POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 23, 2016

IMG_0204•What you need to know about airplane food

I probably should have shared this with you at the beginning of summer. My bad. But this little morsel of info may serve you well the next time you dine inflight.

There’s a reason why airplane food tastes so dull, crappy, bland, ishy. etc. Turns out it’s not the food’s fault. It’s our taste buds—they don’t work well when flying.

“We’ve done a huge amount of work over the last 18 months on what happens to your taste at altitude, and typically you lose 33 percent of your ability to taste,” explained Sinead Ferguson, Menu Design Manager for British Airways. Apparently, the pressurized cabin, colder air and the dryness we all feel when flying makes our taste buds go numb. Who knew?

To solve this tasteless problem airline food sceintists—along with tv chefs and anyone in the food prep world— are now thinking umami when creating menus.

Umami is one of those things that’s hard to define as it isn’t a bean or seed or anything you can pick up at Whole Foods. It’s a category of taste just as salty, sweet, sour and bitter are. It happens as a result of combining the right amount of this  with the right amount of that.

According to Ferguson, umami is “found naturally in ingredients such as Parmesan, mushrooms, tomatoes, certain fish, seaweed, and we try to incorporate a lot of those ingredients in our foods.”

So the next time you fly, order something that includes goat cheese in it. It’s umamilious.

  • Market Quick Glance

It was a week of gains for the indices— particularly for 1-year returns.

Below are the closing YTD performance numbers of four popular US indices as of Friday, July 22, 2016, according to Bloomberg. One-year performance figures are also included.

While there are plenty of pros saying that there’s a bear dressed in bull market clothing running around on Wall Street, the only thing that really matters—and that ever matters—is how your individual investments are working for you.

Keeping your eyes focused on those results is what’s important.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +8.18% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +8.56% (That represents a 1-yr return gain of 3.4%)

-S&P 500 +7.72% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +6.91% (Up for the year over 3% from last wee’s 3.91%.)

NASDAQ +2.61% YTD (An improvement of about 1.5%)

  • 1yr Rtn +1.59% (The 1-yr return moved from – into + territory.)

Russell 2000 +7.67% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +0.45% (A big gain from last week’s -3.42% return.)

-Mutual funds

The average U.S.Diversified Equity Fund ended the week up a hair over last week’s YTD return. Through Thursday, July 21, 2016 the average U.S.Diversified Equity Fund ended the week up 4.9%, according to Lipper. That’s a gain of less than one-half of 1%, as in 0.4%.

Under this umbrella heading it was Equity Leverage Funds that rewarded shareholders the most, up 20.30% on average. And, Dedicated Short Bias Funds that took the most from them; they were down on average 18.98%.

Not surprising, Precious Metals Equity Funds have lost some steam. Thursday’s close showed the average return for this group was up only 109% YTD. That’s off from last week’s average YTD return of 120.25%.

Looking at fix-income returns, for a change, the year-to-date return for Short/Intermediate US Government & Treasury funds was a positive 3.86%.  Lipper tracks 467 funds under that heading. During the 1-week period begining  July 14 and ending July 21, 2016, the average return for the group was underwater at -0.17%.

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

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

  • Fixed-income junk and YTD returns

If you’re a fan of bond funds and looking for some appealing returns, look no further than Emerging Markets LC Debt Funds. Their YTD average return was a positive 12.45%, through 7/21/16, according to Lipper.

Or, at Emerging Markets HC Debt Funds with that group’s average YTD return for its 272 funds of +11.27%.

Prefer investing in US bonds? Then General US Treasury Funds have rewarded shareholders with an average return of +9.51% this year; High Yield Funds a YTD return of +9.20%; and Corporate Debt BBB Rated Funds of +8.58%.

See, even  junk  can be rewarding.

-30-

 

 

 

 

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