POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov. 17, 2017

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Happy Thanksgiving from my family’s table to yours.
  • One more time: We don’t need tax reform

More than anything in the world, the Republican party wants to make sure that they accomplish something during the first 300-and-some days since the President Trump has been in office.

Doing something is a good idea. Tax reform, or whatever it winds up being called, isn’t.

Here’s the main reason why I think that is so: When taxes are cut, somebody or something has to pay in one way or another to cover the government coffer shortfalls the tax cuts create.

Any decrease in monies flowing in will translate into an increase in America’s defecit and could make unwelcomed changes to things such as our Vet’s programs,  Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP and other much needed government funded impacts-people programs.

Plus, while 800-to-1200 bucks a year in savings for the average person amounts to something,  the cuts will more than likely cost middle and lower-income people more than that with respect to their annual  health care costs and deductions allowed on their tax returns depending upon the state in which they live.

And, history has shown that the trickle-down talk of how tax reforms/cuts translate into more jobs and higher wages is just that—talk. The same kind of poppycock talk similar to the election promises Trump made to the coal miners telling them that their coal jobs would be coming back.

Or the Paul Ryan talk about how America has been in a horrible mess ever since the Great Recession began. Someone must not have shown him a chart showing  that GDP growth has been being improving since that recession or one showing  the roaring returns that the stock market has provided investors. Or the one with a snapshot of how corporations already have tons of money on their balance sheets available for spending should they desire to spend it.

If the party in power wants to make a positive impact, why not pass a bill that creates jobs focused on improving our country’s roads, bridges and all around infrastructure? Or one that limits the types and number of guns individuals can own? Or requires background checks for anyone purchasing a gun at a trade show, or online? Or provides health care for all without strings attached?

Those kinds of changes would make a big everyday difference in the lives of most Americans.

Tax cuts not so much.

But no matter how you feel, why call your state Senator’s office today and voice your “yeah” or “nay” on the subject.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A bit of a downer last week. But if history is any guide, Thanksgiving week is more often than not a good week for stocks in the S&P 500.

According to the fine folks at the Bespoke Investment Group, the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 0.65% during the four-day Thanksgiving week. “And in years when the S&P is up 10%+ YTD heading into Thanksgiving week (as it is this year), returns during the week are even stronger.”

We shall see….

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, November 17, 2017.

DJIA +18.19% YTD down from last week’s 18.52%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +23.56% down from last week’s 24.27%

 

The DJIA most recent all-time high of 23,602.12 was reached on November 7, 2017.

Its previous high of 23,557.06 was reached November 3, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.19% YTD down from last week’s 15.34%.

  • 1yr Rtn +17.91% down from last week’s +19.31%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent new high on November 7, 2017 of 2,597.02

Its previous high of 2,588.42 was reached on November 3, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +26.00% YTD up from last week’s +25.66%.

  • 1yr Rtn +27.16% down from last week’s 28.91%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,806.67 on November 16, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,795.52 was reached on November 7, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +10.00%YTD up from last week’s +8.71%

1yr Rtn +14.00% down from last week’s +15.04%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 5, 2017. On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Moving up a tiny bit.

The year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds was +14.34% at the close of business on Thursday, November 16, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s up from the previous week’s return of +14.24%.

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading were:

-Highest: Equity Leverage Funds, +33.72%

-Lowest: Alternative Equity Market Neutral Funds, -0.18%

The average return for funds under this heading was +14.34%.

 

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the Sector Equity Funds heading were:

-Highest: Global Science/Technology Funds, +46.84%

-Lowest: Energy MPL Funds, -11.68%

The average return for funds under this heading was +9.76%%.

 

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the World Equity Funds heading were:

-Highest: China Region Funds, +43.84%

-Lowest: Global Equity Income Funds, +13.62%

The average return for funds under this heading was 24.72%.

 

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the Mixed Asset Funds heading were:

-Highest: Mixed-Asset Target 2055+Funds, +17.54%

-Lowest: Alternative Multi-Strategy Funds, +3.26%

The average return for funds under this heading was 11.28%.

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 up for 2018?

There’s already been lots of speculation going on about how the markets will perform in 2018 and Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, is one of them forecasting.

Bogle, who is now retired, is predicting that going forward into the New Year and beyond that the U.S.  market will be a better bet than global markets; average returns on stocks are going to be much lower—as in the 4% annual return area—over the next 10 years; and bond portfolios will increase into the +3% average annual 10-year returns.

More than one experienced talking head agrees.

Wishing you plenty to be thankful for and a happy thanksgiving week.

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pbTrumpBits#19: A Presidential If…Than…

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My yesterday’s tweet: “If an ethics committee decides Senator Al Franken has to go because of his behavior before he was an elected US public servant, then President Trump is due the boot too.”

By now we have all seen the Al Franken boob-groping photo snapped in the early 2000s. Don’t know if more women, or photos, will surface. We shall see.

But, in case you have forgotten, prior to his being elected President of the United States, at least 15 women had accused Donald Trump of a number of sexually related no-no’s including, sexual assault, sexual harassment, non-consensual kissing or groping and oh-my even “violent assault” by his first wife Ivana. All of this according to one of President Trump’s favorite resources, Wikipedia.

Trump has claimed that the women who have made those claims were liars. Franken has apologized to the woman  for his behavior.

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov 10, 2017

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From CNNMoney.com
  • Income levels not so hot

If a picture is worth 1000 words, than a chart has got to be worth more. Right?

A recent Federal Reserve study revealed that the wealth gap is growing—but we already knew that; that unemployment has hit a 17-year low—we knew that too; and that the top 1% holds 38.6% of the nation’s wealth up from 33.7% in 2007—and we kinda sorta knew that as well.

But perhaps what we didn’t know was how the racial gap of low-income families had changed—-especially for white people.

From a CNNMoney.com story titled, “Included: Poor white Americans are getting poorer: what diversity numbers don’t say”, posted November 10, 2017, comes this: “The wealth of low-income white people was cut almost in half since the recession while the wealth of black and Hispanic families in the same bracket  remained stable.”

Move levels up a notch and things change.

“The median white family is worth nearly ten times as much as the median black family and about 8 times as much as the median Hispanic family, “ says CNNMoney’s Lydia DePillis.

(Full story at: http://cnnmon.ie/2zLiluY )

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The CBOE Volatility Index, VIX, is worth looking at because of its  performance: Although the indices followed below have had a heck of a positive performance year, the VIX’s year-to-date and  1-year returns are down around 20%. Or down at -19.59% and -20.32% respectively at the close of business on Friday, November 10, 2017.

As for the DJIA, S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000, last we they  all lost ground.

That’s not to say there is a bear preparing to tear up Wall Street. But, when you combine market volatility, inflation, rising interests rates along with disappointing earnings and policy promises that don’t come true from Washington, that clawing creature can’t be far away.

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, November 10, 2017.

DJIA +18.52% YTD down from last week’s 19.11%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.27% way down from last week’s 31.28%

Another new all-time high of 23,602.12 was reached on November 7, 2017.

The previous high of 23,557.06 was reached November 3, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.34% YTD down a bit from last week’s 15.59%.

  • 1yr Rtn +19.31% down considerably from last week’s +23.90%

The S&P 500 reached another new high on November 7, 2017 of 2,597.02

The previous high of 2,588.42 was reached on November 3, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +25.66% YTD down from last week’s +25.66%.

  • 1yr Rtn +28.91% down a lot from last week’s 33.73%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,795.52 on November 7, 2017.

A previous high of 6,765.14 was reached on November 3, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +8.71%YTD down from last week’s +10.15%

1yr Rtn +15.04% down from last week’s +29.22%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 05, 2017. On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Investors are still lapping up shares of mutual funds and ETFs.

According to data from Thomson Reuters Lipper, in the week ending November 8, 2017, investors purchased $17.5 billion in fund assets.

Equity funds picked up$4.7 billion; taxable bond funds $1.6 billion, money market funds $10.8 billion and municipal bond funds $463 million.

Exchange Traded Funds, ETFs, saw inflows of more that $5.0 billion.

More specifically, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds moved downward as the close of business on Thursday, November 2, 2017, according to Lipper. The average return was +13.90%. That’s down from the previous week’s return of +14.24%.

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.

 

  • Great Gift Cards

Depending upon whom you ask, gift cards are either great gifts or aren’t worth purchasing because they aren’t used.

Most people like getting them with stats showing somewhere between 6 and 10% of them go unredeemed.

But the  trick in getting someone to use their card is the same as the challenge of picking out a present you know they will love: You have to know what they like/don’t like or use/won’t use.

WalletHub recently conducted a survey asking about gift card use. Here are some of the results:

-Last year’s Most Popular Gift Cards—Amazon Gift Card and Visa Gift Card were each ranked #1; Walmart Gift Card ranked #3; iTunes Gift Card ranked #4 and American Express Gift Card ranked #5.

-Gift cards with the biggest increase in popularity over the past year was Trader Joe’s.

-Gift cards with the biggest drop in popularity were those from the Apple Store and H&M.

Happy shopping.

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pbTrumpBits#18: Mar-a-Lago still hiring

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It’s been nearly two months since the ad for various Mar-a-Lago workers first appeared in Jobs section of the The Palm Beach Post under the “ food services/hospitality” heading.  That’s a long time for any ad to run.

What might be even longer is that the box showing the job opportunities at Mar-a-Lago has a typo in it that’s never been corrected.

I’ve heard that our president isn’t much of a reader but that’s no excuse for those who write the ads, or place them and didn’t see or correct the obvious error.

As you can see in the photo of the ad above the mistake has to do with the missing letter “i” in the word “qualifed”

Kind of a funny typo given the size of President Trump’s ego.

The private club will be opening soon and apparently is still seeking beach club servers, pastry cooks and valets. Hourly pay varies but is dollars better than Florida’s minimum wage of $8.10 an hour ( it’s going up to $8.25 in 2018).  And,  I’ve heard that tips for the valets can be quite generous. Even is they aren’t,  it’s gotta be a trip to drive the club’s members’ cars.

That said, anyone who would like to work in the Winter White House can either pick up an application at the gate house of the club/estate, or send their resume to: HR@maralagoclub.com.

Good luck.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov 3, 2017

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  • Pennies for peons

Amazing for me to  listen to House Speaker Paul Ryan, (who reminds me of Eddie Munster every time I see him), talk about the tax rewards for low-income American families during his repsentation of the new Republican tax reform proposal.

He made a tax savings of under 1200 bucks a year—or roughly $3.23 a day—sound like a big deal. Something great. Something terrific. Something that would make a big difference in their lives. Poppycock.

And all this from a guy who like other members of Congress are paid six-figure incomes — and many of whom are millionaires. Pennies for the peons is how it all sounded to me.

More slight-of-mounth that kinda sorta was made to sound like it was news had to do with the number of Americans who would have no federal income taxes to pay under the suggested Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. Also, poppycock.

Millions of people, low-income and otherwise, now pay no federal taxes each year.

According to data from the Tax Policy Center, in 2015 over 45% of Americans –or roughly 77.5 million—paid no federal income tax. If this new Act now means there will be millions more, who is going to pay for services and things we expect like our military, roads, park services, Medicare, SNAP programs, paying down our national debt, etc.?

As you know, I’m no fan of this tax proposal and see it as hurting more than serving the vast majority of the American public. Unless, of course, you are hugely wealthy.

I’m not. Are you?

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again it was mostly up, up and way in some kind of beautiful balloon for the major indices followed here as last week came to a close. I say mostly because once again, the year-to-date performances of the DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all rewarded their index investors while the Russell 2000 slipped backward.

How sustainable these high-flying markets will go continues to make money minds wonder.

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, November 3, 2017.

DJIA +19.11% YTD up from last week’s 18.58%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +31.28% up from last week’s 28.97%

 

Another new all-time high was reached on November 3, 2017 of 23,557.06 on the DJIA.

The previous high was reached on October 24, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.59% YTD up from last week’s 15.29%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.90% up from last week’s +21.00%

The S&P 500 reached another new high on November 3, 2017 of 2,588.42.

It’s previous high was reached on October 27, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +25.66% YTD up from last week’s +24.49%.

  • 1yr Rtn +33.73% up a chunk from last week’s 28.48%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,765.14 on November 3, 2017.

The previous high was reached on October 27, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +10.15% YTD down from last week’s +11.14%.

  • 1yr Rtn +29.22% up considerably from last week’s +26.75%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 05, 2017.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

The year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds had moved up a bit when posted at the close of business on Thursday, November 2, 2017, according to Lipper. The average return was +14.24%. Two weeks before it was 13.75.

That’s not too shabby given the average total return for Sector Funds over that same time frame was 9.41%. On the other hand, the average World Equity Fund had a return of 25.25%.

Throw in some bond influence and the average Mixed Asset Fund was up 11.52%; Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds up 3.815 and World Income Funds up 8.14%

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.

 

  • November

CORRECTION: Target will not be closed for the entire day on Thanksgiving. It will open its store doors at 6 p.m. Apologies for the error. DV

I have to hand it to Target for deciding not to begin displaying their Christmas holiday merchandise until after Thanksgiving—hope they mean it. And, for the number of retail stores electing to be closed on that holiday meant for giving thanks. There are dozens of them from Ace Hardware to West Marine.

Re the stock market as represented by the DJIA, the month of November has a history of pretty much being thankful.

According to research from the Bespoke Investment Group comes this:

-Over the past 100 years, the DJIA has been up 60% of the time and gained an average of 0.75% during the month of November.

-Over the last 50 years the DJIA has been up 66% of the time and gained 1.67%.

-And over the past 20 years that index has been up 70% of the time sporting a gain during that month of 1.93%.

Gobble. Gobble.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Oct. 27, 2017

 

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  • Taxes down; deficit up

One of the many things that puzzles me about the Republican’s tax reform policy suggestions is how this party that historically has focused on our keeping a lid on our nation’s deficit now wants to increase it. Tax cuts would do that.

Goofy isn’t it.

And depending upon the reports you read, annual deficits resulting from those tax cuts could amount to $1 trillion annually.

How very un-Republican.

Then again, plumping up our deficit would give way to the opportunity for Republicans to begin clamoring once again about getting rid of, by either reducing or privatizing, the benefits that millions of Americans have paid in to for years and expect— Social Security.

Oh, now I get it.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

And the truly remarkable continues. Just not quite as remarkably.

With the exception of the Russell 2000 which closed lower this week than it had the week before, all three other indices edged higher.

Re the S&P 500, it was technology stocks that helped inch that index upward. On Friday, the Technology sector rallied 2.6% in one day, according to the Bespoke Investment Group. That’s big. Could it be a sign of things to come? Who knows.

But what we do know is that Tech stocks now make up 24.2 percent  of the sector weightings in the S&P 500 index, say the folks at Bespoke. That’s big, too. Next in weightings come Financials, at 14.8%. That’s nearly 10% less that the Technology sector holdings.

Behind the Financial sector weightings come the following: Health Care, 14.3%; Consumer Discr, 11.8%; Industrials, 10.2%; Consumer Staples,8.0%; Energy, 5.8%; Utilities, 3.2%; Materials, 3%; Real Estate, 2.9%; and Telecom,1.9%

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, October 27, 2017.

 

-DJIA +18.58% YTD up a bit from last week’s 18.04%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +28.97% up from last week’s 28.44%

Another new all-time high was reached on the DJIA of 23,485.25 onTuesday, October 24, 2017.

The previous high of 23,328.84 was reached on October 20, 2017.

On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.29% YTD up from last week’s 15.02%.

  • 1yr Rtn +21.00% up from last week’s +20.26%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,582,98 on Friday, October 27, 2017.

It’s previous high of 2,575.33 was reached on October 20, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +24.49% YTD up from last week’s +23.15%.

  • 1yr Rtn +28.48% up a chunk from last week’s 26.46%

 

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,708.13 on Friday, October 27, 2017.

The previous high of 6,640.03 was reached on October 20, 2017.

On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +11.14% YTD down from last week’s +11.21%.

  • 1yr Rtn +26.75% up considerably from last week’s +23.73%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 20, 2017.

Prior to that, its previous high of 1,514.94 was reached on October 5, 2017.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

At the time of this posting Sunday, October 29, 2017, I had not received Lipper’s weekly mutual fund performance figures.

I’m going to guess that while year-to-date total equity returns have changed—and quite likely in an upward direction—they probably didn’t change by much. So what follows below is a repeat of last week’s, October 19 results.

The year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds moved up a bit when posted at the close of business on Thursday, October 19, 2017. It stood at 13.75%, accord to Lipper. The previous week it was 13.54%.

Comparing this week’s Thursday figures to last week’s, the average Sector Fund had a year-to-date total return of 9.53%, down a bit from the week earlier figure of 9.83%.

This week, the two fund types with y-t-d average figures of over 30% were the same fund types—Global Science & Technology funds up on average 39.47% ( last week’s figure 39.38%) and your basic Science & Technology funds, +32.39% ( up from last week’s figure of 32.01%).

World Equity Funds were down a hair from where they were last week at 24.44%, the week previous the figure was 24.54%. Four of them still had year-to-date average returns up over 30%: China Region Funds at +38.39% and down from last week’s +39.04; Pacific Ex-Japan Funds, 33.82% also down from last week’s +33.61%; India Region Funds, +32.32% up from last week’s+32.05; and Latin American Funds, +30.39% down from last week’s 30.94%.

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.

 

  • Another Presidential Pinocchio

President Trump loves to boast. I think he gets off on it. At least that’s what his less-than Presidential behavior has shown us: Don’t clap and cheer wildly during what he says at one of his functions, or White House meetings, and he pouts, bullies others and sends all sorts of unnecessary tweets out into the universe. Sad.

But when it comes his boasting about the U.S. stock market, while there is no denying the bulls have been running it over the past nine years,  The Donald’s time in the White House hasn’t resulted in him having the hottest market. President Barak Obama holds that record.

According to a Bloomberg.com piece dated October 27, 2017 by Nick Baker, “All stocks across the globe are valued at $89.9 trillion. U.S. shares make up only 31.6 percent of that total. That’s the lowest proportion since November 2011, or a few months after the U.S. flirted with default. And it’s sunk from the 11-year high of 38.3% set in December under then-President Barak Obama.”

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Oct. 13, 2017

FullSizeRender(31)•The Donald’s Pinocchio nose

If our current president had a Pinocchio nose, well, I can hardly imagine how extended it would by now be given his record of telling the truth while President of the United States. Day-to-day tweets and truth-telling during his time in office haven’t gone hand in hand.

Take for instance, this example from Trump tweet dated Oct. 16, 2017: “Since Election Day on November 8, the Stock Market is up more than 25%, unemployment is at a 17 year low & companies are coming back to U.S.”

Looking only at stocks, aaccording to MarketWatch.com, if one defines “the Stock Market” as the DJIA, the president is accurate. But if the market he’s speaking of is the S&P 500, he’s off. It hasn’t gained that much. FactSet reports that index up 22%.

That little half truth will extend his Pinocchio nose a little bit more.

But let’s go back to that DJIA. Some stocks in it have performed incredibly well since his inauguration. But not all. The top three total return performers from Nov.8 through Oct.13 were Boeing(BA) up 88%, Caterpillar (CAT) up 58% and McDonald’s (MCD) up 43%, according to FactSet.

The three worst total return performers over that same time period  were: General Electric, (GE) down 19%, International Business Machines (IBM) down 2 % and Exxon Mobil (EX) down 1 %.

Forgetting stocks, a bigger not-telling-the-truth story from Trump is his one about tax cuts. Lots of fudging in what’s being said there including the fact that salaries will increase by thousands of dollars each year for worker bees. Hog wash.

And so is the need for tax cuts in the first place. One simple reality: Think for a moment of all the expenses and costs that are being racked up because of the hurricanes, storms, fires, etc. that have happened over the past few weeks. Where is all of the billions of dollars going to come from to cover those costs? Not tax cuts.

The Republicans say that we need tax reform for one reason and one reason only: For the Republican Party to be able to say they have accomplished something.

Your average American needs tax reform about as much as they need to see the president’s  Pinocchio nose grow another inch.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Truly remarkable. As of last Wednesday, the DJIA had enjoyed 53 record high closes this year, according to CNBC. The S&P 500, 62 times. And then Friday rolled around and both indices closer higher again.

Is there no ending to this bull run? Yes and no. Yes, bulls always trip and markets always turn. No, no precise way of knowing when or what triggers the fall.

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, October 20, 2017.

-DJIA +18.04% YTD up significantly from last week’s 15.73%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +28.44% up from last week’s 26.37%

And another new all-time high for the DJIA. This one of 23,328.84 was reached on October 20, 2017.

The previous high of 22,905.33 was reached on October 13, 2017.

On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.02% YTD up from last week’s 14.04%.

  • 1yr Rtn +20.26% up from last week’s +19.72%

The S&P 500 reached its latest new high of 2,575.33 on October 20, 2017.

Its previous high of 2,556,65 was reached on week earlier on October 13, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +23.15% YTD up from last week’s +22.71%.

  • 1yr Rtn +26.46% down from last week’s 26.71%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,640.03 on October 20, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,,616.58 was reached on October 13, 2017.

On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +11.21% YTD up from last week’s +10.72%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.73% up considerably from last week’s +23.60%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 20, 2017.

Its previous high of 1,514.94 was reached on October 5, 2017.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Average year-to-date returns up once again.

The year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds moved up a bit when posted at the close of business on Thursday, October 19, 2017 and  stood at 13.75%, accord to Lipper. The previous week the return was 13.54%.

Comparing this week’s Thursday figures to last week’s, the average Sector Fund had a year-to-date total return of 9.53%, down a bit from the week earlier figure of 9.83%.

This week, the two fund types with y-t-d average figures of over 30% were the same fund types—Global Science & Technology funds up on average 39.47% ( last week’s figure 39.38%) and your basic Science & Technology funds, +32.39% ( up from last week’s figure of 32.01%).

World Equity Funds were down a hair from where they were last week at 24.44%, the week previous the figure was 24.54%. Four of them still had year-to-date average returns up over 30%: China Region Funds at +38.39% and down from last week’s +39.04; Pacific Ex-Japan Funds, 33.82% also down from last week’s +33.61%; India Region Funds, +32.32% up from last week’s+32.05; and Latin American Funds, +30.39% down from last week’s 30.94%.

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.

 

  • IPO advice

 When I was a broker, getting in on a hot IPO was something many investors clamored to do in hopes of making some quick bucks  knowing well in advance that the likelihood of their orders being filled wasn’t guaranteed.Of course, that was during the last century.

Today, astute investors have learned that jumping on a company’s IPO gun before it fires can backfire. Especially if the company has no profits before going public.

To minimize that kind of IPO risks, Investor’sBusinessDaily offers these smart and common sense tips for IPO wannabees:

  • Don’t buy an IPO stock until it forms and breaks out of its first base.
  • Focus on profitable companies showing technical strength.
  • Cut losses short if the trade goes against you.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Oct. 13, 2017

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  • Inflation

 The wicked stepmother in the world of money is inflation. Like that hateful woman, should you know one, does all of her nasty business right in front of your very eyes without you noticing. Until it’s spending time and you find out the money you thought you had doesn’t nearly buy the same amount of goods and services it once did.

Like I said, it happens right in front of your very eyes.

Jack A. Ablin, BMOs chief investment officer, wrote about inflation in his most recent Current Market Update. Here’s history about inflation taken from that Update: “In an economic expansion spanning nearly 10 years, one missing ingredient has been inflation.  Year over year inflation has remained stubbornly below three percent consistently for more than six years.  Lackluster pricing power has vexed business leaders and the Federal Reserve who both would like to see incremental price growth.  Headline inflation has fallen short of the Fed’s two-percent target in 66 of the last 100 months.  Moreover, 2011 was the last calendar year when inflation hit three percent.  The trend has picked up marginally between 2014 and 2016, but last year’s inflation rate was a tepid 2.1 percent. ….”

If you’re wondering when inflation’s bite will get stronger, Ablin wasn’t specific. But he points out that if inflation flares up when there is no economic growth happening, that would represent a “bull markets financial threat.”

We shall see…

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Nothing spooky about Friday the 13th for three of the four indices followed below. All, with the exception of the Russell 2000, reached brand new highs.

All of this new high stuff is getting a little boring, if you ask me. And hard to figure if you’re looking for why’s from the talking heads. One of whom said that this market is going to continue upward as long as there are bundles of cash sitting on the sidelines.

Which– those in the know– say there is.

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, October 13, 2017.

-DJIA +15.73% YTD up a tad from last week’s 15.24%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +26.37% up from last week’s 24.66%

And another new all-time high for the DJIA. This one of 22,905.33 was reached on October 13, 2017.

Its previous high was reached October 5, 2017 at 22,777.04.

On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +14.04% YTD up from last week’s 13.87%.

  • 1yr Rtn +19.72% up from last week’s +17.98%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,556,65 on October 13, 2017.

The previous high of 2,552.51 was reached on October 5, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +22.71% YTD up a tiny bit from last week’s +22.42%.

  • 1yr Rtn +26.71% up from last week’s 24.18%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,,616.58 was reached on October 13, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,590.18 was reached on October 5, 2017.

On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +10.72% YTD down from last week’s +11.28%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.60% up considerably from last week’s +21.18%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 5, 2017.

Its previous high of 1493.56 was reached on September 29, 2017.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Even with a week resulting in new highs for many indices, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds didn’t move much. It closed with a 13.54% average return on Thursday, October 12, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s down a tiny bit from the previous week’s figure of 13.65.

The average Sector Fund had a year-to-date total return of 9.83% with two fund types under that heading up over 30%: Global Science & Technology funds up on average 39.38% and your basic Science & Technology funds, +32.01.

World Equity Funds were up on average 24.54%. Four of them have year-to-date average returns up over 30%: China Region Funds, +39.04; Pacific Ex-Japan Funds, +33.61%; India Region Funds, +32.05; and Latin American Funds, +30.94.

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.

•Best and worst ETFs

 There’s no overlooking the popularity of Exchange Traded Funds, ETFs. Their popularity and investment choice numbers have grown faster than, I’m gonna guess here, even Wall Street wizards could have ever imagined.

Knowing that, below are the three best and three worst ETF performers year-to-date through October 10, 2017 from ETFTrends.com:

  • Best: Ark Inovation (ARKK) up 74.3%; WisdomTree China Ex State Owned Enterprises Fund (CXSE) up 70.8%; and Kraneshares CSI China Internet ETF, (KWEB) up 68.2%.
  • Worst: United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) down33.9%; PowerShares S&P Smallcap Eneegy Portfolio (PSCE), down 31.4%; and SPDR S&P Oil& Gas Equipment & Services Etf (XES), down 26.6%.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Oct. 6, 2017

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•Well, look who is saving money.

If you thought that Millennials were just snotty nosed kids with no social graces and only focused on all things hand-held, you may be right. But you’d also be missing something: Turns out these 18-34 year-olds are good savers.

According to a recent NerdWallet survey of 2,000 folks, Millennial parents are contributing 10% of their income to—drum roll please—-retirement savings.

Compare that to Generation X people (aged 35 to 54) are saving 8% of their income for retirement and working Baby Boomers (55 and older) only 5%.

Maybe financial literacy does pay off.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Clearly the market hasn’t had enough of a running bull as it’s been another week of the closing at new high records on the indices followed below.

As was the case at the end of September, the Russell 2000 has been the index to play—up again rewarding believers in it more than they may have ever expected.

Where and when the bears will appear on Wall Street continues to be anybody’s guess. But what isn’t guess-related  is how the stocks, funds and investments in your portfolio have performed so far this year. It is going to be year-end before we know it and  one of the most rewarding gifts one can give to one, is profit taking.

On that note, below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, October 6, 2017.

-DJIA +15.24% YTD up a heap from last week’s 13.37%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.66% up from last week’s 23.49%

And a new all-time high for the DJIA was reached on October 5, 2017 of 22,777.04.

The previous high of 22,419.51 was reached on Sept. 21, 2017.

On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +13.87% YTD up from last week’s 12,53%.

  • 1yr Rtn +17.98% up from last week’s +17.12%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,552.51 on October 5, 2017.

The previous high of 2,519,44 was reached on September 29, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +22.42% YTD up a heap from last week’s +20.67%.

  • 1yr Rtn +24.18% up from last week’s 23.28%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,590.18 on October 6, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,497.98 was reached on September 29, 2017.

On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

 

-Russell 2000 +11.28% YTD up a heap from last week’s +9.85%.

  • 1yr Rtn +21.18% up considerably from last week’s +20.45%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 5, 2017.

Its previous high of 1493.56 was reached on September 29, 2017.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

 And once again, mutual fund average performance figures continue upward.

For the week ending Thursday, October 5, 2017, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 13.65, according to Lipper. That’s up enough to notice from the previous week’s figure of 11.86%.

Briefly, it’s been a growth year for all types of growth funds including large-cap, large-cap core, all varieties of mid- and multi-cap growth funds and the same for small-cap funds.

That said, one of these weeks the tide will turn and value will wind up being the place to have some money invested. While that day isn’t today, value funds have way outperformed the kind of measly return folks have gotten on their money market funds, in their savings accounts and bond funds.

For instance, Large- and Multi-Cap Value funds were both up on average well over 10% year to date. Nothing to whine about there. Additionally, Mid-Cap Value funds were up on average 8.42% and Small-Cap Value funds up 6.58%.

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.

 

  • Airline fees sky-high

 Once upon a time, flying used to be a lot of fun. People dressed up to fly. Full meals were served in coach. Seats were comfy with plenty of leg room and the width to accommodate most butts. But, as we all know butt size has changed and so has everything else about air travel.

In addition to security measures all travelers have to endure before boarding flights, there are restrictions regarding luggage, etc.

All of which has made flying more uncomfortable for everyone and more profitable for the airline industry. I find that shameful as it represents a long-term trend in America that has put corporate profits way ahead of the quality of the products offered.

Worse yet, it’s costing all of us more to fly as the bundles of bucks the airline industry now brings in is coming from all of the ancillary fees charged. Like those for ticket fees, baggage fees, etc.

According to a piece on travel guru Peter Greenberg’s travel blog, PeterGreenberg.com, “ten years ago the airlines generated about $2.1 billion in ancillary fees….Today that airlines have racked up $28 billion in fees—-more than they profit from actually flying the planes or operating as airlines.”

Again, that’s shameful.

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pbTrumpBits#17: Moron defined

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Earlier this week, just hearing the word “moron” made me laugh out loud. I haven’t heard that word in decades. Like many decades. It was one of those words you heard a lot back in the 1950s and ‘60s and– if I remember correctly— was used to describe some goofball. Of which there have always been a number of no matter what the year,  decade or century.

Forgetting whom, if anybody, used that word to describe President Trump, one thing is certain: the meaning of the word and its synonyms do in fact fit some of our 45th President’s behavior.

Before defining the word, here’s a little bit of history: According the Wikipedia’s free encyclopedia, “Moron” was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard from the Ancient Greek word moros, which meant “dull” and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12 ….”

Not so sure many would describe Trump as “dull” but know plenty of folks who would describe his behavior as childish and “with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12.”

Now, its definition.

Merriam-Webster defines “moron” as “1: dated, now offensive: a person affected with mild mental retardation, and 2: a very stupid person.”

Synonyms include: fool, idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, clod and more.

Oh, one more thing. Lest you think the word is/was just popular and used in America, you’d be mistaken.

My ace researcher, CB, found that all around the world languages in countries from Albania to Uzbek either use the word “moron” or have one that, in their native language, translates to the same meaning as ours.

Morons. Clearly they are everywhere. How sad for everyone. Especially when their role is that of the head of a nation. Or a company. Or a club. Or…..and the list goes on.

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