POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.23, 2018


  •   Some NRA related goodies now gone

I continue to be so very very proud of the students at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their behavior following the horrific slaughtering of their fellow students on Valentine’s Day. Their actions have changed—in a positive way–how I look at young people today. And, their impact across the country is not only admirable but their determination to make changes to the power that the NRA wields within our local and state governments and in Congress, with respect to the insane gun laws practiced in our country, is Nobel Prize for Peace worthy.

What today’s students are telling their fellow Americans of all ages is that they know better: Automatic rifles don’t belong in the hands of ordinary citizens because they are weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing groups of people within seconds. And the kids’ points are well-made and correct.

These kids also know that the wheels of justice aren’t WiFi connected or on speed dial regarding the amount of time it takes to change things. To that end, I was glad to read that some of our country’s most recognized brand business names have taken steps to hit NRA members where it hurts them the most—in their pocketbooks.

Of course some will say that  there are fairness issues here, but life trumps fairness. Always has. Always will.

So hats off to the organizations, firms and institutions that have decided to end their discount programs with the NRA and its members. A few of them include: Symantec, Chubb, Enterprise, MetLife, Best Western and Wyndham Hotels.

To learn more, visit #BoycottNRA on Twitter.


  • Market Quick Glance

Words of advice from Warren Buffett’s latest annual letter: Don’t ever borrow money to buy stocks.

Amen to that.

And to these words from Buffett quoting his partner, Charlie Munger, a triple Amen: There are three ways to go broke:”liquor, ladies and leverage”.

As for last week, the place to bet in last week’s index winner performance race was Nasdaq—-it gained the most with a y-t-d return of almost 6.3% as of Friday’s close.

With stock volatility still very much in fashion and interest rates edging upwards, some are worried about inflation while others—namely Treasury Secretary Mnunchin—is pooh-poohing it and it’s impact.

I personally think he is way wrong. But then again, what do women know? (Wink wink.) A rising interest rate environment will affect all of us whether we are investors or not.

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, Feb. 23, 2018.

DJIA 2.02% YTD up from last week’s 2.02%  

  • 1 yr Rtn 22.31%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

-S&P 500 2.76% YTD up from last week’s 2.19%

  • 1 yr Rtn +16.22% down from last week’s 16.40%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

-NASDAQ +6.29 YTD up from last week’s 4.87%

  • 1yr Rtn +27.74% up from last week’s 24.50%

Nasdaq latest new all-time high of 7,505.77 was reached on January 26, 2018. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38.

-Russell 2000 +0.89%YTD up from last week’s 0.52%

  • 1yr Rtn +11.08% up from last week’s +10.32%

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.


-Mutual funds

As of Monday, Feb. 26, no new Lipper Performance figure updates were available.

Here is last a repeat of week’s report: On Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was +1.53%, according to Lipper. That’s down from the -3.40% posted one week earlier.

Lipper tracks 25 of the largest mutual funds around. Within that group, here are some of the year-to-date returns of a few of those individual funds:

  • The three funds with the highest returns, ytd:

-Fidelity Contrafund, up 6.58%

-American Funds Growth A, up 5.49%

-Vanguard FTSE Emerging Market ETF Fund, up 5.03%


  • The three funds with the least returns, ytd:

-Vanguard Total Bond ll: Inv, -2.31%

-Vanguard Total Bond ll: Inv., -2.31%

-American Funds CIB:A, -0.59%

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.



BlackRock is one heck of an investment firm and through the years has rewarded investors in its various index funds, ETFs, mutual funds and closed-end funds quite nicely.

That said, BlackRock, with an estimated $6 billion in assets that it manages, is a big time indirect gun company investor, according to the Associated Press.

Through its indirect investments,that same source reports that BlackRock is the largest stakeholder in America’s largest gun manufacturers. FactSet has reported that BlackRock has a 16.18% stake in Sturm Ruger, 11.91% in Vista, and a 10.5% stake in American Outdoor.

The trouble with fund investing is that it takes more than public outcry to change holdings in a fund, such as in mutual and index funds and ETFs. And, any changes in a fund’s investment objectives, style and holdings can’t be done willy-nilly: Changes and/or resolutions require votes and those voting privileges go out to everyone. That means you, as a shareholder, has voting rights.

Keep that in mind the next time you receive a voting proxy in the mail and decide to toss it out rather than to vote.

Funds are terrific investment vehicles. But, they are group investments. Don’t like what the fund invests in? Choose another fund. There are literally tens of thousands to choose from. Some are even Socially Responsible funds. Typically they don’t invest in sin stocks—like companies that make guns or ammunition.

Read a fund’s prospectus or check out its fund holdings before investing. You will find that info online at various sources. And don’t forget— a listing of  fund’s investments is partial and holdings aren’t updated daily but updated quarterly.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s