POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov. 25, 2016

  • Thankful feasts

If you need someone to blame for Thanksgiving falling on a Thursday and the three-day weekend that follows, blame Plymouth’s governor William Bradford. According to History.com, in 1621 Bradford “invited local Indians to join the Pilgrims in a three-day festival held in gratitude for the bounty of the season.”

Three-hundred and twenty-years later President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Oh me oh my. It was a record-breaking holiday week of ups for stock indices. How high can they go? I wish I knew.

Off the top of my head, I can’t recall any talking head who– at the beginning of this year– figured the Dow would be up well over 12% come the end of November. But it is.

The rally some are referring to as the Trump Bump I’d say is more of a reflection of how well our economy is doing—and has been doing—thanks to moves made by the Obama administration.

In case you have forgotten, eight years ago the US was in an economic world of mess. And in case you have forgotten, under President Obama’s time in office the markets, job creation, corporate profits, national security, life in general, etc., have gotten better for millions of Americans including the wealthy and those less financially fortunate.

To assume that same kind of over all prosperity will continue to be the case under a Trump administration would be, well, unrealistic. As the word “assume” shows us, to assume anything makes and “ass” of “u” and “me”.

So, with year’s end not that far off, and market indices at all time highs, the big guess is how the indices will end the year. Or, perform in 2017 under a new administration.

Given the uncertainties, and depending upon your individual situation/circumstances, now might be a good time to consider taking some money off the table. Or not. After all, taking profits and making money is what this game is all about.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices along with their respective P/E Ratios based on prices at the mid-day close of business on Black Friday, Nov.25, 2016. All, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +12.66% YTD up from last week’s 10.98%

  • 1yr Rtn +10.48% up from last week’s 8.74%

P/E Ratio 18.23 up from last week’s 17.96

 

-S&P 500 +10.47% YTD up from last week’s 8.87%

  • 1yr Rtn +8.21% up from last week’s 6.74%

P/E Ratio 20.70 up from week’s 20.37

NASDAQ +9.17% YTD up from last week’s 7.58%

  • 1yr Rtn +6.73% up from last week’s 5.66%

P/E Ratio NA

 

Russell 2000 +20.16% YTD up from last week’s 17.33%

  • 1yr Rtn +13.73% up from last week’s 13.66%

P/E Ratio 46.89 off a smidge from last week’s 46.90.

 

-Mutual funds

As market indices soared to new heights, so too did the year-to-day performance of the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund. At the close of business on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2016, the avenge fund under this broad heading was up 9.67%, according to Lipper. That’s up roughly 130 basis points from the previous week’s close.

Once again it was Small-Cap Value Funds that lead the way, up on average 23.21%. Next in line, once again, were Equity Leverage Funds, up 19.42%.

Shareholders in Dedicated Short Bias Funds lost the most; the average y-t-d performance in this grouping of 172 funds was down 24.06%.

Under the Sector Equity Funds heading, that’s where you’ll find fund types likely to gain or lose the most, the five fund types with the highest year-to-date average returns were the earthly ones and include Precious Metals Equity Funds, 53.01%; Basic Metals Funds, 28.35%; Commodities Base Metals Funds, 25.89 %; Natural Resources Funds, 24.51%; and Energy MLP Funds, 22.26%.

The average World Income Fund was 5.45%.

In the fixed-income world the average YTD performance of General Domestic Taxable FI Funds was 6.35%.

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.

 

  • America and inequality

Turns out, when you step back and look at the whole world, the U.S. is among the most unequal countries on the planet, according to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD.

One for instance? Those with incomes in the top 20% earn 8.7 times more than those with incomes that fall in the bottom 20%.

In Iceland, Norway and Denmark, countries with the lowest inequality among developed nations, the top 20% earn about 3.5 times more than the bottom 20%.

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