POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 21, 2016

  • file0001574020129 Hey, the TSA is hiring.

Okay, word is out that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is on a spending and hiring binge. Two reasons for the move to spend around $8 million to hire 768 full-time screeners and $26 million to increase overtime pay are: In the past three yeas the numbers of officers has dropped by 10 percent, according to CNN.MONEY. And then, the number of people flying and needing to go through airport checkpoints has increased by 15 percent.

All of that is good news for someone who wants to work for the government. To apply for a job visit USAJobs.gov. Or click on: http://tinyurl.com/jaaqbf8 . Or, https://www.usajobs.gov/Search/?Keyword=tsa&Location=&homeRadPublic=public&search=Search&AutoCompleteSelected=False&CanSeekStatusJobs=False .

One of those links ought to get you there.

Once on the page, you might be as surprised as I was to see the pay range of these Uncle Sam jobs. The list begins with the highest paying job openings, that of a “Transportation Security Specialist”,  with a pay range of $61,719.- $116,626. per year.

The airport screener jobs that flyers are all familiar with—and of which there are many positions available at airports around the country—require scrolling down until you see job listings for “Transportation Security Administration.” The pay ranges for these jobs is from $15.13 to $21.61 per hour. Figure there is no cost for uniforms, but the job does have its risks.

Good luck.

  • Market Quick Glance

-Indices:

Here are the year-to-date performance figures for the major indices through May 20, 2016, according to Bloomberg. To provide a longer performance perspective, 1-year returns have been added.

Based on the results, there is little to jump up and down about on Wall Street unless it’s a bear market you’re hoping for.

-Dow Jones +1.62% YTD

1yr Rtn -1.44%

-S&P 500 +1.32% YTD

1yr Rtn +1.34%

NASDAQ -4.18% YTDimproved about 1 %

1yr Rtn -5.03%

Russell 2000 -1.53% YTD

1yr Rtn -9.86 %

 

-Mutual funds

Through Thursday, May 19, 2016 the average U.S.Diversified Equity Fund has lost 1.35 percent year-to-date, according to Lipper.

Look back further and over the past 4 weeks, 4/20/16 through 5/19/16, and the average fund under that heading was down over 3 percent. Look at the past 13 weeks, (2/17/16-5/19/16), the average performance was a + 6.66 percent, then over the past 52 weeks, down 7.54 percent.

Clearly, following short-term investing results is not for the faint of heart. Or, those without a stomach of steel.

It was a repeat of winners when looking at the three top performing funds over the past week under the US Diversified Equity Fund heading, although their order has changed. The biggest performance winner was: Equity Income Funds, up 2.38 percent last week vs. the plus 3.66 percent return the week before; nipping at its heals were Mid-Cap Value Funds, up 2.226 percent (up 3.28 percent the week before); and then Equity Leveraged Funds that have pretty much lost the lion’s share of their gains, up now 1.09 percent vs their previous week’s 4.66 percent year-to-date average return.

On the income side, even the average World Income Fund lost ground. It is now up 4.85 percent year-to-date, down from up over 6 percent.

If you were expecting Precious Metals Funds to really be soaring, well, even they have lost some of their luster. As of Thursday’s close the average fund here was up 71.89 percent —that’s down from the previous week’s showing of 75.64 percent.

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for weekly updates to see how 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.

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

  • And then there is debt

 I don’t want to say that debt is one of life’s little necessities, but if you ever want to get a loan, you’d better have some kind of official record showing that yes indeedy, you do pay your debts in a timely fashion.

Without that, there will be no debt burden coming your way. Which on the one hand is a very good thing but on the other can make life difficult.

That said, in America debt plays a big part in our lives, the country and its many corporations.

It’s also a four-letter word that doesn’t get talked about in really full-disclosure very often. It’s much easier to lie, mumble or just brush money and debt talk under the rug than shake it out and talk about it.

And to that point, last week S&P Global Ratings reported the following in a May 20, 2016 press release: “Cash is on the decline and debt is decidedly on the rise for 99% of rated U.S. corporations.”

The report titled “U.S. Nonfinancial Corporates’ Record $1.84 Trillion Cash Holdings Mask A Massive $6.6 Trillion Debt Burden” does also point out corporate America’s cash-to-debt ratio is huge but the debt is growing. And the downside of more debt could translate to an increase in corporate defaults especially if the growth in debt outstanding becomes much higher than the growth in cash. “ In 2015 alone, total debt outstanding grew by about $850 billion, or about 50 times that of the cash growth.”

Looks as though corporate America is beginning to feel what millions of American households have known for a long time: Too much debt with not enough money coming in to cover it.

That’s not good for anybody.

-30-

 

 

 

 

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