Monthly Archives: October 2017

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Oct. 13, 2017

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  • Inflation

 The wicked stepmother in the world of money is inflation. Like that hateful woman, should you know one, does all of her nasty business right in front of your very eyes without you noticing. Until it’s spending time and you find out the money you thought you had doesn’t nearly buy the same amount of goods and services it once did.

Like I said, it happens right in front of your very eyes.

Jack A. Ablin, BMOs chief investment officer, wrote about inflation in his most recent Current Market Update. Here’s history about inflation taken from that Update: “In an economic expansion spanning nearly 10 years, one missing ingredient has been inflation.  Year over year inflation has remained stubbornly below three percent consistently for more than six years.  Lackluster pricing power has vexed business leaders and the Federal Reserve who both would like to see incremental price growth.  Headline inflation has fallen short of the Fed’s two-percent target in 66 of the last 100 months.  Moreover, 2011 was the last calendar year when inflation hit three percent.  The trend has picked up marginally between 2014 and 2016, but last year’s inflation rate was a tepid 2.1 percent. ….”

If you’re wondering when inflation’s bite will get stronger, Ablin wasn’t specific. But he points out that if inflation flares up when there is no economic growth happening, that would represent a “bull markets financial threat.”

We shall see…

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Nothing spooky about Friday the 13th for three of the four indices followed below. All, with the exception of the Russell 2000, reached brand new highs.

All of this new high stuff is getting a little boring, if you ask me. And hard to figure if you’re looking for why’s from the talking heads. One of whom said that this market is going to continue upward as long as there are bundles of cash sitting on the sidelines.

Which– those in the know– say there is.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, October 13, 2017.

-DJIA +15.73% YTD up a tad from last week’s 15.24%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +26.37% up from last week’s 24.66%

And another new all-time high for the DJIA. This one of 22,905.33 was reached on October 13, 2017.

Its previous high was reached October 5, 2017 at 22,777.04.

On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +14.04% YTD up from last week’s 13.87%.

  • 1yr Rtn +19.72% up from last week’s +17.98%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,556,65 on October 13, 2017.

The previous high of 2,552.51 was reached on October 5, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +22.71% YTD up a tiny bit from last week’s +22.42%.

  • 1yr Rtn +26.71% up from last week’s 24.18%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,,616.58 was reached on October 13, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,590.18 was reached on October 5, 2017.

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

 

-Russell 2000 +10.72% YTD down from last week’s +11.28%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.60% up considerably from last week’s +21.18%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 5, 2017.

Its previous high of 1493.56 was reached on September 29, 2017.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Even with a week resulting in new highs for many indices, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds didn’t move much. It closed with a 13.54% average return on Thursday, October 12, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s down a tiny bit from the previous week’s figure of 13.65.

The average Sector Fund had a year-to-date total return of 9.83% with two fund types under that heading up over 30%: Global Science & Technology funds up on average 39.38% and your basic Science & Technology funds, +32.01.

World Equity Funds were up on average 24.54%. Four of them have year-to-date average returns up over 30%: China Region Funds, +39.04; Pacific Ex-Japan Funds, +33.61%; India Region Funds, +32.05; and Latin American Funds, +30.94.

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.

•Best and worst ETFs

 There’s no overlooking the popularity of Exchange Traded Funds, ETFs. Their popularity and investment choice numbers have grown faster than, I’m gonna guess here, even Wall Street wizards could have ever imagined.

Knowing that, below are the three best and three worst ETF performers year-to-date through October 10, 2017 from ETFTrends.com:

  • Best: Ark Inovation (ARKK) up 74.3%; WisdomTree China Ex State Owned Enterprises Fund (CXSE) up 70.8%; and Kraneshares CSI China Internet ETF, (KWEB) up 68.2%.
  • Worst: United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) down33.9%; PowerShares S&P Smallcap Eneegy Portfolio (PSCE), down 31.4%; and SPDR S&P Oil& Gas Equipment & Services Etf (XES), down 26.6%.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Oct. 6, 2017

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•Well, look who is saving money.

If you thought that Millennials were just snotty nosed kids with no social graces and only focused on all things hand-held, you may be right. But you’d also be missing something: Turns out these 18-34 year-olds are good savers.

According to a recent NerdWallet survey of 2,000 folks, Millennial parents are contributing 10% of their income to—drum roll please—-retirement savings.

Compare that to Generation X people (aged 35 to 54) are saving 8% of their income for retirement and working Baby Boomers (55 and older) only 5%.

Maybe financial literacy does pay off.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Clearly the market hasn’t had enough of a running bull as it’s been another week of the closing at new high records on the indices followed below.

As was the case at the end of September, the Russell 2000 has been the index to play—up again rewarding believers in it more than they may have ever expected.

Where and when the bears will appear on Wall Street continues to be anybody’s guess. But what isn’t guess-related  is how the stocks, funds and investments in your portfolio have performed so far this year. It is going to be year-end before we know it and  one of the most rewarding gifts one can give to one, is profit taking.

On that note, below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, October 6, 2017.

-DJIA +15.24% YTD up a heap from last week’s 13.37%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.66% up from last week’s 23.49%

And a new all-time high for the DJIA was reached on October 5, 2017 of 22,777.04.

The previous high of 22,419.51 was reached on Sept. 21, 2017.

On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +13.87% YTD up from last week’s 12,53%.

  • 1yr Rtn +17.98% up from last week’s +17.12%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,552.51 on October 5, 2017.

The previous high of 2,519,44 was reached on September 29, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +22.42% YTD up a heap from last week’s +20.67%.

  • 1yr Rtn +24.18% up from last week’s 23.28%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,590.18 on October 6, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,497.98 was reached on September 29, 2017.

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

 

 

-Russell 2000 +11.28% YTD up a heap from last week’s +9.85%.

  • 1yr Rtn +21.18% up considerably from last week’s +20.45%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 5, 2017.

Its previous high of 1493.56 was reached on September 29, 2017.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

 And once again, mutual fund average performance figures continue upward.

For the week ending Thursday, October 5, 2017, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 13.65, according to Lipper. That’s up enough to notice from the previous week’s figure of 11.86%.

Briefly, it’s been a growth year for all types of growth funds including large-cap, large-cap core, all varieties of mid- and multi-cap growth funds and the same for small-cap funds.

That said, one of these weeks the tide will turn and value will wind up being the place to have some money invested. While that day isn’t today, value funds have way outperformed the kind of measly return folks have gotten on their money market funds, in their savings accounts and bond funds.

For instance, Large- and Multi-Cap Value funds were both up on average well over 10% year to date. Nothing to whine about there. Additionally, Mid-Cap Value funds were up on average 8.42% and Small-Cap Value funds up 6.58%.

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.

 

  • Airline fees sky-high

 Once upon a time, flying used to be a lot of fun. People dressed up to fly. Full meals were served in coach. Seats were comfy with plenty of leg room and the width to accommodate most butts. But, as we all know butt size has changed and so has everything else about air travel.

In addition to security measures all travelers have to endure before boarding flights, there are restrictions regarding luggage, etc.

All of which has made flying more uncomfortable for everyone and more profitable for the airline industry. I find that shameful as it represents a long-term trend in America that has put corporate profits way ahead of the quality of the products offered.

Worse yet, it’s costing all of us more to fly as the bundles of bucks the airline industry now brings in is coming from all of the ancillary fees charged. Like those for ticket fees, baggage fees, etc.

According to a piece on travel guru Peter Greenberg’s travel blog, PeterGreenberg.com, “ten years ago the airlines generated about $2.1 billion in ancillary fees….Today that airlines have racked up $28 billion in fees—-more than they profit from actually flying the planes or operating as airlines.”

Again, that’s shameful.

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pbTrumpBits#17: Moron defined

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Earlier this week, just hearing the word “moron” made me laugh out loud. I haven’t heard that word in decades. Like many decades. It was one of those words you heard a lot back in the 1950s and ‘60s and– if I remember correctly— was used to describe some goofball. Of which there have always been a number of no matter what the year,  decade or century.

Forgetting whom, if anybody, used that word to describe President Trump, one thing is certain: the meaning of the word and its synonyms do in fact fit some of our 45th President’s behavior.

Before defining the word, here’s a little bit of history: According the Wikipedia’s free encyclopedia, “Moron” was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard from the Ancient Greek word moros, which meant “dull” and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12 ….”

Not so sure many would describe Trump as “dull” but know plenty of folks who would describe his behavior as childish and “with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12.”

Now, its definition.

Merriam-Webster defines “moron” as “1: dated, now offensive: a person affected with mild mental retardation, and 2: a very stupid person.”

Synonyms include: fool, idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, clod and more.

Oh, one more thing. Lest you think the word is/was just popular and used in America, you’d be mistaken.

My ace researcher, CB, found that all around the world languages in countries from Albania to Uzbek either use the word “moron” or have one that, in their native language, translates to the same meaning as ours.

Morons. Clearly they are everywhere. How sad for everyone. Especially when their role is that of the head of a nation. Or a company. Or a club. Or…..and the list goes on.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept. 29, 2017

 

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  • “In God We Trust”, money and then there’s Florida.

I’m a big fan of God. Trust too. But that phrase on money? Not so much. Money, after all, is simply one convenient way of exchanging services for goods/services for goods. Or, paying for stuff we want. In other words, money isn’t a God thing it’s an economic one.

That said, October 1, 2017 marked the 60th anniversary of the inclusion of the phrase “In God We Trust” on our $1 paper currency. Prior to 1967, God wasn’t part of our paper bills. The phrase “E pluribus unum” was. Translated it means “out of one, many”.

I remember when that change occurred and wondered why the need for the change.  “E pluribus unum” seemed to be a perfectly good, reasonable, common sense political phrase and the other so religiously focused. Wasn’t there supposed to be a separation of state and church? At least that’s how it looked to me, then a young Minnesotan. That however wasn’t the mid-1950s thinking of a Florida politician.

Floridian Representative Charles Edward Bennet was the guy who had enough influence to get “E pluribus unum” erased from our paper currency and replaced with “In God We Trust”.

According to Wikipedia, Bennet’s “ staunch ethical stance appeared to be too much for his colleagues in the House of Representatives, who nicknamed him, “Mr. Clean”.

FYI, “In God We Trust” had been the accepted state motto for Florida since the 1800s but wasn’t officially adopted until 2006 when Gov. Jeb Bush signed a House Bill making it so.

From where I sit,  it looks as though we were a more common sense economically sound nation before God made his way on to our money.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

As of yet there’s been no stopping the bull running on Wall Street.

At the close of business on Friday, September 29, 2017, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had posted its first 8-quarter win streak in 20 years, according to CNBC.com.

Additionally, all three of the other indices followed here were up for the week with the Russell 2000 scoring the most. On a tear for the past few weeks, that index closed locking in a new high.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, September 29, 2017.

 

-DJIA +13.37 YTD up a bit from last week’s 13.09%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +23.49% up from last week’s 21.51%

 

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 +12.53 % YTD up from last week’s 11.76%.

  • 1yr Rtn +17.12% up a lot from last week’s +14.93%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,519,44 on September 29, 2017. The previous high of 2,508.85 was reached on September 20, 2017.

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

 

•NASDAQ +20.67% YTD up from last week’s +19.39%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.28% up from last week’s 20.37%

 

The Nasdaq reached its latest new all-time high of 6,497.98 on September 29, 2017. Its previous high of 6,477.77 was reached on September 18, 2017.

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

 

-Russell 2000 +9.85% YTD up a heap from last week’s +6.90%.

  • 1yr Rtn +20.45% up considerably from last week’s +14.83%

The Russell 2000 reached a brand new all-time high of 1493.56 on September 29, 2017.Its previous high was reached on July 25, 2017 of 1,452.09.

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

 

-Mutual funds

 Mutual fund average performance figures continue onward and upward.

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 11.86% on Thursday, September 28, 2017. That average is up from the previous week’s close of 10.7%, according to Lipper.

According to Bespoke, here are the year-to-date Asset Class Performance total returns, through 9/30/17, for various countries. Those with the greatest gains include Italy, up 31.89%, Hong Kong, up 28.90% and Spain, up 28.49%.

On the less-but-still-up side include: Russia, up 5.04%, Canada, up 11.58% and Japan, up 14.75%.

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.

 

  • Gun power

 Like it or not, sad to say, are we crazy or what….history has shown us that gun manufacturers make out like bandits after a national killing.

Before the stock market opened today, Monday, October 2, 2017, the day of America’s most recent mass shooting, gun stocks ticked upward.

According to CNBC, there have been 32 instances of mass shootings since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Looking at two well-known gun companies, Sturm Ruger (RGR) and American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), in the past both closed higher one-month after the date of the killing event: RGR gained 2.89%; AOBC up 5.36%; and the S&P 500 up 1.66%.

Currently,  around 12 noon today, 10/2/17, the S&P 500 had gained 2% from its closing price since  on Friday,  RGR was up 3.58% and AOBC up 4.07%.

Setting any possible financial gains aside, isn’t it ironic that deadly mass shootings bring out both a fear and the need to kill in many.

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