POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 18, 2018

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  • The BEST investing advice EVER

Sometimes the most realistic investment advice comes in the form of a simple truth.

According to Bob Veres, editor of Inside Information as quoted in an ETFTrends.com piece last week, Veres said: “As it turns out, the predictions made by financial experts are no better than those made by gypsies looking into crystal balls, soothsayers gazing at the entrails of a sacrificed animal or wizards with tall caps who gaze into space. In fact, the financial experts might even be LESS reliable than those other charlatans.”

In other words, article author Rick Kahler, wrote: “The problem with accurately predicting what direction the US stock market is heading in the near future is that no expert really knows.”

And as Lily Tomlin’s character Edith Ann used to say, “ And that’s the truth.”

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Last week’s worst performance was in the DJIA—it slumped back into minus territory but not by much—a hair, if you will.

The place to play recently? NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices. NASDAQ was up the most, Russell 2000 and then the S&P 500.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, May 18, 2018.

DJIA -0.02% YTD back into minus territory from previous week’s +0.45%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.61% up from the previous week’s 18.70%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 1.47% YTD down from week’s 2.02%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.68% up from last week’s 13.92%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ 7.24% YTD down from last week’s 7.24%

  • 1yr Rtn 21.46% up a tiny bit from last week’s 21.04%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 5.93% YTD up from last week’s 4.64%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.51% up a lot from last week’s 15.58%

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

From the May 3 report:

The average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.53% at the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2018, 0.65%, according to Lipper. That’s a fall from the previous week’s 0.65% average.

Small-Cap Growth funds ended the week with an average y-t-d return average of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again Dedicated Short Bias Funds had improved and were down only -4.25% instead of -5.43% from the previous 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.

 

  • Got a million in your 401(k)? Good. But keep saving.

Once upon a time having a retirement account with one million bucks in it was a big deal. Today, that ain’t necessarily so.

Fidelity Investments reports that at the end of the first quarter of 2018, there were about 50,000 more 401(k) plans with balances of $1 million or more than there were last year. That’s a figure increase from 108,000 to 157,000. Also, that contributors have increased the amount they save.

That’s all good news, accept that all that moola may not be enough to live a comfortable  retirement life.

In a FoxBusiness.com report, author and tax attorney Rebecca Walser reminded investors that what goes up must come down. “Most major crashes occur within a short 2.5-month timeframe, and even Warren Buffett recently warned shareholders that a 50% loss should be expected.

“If someone is 10 years or less from retirement, they need a plan to forgo the large downturn that is coming this time around – they do not have the investment horizon left to recover from such a portfolio loss.”

Geez. One can’t help but wonder when–if– the need for huge bucks to live out our old age will ever stop.

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TrumpBits #26: Mar-a-Lago’s loss

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Oh dear. Mar-a-Lago, once the premier Palm Beach hot spot to hold charity balls where millions upon millions have been raised to help out the less fortunate, has lost some of its luster during the 2017-2018 season.

As fundraisers ditched the joint during this past season due to any number of reasons traced back to President Trump’s less than presidential behavior, the unthinkable happened: The club lost 12 million smackeroos, according to data from the federally required annual financial disclosure form released by the Office of Government Ethics today, May 16, 2018.

Even with last year’s doubling in annual membership fees from 100 grand to 200 grand, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club brought in only $25,000,000. That’s down from the previous year’s reported figure of $37 million.

But before you tear-up and weep for this he-who-speaks-with-forked-tongue master, and, whose presidential style stands as a perfect example of “be best” bullying, his DC hotel doubled its revenues from $20 to 40 million.

(Divesting from his businesses prior to his inauguration clearly never happened.)

The good news in all of this for Trump is that his fans have short memories.

I expect the upcoming Mar-a-Lago season to be more profitable than this past one. That is, unless the stock market tanks.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 12, 2018

 

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Perscription drugs play a big part in thel lives of many.  But the costs of meds can be pricey. With any luck at all, their costs may be coming down, and who knows, your investments in them going up. Fingers crossed on both accounts.
  • More sage advice

Investors like advice about everything—including how to be successful. Whether they take that advice or not, nobody  knows for sure, but that doesn’t stop the topic from being a hot and well-read one.

Last week this opening section focused on Warren Buffett’s investing words of wisdom—the simplest point he always makes is to be sure to invest in companies you know about.

This week, I’m passing on investment advice and moving into what it takes to be successful.

That said, below are tidbits from three people whose names we are all familiar with thanks to their media star power and the fact that they have made oodles of money and been hugely successful. Info is from a  recent CNBC.com piece:

  • Barbara Corcoran, you know her from “Shark Tank”, as the go-to gal for looking good and first impressions. She’s a big believer in dressing for success. No plumber-butt pants for her or the men whose products she’s promoting.

From the CNBC.com story: “When the real estate queen rented her first apartment in 1973, she collected a $360 commission check, ran over to Bergdorf Goodman and “blew it on a new coat,” she says. “It was the smartest thing I could have done with the money because, in it, I felt powerful.”

  • Richard Branson, the guy who knows how to make the most of a Virgin, is big on relationships.

“The key to success in business is all about people, people, people,” the billionaire entrepreneur writes on his blog. “It should go without saying, if you look after your people, your customers and bottom line will be rewarded too.”

So how do you develop extraordinary people skills? Branson says to pay attention to what people say and to be a great listener.

  • Mark Cuban understands the value of having no debt.

From the piece: “The best investment anyone can make is “paying off your credit cards,” says the self-made billionaire. “Paying off whatever debt you have.”

Cuban said: “Whatever interest rate you have — it might be a student loan with a 7 percent interest rate — if you pay off that loan, you’re making 7 percent. That’s your immediate return, which is a lot safer than trying to pick a stock or trying to pick real estate, or whatever it may be.”

I’m hoping President Trump reads and heeds Cuban’s advice.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

If you had followed the old adage, “ Sell in May and go away” you would have short-changed yourself, based on last week’s index returns.

All four indices followed here made some nice jumps up in their year-to-date performances figures. The Russell 2000 and NASDAQ leaping the most.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, May 11, 2018.

DJIA +0.45% YTD moved up from the previous week’s -1.85

•1rRtn 18.70% up a bunch from the previous week’s 15.80%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 +2.02% YTD up a heap from week’s -0.38%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.92% a jump up from last week’s 11.48%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ 7.24% YTD big jump up from last week’s 4.44%

  • 1yr Rtn 21.04% up from last week’s 18.67%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 4.64% YTD jumping up from last week’s 1.96%

  • 1yr Rtn 15.58% up a lot from last week’s 12.73%

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

Below is a repeat of last week’s report:

The average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.53% at the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2018, 0.65%, according to Lipper. That’s a fall from the previous week’s 0.65% average.

Small-Cap Growth funds ended the week with an average y-t-d return average of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again Dedicated Short Bias Funds had improved and were down only -4.25% instead of -5.43% from the previous 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.

 

  • Healthcare ETFs

Last week, President Trump declared war on big pharma. As anyone who depends on prescription medications know, the cost of our meds can be outrageous. Not always—Publix, for instance, provides a few drugs for free —but horror stories abound about how some prescription drugs cost pennies to make but big bucks  to purchase  are well documented. To fight the sometimes-crippling costs of staying alive via meds, plenty of folks  have made it a practice to cross the borders into Mexico and/or Canada to save money on their must-have meds.

So Trump’s decision to face pharma is a welcomed one by many. How successful he will be at making a difference on that subject is, however, anybody’s guess. Big pharma has big bucks and even bigger lobbying power.

But the healthcare world has been a source of profits for many investors over the years, and today’s healthcare ETFs are one way to play that field.

If you’re looking for funds to research, ETFTrends.com addressed some of the exchange-traded-funds that focus on healthcare. Below are a few of them.

  • Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV)— the largest healthcare exchange traded fund.
  • iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQGM: IBB)— the largest biotech exchange traded fund by assets.
  • VanEck Vectors Generic Drugs ETF (NasdaqGM: GNRX)
  • ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF (NYSEArca: SBIO)
  • PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (NYSEArca: PJP)
  • SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI)

 

Good luck. Be well.

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Happy Mother’s Day

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I ran across this quote, from an unknown author,  in an old phone book I had from the 1970s. While so many names and addresses in that book have changed, this who-knows-why-I-had-written-it-in-that-book remains and has stood the test of time.

“May the strength and love, the power and will, determination and glory, that enjoyed a home within your mother, be your arms during this lifetime and your keys to universal understanding.”

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 5, 2018

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  • Buffett’s advice

Warren Buffett has some investing advice all of us can learn from—even for those who don’t own any Apple stock—a stock he currently loves.

Three tidbits outlined in a recent CNBC.com story include:

  1. Circle of competence. Basically this means understanding and knowing if the business you are buying is making money and that you feel confident that money-making will be sustainable going forward.
  2. Piece of a business. Buffett was influenced big time by Ben Graham’s classic book “The Intelligent Investor”. Read it.
  3. Margin of safety. Buffett likes value and when looking at purchasing a company  “he wants the value at his entry price to be much lower than his value estimate for the company”. That spread difference is what he calls the “margin of safety”.

Why listen to Buffett’s advice? Guess it’s because from 1965 to 2017, Berkshire Hathaway’s stock’s annual return was 20.9% compared to that of the S&Ps 9.9%.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The Russell 2000 and NASDAQ were the indices that scored the most on the upside of things last week.

And one more time: It’s been since January when, at that time, new all-time highs were reached on three of the four indices followed below: The DJIA, the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000. NASDAQ hit its last new high in March.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, May 4, 2018.

DJIA -1.85% YTD down more than the previous week’s -1.65%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.80% down a hair from the previous week’s 15.87%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 -0.38% YTD down more than last week’s -0.14%

  • 1 yr Rtn 11.46% down from last week’s 11.77%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ 4.44% YTD up from last week’s 3.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.67% up from last week’s 17.70%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 1.96% YTD up from than last week’s 1.35%

  • 1yr Rtn 12.73% up from last week’s 9.82%

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

The average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.53% at the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s a fall from the previous week’s 0.65% average.

Small-Cap Growth funds ended the week with an average y-t-d return  of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again, Dedicated Short Bias Funds’ averagre returns had improved and were down only -4.25% instead of -5.43% from the previous 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.

 

  • Not running out of money

Well here’s some could be good news for retirees who don’t have $1 million or more bucks saved in their retirement accounts.

According to a Reuters piece by Gail Marks Jarvis, “The myth of outliving your retirement savings”, folks with less than $500,000 in savings on average spend “just about a quarter of it during the first 20 years of retirement.”

That data is from a study by Sudipto Banerjee of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Huh. Not sure I believe that but if it’s true, wouldn’t that be nice to know.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 27, 2018

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  • Amazon’s piggy Prime fees

Figure pretty much everybody on Earth is familiar with Amazon, the company.

As for it’s Prime arm, that benefits program didn’t begin until 2005. Since then, the program has garnered 100 million members. That’s a boatload of members, if you ask me. And at $99 a year for membership, the dollars racked in from it is mountainous—as in an almost unfathomable $9,900,000,000. Said out loud, that’s “9 billion 900 million dollars”. Which, apparently, isn’t enough for Jeff Bezos’ company to keep it going.

So next month –on May 11– an Amazon Prime annual membership fee is going up not 10 but 20% to $119.   That translates to 100 million Prime members paying a total annual membership fee to Amazon of $119. Said out loud that’s “ 11 billion 900 million dollars.”

And that’s a pigish amount.

So, if you’re in the camp that remembers how it was often said that Amazon doesn’t make any money, it’s time to rethink that.

According to Redode.net, in a piece dated Feb. 1, 2018, the headline read:“Amazon has posted a profit for 11 straight quarters—including a record $1.9 bilion during the holidays.”

Hum.

  • Market Quick Glance

A downer of a week for all but one (NASDAQ) of the major indices year-to-date returns followed here. Additionally, all four of their 1-year reurns were lower than they were the previous week.

FYI, it’s been since January that  new all-time highs were reached on three of the four indices followed below; the DJIA, the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000. NASDAQ hit its last new high in March.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, April 27, 2018.

 

DJIA -1.65% YTD down more than the previous week’s -1.05%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.87% down from the previous week’s 18.87%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 -0.14% YTD down a hair more than last week’s -0.13%

  • 1 yr Rtn 11.77% down from last week’s 13.34%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ 3.13% YTD down from last week’s 3.52%

  • 1yr Rtn 17.70% down from last week’s 20.78%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 1.35% YTD down from than last week’s 1.86%

  • 1yr Rtn 9.82% down from last week’s 13.00%

 

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business last Thursday, April 26, 2018, the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of 0.65%, according to Lipper.

Small-Cap Growth funds that were up on average 6.27% a week earlier, lost ground and now had an average return of 4.42%.

On the other hand, the average return for Dedicated Short Bias Funds had improved and were now down only -5.43% instead of their score from the previous week of -6.97%.

Anybody who wants to jump up and down and boast about their fund’s returns must be shareholders in science and tech funds as the average Science & Technology Fund’s y-t-d return is 5.46% with the Global Science & Technology fund not far behind at 5.25%.

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.

 

  • Fund fees headed down

Morningstar began tracking the fees on mutual funds 18 years ago in 2000. Since then, fees for funds have dropped dramatically. As they should have.

According to their Press Release dated April 26, 2018, “Morningstar estimates that investors saved more that $4 billion in fund fees in 2017 by continuing to gravitate toward lower-cost fees.”

Lowering fees is a big plus for fund shareholders—not so much for the fund company.

That said, every penny counts when it comes to an investor making any money from their fund or ETF investments.

Morningstar reported that most investors choose lower-priced funds. The three fund families offering the lowest asset-weighted fund ratios include Vanguard with its average expense ratio of 0.10%; State Street Global Advisors, 0.16%; and iShares, 0.25%.

POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 14, 2018

  • FullSizeRender(69) •Stocks and Bonds

If I remember correctly, near the end of last year many many many talking heads were telling everyone that the best performing stocks in 2018 were going to be those of companies located outside of the U.S. and around the world.

As many times is the case, that advice hasn’t exactly panned out so far this year. What we’ve seen instead is more worries than rewards. Why? Because of rising interest rates. One reason, the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has come as close as possible to a dreaded 3 percent yield. At this writing it stands at 2.99 percent.

Should that 3 percent return come to bear, it would be the highest level on our 10-year Treasury in four years– since January 2014—and the widest spread between it and German bonds in 29 years.

This worries talking heads as rising interest rates do impact stock prices at home and abroad in a not so necessarily  great way.

Keep that in mind as our stock markets continue to unwind this year and talks of a coming recession begin being heard more and more.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

For those focused on the weekly, year-to-date market index returns, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 rewarded those folks the most last week as both closed in positive y-t-d territory at the close of business on Friday.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, April 20, 2018.

DJIA -1.04% YTD down but less than the previous week’s -1.45%

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.87% down from the previous week’s 19.10%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 -0.13% YTD down but less than last week’s -0.65%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.34% down from last week’s 14.06%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ 3.52% YTD up from last week’s 2.94%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.78% down from last week’s 22.42%

NASDAQ reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 1.86% YTD up from than last week’s 0.91%

  • 1yr Rtn 13.00% down from last week’s 15.18%

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

Returns looking up.

At the close of business on Thursday, April 19, 2018, the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date total return of 1.62%. +0.32%. That’s up from the previous week’s average.

Small-Cap Growth funds gained the most as the average return here was 6.27% and Dedicated Short Bias Funds proved to have not so hot average returns, -6.97%.

Looking around the world, the average World Equity Fund had an average y-t-d return of 1.60% with Latin American Funds leading the way at 6.42%.

And then there are bond funds. The average here, including all types of bond funds, had a y-t-d return of down ½ of 1 percent.

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.

 

  • Recession ahead?

No matter what the White House has to say about our economy, what’s happening today mixed in with rosy projections about tomorrow can’t really be taken at face value. That’s because ignoring what history has shown us about our economy and the performances of the stock and bond markets have a way of repeating themselves.

On that note, consider the following from a recent Newsweek.com article written by two professors, Steven Pressman at Colorado State University and Robert H. Scott lll, at Monmouth University:

  • While the Great Recession has come to an end, people are adding to their household credit card debt and student load debt in a big time way. Today this  nonmortgage household debt is 41 percent above its previous peak achieved 10 years ago in 2018.
  • While low interest rates have helped the housing market recover from the housing mess experienced during the early 2000s, the cost of homes has risen while many people a) don’t have the income to qualify for a loan; b) have the down payment to qualify for such a loan; and c) have the credit score to make the dream of owning a home possible.
  • American households have 6 to 7 percent less spending power than they did a decade ago.

According to the authors, the U.S. economy is primed for another recession.”We believe it’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 14, 2018

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  • Golden

Good news this week for gold investors. On Wednesday, gold futures traded at an intraday high of $1,369.30 an ounce, according to Gary Wagner’s Kitco Commentary on Friday, April 13, 2018.

The June Comex contract wasn’t quite that high at the close of business on Friday ($1,348.60), but even so, for the week gold had enjoyed an $11 an ounce  gain.

That’s a big deal because this precious metal has had a hard time making any kind of sustainable gains over the past few years. And, in a jumpy market like we’ve all been a part of, one might consider that a bit of an oddity.

That said, the big takeaway here is that you’ve got to go back to August 2016 to find gold trading at that high a level. “More importantly,” writes Wagner, “ the highs achieved during that rally were the first occurrence of a higher high since the multiyear correction (that) began in the middle of 2011.”

Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the value of this precious metal for ones investment portfolio other than see its worth only in golden bangles, earrings or as a cap to top off one of your back molars.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A better performance week for stock index results than the week before with the downs not as down and the ups more up.

Look at the 1-year returns and one might even begin to wonder what all the bears on Wall Street are concerned about. Then again, the only time that 1-year returns that seem to matter to the average investor is when the end of the year 52-week results are in.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, April 13, 2018.

 

DJIA -1.45% YTD down but less than the previous week’s -3.18%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.10% up from the previous week’s 15.82%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 -0.65% YTD down much less than last week’s -2.59%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.06% up from last week’s 10.48%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ 2.94% YTD way up from last week’s 0.17%

  • 1yr Rtn 22.42% way up from last week’s 17.62%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 0.91% YTD up from than last week’s -1.45%

  • 1yr Rtn 15.18% way up from last week’s 10.91%

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

Lipper’s weekly mutual fund performance figures not available yet. Will post them when received.

Till then, here’s a repeat look at last week’s report: At the close of business on Thursday, April 4, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of +0.32%. That’s up—yes up—from the previous week’s average of -0.37%.

Large-Cap and Small-Cap Growth funds were up on average well over 3% last week. Science & Technology Funds and Global Science & Technology Funds both up at 4.92 and 5.08% respectively.

Latin American Funds, too, were up–averaging almost 6% y-t-d.

The biggest loser fund type of all were Energy MLP, down on average -10.02%.

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.

 

  •   Credit Risks

The ability to raise, borrow and repay money is great deal. And one individuals as well as businesses count on. But like everything else within the world of money, risks exist and timing is everything.

Last week, Jack Ablin,CFA and Chief Financial Officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors published a piece titled “Credit Conditions and Risk Taking”.

From the piece: “The easiest way to gauge real time credit conditions is by observing the yield differential between 10-year, BBB bonds and 10-year Treasury notes. Since the bond market is roughly seven times the size of the stock market, the yield premium lenders require to extend credit to lower-quality borrowers is a useful barometer.”

While currently credit conditions are “favorable”, Ablin thinks that rising credit spreads can be an early warning sign of troubles ahead.

The chart below  provides additional insight on the subject.

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Trumpbits#25: Stormy Whether

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In case you missed it on the national news, at the corner of Ranch House Road and South Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach is the Ultra Gentleman’s Club. It’s a hot spot that’s been basically a strip joint for all of the decades I’ve been living here. And as the sign tells us, is hosting the talents of one of Mr. President’s past squeezes, Stormy Daniels.

Whether or not the president will notice the bigger-than-life horny signage is anybody’s guess. But the odds seem good given the amount of time he spends at this golf club every time he is in town.

Until that report comes out, I’ve always wondered about Trump’s choice of locations for his Trump International Golf Club: A few blocks in one direction is a strip club; in another, the prison; and close enough to be annoying, the airport—a spot he has always tried to have moved because of noise. All of which sorta kinda gives new meaning to that old real estate mantra, “Location, location, location.”

As for  “Making America Horny Again”, how many guys are gonna argue with that?

 

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 7, 2018

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Lots of worries over what could happen if Trump starts a trade war. This Op-Ed cartoon is from the Sunday, April 8, 2018, Palm Beach Post.
  • Trading places

Lots of talking heads have lots of things to say about the likelihood of trade wars developing should the mighty US of A decide to let President Trump rule and impose additional tariffs on goods and services from places where tariffs already are in place.

In general, many talking heads agree that there is an imbalance in our trade agreement with China. And many think that getting into a tariff war with that country could be very disruptive and costly to us, as in the average consumer.

What’s important to remember is that no new tariffs have been imposed on any country, anywhere,  yet.

It’s also important to remember that it’s really smart to remember to pick your battles.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Q: Dear Wise One:

Any perspective investors ought to keep in mind with respect to the markets’ recent volatility?

 
A: Yes.

Right now the stock market is as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers. And that’s just how it is. Today.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, April 6, 2018.

 

DJIA -3.18% YTD down more than the previous week’s -2.49%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.82% down from the previous week’s 16.28%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 -2.59% YTD down more than last week’s -1.22%

  • 1 yr Rtn 10.48% down from last week’s 11.52%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ 0.17% YTD down from last week’s 2.32%

  • 1yr Rtn 17.62% down from last week’s 19.43%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 -1.45% YTD down more than last week’s -0.40%

  • 1yr Rtn 10.91% up a tiny bit from last week’s 10.64%

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, April 4, 2018,  the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of +0.32%. That’s up—yes up—from the previous week’s average of -0.37%.

Large-Cap Growth and Small-Cap Growth funds were up on average well over 3% last week. Science & Technology Funds and Global Science & Technology Funds both up at 4.92 and 5.08% respectively.

Latin American Funds, too, were up—averaging almost 6% y-t-d.

The biggest loser fund type of all were Energy MLP, down on average -10.02%.

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 returns

 I heard Jack Bogle, Vanguard’s founder, point out that mutual funds have had better returns than exchange-traded funds, ETFs, a point I found worth thinking about. Seems the big push to advertise big time by various ETF brand families is one thing. But, out performing various categories of index funds however, is another.

So, while some consider the ability to buy and sell ETFs throughout the day –as one can do with both stocks and ETFs– is appealing, it isn’t necessariy financially rewarding.

One reason  is that  Bogle thinks ETFs could encourage individuals to trade their holdings more often rather than  holding their investments  for the long term. Doing so, he said makes  it difficult for an investor/trader to outperform the market.

Good point.

Then again, Bogle loves index funds.

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