’s staggerily delightful is how these indices have performed over the past year: The DJIA up over 19%; the S&P 500 up over 16%, NASDAQ ahead over 29% and the Russell 2000 up nearly 25%. Those kind of 1-year returns aren’t common—they are exceptional.

Be mindful of that.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, May 19, 2017.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +5.27% YTD down from last week’s 5.74%

  • 1yr Rtn +19.33% up from last week’s 17.92%

The DJIA reached an all-time high of 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.

 

-S&P 500 +6.38% YTD down from last week’s 6.79%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.75% up from last week’s +15/83%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,405.77o on May 16, 2017. (The previous high of 2403.87 was reached on May 9, 2017. Before that, the previous high of 2,400.98 was reached on March 1, 2017. )

 

-NASDAQ +13.01% YTD down from last week’s +13.71%

  • 1yr Rtn +29.10% down from last week’s 29.21%

The NASDAQ reached another new all-time high for the fourth time this year of 6,170,16 on May 16, 2017. (The previous high of 6,133 was reached on May 9, 2017 and before that 6102.72 reached on May 2, 2017. Before that the new high of 6074.04 was achieved on April 28, 2017 and before that date a high of 5,936.39 hit on April 5, 2017.)

 

–Russell 2000 +0.75% YTD down from last week’s +1.89%

  • 1yr Rtn +24.90% up from last week’s +24.73%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, May 18, 2017, the average year-to-date performance of U.S Divesifed Equity Funds was +4.77%.

Under that broad umbrella heading it was Large-Cap Growth Funds that lead the way, up 12.68%, followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 11.41% and then Equity Leverage Funds, up 11.39%.

Under the Sector Funds heading it was Global Science/Technology Funds returning the most with the average fund in it up 20.95%. And under the World Equity Funds heading, India Region Funds continue to reign, up on average 24.56%.

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.

•Keeping up with the Jones’ and the U.S. Census Bureau

According to TheBalance.com, every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau comes out with figures that measure the average net worth of all of us.The last time the numbers were calculated  was in 2011 and the next one coming is in 2021. Their net worth results take into consideration upon both household income and age. For instance, while the median wealth per household for all households is $68,828, the median wealth of those younger than 35 is only $6,676.Look at other age groups and you’ll find different results. For those aged 55-64, the median wealth jumps to $143,964. And where you’ll find the wealthiest households is for those  in which the age range is 75 or more, it’s $155,714.If you’re puzzled by these figures, and think they seem considerable lower than what you may have heard or read before, keep in mind that the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. government don’t count things in the same way. Surprise. Surprise.Why? Because the gov looks at wealth by income while the U.S. Census Bureau by net worth. Using the governments income figures, for the 20 percent of folks whose income falls in the lowest quintile their median net worth is -$6,029. Those in the middle, have an average net worth of $68,828. And those in the top 20 percent have an median net worth of $630,754.So that explains why there is such a huge difference in median net worth figures. And, how close to impossible it is to keep up with the Jones’.
Read the full story, “What Is the Average American Net Worth?”, written by Kimberly Amadeo and updated on May 12, 2017 at www.thebalance.com ,

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 12, 2017

 

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•Now and Then

Now: Age reality

From a story by James Fallows at theatlantic.com: “The tangled affair now known as Watergate began 45 years ago, before most of today’s U.S. population had ever been born.”

Fallows piece, “Five Reasons the Comey Affair Is Worse Than Watergate”, pointed out that the median age of Americans today is about 38. And for most people “Watergate is a historical allusion…”

From me: Age reality is important to keep in mind whenever you’re trying to understand and figure out why things are as they are in the markets, politics, the economy and your personal life.

Then: Stocks and Watergate

In case you’ve been wondering, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hadn’t hit the 4-digit mark before Watergate. Really. Truly. Kinda hard to believe that today, isn’t it.

But, according to a May 11, 2017 Reuters.com story by Rob Cox comes this: “The Dow stood at a little under 1,000 in early February 1973, just before Congress voted to create a select committee to look into the Nixon camp’s activities during the 1972 election.”

“Toward the end of 1974, after the president was forced to quit in August that year, the average had tumbled to a nadir below 600 points for a loss of over 40 percent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data…”

From me: Huh.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Not much to yahoo about except that NASDAQ once again reached a new all-time high. As for the other indices, most year-to-date and 1-year returns lost ground last week.

Going forward, the bulls appear to still be bullying as the bears continue growling.

Below are the weekly and 52-week performance results— including the dates each has reached its high according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, May 12, 2017.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +5.74YTD down from last week’s 6.30%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.92% down from last week’s 18.95%

The DJIA reached an all-time high of 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.

 

-S&P 500 +6.79% YTD down from last week’s 7.17%

  • 1yr Rtn +15,83% down from last week’s +17.00%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2403.87 on May 9, 2017. The previous high of 2,400.98 was reached on March 1, 2017.

 

-NASDAQ +13.71% YTD up a tad from last week’s +13.33%

  • 1yr Rtn +29.21% down a tad from last week’s 29.33%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high for the third time this year of 6,133 on May 9, 2017. (The previous high of of 6,102.72 was reached on May 2, 2017. Before that new high was 6074.04 an achieved on April 28, 2017 and before that date the high of 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

–Russell 2000 +1.89% YTD down from last week’s +2.94%

  • 1yr Rtn +24.73% down from last week’s +26.09%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

 Mutual fund performance figures will be updated later this week.

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.

 

•More indexes than stocks

Here’s a little something to chew on: Mix in the number of ETFs around with the number of indexes available for investors to pick from and the number of indexes now outnumber the number of stocks.

According to Bloomberg.com, “Traditional ones such as the S&P 500 are collections of securities weighted by market value, and the index funds mimic them as a low-cost way to deliver the market’s performance. Many new indexes are different: They include stocks based on custom criteria, such as having low volatility or high dividends..”

The full story, including charts, can be found at: https://bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-12/there-are-now-more-indexes-than-stocks .

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 5, 2017

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  • Great advice

Last week CNBC.com ran a great story with a lot of sound advice in it titled, “5 of the smartest ways to invest your money, according to millionaires and billionaires”, written by Kathleen Elkins.

As you will learn from the piece, there is more to making money than making money. In a nutshell, here are the five points from that story many of us would be wise to learn from:

-Warren Buffet, who we learned this past weekend is not afraid or ashamed to admit he has made investing mistakes: Invest in companies you know.

-Barbara Corcoran, “Shark Tank” star and founder of the mega-successful real estate group that bears her name: Invest in your wardrobe.

-David Bach, a self-made millionaire and personal finance expert: Invest in a home.

-Grant Cardone, also a self-made millionaire: Invest in yourself.

-And from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick comes this: Invest in your relationships.

The entire story can be found at:  http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/04/smart-ways-to-invest-your-money-from-millionaires-and-billionaires.html.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Gains in three of the four indices followed below. Plus, one index reached a new high while one lost ground last week from the previous one.

It was NASDAQ that scored a new high last week on May 2, the second new high so far this year. And it was the Russell 2000 that slipped over the week.

That said, the bulls were still running wild on Wall Street. When will they fall continues to be anybody’s guess.

Below are the weekly and 52-week performance results— including the dates each has reached its high according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, May 5, 2017.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +6.30 YTD up from last week’s 5.96%

  • 1yr Rtn +18.957% up from last week’s 17.44%

The DJIA reached an all-time high of 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.

 

-S&P 500 +7.17% YTD up from last week’s 6.45%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.00% up from last week’s +14.86%

The S&P 500 reached an all-time high of 2,400.98 on March 1, 2017.

 

-NASDAQ +13.33% YTD up from last week’s +12.34%

  • 1yr Rtn +29.33% up from last week’s 25.85%

The Nasdaq reached a second new all-time high so far this year of 6,102.72 on May 2, 2017. (Previous new all-time high of 6074.04 was achieved on April 28, 2017 and before that date the high of 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

–Russell 2000 +2.94% YTD down from last week’s +3.19%

  • 1yr Rtn +26.09% up from last week’s +22.80%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

Results for the week ending Thursday, May 4, 2017 are not available.

Below is a repeat of last week’s numbers:

At the close of business on Thursday, April 20 ,2017, the average total return for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds was 4.64% that’s up considerably from last week’s 2.98% return, according to Lipper.

Just as World Equity Funds continue to reward equity investors, up 8.86% on average, fixed-income investors in bond funds investing around the globe has been reward too.

So, if you’re a fixed-income fan, the best year-to-date returns are in the World Income Funds arena. Lipper tracks 808 of them in five different categories.

In order of performance, year-to-date cumulative total reinvested performace for World Income Funds, as of 4/20/17, was as follows:

-Emerging Markets LC Debt Funds, +7.34%;

-Emerging Markets HC Debt Funds +5.31%;

-International Income Funds, +3.64%;

– Alt Currency Strategies, up 3.04%;

– and Global Income Funds, +2.75%.

As a comparison, the average return for the 2,511 funds under the General Domestic Taxable Fixed-Income Funds heading was 2.14%

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.

 

• ETF scores

The Bespoke Investment Group published its listing of ETF performance results on May 6, 2017.

Below are a few examples of where money has been made—and lost—in the ETF universe so far this year:

-Three of the highest returning US Equity ETFs so far this year include:

-QQQ, NASDAQ 100 up 16.24%

-IWB, Russell 1000, up 7.30%

-SPY, S&P500, up 7.28%

 

-Three Global Equity ETFs winners include:

-EWP, Spain, up 22.34%

-PIN, India, up 21.17%

-EWH, Hong Kong, up 18.17%

 

RXS, the Russia ETF, was the only downer in that global group. It was down 1.98%.

 

-And three ETFs where money has not been made in 2017 include:

-UNG, Natural Gas, down 21.20%

-USO. Oil, down 16.36%

-XLE, Energy, down 10.10%

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 28, 2017

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  • It’s May

 Fans of the Wall Street adage, “ Sell in May and go away”, know the strategy has some merit  and historically has paid off. On paper anyway.

Folks at the Bespoke Investment Group did their research and found that  $100 invested for 50 years in the S&P 500 and owning stocks from May through October would have returned a puny $139. But investing 100 bucks and owning stocks for 50 years from November through April would have paid off to the tune of $2,136.

Huh.

  • Market Quick Glance

A big week for a couple of indices: Both the NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 reached new highs during the week ending Friday, April 28, 2017. Yippy skippy for them. The DJIA and S&P 500 preformed well too, just no new highs.

Below are the weekly and 52-week performance results— including the dates each has reached its high according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, April 28, 2017.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +5.96% YTD up attractively from last week’s 3.97%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.447% up from last week’s 14.27%

The DJIA reached an all-time high of 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.

 

-S&P 500 +6.45% YTD up from last week’s 4.91%

  • 1yr Rtn +14.86% up from last week’s +12.30%

The S&P 500 reached an all-time high of 2,400.98 on March 1, 2017.

 

-NASDAQ +12.34% YTD up handsomely from last week’s +9.80%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.85% up from last week’s 19.50%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6074.04 on April 28, 2017.

(Its previous high of 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

–Russell 2000 +3.19% YTD up from last week’s +1.67%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.80% up from last week’s +21.49%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

Moving ahead.

At the close of business on Thursday, April 27 ,2017, the average total return for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds was 6.40%. That’s a nice jump up from last week’s 4.64%, according to Lipper.

Four fund types with the highest average returns under that broad heading and through that date were Equity Leverage Funds, 13.69%, Large-Cap Growth Funds, 12.14%, Multi-Cap Growth Funds, 11.42% and Mid-Cap Growth Funds, 10.05%

Under the Sector Equity heading where the average fund is up 4.07%, Global Science Funds were the biggest winners with average y-t-d returns of 17.98%. Commodities Energy Funds the biggest losers, down 13.68%.

And around the world it’s India where the money is being made. Lipper tracks 24 India Region Funds. Average y-t-d return for the group was 25.13%

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.

• Lookout

A few things to consider going forward:

  1. Last week I wrote that expecting less from the stock market might wind up being more so I’m with Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, who recently warned investors to plan for and expect lower returns going forward. “These are hazardous time. There are not cheap times. In the market, one never knows what is coming next,” said Bogle in a CNBC interview.
  2. Covering the costs of a tax reform plan that is based on the relative short-term future growth of our country is as goofy as thinking that the Earth is flat. Economic growth is not a sure thing in the near- or short-term. Outlooks, hopes and promises saying so are poppycock.
  3. Never invested in stocks before? Don’t start now unless you are absolutely positively sure that you don’t/won’t need the money anytime soon. Like in  the next three, five, 10 or 15 months or even a few years out. Investing over the short-term always comes with accepting much more risk than does investing for the long-term, like 10, 20, 30, or 50 years.

 

 

 

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pbTrumpBits#10: Walls

Big and beautiful walls in Palm Beach.

The president says that he wants America to build a wall across our Mexican border that he promises will be a “big, beautiful wall.”

Palm Beachers know a thing or two about building big and beautiful walls—the town is dotted with them. Like the proposed Mexican border wall, these walls also  exist to keep the riffraff out and undesirables off  their land.

Given that the prez is having trouble finding the dough to build his Mexican border wall, I’m thinking he might want to rethink things. Like, making the wall shorter and more aesthetically appealing. Kinda like the wall on Worth Avenue’s Esplanade building is  (that’s the one with the arches in the picture above). Or, like any of the other three pictured.

I know the 45th isn’t exactly a nature lover and that he seems to spend taxpayer dollars as if they were his own and  we all  were multi-billionaires.  But I also know he’s a beauty guy and  loves all things beautiful, like golf courses and  women.

So given his MO,  let’s get behind the guy and suggest he go with a  shorter  wall.  It would  save all of us taxpayers billions of dollars. And, at the same time, instill a positive psychological message to anyone who happens to be  height challenged reminding them that  short is beautiful too.