POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 25, 2017

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NEWS FLASH: It’s official, on March  27, 2017, the statue of the “Fearless Girl” was awarded more standing time. She will continue to be a symbol of strength,  female power and  ballsiness for the next full year. (Photo from an NBC tweet.)

• Of course we keep the “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street

In a world where women outnumber men yet at the same time are considered second-class citizens in many circles or aren’t paid the same as men for doing the same work, it’s crazy how overlooked one simple fact is: When it comes to money, it’s women who control most purse strings.

Way too many guys on Wall Street or Main Street still don’t want to not face up to that reality even though more often than not it’s her final word that decides whether a computer or car is purchased, which house to buy, how to dress the kids, what school they go to, what’s for dinner—- and the list goes on.

So of course the “Fearless Girl” statue ought to be a permanent feature on Wall Street.

How could it not be?

If the bull is the symbol of the strength of the markets, what better way to send the positive and oh-so-true statement that it’s women, young and old, who manage –directly or indirectly– billions of dollars in our economy and in economies around the world.

It takes guts to stare down anything. And America has a long history of creating vital, strong, bright and gutzie women who know that nothing can stand in their way once they are on a mission—even a 3000 pound, old, smelly snorting bull.

Thank you State Street Global Advisors for your part in creating this here-to-stay-if-I-have-my-say, “Fearless Girl” statue.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The arrow pointed down for the major indices at the close of business on March 24, 2017, according to data from CNBC.com. One, the Russell 2000, even has a year-to-date return in minus territory. The first time we’ve seen that in a very long time.

Raymond James’ chieft investment officer, Jeffrey Saut, is expecting stocks to come under continued pressure and do some damage to what’s been referred to as the “Trump Rally”. He wouldn’t be surprised to see a five to 10% pullback in the S&P 500.

Re the long-term, on CNBC’s “Futures Now”, Saut said, “Secular bull markets tend to last 14, 15,16 years. We’re eight years into this one. It suggests there are years left to run.”

“Suggests” is the operant word to keep in mind here.

Below are the weekly and 52-week performance results— including the dates each has reached its high according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending March 24, 2017.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +4.22% YTD, down from last week’s 5.83%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.59% down from last week’s 19.64%

The DJIA reached an all-time high of 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.

 

-S&P 500 +4.70% YTD down from last week’s 6.23 %

  • 1yr Rtn +15.13% down from last week’s +16.55%

The S&P 500 reached an all-time high of 2,400.98 on March 1, 2017.

 

-NASDAQ +8.28%YTD down from last week’s +9.62%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.11% down from last week’s 23.58%

The Nasdaq reached its all-time high of 5,928.06 on March 21, 2017.

 

–Russell 2000 -0.18 YTD% down seriously from last week’s +2.53%%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.28% down from last week’s +27.52%

The Russell 2000 reached its all time high of 1, 414.82 on March 1, 2017.

-Mutual funds

Up and down and up and down and up and down.

At the close of business on Thursday, March 23, 2017, the average total return for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds closed at 3.49%, according to Lipper. That’s down over 2% from the previous week’s close of 5.23 %. Ouch.

That said, World Equity Funds continued to be rewarding—the average fund under its broad heading was up 8.34% at the close of business on Thursday. That’s down a tad from the previous week’s close of 8.46%.

Last week’s top five winning World Equity Funds continue to be the same this week as last–although their performance order has changed. The three funds with the highest ytd returns were: China Region Funds, up 12.86% ( up from last week’s 12.3%); Pacific Ex. Japan Funds , up 12.69% ( up from last week’s 11.83%); and Emerging Markets Funds, up 11.56% ( up from last week’s 11.09%).

Region Funds, up on average 17.21% (last week 17.53%); Latin American Funds, up 11.13% (last week 12.41%).

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.

  • Social Security Question #3

Straight from the mouth of the Journal of Accountancy comes the following question about Social Security:

“Richard just turned 60 and is thinking about upcoming decisions regarding Social Security, particularly, when he might need to start receiving his Social Security benefits. While there is flexibility on when an application can be made, which of the ages below is NOT an age that triggers a significant change in the amount of Richard’s Social Security benefits?

  1. Age 62
  2. Age 65
  3. Age 66
  4. Age 70 “

And the answer is: B.

“The correct answer is b. Age 62 is the earliest age that Richard can request a reduced Social Security benefit. From age 62 to 66, the benefit gradually becomes larger until age 66, Richard’s FRA (the age at which the full retirement benefit will be paid for people born between 1943 and 1954). If his benefit is not taken at FRA, the benefit continues to grow at 8% (noncompounded) until age 70. This is the latest age Richard can defer his Social Security benefit and receive an increased benefit. Age 65 is a significant decision age for applying for Medicare coverage, regardless of when Richard files for Social Security. “

See more at: http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2017/mar/social-security-quiz.html#sthash.5XB5DHqT.dpuf

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