POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 14, 2018

  • FullSizeRender(69) •Stocks and Bonds

If I remember correctly, near the end of last year many many many talking heads were telling everyone that the best performing stocks in 2018 were going to be those of companies located outside of the U.S. and around the world.

As many times is the case, that advice hasn’t exactly panned out so far this year. What we’ve seen instead is more worries than rewards. Why? Because of rising interest rates. One reason, the 10-year U.S. Treasury note has come as close as possible to a dreaded 3 percent yield. At this writing it stands at 2.99 percent.

Should that 3 percent return come to bear, it would be the highest level on our 10-year Treasury in four years– since January 2014—and the widest spread between it and German bonds in 29 years.

This worries talking heads as rising interest rates do impact stock prices at home and abroad in a not so necessarily  great way.

Keep that in mind as our stock markets continue to unwind this year and talks of a coming recession begin being heard more and more.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

For those focused on the weekly, year-to-date market index returns, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 rewarded those folks the most last week as both closed in positive y-t-d territory at the close of business on Friday.

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, April 20, 2018.

DJIA -1.04% YTD down but less than the previous week’s -1.45%

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.87% down from the previous week’s 19.10%

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 -0.13% YTD down but less than last week’s -0.65%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.34% down from last week’s 14.06%

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 3.52% YTD up from last week’s 2.94%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.78% down from last week’s 22.42%

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 1.86% YTD up from than last week’s 0.91%

  • 1yr Rtn 13.00% down from last week’s 15.18%

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

Returns looking up.

At the close of business on Thursday, April 19, 2018, the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date total return of 1.62%. +0.32%. That’s up from the previous week’s average.

Small-Cap Growth funds gained the most as the average return here was 6.27% and Dedicated Short Bias Funds proved to have not so hot average returns, -6.97%.

Looking around the world, the average World Equity Fund had an average y-t-d return of 1.60% with Latin American Funds leading the way at 6.42%.

And then there are bond funds. The average here, including all types of bond funds, had a y-t-d return of down ½ of 1 percent.

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.

 

  • Recession ahead?

No matter what the White House has to say about our economy, what’s happening today mixed in with rosy projections about tomorrow can’t really be taken at face value. That’s because ignoring what history has shown us about our economy and the performances of the stock and bond markets have a way of repeating themselves.

On that note, consider the following from a recent Newsweek.com article written by two professors, Steven Pressman at Colorado State University and Robert H. Scott lll, at Monmouth University:

  • While the Great Recession has come to an end, people are adding to their household credit card debt and student load debt in a big time way. Today this  nonmortgage household debt is 41 percent above its previous peak achieved 10 years ago in 2018.
  • While low interest rates have helped the housing market recover from the housing mess experienced during the early 2000s, the cost of homes has risen while many people a) don’t have the income to qualify for a loan; b) have the down payment to qualify for such a loan; and c) have the credit score to make the dream of owning a home possible.
  • American households have 6 to 7 percent less spending power than they did a decade ago.

According to the authors, the U.S. economy is primed for another recession.”We believe it’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”

 

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