Monthly Archives: September 2016

POCKETBOOK:Week ending Sept.24,2016

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October:Scary or not so much?

With September nearly over and the month that celebrates All Hallows Eve right around the corner, investors could be in for a treat.

As fate would have it, well really history, ever since 1987 the S&P500 Index has averaged a 1.8% gain during the month of October, according to Dan Wiener, editor of Fund Focus Weekly.

That’s not so bad considering there isn’t a financial commentator around who can’t help telling the investing public that the month of October has historically been fraught with market downturns. It is, after all, the month the DJIA fell 22.6% on a day now remembered as Black Monday.

But look back and  count and Wiener writes that over the past 28 October’s, 19 of them—68%–have rewarded investors with positive results.

Boo!

  • Market Quick Glance

Lookie here: At the close of business on Friday, Sept 23, 2016, all four indices had better performance records than the week before with the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq’s year-to-date weekly returns gaining the most. And, the 1-yr  year-to-date return for the Russell 2000 moved from a positive 6.9% up to 13.45%.

Below, according to Bloomberg, are last week’s closing YTD performance numbers of four popular US indices along with 1-year performance figures.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +6.94% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +14.96%

-S&P 500 +7.63% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +14.57%

NASDAQ +7.01% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +14.76%

Russell 2000 +11.64% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +13.45%

 

-Mutual funds

Year-to-date average returns for U.S. Diversified Equity funds gained a bit over the past week as, at the close of business on Thursday, September 22, 2016, their average YTD return was 6.79%, according to Lipper. That’s a gain of more than 175 basis points from the previous week’s figures.

Under the heading of  U.S. Diversified Equity Funds, Equity Leverage Funds had a YTD performance average of +25.27%. Dedicated Short Bias Funds, on the other hand, had an average YTD average return of -23.26%.

Precious Metals Equity Funds, Lipper tracks 73 of them, were now up on average over 100% YTD at 107.93%.

World Equity Funds continued to gain strength providing their shareholders with an average return of 7.74%. Latin American Funds also continued their move upward with average YTD returns of 35.19%.

Make sure to take advantage of the wonderful world of mutual fund performance figures that Lipper publishes weekly. Use their YTD returns as a guideline for how your individual fund(s) are performing. For instance, Lipper reports the average stock fund is up about 6.79 percent so far this year. Are your stock funds doing better or worse than that?

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.

  • Listen up market worriers: Elections don’t matter much

According to Ric Edelman, former CEO of Edelman Financial Services, worrying about whether Clinton or Trump makes it into the White House isn’t likely to wreck your investment portfolio unless…..

“History is very clear on this point,” Edelman said in an interview with ETF.com. “Going back to 1948, the impact of every president on the financial markets is very clear. Presidents do not adversely affect the markets.”

The “unless” is if we are in a recession. Or, you won’t need your money for four to eight years. That’s the longest a president can remain in office.

Investors during the Nixon and Bush years, realized the pain that recessions can impose upon one’s investment portfolio.

Guess that means that going forward the big question all investors are faced with is: Is there a recession in our future? And if you think so, the next question is: Can you personally afford any market losses?

And so— without a clear cut answer in site—it goes…..

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POCKETBOOK:Week ending Sept.17,2016

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  • Guns and suicides

Where ever you stand on gun control, there is no denying the fact that guns kill. It’s like the reason they were created.

On that note, from Bloomberg.com comes this:

” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are about 11,000 firearm homicides a year and some 21,000 firearm suicides. In terms of sheer mortality, gun suicide is a bigger problem than gun homicide.”

  • Market Quick Glance

At the close of business on Friday, Sept 16, 2016, all four indices had performed better than the week before with Nasdaq gaining the most.

According to Bloomberg, below are last week’s closing YTD performance numbers of four popular US indices along with 1-year performance figures.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +6.13% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +13.61%

-S&P 500 +6.34% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +11.67%

NASDAQ +5.77% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +10.12%

Russell 2000 +8.96% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +6.90%

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, September 15, 2016, the average YTD return of U.S.Diversified Equity Funds had lost ground from the previous week and ended the week +4.97%, according to Lipper.

Look back over the past year and the average total 52- week YTD return was 4.09%.

World Equity Funds, on average, are up 5.22%.  Latin American Funds lead the way, up 30.97% on average, followed by Emerging Markets Funds, up 12.38% and then India Region Funds, up 11.20%.

Slide into income and World Income Funds, Lipper tracks 802 of them, were up on average 9.55%.

Wondering how best to use Lipper’s fund performance figures? Use their YTD returns as a guideline for how your individual fund(s) are performing. For instance, the average stock fund is up about 6.5 percent so far this year. Are your stock funds doing better or worse than that?

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.

  • Dubious Dividends

I’m a big fan of stocks that pay dividends to their shareholders. Invest in companies that have a long history of paying them and this old-fashioned widows-and-orphans kind of investment strategy can reward shareholders handsomely.

But dividends don’t come with guarantees. The companies that pay them aren’t required to make that promise. And, can change their mind about how much gets paid at any time.

That’s something to keep in mind when hunting for dividend paying stocks to purchase.

Louis Navellier brought that point home in a current email in which he wrote: “Of the 1,500 dividend paying stocks in the market, a unbelievable 313 companies cut their dividends in the first half of 2016. That’s 1 out of every 5 dividend stocks CUTTING their dividend….”

This money pro is anticipating more cuts from dividend paying companies this year. Including companies included in  ETFs and  REITs .

So what can you do if you’re a divie investor?

In a word “homework.”

The dividend investing strategy remains to be a sound one but learning as much as you can about the company that pays the dividend, its history of dividend payment, current financial picture and future growth prospects all need to be reviewed and considered.

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POCKETBOOK:Week ending Sept.10,2016

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  • Well this ain’t pretty

Debt is something our nation is no stranger to. Neither are many of its citizens. And, like you, I know that debt isn’t always a horrible 4-letter word. It has its valid and good reasons for being. And then there is the other side.

On the not-so-hot side,  our nation debt it is getting close to $19.5 trillion. And, according to MyBudget360.com, “The U.S. nation debt is more than all the world’s physical cash, gold, silver and bitcoin combined.”

That’s a lot

  • Market Quick Glance

So, last week I wrote:” I don’t recall any talking heads who said they expected 1-year returns on equities to be in the mid- to high-double digits this year…”

And, “If stock indices are an indication of the state of our economy—there’s no room for any investors to complain about America not being great—-it has been for investors year-to-date and over the past year.”

And this week I get to eat some of those words thanks to market reversing its hotsy-totsy performance record with the year-to-date and 1-year return for Dow, S&P500, Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 all closing off from the prior week’s close.

At the close of business on Friday, Sept 9, 2016, all four indices closed lower than they had the previous week, according to Bloomberg. Below are the closing YTD performance numbers of four popular US indices along with their 1-year performance figures.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +5.87% YTD (Down 3% from last week’s YTD close of 8.19%)

  • 1yr Rtn +13.00% (Down 4.94% in one week)

-S&P 500 +5.72% YTD (Down from last week’s 8.27% YTD figure)

  • 1yr Rtn +10.88% (Down over 5%)

NASDAQ +3.35% YTD (Down from last week’s 5.84 % YTD)

  • 1yr Rtn +7.74% (Clipped by more than 6% from last week’s 13.61%)

Russell 2000 +8.42% YTD (Down about 3%)

  • 1yr Rtn +6.90%(Off more than 5% from last week’s 11.86%)

-Mutual funds

In mutual fund land the picture is a bit different. But that’s because of the day fund returns are calculated.

If you’ve noticed, Lipper bases its performance figures on returns collected at the close of business on Thursday’s. (I think that calculation day all started because Lipper wanted to make sure the numbers made it into Friday’s papers.)

So, because Lipper’s figures missed  Friday’s big-time  down turn, their numbers are better than one might otherwise expect had they been based on the Sept.9 closing prices.

That said, at the close of business on Thursday, September 8, 2016, the average YTD return of U.S.Diversified Equity Funds was +7.01% according to Lipper. That’s up from last week’s 6.17%.

That figure represents the average YTD return on 8,390 different equity funds that fall under 20 different fund types  including  an assortment of large-cap, small-cap, mid-cap, speciality, alternative, S&P500 etc. funds.

Precious Metals Equity Funds picked up ground over the week with year-to-date average returns now standing at 109.43% —that’s up from last week’s average fund return of 95.70%.

Lipper’s Sector Equity Funds, where Precious Metals funds live, also gained ground. At the close of business on Thursday the average fund under this heading it was up 11.72%.

Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds were up on average a tad more at 6.23%. World Income Funds gained over 1% with an average YTD return of 11.06%.

Wondering how best to use Lipper’s fund performance figures? Use their YTD returns as a guideline for how your individual fund(s) are performing. For instance, the average stock fund is up about 6.5 percent so far this year. Are your stock funds doing better or worse than that?

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.

  • One money guy’s point of view

Peter Schiff’s EuroPac International Value Fund (EPIVX) is up over 30% as of August 31, 2016, according to Morningstar. The reason for the handsome returns are in part due to gold’s gains. And, investments in places like New Zealand, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia, according to a CNBC.com recent story.

Schiff said he likes investing in countries in that part of the world because they don’t have much exposure to the United States.

From the CNBC.com story, “Why Peter Schiff’s international fund is up over 35% year-to-date” by Bryan Borzykowski, comes this: “The U.S. consumer…is living on credit, has no savings, and the whole economy is headed for collapse, and I want protection against that. I‘m tryin to invest in markets and companies that are best positioned to do well in an environment where the U.S. economy is not doing well.”

Okay.

But before running out and investing in the fund keep in mind that —-whether you buy Schiff’s thinking or not— last year the fund was down 26.31%, according to Morningstar.

And so it goes…

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POCKETBOOK:Week ending Sept. 3, 2016

IMG_0204•Labor Realities

I remember when a goodly number of stores were closed in celebration of Labor Day. Of course, that was decades ago and in the last generation. Today, more people than ever work on this national holiday. Bummer.

I also remember when government figures weren’t quite so confusing. The G-man’s figures didn’t appear to have the need to be sliced and diced as they currently are. Or, updated as frequently.

But there are many more of us today than there were decades ago and as a result, government facts and figures aren’t what they used to be.

As a result, anyone wanting to get a handle on how many people are working—or not working — todayyou’ve got to look beyond the first paragraph of any copy addressing that subject.

For example, on Friday the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in August. But that’s the U-3 number (metrics that show the state of jobs), according to CNBC.com.

But wait—there’s more: A broader definition of the unemployment rate is called the U-6 rate. At the end of August is stood at 9.7 percent.

Go figure.

  • Market Quick Glance

The stock market was showing its stuff as of the close of business on Friday, Sept 2, 2016. All four of the indices below closed higher than they had the previous week, according to Bloomberg. Perhaps performance was in celebration of the anticipated Labor Day weekend. Maybe not.

Whatever. If stock indices are an indication of the state of our economy—there’s no room for any investors to complain about America not being great—-it has been for investors year-to-date and over the past year.

On that note, I don’t recall any talking heads who said they expected 1-year returns on equities to be in the mid- to high-double digits this year. But, that’s where they stood as of September 2nd, as you will see in the following numbers.

Below are the closing YTD performance numbers of four popular US indices along with their 1-year performance figures.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +8.19% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +17.94%

-S&P 500 +8.27% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +15.98%

NASDAQ +5.84% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +13.61%

Russell 2000 +11.29 %

  • 1yr Rtn +11.86%

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, September 1, 2016, the average YTD return of U.S.Diversified Equity Funds was +6.17%,according to Lipper.

On their continued slide downwards, the average YTD return on Precious Metals Equity Funds fell under 100% to 95.70%.

Lipper’s Sector Equity Funds, where you will find the Precious Metals heading, also continued to lose ground. At the close of business on Thursday the average fund under this heading it was up 11.72%.

Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds were up, on average, 6.16%. And World Income Funds up over 10% at 10.04%.

Wondering how best to use Lipper’s fund performance figures? Use their YTD returns as a guideline for how your individual fund(s) are performing. For instance, the average stock fund is up about 6.5 percent so far this year. Are your stock funds doing better or worse than that?

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.

  • How to Negotiate

Working or not, every one of us will need to negotiate our way into something—or out of something—at some point during our lives.

According to Ken Marlin, a Marine, executive and author, you can’t win in a negotiation unless you are willing to walk away and call the whole thing off. You’ve also got to be willing to tell the truth.

Those are two of Marlin’s nine negotiation rules from his new book, The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street: 11 Key Principles from Battlefield to Boardroom.

In a nutshell, here are Marlin’s nine rules of negotiations from the chapter “Negotiate from the High Ground” in his book:

9 Negotiation Rules from Ken Marlin

Rule 1: Be prepared to walk away from the table.

Rule 2: Know where you are going.

Rule 3: Recognize when you have leverage—and when you don’t.

Rule 4: Tell the truth.

Rule 5: Remember the peace.

Rule 6: Negotiate big things before little things.

Rule 7: Don’t bully.

Rule 8: It is personal.

Rule 9: Take reasonable, defensible positions.

(Full disclosure: I have not read Marlin’s book. Found the negotiating tips on a blog and  thought they  were worth sharing.)

 

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