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.


-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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