Monthly Archives: November 2017

pbTrumpBits#19: A Presidential If…Than…

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My yesterday’s tweet: “If an ethics committee decides Senator Al Franken has to go because of his behavior before he was an elected US public servant, then President Trump is due the boot too.”

By now we have all seen the Al Franken boob-groping photo snapped in the early 2000s. Don’t know if more women, or photos, will surface. We shall see.

But, in case you have forgotten, prior to his being elected President of the United States, at least 15 women had accused Donald Trump of a number of sexually related no-no’s including, sexual assault, sexual harassment, non-consensual kissing or groping and oh-my even “violent assault” by his first wife Ivana. All of this according to one of President Trump’s favorite resources, Wikipedia.

Trump has claimed that the women who have made those claims were liars. Franken has apologized to the woman  for his behavior.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov 10, 2017

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From CNNMoney.com
  • Income levels not so hot

If a picture is worth 1000 words, than a chart has got to be worth more. Right?

A recent Federal Reserve study revealed that the wealth gap is growing—but we already knew that; that unemployment has hit a 17-year low—we knew that too; and that the top 1% holds 38.6% of the nation’s wealth up from 33.7% in 2007—and we kinda sorta knew that as well.

But perhaps what we didn’t know was how the racial gap of low-income families had changed—-especially for white people.

From a CNNMoney.com story titled, “Included: Poor white Americans are getting poorer: what diversity numbers don’t say”, posted November 10, 2017, comes this: “The wealth of low-income white people was cut almost in half since the recession while the wealth of black and Hispanic families in the same bracket  remained stable.”

Move levels up a notch and things change.

“The median white family is worth nearly ten times as much as the median black family and about 8 times as much as the median Hispanic family, “ says CNNMoney’s Lydia DePillis.

(Full story at: http://cnnmon.ie/2zLiluY )

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The CBOE Volatility Index, VIX, is worth looking at because of its  performance: Although the indices followed below have had a heck of a positive performance year, the VIX’s year-to-date and  1-year returns are down around 20%. Or down at -19.59% and -20.32% respectively at the close of business on Friday, November 10, 2017.

As for the DJIA, S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000, last we they  all lost ground.

That’s not to say there is a bear preparing to tear up Wall Street. But, when you combine market volatility, inflation, rising interests rates along with disappointing earnings and policy promises that don’t come true from Washington, that clawing creature can’t be far away.

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, November 10, 2017.

DJIA +18.52% YTD down from last week’s 19.11%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.27% way down from last week’s 31.28%

Another new all-time high of 23,602.12 was reached on November 7, 2017.

The previous high of 23,557.06 was reached November 3, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.34% YTD down a bit from last week’s 15.59%.

  • 1yr Rtn +19.31% down considerably from last week’s +23.90%

The S&P 500 reached another new high on November 7, 2017 of 2,597.02

The previous high of 2,588.42 was reached on November 3, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +25.66% YTD down from last week’s +25.66%.

  • 1yr Rtn +28.91% down a lot from last week’s 33.73%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,795.52 on November 7, 2017.

A previous high of 6,765.14 was reached on November 3, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +8.71%YTD down from last week’s +10.15%

1yr Rtn +15.04% down from last week’s +29.22%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 05, 2017. On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Investors are still lapping up shares of mutual funds and ETFs.

According to data from Thomson Reuters Lipper, in the week ending November 8, 2017, investors purchased $17.5 billion in fund assets.

Equity funds picked up$4.7 billion; taxable bond funds $1.6 billion, money market funds $10.8 billion and municipal bond funds $463 million.

Exchange Traded Funds, ETFs, saw inflows of more that $5.0 billion.

More specifically, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds moved downward as the close of business on Thursday, November 2, 2017, according to Lipper. The average return was +13.90%. That’s down from the previous week’s return of +14.24%.

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.

 

  • Great Gift Cards

Depending upon whom you ask, gift cards are either great gifts or aren’t worth purchasing because they aren’t used.

Most people like getting them with stats showing somewhere between 6 and 10% of them go unredeemed.

But the  trick in getting someone to use their card is the same as the challenge of picking out a present you know they will love: You have to know what they like/don’t like or use/won’t use.

WalletHub recently conducted a survey asking about gift card use. Here are some of the results:

-Last year’s Most Popular Gift Cards—Amazon Gift Card and Visa Gift Card were each ranked #1; Walmart Gift Card ranked #3; iTunes Gift Card ranked #4 and American Express Gift Card ranked #5.

-Gift cards with the biggest increase in popularity over the past year was Trader Joe’s.

-Gift cards with the biggest drop in popularity were those from the Apple Store and H&M.

Happy shopping.

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pbTrumpBits#18: Mar-a-Lago still hiring

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It’s been nearly two months since the ad for various Mar-a-Lago workers first appeared in Jobs section of the The Palm Beach Post under the “ food services/hospitality” heading.  That’s a long time for any ad to run.

What might be even longer is that the box showing the job opportunities at Mar-a-Lago has a typo in it that’s never been corrected.

I’ve heard that our president isn’t much of a reader but that’s no excuse for those who write the ads, or place them and didn’t see or correct the obvious error.

As you can see in the photo of the ad above the mistake has to do with the missing letter “i” in the word “qualifed”

Kind of a funny typo given the size of President Trump’s ego.

The private club will be opening soon and apparently is still seeking beach club servers, pastry cooks and valets. Hourly pay varies but is dollars better than Florida’s minimum wage of $8.10 an hour ( it’s going up to $8.25 in 2018).  And,  I’ve heard that tips for the valets can be quite generous. Even is they aren’t,  it’s gotta be a trip to drive the club’s members’ cars.

That said, anyone who would like to work in the Winter White House can either pick up an application at the gate house of the club/estate, or send their resume to: HR@maralagoclub.com.

Good luck.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov 3, 2017

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  • Pennies for peons

Amazing for me to  listen to House Speaker Paul Ryan, (who reminds me of Eddie Munster every time I see him), talk about the tax rewards for low-income American families during his repsentation of the new Republican tax reform proposal.

He made a tax savings of under 1200 bucks a year—or roughly $3.23 a day—sound like a big deal. Something great. Something terrific. Something that would make a big difference in their lives. Poppycock.

And all this from a guy who like other members of Congress are paid six-figure incomes — and many of whom are millionaires. Pennies for the peons is how it all sounded to me.

More slight-of-mounth that kinda sorta was made to sound like it was news had to do with the number of Americans who would have no federal income taxes to pay under the suggested Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. Also, poppycock.

Millions of people, low-income and otherwise, now pay no federal taxes each year.

According to data from the Tax Policy Center, in 2015 over 45% of Americans –or roughly 77.5 million—paid no federal income tax. If this new Act now means there will be millions more, who is going to pay for services and things we expect like our military, roads, park services, Medicare, SNAP programs, paying down our national debt, etc.?

As you know, I’m no fan of this tax proposal and see it as hurting more than serving the vast majority of the American public. Unless, of course, you are hugely wealthy.

I’m not. Are you?

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again it was mostly up, up and way in some kind of beautiful balloon for the major indices followed here as last week came to a close. I say mostly because once again, the year-to-date performances of the DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all rewarded their index investors while the Russell 2000 slipped backward.

How sustainable these high-flying markets will go continues to make money minds wonder.

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, November 3, 2017.

DJIA +19.11% YTD up from last week’s 18.58%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +31.28% up from last week’s 28.97%

 

Another new all-time high was reached on November 3, 2017 of 23,557.06 on the DJIA.

The previous high was reached on October 24, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.59% YTD up from last week’s 15.29%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.90% up from last week’s +21.00%

The S&P 500 reached another new high on November 3, 2017 of 2,588.42.

It’s previous high was reached on October 27, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +25.66% YTD up from last week’s +24.49%.

  • 1yr Rtn +33.73% up a chunk from last week’s 28.48%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,765.14 on November 3, 2017.

The previous high was reached on October 27, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +10.15% YTD down from last week’s +11.14%.

  • 1yr Rtn +29.22% up considerably from last week’s +26.75%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 05, 2017.

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

 

-Mutual funds

The year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds had moved up a bit when posted at the close of business on Thursday, November 2, 2017, according to Lipper. The average return was +14.24%. Two weeks before it was 13.75.

That’s not too shabby given the average total return for Sector Funds over that same time frame was 9.41%. On the other hand, the average World Equity Fund had a return of 25.25%.

Throw in some bond influence and the average Mixed Asset Fund was up 11.52%; Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds up 3.815 and World Income Funds up 8.14%

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.

 

  • November

CORRECTION: Target will not be closed for the entire day on Thanksgiving. It will open its store doors at 6 p.m. Apologies for the error. DV

I have to hand it to Target for deciding not to begin displaying their Christmas holiday merchandise until after Thanksgiving—hope they mean it. And, for the number of retail stores electing to be closed on that holiday meant for giving thanks. There are dozens of them from Ace Hardware to West Marine.

Re the stock market as represented by the DJIA, the month of November has a history of pretty much being thankful.

According to research from the Bespoke Investment Group comes this:

-Over the past 100 years, the DJIA has been up 60% of the time and gained an average of 0.75% during the month of November.

-Over the last 50 years the DJIA has been up 66% of the time and gained 1.67%.

-And over the past 20 years that index has been up 70% of the time sporting a gain during that month of 1.93%.

Gobble. Gobble.

 

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