Monthly Archives: March 2018

POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 24, 2018

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  • Remington’s got problems

Remington Outdoor, one of America’s oldest gun makers, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Why? Sales are off.

In business since 1816, it was a Remington rife that was used in 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Since then, school and mass shootings haven’t stopped, fears of new gun regulations have increased all resulting in gun ownership losing a lot of its pow.

Chapter 11 doesn’t mean Remington is going bust. The move provides protection for a company and gives it time to reorganize its business and debt obligations.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Oh my…..last week’s stock prices grounded as three indices lost all of this year’s gains—one up 1.3%. Big woo!

What happened? Donald Trump’s trade war ideas.

Yale economist Robert Shiller, in an interview in Beijing on Saturday, called President Trump “ a showman” who “obviously relishes” in his celebrity, but behaves in a way that’s ”totally unbecoming for a president”, according to a CNBC.com report.

Addressing the China Development Forum, the Nobel-winner warned about the likelihood of an economic disaster if there is a trade war between the U.S. and China.

We shall see.

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, March 23, 2018.

DJIA -4.93% YTD down seriously from the previous week’s 0.92%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.93% down from the previous week’s 19.161%

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 -3.95% YTD down seriously from last week’s 2.93%

  • 1 yr Rtn 10.33 % down from last week’s 15.56%

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 1.29% YTD down seriously from last week’s 8.38%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.20% down from last week’s 26.80%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 -1.66% YTD down a hunk from last week’s 3.29%

  • 1yr Rtn 11.57% down from last week’s 14.43%

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

And there go this year’s gains.

At the close of business on Thursday, March 22, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.11%. That’s down from last week’s average of 2.70%.

Large-Cap Growth Funds lost about 5% and averaged 3.67%—down from the previous week’s average year-to-date return of 8.19%.

Small-Cap Growth funds provided shareholders with the week’s highest average year-to-date return of 4.32%–down from the previous week’s averge return of 6.38%.

But Science & Technology Funds were higher at 7.72%. And Global

Science/Technology Funds lead the way with average returns in each category of 8.51% —off from its previous return of over 12%, year-to-date.

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.

 

•How YOU doin?

Even with the stock market’s recent downward plunge, things aren’t as horrible as the tv talking heads might get you to believe.

For instance, Trump  supporters rave about Donald and what a great job he is doing as president, how great the economy is and how their investments have preformed.

I’m not so sure about the greatness of our economy, but, there is no arguing with the performance of the stock market: On the day that Donald J. Trump was inaugurated, January 20, 2017—which seems like 100 thousand years ago—the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 19,827.25.

While the ride since then has been bumpy and lumpy, these numbers  don’t lie.

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TrumpBits#24: Trump’s Cowardly Drive

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Clearly one of the most powerful photos taken of marchers in the March for Our Lives in Salem, Oregon. Photo by Molly J. Smith/Statesman Journal ia The USA Today Network.

President Trump’s motorcade chose another –and longer– route to take him from his WPB golf course and back to Mar-a-Lago on Saturday. That cowardly move prevented him from seeing first-hand a crowd of some 2000 individuals marching along Southern Blvd.  to protest gun violence in the aptly named March for Our Lives.

Nonetheless, photos of the event –even those seen on FOX News—will forever bear witness to the fact that hundreds of thousands of individuals across America stepped out of their homes and into the streets to join in with other like-minds who don’t agree with our nation’s current and very permissive gun laws.

For those who oppose any changes in gun regulation, I have two questions: What are you so afraid of? And, what do you think/imagine would actually happen if guns were outlawed in America?

Let me know.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 17, 2018

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  • Ever hear of “crowding out”? Time to learn about it.

Trump’s tax cuts may have made million- and billionaires happy, even some workerbees may think it’s a terrific deal, but in reality the move will prove to be hugely costly to most Americans.

Why? Because somebody has to pay for those cuts.

A recent New York Times story reported that one of the results of the tax cuts is that in this fiscal year, the Treasury Department will likely  have to borrow $955 billion from investors. That’s a lot and big increase from last year.

If you’re a believer in debt, and think doing business as a big debtor is a great deal— as President Trump does, did, and has throughout this real estate business deals– a government that continues to accumulate debt isn’t an efficiently run government. Or, one anyone can or should be proud of. And is a vulnerable government.

Bottom line here is that as our debt grows so does our responsibility to pay it. Meaning, interest rates have to go up to cover those debt costs, and, it becomes more expensive for a company or an individual to borrow money translating to life costing more for everyone.

“Crowding out”, according to that same article is when “large-scale government borrowing sucks up the supply of available capital, driving up financing costs for just about everyone else.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again the numbers tell their weekly story of what goes up can come down.

It was Nasdaq where the weekly numbers showed best as it moved upward while the three other indices fell.

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, March 16, 2018.

DJIA 0.92% YTD down a hunk from the previous week’s 2.49%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.16% down from the previous week’s 21.21%

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 2.93% YTD down a hunk from last week’s 4.22%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.56 % down from last week’s 17.83%

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 8.38% YTD up from last week’s 5.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.80% down from last week’s 28.99%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 3.29% YTD down from last week’s 4.01%

  • 1yr Rtn 14.43% down from last week’s 16.98%

 

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

At the close of business on Thursday, March 15, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of 2.70%. That’s up from the previous week’s average return of 0.57%.

Once again, Large-Cap Growth Funds lead this pack’s performance with an average year-to-date return of 8.19% —one week before that figure was 5.50%.

Behind it came Multi-Cap Growth Funds at 7.54% (the week before it was 4.49%). Then, a switch up from last week’s Mid-Cap Growth Funds, 6.18%, to Small-Cap Growth Funds at 6.38%.

Under the Sector Equity Funds heading Science & Technology Funds and Global Science/Technology Funds lead the way with average returns in each category of over 12%, year-to-date.

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.

  • CDs are looking kinda sorta good

Over the past few weeks ads in my local paper have been advertising CD rates of 2% and higher. That’s enough of a jump from the 1.10% kinds of returns to make short-term fixed income investors take notice. Particularly when the stock market is in its ninth year of a bull market and volatility is enough to cause one’s blood pressure to rise during daily and weekly market sessions.

Before biting, however, make sure to read the small print. For example, a recent ad from FCB, Florida Community Bank, offered a 2.15% APY, good through March 30,2018. To take advantage of it you’ve got to have $10,000 in “new funds” and be willing to lock those 10 Gs for 19 months.

Another ad from First Republic Bank offered a 20-month CD at the rate of 2.00%APY for a “limited time” with a minimum investment of $10,000.

Seeing yields in the 2’s is nice. But if you’re someone who thinks about annual returns, as in 12-months, make sure to read the small print in these offerings because you’d be locking up your money for at least 19 months. That’s more than a year and a half and makes the reality of these advertised 2% returns a bit of a tease.

As always, investor beware, read the small print and realize that rates could be going up before you know it.

 

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TrumpBits#23: Seeing Russia?

FullSizeRender(92)It looks as though Sarah Palin has spotted something. Could it be Russia?

What better representative for the Republican Party than Sarah Palin.  She’s the headliner at the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising event on Friday.

If you wanted to attend, forgetaboutit. The receptionist at  Mar-a-Lago today told me that the event is “sold out”.

Bummer. Was hoping to learn more about Russia from this seer.

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 10, 2018

  • FullSizeRender(90) •Trading places

It appears as though President Trump has a bug across his bum. One that insists America gets involved in war. Some kind of war. Any kind of war. The latest is focused on trade wars.

Most people aren’t keen on wars. They are always destructive, cost millions upon millions of dollars and impact thousands of individuals in a not-so-positive fashion. In other words, there’s basically nothing to like about a war. And none of them are ever easy to win.

So whether it be a war amongst nations or one over trade, there are always losers no matter which camp one is in. Except, of course, for the political, corporate and business profit-takers whose see their coffers bulge as a result of the woes of war.

Although most presidents rely on history to be a guide to understanding current situations, Trump, I’ve read, is said not to be much of a reader. But if he were, he might recall one time in our history when President Thomas Jefferson, through the Embargo Act, cut off all international trade with Europe. That was back in 1807. The result was, one year after those actions were taken, America’s economy collapsed and Congress repealed the act.

Will someone please tell President Trump that? America has enough economic problems to deal with without him intentionally starting a war.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

All cleaned up. Whew. That was quick.

Last week I wrote that if you had invested into an S&P 500 index fund or one that tracks the Russell 2000 you wouldn’t have made any money this year. But that was last week. This year, it’s a much different—and more profitable—story.

When the markets closed on Friday it was a clean plus-side return sweep for all the indices followed here. One index, Nasdaq, even hit a new all-time high. And the Russell 2000 gained heaps.

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, March 9, 2018.

 

DJIA 2.49%% YTD up from the previous week’s -0.73%

  • 1 yr Rtn 21.21% up from the previous week’s 16.83%

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 4.22% YTD up from last week’s 0.66%

  • 1 yr Rtn 17.83% up from last week’s 12.99%

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 5.13 YTD up from last week’s 5.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 28.99% way up from last week’s 23.83%

Nasdaq stepped out reaching a brand new all-time high on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81. The previous high of 7,505.77 was reached on January 26, 2018.

 

-Russell 2000 4.01%YTD up significantly from last week’s –0.15%

  • 1yr Rtn 16.98% up lots from last week’s 9.85%

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

What a difference five trading days can make.

It didn’t take long for the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds to gain some strength. And, as of Thursday, March 8, 2018, the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was on the plus-side of things: 0.57%. That’s up from the previous week’s average return of -0.31%, according to Lipper.

It’s Large-Cap Growth Funds that led this pack’s performance with an average year-to-date return of 5.50%.

Behind it came Multi-Cap Growth Funds at 4.49%. Then, Mid-Cap Growth Funds, 2.55%.

 

Small-Cap Value and Dedicated Short Bias Funds lost the most ground, with and average return for funds falling under those headings of -3.64% and-3.40% respectfully.

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.

 

  • Time changes

It appears that some Floridians have become fed up with the spring-ahead fall-back time changes. So, the powers that be are considering bowing out.

Trouble is, the idea might sound appealing but the reality of what would happen as a result isn’t.

Here’s one example: Floridians would have to forget becoming a part of any New Year’s Eve celebrations with the big ball dropping at 12 midnight. While the ball may be falling in New York City at that hour, it would take another hour for it to hit ground for those living in Florida.

Doubt many in Florida would go for that. Citizens in the Sunshine State are already confused enough.

 

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Celebrate International Women’s Day

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Nope, this upside down McDonald’s sign is not in error. It’s that way because the owner of this McDonald’s in Lynwood, Calif., is Patricia Williams and it’s her way of celebrating International Women’s Day.

Today, Thursday, March  8, 2018,  is International Women’s Day. As such, it’s clearly a day to celebrate women no matter where you live, how old you are, how much money you have or don’t have and whether you are a female or not.

In case you’ve run short of reasons to celebrate women, consider the following:

•Women are wonderful and wonder-filled.

•They are why you are here.

•The world wouldn’t be the same without them.

•Thank the heavens for women and the heavens will thank you back.

POCKETBOOK:Week ending March 3, 2018

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  • Another bull’s birthday

The bull market is going to be 9 this week. In dog years that would be 63 in human years. Okay okay—I know there’s nothing that really connects bulls with dogs and humans but then again, from a human’s point of view, 63 represents an age of maturity. One, that some figure, is an age worthy of retirement.

A look back at the historic lengths of  bull markets between 1926 through 2017 represented by  S&P 500 Index total returns reveals that a bull market lasts on average  9 years, according to FirstTrust (FTPortfolios.com). That puts this market in  watch-for-bears territory.

The longest bull market ,relating to that same index, lasted 13.9 years (from the 1930s-early 1940s), with an average annualized rate of return of 17.2%.  The shortest, 2.5 years in the early 1970s in which the average annualized gain was 25.3%.

Clearly, this bull market has been running a long time but more importantly,  bulls don’t run forever.

Then again, this same source reveals that S&P500 Index  bear markets have a history of being much shorter in length averaging only 1.4 years.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Back peddling and who knows for how long.

If, at the beginning of this year, you invested into an S&P 500 index fund or one that tracks the Russell 2000 you’ve lost money. Not so with the Nasdaq.

Who knows what the year-to-date returns will be by the end of this week but here’s a bet worth considering: If Trump continues to be hell-bent on imposing tariffs on the steel and aluminum that the US imports, the market might have a hell-bent time of moving upward.

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, March 3, 2018.

 

DJIA -0.73% YTD down and back into minus land–the previous week +2.02%  

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.83% down from the previous week’s 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 +0.66% YTD significantly down from last week’s 2.76%

  • 1 yr Rtn +12.99% 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 +5.13 YTD down from last week’s 6.29%

  • 1yr Rtn +23.83% down from last week’s 27.74%

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 -0.15%YTD down into minus land from last week’s 0.89%

  • 1yr Rtn +9.85% down from last week’s +11.08%

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

Reflecting a not-so-hot week for stocks, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was -0.31% at the close of business on Thursday, March 2, 2018, according to Lipper.

Near the end of 2017, many talking heads were projecting that markets outside of the U.S. were going to be the ones likely to score well this year. That however, hasn’t necessarily been the case. For instance, the year-to-date return for the average World Equity Fund was 0.11% as of Thursday’s close. There are 4,453 funds that fall under that broad heading.

Areas doing well and not-so-well under that heading include: Latin American Funds and China Region Funds, up 6.28% and3.66% respectively, on average. And, on the other hand,  India Region Funds and Global Equity Income Funds were down on average -5.40% and -2.08% respectively.

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.

 

  • Kohl’s and Aldi a match made in heaven?

There’s a maybe unlikely new couple coming to town: Kohl’s, the retailer that sends out so many discount coupons to their credit card holders that you wonder how in the world they make any money—-and Aldi, the German grocer that sells its food stuff and goodies at prices that don’t need any coupons to get shoppers into their stores.

The deal is, Kohl’s has too many stores with too much space in them and has plans to cut the size of its footprints, while Aldi is expected to open 900 new stores over the next five years, according to USA Today.

So,  the idea is to lob off some of existing Kolh’s stores space to make Aldi its next door neighbor.

If you’re a shopper of both, the idea makes sense. If you’re not, it might be time to try shopping at either.

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