Monthly Archives: December 2016

POCKETBOOK:Week ending Dec.24, 2016

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  • Holiday peace and joy to all

To honor the true spirit of the holiday season, this week’s money-focused POCKETBOOK will be brief. My hope in doing so is to remind everyone that what’s most important in this life is the wealth that lives within your heart and not the material wealth you may have been fortunate enough to have accumulated.

  • Market Quick Glance

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +17.51 YTD up from last week’s 16.96%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.65% down from last week’s 18.99%

 

-S&P 500 +13.17% YTD up from last week’s 12.84%

  • 1yr Rtn +12.27% down from last week’s 15.07%

 

-NASDAQ +10.55%YTD up from last week’s 10.02%

  • 1yr Rtn +9;68% down from last week’s 11.96%

 

-Russell 2000 +22.47%YTD up from last week’s 21.82%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.55% down from last week’s 23.55%

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, the performance of the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund was 11.53%, off a bit from the previous week’s close of 11.73%, according to Lipper.

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.

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POCKETBOOK:Week ending Dec. 17, 2016

  • Money

     Scrooged by UPS

I still love making candy, baking cookies from scratch, packing it all up and sending them off as Christmas gifts. Yeah it’s a lot of work but from what I hear the yummies are well received.

So with joy in my heart, and a desire to skip the long lines at the Post Office, this year I decided to mail my goodies via UPS. So I lugged a bunch of boxes to their store inside my local Staples.

The young man minding the UPS desk showed me all the paperwork I needed to complete before mailing (ugh). And, when I was done with the first package (I had six of them), he asked what was inside the first  box.

I said, “ Cookies.”

And with that he said “ UPS doesn’t ship perishables.”

“Perishibles?!?” I said. “It’s Christmas and they are Christmas cookies.”

That didn’t matter to this by-the-book employee.

So I gathered my packages and left  ggravated by the experience but not before I asked to speak with the store manager to register my holiday bitch.

It seems to me I’ve receied an awful lot of perishable food items delivered to my house by UPS over the years. Steaks, apples, hams, come to mind. How come that can happen but I can’t send a box with my version of Grandma’s best cookies ever? I still don’t know the how-come answer to  that.

The store’s manager did tell me that the US Post Office isn’t supposed to mail perishables either. And that’s when I learned something I’d always been taught not to do: Lie.

To the six family households who have been looking forward to getting an annual Xmas holiday package from me, I’m not sending cookies this year. Expect a box of underwear.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Another week of ups for the four indices followed here–particularly worth noting are the 1-year gains on NASDAQ and the Russell 2000.

December’s rush is certainly something to behold. How long equity prices can continue their upward climb is anybody’s guess. But until things turn, there is no fighting a trend.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +16.96% YTD up a tad from last week’s 16.43%

  • 1yr Rtn +18.99% up from last week’s 17.52%

P/E Ratio 18.85 up a bit from last week’s 18.77

 

-S&P 500 +12.84% YTD up from last week’s 10.02%

  • 1yr Rtn +15.07% up substantially from last week’s 7.65%

P/E Ratio 21.12 up from week’s 20.60

 

-NASDAQ +10.02% YTD up a lot from last week’s 7.31%

  • 1yr Rtn +11.96% up big time from last week’s 4.60%

P/E Ratio 31.73 up from last week’s 30.89

 

-Russell 2000 +21.82% YTD up from last week’s 19.05%

  • 1yr Rtn +23.55% up seriously from last week’s 14.44%

P/E Ratio 47.24 up from last week’s 46.27

 

-Mutual funds

Stock fund shareholders are also enjoying the price rush of this year’s market performances. The YTD performance of the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund closed off a bit from last week, up 11.73% at the end of day on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, according to Lipper. Last week’s figure was up 12.14%

It’s still a Small-Cap Value Funds world as the average fund here is up 27.14%. That’s down about 1% from last week’s average 28.89% figure

If you’ve been a gold and precious metals fund investor, this year’s best performance days are way behind you. Now, instead of six-figure average returns, the average Precious Metals Equity Funds’ YTD return has been more than halfed at sits at  41.20%.

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.

  • Mo money mo money mo money

Although equity prices have been hitting new highs, the cost of living for the millions and millions of Americans who aren’t investors and who don’t own mutual funds or have 401Ks funded with stocks or stock funds is on the rise too.

The cost of a gallon of gas has risen by 30 cents a gallon in my neighborhood over the past few weeks. Adjustable rate mortgages and equity line of credit loans are going to cost home owners more each and every month going forward. Who knows how much health care is going to cost next year. But my guess is it’s not going to be less expensive than it is now.

As for credit card debt , according to a WalletHub Study: “ U.S. consumer racked up $21.9billion in credit card debt during Q3 2016, which is the seventh-largest third-quarter accumulation in the last 30 years.”

In other words, many Americans are back to using credit to subsidize their lives.

That’s not good. And I’m not sure Donald Trump’s red cap crowd realizes that life under his tutelage is likely going to be more expensive for them as they had hoped/imagined/believer/thought. Unless, of course, they  are 1 percenters—which most aren’t.

So what’s a person to do? Watch your pennies. Invest for the long term and wisely in low low cost products like index funds.

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My interview with Santa

2img_2091At this time of the year, there is no one like Santa! And my interview with him—even though it was conducted 30 years ago—just  might be the very best interview you’ve ever seen with this delightfully jolly and oh-so warm and friendly  fella.

So how was I lucky enough to score an interview with him? Here’s the backstory:

In 1986, I was the producer and host of “Newsmakers” , a weekly Public Affairs program on my local PBS station WXEL. When Christmas time rolled around, I came up with the bright idea of interviewing Santa for that program. And as fate would have it, I was lucky enough to have a good stock broker friend who agreed to accept the assignment. And who turned out to be the most creative  and perfect Santa-guy-pick ever! His name, Mark Scheinbaum.

The call-in and ask-Santa program was so successful it won me and WXEL TV 42, a 1986 TV Feature   “Newmaker Award for distinguished news coverage of public education in Florida” from FTP NEA—-the Florida Teaching Profession National Education Association.

The interview runs a bit over an hour and if you’ve got little ones–or big ones– who love Santa and want to hear and learn from him, gather round and watch and listen. One important caveat: DO NOT call the phone number on the screen! Santa has changed his number.

Here’s the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMVARIldBBg.

Happy Holidays

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Dec. 9, 2016

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  • Flying high…maybe

Everybody is flying high. From house and stock market prices to Donnie telling the world that yes he wants Boeing “to make a lot of money” re their contract with the government to build a  spanky new 747 Air Force One, just “not that much money.”

Really. Am I the only one who when they heard that thought it sounded a little like the kind of words  that would come out of the mouth of a dictator ? And,  what ever happened to free market capitalism and competition?

I bettcha if anyone ever tried to tell this President-elect how much money he could or couldn’t make on a deal—any deal— he’d tell them to go take a flying leap.

Speaking of leaps, expecting the equity markets to continue climbing to new heights for an extended period of time will require a leap of faith. A big leap.

Trees don’t grow to the sky.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Thank heavens that decisions made by President Obama and his Administration during his first year(s) in office laid the groundwork that allowed us to get out from under  the Great Recession and into a recovery plan that has worked and grown our economy over the past eight years. Had decisions made eight years ago not happened, it’s highly unlikely that the equity indices would have been able to reach the new highs they are currently enjoying.

At the close of business on Friday, December 9, 2016, it’s been estimated that $1 billion in new wealth has been added to the equity markets since the November election. Not surprisingly, on Friday all four of the indices followed here closed higher than they had the previous week.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +16.43% YTD up a lot from last week’s 12.90%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.52% up seriously from last week’s 10.33%

P/E Ratio 18.77 up a bit from last week’s 18.21

 

-S&P 500 +10.02% YTD up from last week’s 9.46%

  • 1yr Rtn +7.65% up from last week’s 7.11%

P/E Ratio 20.60 up from week’s 20.50

 

NASDAQ +7.31% YTD up from last week’s 6.30%

  • 1yr Rtn +4.60% up from last week’s 3.61%

P/E Ratio 30.89 up from last week’s 30.60

 

Russell 2000 +19.05% YTD up from last week’s 17.27%

  • 1yr Rtn +14.44% up from last week’s 12.74%

P/E Ratio 46.27 up from last week’s 45.59

 

-Mutual funds

Stock fund shareholders have plenty to crow about as the YTD performance of the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund closed up at 12.14% at the end of day on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, according to Lipper. That’s up substantially from previous week’s close of 8.55%.

Small-Cap Value Funds continued to gain ground— up on average 28.89%. Next in line were Equity Leverage Funds, up on average 26.15%. On the other hand, the biggest loser under this broad umbrella U.S. Diversified Equity Fund heading the includes 8,407 funds, was Dedicated Short-Bias Funds. The average one in his group was down on average 26.65%.

Looking at YTD returns for the 25 largest mutual funds around and American Funds ICA:A tops the heap— up nearly 15% (14.99% to be exact).

The average General Domestic Taxable FI Fund is up 7.15%. Under that category heading High Yield Funds were up 12.48% on average and Loan Participation Funds up 8.42%.

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.

  • December

Billionaire Carl Icahn, and fan of the President-elect,  told CNN last week that the post election super rally on Wall Street has gone too far. “I personally think it’s a little overdone.”

With half of the month of December almost behind us, talking heads are wondering if this last month of the year will continue to reward investors. In the past, it historically has. But this year, who knows.

Something every investor does know is how their portfolio(s) have performed—-if  they’ve bothered to look. Look. You could find some financial rewards that are worth cashing in on.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Dec.2, 2016

Money
Money money and more money.

•Billionaire souls

I had lunch last week at a great little Greek restaurant in Boynton Beach. The place was/is so popular I wound up sharing the table with a Trump fan thrilled with the news that the makings of this president-elect’s Cabinet were all million-and-billionaires. To me that’s nothing to cheer about.

I recognize that there are tens of millions of people who automatically and absolutely think that if you’re rich you’re also smart, but my life experiences have taught me otherwise. What I’ve learned first-hand is that the only thing that being a millionaire or billionaire means is—drum roll please—that you’ve got money. And plenty of it. Period.

Being a billionaire doesn’t mean that you are smart, or compassionate or will make a good public servant. Or anything like that.

The honest bottom line is this: Brains and money don’t automatically go hand-in-hand.

In the case of this president-elect’s choice of Cabinet members, being a public servant –in whatever capacity–requires a different mindset than that of running a private company or a public corporation. And it is one that money can’t buy.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Lest you’ve come to believe that it has been The Donald’s magic wand that has driven stock prices higher, so much for the wand.

At the close of business on Friday, December 1, 2016, all four of the indices followed here closed lower than they did during the previous week with one exception….the DJIA closed a tad higher, as in 24 basis points higher.

So while there may have been a short Trump rally, the president-elect did not create this long-toothed bull market. His presidency, however, could crush it especially if you believe the following:“In every single instance at the end of a two-term presidency, there’s been a recession. This means there is a 100% chance of recession for the new president.”

John Mauldin wrote that in his recent SeekingAlpha.com column titled, “We Are Putting Off The Inevitable”.

With that in mind, let’s hope your portfolio’s year-end returns are holiday sweet.

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 Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +12.90% YTD up a tad from last week’s 12.66%

  • 1yr Rtn +10.33% downa tad from last week’s 10.48%

P/E Ratio 18.21 down a tad from last week’s 18.23

 

-S&P 500 +9.46% YTD down from last week’s 10.47%

  • 1yr Rtn +7.11% down from last week’s 8.21%

P/E Ratio 20.50 down from week’s 20.7

NASDAQ +6.30% YTD down from last week’s 9.17%

  • 1yr Rtn +3.61% down from last week’s 6.73%

P/E Ratio 30.60 (last week NA)

 

Russell 2000 +17.27% YTD down from last week’s 20.16%

  • 1yr Rtn +12.74% down from last week’s 13.73%

P/E Ratio 45.59 down from last week’s 46.89

 

-Mutual funds

Just as equities fell during the week, so too did the year-to-date performance of the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund. At the close of business on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, the average fund under this broad heading was up 8.55%, according to Lipper. Last week that average was 9.67%.

Small-Cap Value Funds were up on average 22.47%, down a bit from the previous week’s close.

Equity Leverage Funds were up 17.42% and Mid-Cap Value Funds up 16.03% on average. that lead the way, up on average 23.21%.

Year-to-date returns for investors in the largest mutual funds around take note that the top performer of the 25 largest is the Dodge & Cox Stock fund, up 20.08%. Next in line the American Funds IA:A, up 12.59%.

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.

  • Interest rates and you

If there is one truth to behold about interest rates it is this: Any movement in interest rates impacts all of us.

In a rising interest rate environment decide to buy a home, car or any other kind of loan in which fixed-income plays a part and you’ll be paying more the the privilege of borrowing money.

Decide to bank any part of your momey and it will be working harder for you—albeit the return could be puny.

 

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