POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 8, 2017


• Jobs. Really?

However you’d like to spin the jobs story, truth is it’s worse, better and not as great as many would hope.

The bad news: In March only 98,000 jobs were created. The Street expected almost two times that amount, 180,000.

The good news: That month’s unemployment rate was at a 10-year low of 4.5 percent. CNBC.com  reported that the “real” unemployment rate is 8.9 percent—the lowest in over nine years.

Some not so hot truths: That same source reported that retail jobs fell by 30,000 and construction jobs totaled 6,000 after they gained  59,000 in February.

One tiny plus, average hourly wages are up 2.7 percent on an annualized basis.

That translates to a 0.54 cent an hour increase for those with a job paying 20 bucks an hour.


  • Market Quick Glance

Some ups, some downs and NASDAQ  reached a new high during the week.

And that’s how it was when the market closed on April 7, 2017.

As for what’s to come, the bulls still see stock prices going higher. The bears, not so much. But what’s more important than those animals, is how your own portfolio is performing. Make the changes you need in order to meet your own personal financial goals.

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 April 7, 2017.


-Dow Jones +4.52% YTD, down a hair from last week’s 4.56%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.75% up from last week’s 16.84%

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


-S&P 500 +5,21 YTD down from last week’s 5.53%

  • 1yr Rtn +15.36% up from last week’s +14.71%

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


-NASDAQ +9.19% YTD ‘bout the same from last week’s +9.18%

  • 1yr Rtn +21.23% down from last week’s 24.87%

The Nasdaq reached its all-time high of 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.


–Russell 2000 +0.55 YTD% way down from last week’s 2.12%%

  • 1yr Rtn +24.87% up a bit from last week’s +24.41 %

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


-Mutual funds

Downers and uppers.

At the close of business on Thursday, April 6,2017, the average total return for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds closed at 4.17%, down from last week’s 4.82% return, according to Lipper.

The average return for funds under the Sector Equity Fund heading were up 3.96%, a bit more that last week’s 3.51%.

World Equity Funds, on the other hand, lost a bit. The average fund under this heading was 8.59%. Last week that figure was 8.97%.

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.

  • Stores you once knew and loved are closing their doors

If the number of store closings is any indication of the times and our habits, it seems as though people prefer shopping online to walking into their favorite brick-and-mortar store and shopping there.

We can thank Amazon, drones, and people addicted to their hand-held shopping devices, i.e., smart phones, computers and tablets, for that.

From Bloomberg.com comes these tidbits on the subject: Payless Inc. has filed for bankruptcy and will be closing hundreds of stores; Ralph Loren Corp. is closing its flagship Fifth Avenue Polo store; Rue 21 is preparing to file for bankruptcy; HHGregg Inc., Gordmans Stores Inc. and Gander Mountain Co., have all entered bankruptcy. Radio Shack has filed for Chapter 11 for the second time in two years.

Sears Holding Corp., Macy’s Inc., and J.C.Penny Co. are closing hundreds of stores but have not filed for bankruptcy.

This picture isn’t pretty and there’s likely more closings and bankruptcies to come.

Sadly, shopping at the mall seems to be going the way of landlines, in-person meet- and-greets and all sorts of other human interactions.

Could this problem be solved if salaies for the low- and mid-level worker  got a big boost up and people had more money to spend? Me thinks so.






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