Monthly Archives: September 2017

pbTrumpBits#16: Mar-a-Lago is hiring

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Hey…You. Yes, You: If you’ve ever wanted to work in one of the president’s houses or golf courses, here is your big chance.

On Sunday, September 24, 2017, in the Help Wanted section of The Palm Beach Post, I found the following advertisements for help wanted at three of Trump’s Florida properties: Mar-a-Lago,  his golf club in West Palm Beach and the one in Jupiter.

As recently as last year, before Mr. Trump became President Trump, the pre-POTUS preferred hiring people to work at Mar-a-Lago  who were not U.S. residents and working in America thanks to their H-2B visas. Why? Because he was quoted by various sources as saying, “getting help in Palm Beach during the season is almost impossible.”

I never really bought that story but hey, it appeared to work for him.

Anywho, I’m gonna guess that  finding folks who want to work in the Winter White House, aka Mar-a-Lago, might be a whole lot easier this year–and appeal to everyone U.S. and foreign-born. Even if the work is part-time and seasonal.

So if you’re interested and want to work at either Mar-a-Lago, the Trump Int’l Golf Club-WPB or Trump Nat’l Golf Club Jupiter, apply at the addresses given in the ads above and below. (Use the Mar-a-Lago ad address if interested in working at the WPB Golf Club.)

Good Luck.

And please let me know how it all works out…..good or bad or no reply.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept. 22, 2017

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•Closing shop

Lately  I’ve read more than one story about how U.S. workers are earning more than ever  which makes me scratch my head with wonder, “How, in fact, can that be when some of our favorite—and long-standing– stores are closing?”

No wise answer from me on that one. But below is a list of the various stores that have or will be closing some or all of their shops.

According to CNBC.com, here are some of the companies that have either filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or Chapter 7 so far in 2017: The Limited; Wet Seal; Eastern Outfitters; BCBG Max Azria; Vanity; Hhgregg; RadioShack; Gordmans; Gander Mountain; Payless ShoeSource; Rue 21; Gymboree; Cornerstone Apparel, the owner of Papaya Clothing; True Religion Apparel; Alfred Angelo; Perfumania; Vitamin World; Aerosoles; and Toys R Us.

I already miss RadioShack. And Payless. And Hhgregg. And….

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It was a week of gains for two of the four indices followed below. Additionally, the DJIA and S&P 500 closed at new highs for the year. All according to data from CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs.

-DJIA +13.09 YTD up from last week’s 12.68%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +21.51% down from last week’s 22.27%

A new all-time high for the DJIA of 22,419.51 was reached on Sept. 21, 2017. The previous high of 22,275.02 was reached on September 15, 2017.

On March 1, the all-time high on that date for the year was 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +11.76 % YTD up a tad from last week’s 11.68%.

  • 1yr Rtn +14.93% down from last week’s +16.44%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,508.85 on September 20, 2017. The previous high of 2,500.23 was reached on September 15, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index closed at its then all-time high of 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +19.39% YTD down from last week’s +19.79%.

  • 1yr Rtn +20.37% down from last week’s 22.84%

The Nasdaq reached its latest new all-time high on September 18, 2017 of 6,477.77. Its previous high was reached September 15, 2017 closing at 6,464.27.

On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +6.90% YTD up a heap from last week’s +5.50%.

  • 1yr Rtn +14.83% down from last week’s +16.68%

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

On March 1, 2017 the then high of this index was 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Picking up a bit of steam, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading ended the week at 10.70% on Thursday, September 21, 2017. That’s up from the previous week’s close of 10.11%, according to Lipper.

In case you were wondering, the average y-t-d- return for the 4,501 funds that fall under the World Equity Funds heading was 22.69%; for the 5,887 funds that fall under the Mixed Asset Funds heading was 9.50l and for the 2,282 different Sector Equity Funds was 7.95%.

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.

 

  • Talking both sides

We all know that this bull market has gone on even longer that many had expected.

Although when and why its upward trend in index results will come to an end continues to be anybody’s guess. But that doesn’t stop financial talking heads from making predictions.

One such head reporting in last week came from TIAA Investments’s Brian Nick.

Nick is expecting to see a four percent decline in their firm’s target for the S&P 500 by year-end. That would put it at 2400.

But wait, there’s more.

Nick also thinks that this current bull market still has room to run. By the end of 2018—that’s next year—the target his firm has put on the S&P 500 is 2600.

Neither of which does little to make feeling comfortable or cozy about staying in the market or investing new money very easy.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept. 15, 2017

 

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  • Electric power

My power was out from Sunday thru late Wednesday afternoon. It’s a hot, sweaty and costly drag when that happens. In addition to no breezes, tossing out all refrigerated and frozen foods that warmed and thawed in my coolers, the one who suffered the most was my dog, Gracie. Now 13 and 3/4s years old, Tuesday night she barely slept panting the night away. I apologized to her which may have been humanly kind but don’t think those words mattered much to her. She was hot. And old. And suffering.

So, early the next morning I took her for an extended ride in my car, air conditioning blasting. And then with me to the 12:05 service at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach. We made it through the police check-points on the island after telling those guarding the town that I was going to church.

Grace is a good church-going dog. She’s been to this place for services a few times before for the Blessing of the Animals service and knew the drill: Go to the grass bathroom before entering the church, try not to bark and spread out as much as you’d like on the cool wooden pews.

For an hour she was much happier thanks to the generator powering the AC at Bethesda.

Speaking of power, I have a friend in Tavernier (one of the Florida Keys) whose home never lost its power during or after  Hurricane Irma.

Amazing.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It had been about seven weeks since the DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ had reached new all-time highs. But at the close of business on Friday, September 15, 2017, all of that changed as each of those indices scored again.

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, Sept 15, 2017.

-DJIA +12.68 YTD a big jump up from last week’s 10.30%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +22.27% down from last week’s 17.95%.

A new all-time high for the DJIA of 22,275.02 was reached on September 15, 2017.

Prior to that date, the DJIA most recent all-time high of 22,179.11 was reached on August 8, 2017 . Looking back six months, on March 1, the then all-time high on that date was 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +11.68 % YTD way up from last week’s 9.94%.

  • 1yr Rtn +16.44% up a lot from last week’s +12.84%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,500.23 on September 15, 2017.

Prior to that date, its most recent all-time high was on August 8, 2017 at 2,490.87. And six months earlier, on March 1, 2017, that index closed at a then all-time high of 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +19.79% YTD up from last week’s +18.15%.

  • 1yr Rtn +22.84% down from last week’s 23.11%

The Nasdaq also reach a new all-time high on September 15, 2017 closing at 6,464.27.

Prior to that date, its most recent all-time high of 6,460.84 was reached on July 27, 2017. Looking back, on April 5, 2017 this index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +5.50% YTD up from last week’s +4.16%.

  • 1yr Rtn +16.68% up a heap from last week’s +11.21%

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

Good news with respect to the year-to-date cumulative total reinvested return performance for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading: On Thursday, September 14, 2017, equity funds y-t-d return average was 10.11%—that’s up from the previous week’s close of 8.60%, according to Lipper.

If you’re a fan or investor in the largest funds around some of the big ones have returned big  returns.

Four of them include: Vanguard FTSE Emg Mkt ETF, 25.98%; Fidelity Contrafund, 23.20%; Dodge & Cox Intl Stock, 21.97%; and the Vanguard Total 1 Stock, 21.26%.

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.

 

  • Hacked

You’ve heard me write this before and I’ll continue to mention it as there is some truth to it:  My now 102-year old Auntie Pat said– decades ago– that the internet was the devil’s work.

Recently her point  is proven to hold water  when it comes to the Dark Web and the hacking of  personal financial on-line accounts, including those of banks and credit rating agencies.

Personally, I’ve had my identity stolen and have been a victim of mail-fraud hacking. Both no fun to deal with or correct.

Speaking of correcting a hacking problem, I’m not 100% sure that once any of your accounts have been hacked that your Social Security Number, and various health-related accounts or credit or debt accounts in your name, will ever be free from harm.

So, while a hacking experience can cost us plenty and take months to correct our credit score after our cards have been stolen and used to rack up sales we never made, it’s the high-end no-limit credit cards that hackers really like getting their hands on. According to Bloomberg.com, on the Dark Web a Platinum American Express card will sell for $15 to $20 while a regular MasterCard without a large limit for around $9.

Not much given all the aggravation it costs the card owner.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept. 8, 2017

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    Hurricane preparation Florida style.  (Source Bruce R. Bennett/Palm Beach Post)
  • Hurricanes and me

Hurricane David. Remember him? Deadly. Cat 5. Hit West Palm Beach, Fl. as a Cat 2. Year: 1979.

David was my first. Very scary for someone from Minnesota who knew nothing about hurricanes. Today, barely anyone remembers his name. But ask me and I’ll tell you that you always remember your first.

Back then the preparation drill was to masking tape your windows, head to the liquor store and hit Kentucky Fried Chicken for supplies and nourishment.

Today, it’s make sure you’ve got water, food and have enough meds for me and the dog.

For everyone likely to experience any hurricane, including Florida’s approaching Hurricane Irma, take care, stay calm and know, as with everything else in the universe, this too shall pass.

Some hurricane trivia: While September has historically been a not-so-hot one for the stock market, it’s been a rip-roaring one for hurricanes.

According to NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division, from 1851 through 2015 within the United States there have been a total of 107 hurricanes during the month of September. That’s makes it the #1 month for U.S. hurricanes. Second in line is August with a total of 78 followed by October with 54.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

One downer of a week for all four of the indices below in both year-to-date and 1-yr performance returns.

It would be great if there were one of those great big sponge  fingers that you could hold up and use to point to a specific incident that caused equities to close lower but the political climate has been as unpredictable and goofy as the weather. So no help there.

Bottom line: Who knows what next week will bring.

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, Sept 8, 2017.

-DJIA +10.30 YTD down from last week’s 11.26%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +17.95% down from last week’s 19.37%

 

The DJIA reached its most recent all-time high on August 8, 2017 of 22,179.11

(Most recent highs 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 +9.94 % YTD down from last week’s 10.62%.

  • 1yr Rtn +12.84% down from last week’s +14.08%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent 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 +18.15% YTD down from last week’s +18.55%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.11% down from last week’s 23.11%

The Nasdaq reached its most recent all-time high of 6,460.84 on July 27, 2017.

(Previous highs 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 +4.16% YTD down from from last week’s +4.16%.

  • 1yr Rtn +11.21% down from last week’s +14.02%

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

The year-to-date cumulative total reinvested returns for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds closed at 8.60% on Thursday, September 7, 2017. That’s down from the previous week’s figure of 9.04%.

Sector Equity Funds have seen some top performances as Global Science/Technology Funds were up on average 32.01%. They were followed by Science & Technology Funds, up 26.90% and Commodities Base Metals Funds, up 23.85%.

Those performance figures make it a tight race for rewards when compared to World Equity Funds. Funds under that broad heading continue to climb and ended last week at 21.20%–that’s ahead of their previous week’s Thursday close of 20.41%.

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.

 

  • ETFs

People love their ETFs with one group especially taking to them.

Charles Schwab & Co’s lastest ETF Investor Study revealed that investors on average have 27% of their portfolio invested in ETFs—that’s up from 16% in 2012.

As for who is buying, it’s the Millennials with 56% saying it’s their go-to investment. For Boomers, on the other hand, it’s 30%.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept. 1, 2017

  • 3E5AC7C8-1190-4E03-8BE5-CB15A902098C•No Water

Sorry I’m late in getting this out but I’ve been out driving around looking for water in preparation of the looks-like-it’s-coming-here Hurricane Irma. Been to two of each of the following stores in the greater West Palm Beach area—-Walgreen’s, Lowes’, Aldi’s, and Home Depot’s. And one Costco, Publix and Wal-Mart. No water in any.

Spent about three hours looking, which translates to about 10 bucks in gas. Thought about stopping for it, but the lines at the pumps were too long.

Now I’m trying to figure out what the best time of day or night might be for me to venture out again in search of gas and, more importantly, the one thing our bodies must have to keep us going—water.

On that note, as horrible, tragic, devastating, etc. that these hurricanes are and can be, beyond the personal costs and losses come the other side of that coin: Businesses prosper.

A few stocks that may increase in per share value because of Mother Nature’s wrath include home builder and supply stores such as Home Depot and Lowes. Throw in stores that sell, food, gas and bottled water, like Costco and Wal-Mart and big blue chip companies such as those could wind up rewarding investors after the storms have passed.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A heck of a week with the Russell 2000 making the greatest gains both on YTD basis and 1-year return. But don’t expect this bull to run wild in September as it traditionally has been a horrible month for stocks.

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, Sept 1,                                      2017.

-DJIA + 11.26YTD up from last week’s 10.38% and the previous week’s 11.79%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +19.37% up from last week’s 18.24%

The DJIA reached its most recent 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 +10.62% YTD up from last week’s 9.12% and the previous week’s 10.63%.

  • 1yr Rtn +14.08% up from last week’s +12.45%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent 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 +18.55% YTD up from last week’s +16.39% and the previous week’s

+16.23%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.11% up from last week’s 20.21%

The Nasdaq reached its most recent all-time high of 6,460.84 on July 27, 2017.

(Previous highs 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 +4.16% YTD up from  last week’s +1.50% and the previous week’s +1.26%.

  • 1yr Rtn +14.02% up from last week’s +11.08%

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

At the close of business on Thursday, August 31, 2017, the average cumulative total reinvested return for funds under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading YTD was 9.04%. That’s up from the previous week’s 7.36%.

Sector Equity Funds ended the week up on average at 7.18% and World Income Funds at 8.57%. Both, however, pale in comparison to the performances of the average World Equity Fund—up for the year so far 20.41%.

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.

 

  • IMPORTANT: T+2 is here

Here’s news every investor needs to be mindful of: Settlement dates.

There are basically two dates that everyone who buys and sells securities, like stocks, bonds, municipal bonds, mutual funds, needs to remember: Starting today, September 5, 2017, the day your securities need to be paid for and the second is the day  you’ll receive the proceeds from the sale of securities. Both have  been shorted from 3 days down to 2.

That’s a big deal. And one that has changed over time. FYI, when I was a broker in the last century and early 1980s, folks had 5 days to pay for their security transaction and it took 5 days before the monies from a sale would show in their account or a check could be mailed to them.

Just as the years have passed and transactions have become more efficiently computerized the amount of time necessary for either of these transactions has shortened.

One date that has never changed, and can’t,  is the trade date. That’s the one that represents the date in which your securities were purchased and the date on which they were sold.

 

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