Monthly Archives: August 2017

pbTrumpBits#14: Fake News

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Important: Dear Reader: This is an almost totally FAKE NEWS  entry with one factual news exception. That exception: So far, 16 organizations have decided NOT to hold their fundraising galas at Mar-a-Lago during the upcoming season because of the president’s handling of Charlottesville, VA. marches. FYI: Three of those organizations include the Cleveland Clinic, the American Cancer Society and the American Friends of Magen David Adom.  A link to a more detailed list is at the end of this blog.

Now, on to the FAKE NEWS:

With charitable organizations dropping like flies and deciding NOT to hold their fundraising galas at Trump’s Winter White House Mar-a-Lago Private Club because of his responses regarding the marches in Charlottesville, Va., whispers are that the joint is for sale.

One source, not willing to be identified, said: ” Trump is all about money and once the money starts drying up he gets out of whatever project he’s involved with. Then he seems to have a history of selling out and suing all  parties involved to cover his losses.”

A concerned member of the club, also not willing to be identified,  worries membership fees may be doubled to cover a drop in gala income. And,  that the club will lose its international flare by hiring only U.S. citizen staff and employees.

No word yet on what the price tag might be, but another anonymous source speculated that the likely buyer could be a Russian.

Dear Reader: Again, the story above is FAKE NEWS entry . Got it.

Not fake news: Click here to learn more about the organizations that won’t be partying at Mar-a-Lago this season: http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/local-govt–politics/keeping-track-home-here-list-who-leaving-mar-lago/Cq9HrDBsT1YB8A9EF6OijP/

POCKETBOOK: Week ending August 11, 2017

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•August Heat

Every day is a new day on Wall Street, Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. What happens from the latter, however, impact all streets across America as well as all of the lives of those residing on them. So, the heat is on.

Re the markets, while we are only half way through the month, if history is any guide the Stock Trader’s Almanac reports that August is the 10th worst performing month for the Dow and 11th worst for the S&P500 and NASDAQ.

On the bright side, historically there have been a few more up August months than there have been down ones: Over the last 67 years, the month has closed up 37 times and 30 down ones for the Dow and S&P.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Two new highs reached for the DJIA and S&P500 but don’t get too excited—all four indices closed with year-to-date figures —and 1-year returns— lower on Friday than they were on Friday of the previous week (8/4/17).

Something to chew on from the Bespoke Investment Group piece titled, “U.S. Equity Share Continues To Drop” published August 11, 2017: “While President Trump can claim that the stock market has done exceptionally well since he was elected, he’s actually overseen a huge loss in the US’s share of total world stock market cap. When grading a presidency, you could argue that the latter is actuall more important….”

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, Aug. 11,  2017.

 

-DJIA + 10.60% YTD down from last week’s +11.79%

  • 1 yr Rtn +17.43% down considerably from last week’s 20.38%
  • The DJIA reached another new all-time high on August 8, 2017 of 22,179.11

(Previous highs since March include: August 4, 2017 of 22,092.81; 21,841.18 on July 28, 2017; July 14, 2017 of 21,681.53; July 3,2017 of 21,562.75; 21,535.03 on June 20, 2017; 21,391.97 reached on June 14, 2017; 21,305.35 on June 9, 2017; 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017; and 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.)

 

-S&P 500 +9.04% YTD down from last week’s 10.63%

  • 1yr Rtn +11.69% down considerably from last week’s +14.44%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high on August 8, 2017 of 2,490.87.

(Previous high of 2,484.04 was reached on July 27, 2017 and 2,477.62 was reached on July 20, 2017. Prior to that date new highs and dates include: 2,463.54 on July 14, 2017; 2453.82 on June 19,2017; 2,446.2 reached on June 9, 2017; 2,440.23 reached on June 2, 2017; 2,418.71 reached on May 25, 2017; 2,405.77 reached on May 16, 2017; 2403.87 on May 9, 2017; 2,400.98 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-NASDAQ +16.23% YTD down from last week’s +17.99%

  • 1yr Rtn +19.66% down considerably from last week’s 22.94%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,460.84 on July 27, 2017.

(Previous highss include: July 20, 2017 of 6,398.26; 6,341.7 on June 9, 2017; 6,308.76 on June 2; 6,217.34 reached on May 25; 6,170,16 on May 16; 6,133 on May 9, 2017; 6102.72 on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

-Russell 2000 +1.26% YTD down considerably from last week’s +4.07%

  • 1yr Rtn +11.81% down a lot from last week’s +16.36%

The Russell 2000 reached its latest all-time high on July 25, 2017 of 1,452.09.

(Previous highs include: 1,452.05 on July 21, 2017; 1,433.789 on June 9, 2017; 1,425.7 reached on April 26, 2017 and of 1,414,82 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

Play it again, Sam: The average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds on Thursday, August 10, 2017 were again lower  just as they were at the previous week’s close (8/4/17).

At the close of business on Thursday, 8/10/17, the average YTD total return for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds closed at 7.05%. That’s down from the 8.93% average return of the week before; the 9.59% average return of the week before it; and the 9.84% return of the week before that. All according to Lipper.

Interestingly, Large-Cap Growth Funds had an average y-t-d return of +16.87 and not far behind it Equity Leverage Funds, +16.39%. Both of those fund types fall under the broad Diversifeid Equity Funds heading.

It was Global Science/Technology Funds that posted the highest average returns of +25.54%, under the Sector Equity Funds heading and Natural Resources Funds that posted the lowest, -17.53% on average.

And World Equity Funds continue to provide investors with highest average returns, +17.76%. There are 4,516 funds that fall under that heading.

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.

 

  • Sad

According to the results of a recent three-question survey, published on CNBC.com, respondents don’t know beans about compound interest, inflation and stock market risk. Only 30% answered all three questions correctly.

Here’s the quiz and I sure do hope you’re smarter than the not-so-bright 70%:

Question 1

Suppose you have $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was two percent per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

  1. More than $102
    B. Exactly $102
    C. Less than $102
    D. I don’t know

The correct answer is A. You’d have $102 after the first year. Over the next four years, interest will grow on that $102, meaning you’ll have more than $102. It’s a phenomenon known as compound interest.

Question 2

Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was one percent per year and inflation was two percent per year. After one year, how much would you be able to buy with the money in this account?

  1. More than today
    B. Exactly the same as today
    C. Less than today
    D. I don’t know

The correct answer is C: less than today.

Question 3

Do you think the following statement is true or false: Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.

The answer is false.

(Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/11/most-americans-cant-answer-these-basic-money-questions.html)

 

-30-

 

 

 

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending August 4, 2017

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•2,209. Can you handle it?

Lovers of the DJIA gotta be thrilled with the new highs this index continues to reach. But while no one knows how long that index will keep breaking records and reaching new highs, one thing everybody knows is that indices rise and fall over time. Even the DJIA.

So let’s bring a little pencil-to-paper reality into the world to prepare investors for what a 10% drop in the DJIA at its closing level on Friday, August 4, 2017 would translate to.

And that answer would be: A fall of 2,209 points bringing the Dow to roughly the 20,000 level.

Funny how a 2200 fall sounds like a lot, but 20,000 not quite so much.

That aside, take that drop figure up a notch to 20% and the DJIA would fall 4400 points.

Here’s hoping you, your mind and your portfolio are prepared to handle a fall of 10% or more because drops happen. How big a fall and for how long is the big unknown.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The DJIA continued to reach a high new high level  at  week’s end. The same wasn’t true for the rest of the crew.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017.

-DJIA + 11.79% YTD up from last week’s +10.46%

  • 1 yr Rtn +20.38% up from last week’s 18.28%

The DJIA reached another new all-time high on August 4, 2017 of 22,092.81.

(Previous highs since March include: 21,841.18 on July 28, 2017; July 14, 2017 of 21,681.53; July 3,2017 of 21,562.75; 21,535.03 on June 20, 2017; 21,391.97 reached on June 14, 2017; 21,305.35 on June 9, 2017; 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017; and 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.)

 

-S&P 500 +10.63% YTD up a bit from last week’s 10.42%

  • 1yr Rtn +14.44% up from last week’s +13.92%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high on July 27, 2017 of 2,484.04.

(Previous high of 2,477.62 was reached on July 20, 2017. Prior to that date new highs and dates include: 2,463.54 on July 14, 2017; 2453.82 on June 19,2017; 2,446.2 reached on June 9, 2017; 2,440.23 reached on June 2, 2017; 2,418.71 reached on May 25, 2017; 2,405.77 reached on May 16, 2017; 2403.87 on May 9, 2017; 2,400.98 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-NASDAQ +17.99% YTD down from last week’s +18.42%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.94% down from last week’s 23.66%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,460.84 on July 27, 2017.

(Previous highss include: July 20, 2017 of 6,398.26; 6,341.7 on June 9, 2017; 6,308.76 on June 2; 6,217.34 reached on May 25; 6,170,16 on May 16; 6,133 on May 9, 2017; 6102.72 on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

-Russell 2000 +4.07% YTD down from last week’s +5.31%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.36% down from last week’s +17.41%

The Russell 2000 reached its latest all-time high on July 25, 2017 of 1,452.09.

(Previous highs include: 1,452.05 on July 21, 2017; 1,433.789 on June 9, 2017; 1,425.7 reached on April 26, 2017 and of 1,414,82 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

Average YTD returns? Once again, less than those of the previous week.

At the close of business on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, the average YTD total return for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds closed at 8.93%. That’s down from the 9.59% average return of the week before, according to Lipper. And that was down from the week previous to it of 9.84%.

Mixed Asset Funds invest in both stocks and bonds—hence the name “mixed”. Under that broad heading that included 5,915 funds, the average year-to-date return was 8.37%.

The biggest winners in that group were Mixed-Asset Target Funds—-particularly those with the longest maturity dates. The winner here was Mixed-Asset Target 2055+ Funds, 12.67%.

Others with strong year-to-date average returns include: Mixed-Asset Target 2045 Funds had average returns of 12.35%; Mixed-Asset Target 2050 Funds at 12.19%, Mixed-Asset Target 2040 Funds, 11.64% and Mixed-Asset Target 2015 Funds 11.34%.

The poorest returns under the Mixed-Asset heading were found in Alternative Multi-Strategy Funds, 2.30% and Absolute Returns Funds, 3.08%.

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.

 

  • Gas highs

Just about the time I got used seeing gas prices hovering around the $2 a gallon level, prices jumped up. Rats!

But things could be worse.

According to AAA, $2.35 was the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas around the country last week. One month ago it was 2.24 and one year ago it was 2.13.

Here’s the “worse” part: The highest price on record for a gallon of reg. unleaded was $4.12 reached in July 2008.

Guess 2.35 isn’t so bad after all.