Monthly Archives: May 2018

POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 26, 2018

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  • Uber-Rich Goal Setting

Having a personal goal of a retirement account with $1 million in it is noble, even though 1,000,000 won’t necessarily get many very far in retirement. Certainly not as far as it did 20, 30 or definitely 50 years ago. Nonetheless, that target figure is worth shooting for for the masses.

For the super elite, however, it’s chump change.

According to Bloomberg, in the world of private bankers who cater to the uber-wealthy, having $25 million in investable wealth makes one considered rich and provides the “basic service” from private wealth bankers.

But wait. There’s more.

Business Class for the uber-wealthy in a private banker’s eye takes $100 million; First Class, $200 million; and Private Jet Rich, $1 billion.

Set your goals as your needs dictate.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again it was the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices where positive strides were recorded last week.

If the indices are telling investors anything, it’s to have a diversified portfolio.

Nothing exciting about that news except that it’s always wise advice.

Last week Bespoke Investments listed some of NASDAQs best and worst performing stocks so far this year. Here are the names of the most notable in each category:

  • Top 3 performing stocks from the NASDAQ 100:

Netflix (NFLX) up 81.96%; Micron (MU) up 12.41%; and Align Technology (ALGN) up 42.69%.

  • Three biggest losing stocks from the NASDAQ 100:

DISH Network (DISH) down -36.15%, NetEase(NTES) down -35.37%; and Dentsply Sirona (XRAY) down -29.80%.

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, May 25, 2018.

DJIA 0.14% YTD moved up into plus territory from the previous week’s -0.02%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.61% down from the previous week’s 19.61%

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 1.78% YTD up a tiny bit from week’s 1.47%

  • 1 yr Rtn 12.68% down from last week’s 14.68%

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 7.68% YTD up a little from last week’s 7.24%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.80% down from last week’s 21.46%

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 5.95% YTD up a hair from last week’s 5.93%

  • 1yr Rtn 17.60% down from last week’s 19.51%

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

With the beginning of summer fast approaching, and the old saying reminding investors to sell in May and go away, that play hasn’t been particularly a good one within the mutual fund arena—so far.

For example,the average performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was up 3.34% year-to-date at the close of business on Thursday, May 24, 2018. That’s much higher than it was three weeks before– on May 3 it was 0.65%.

Small-Cap Growth funds have made the biggest gains and were up on average over 10%,

Also with heading averages up 10% or more year-to-date were Science & Technology Funds, 10.98%; Global Science & Technology funds, 10.79%; and Commodities Energy Funds, 12.99%.

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.

 

  • Credit Card Debt Growing

Not sure who in Washington has noticed, but it has been apparent to most folks living across America that the cost of living is going up. Who hasn’t noticed that the increased cost of a gallon of gas makes an impact in the amount of disposable cash one has in their pockets? Or that groceries, even at places like Aldi’s, cost a little more? And that a buck or two increase in one’s hourly pay doesn’t translate to much?

So it may come as no surprise that people are using their credit cards more and more. And, not paying their balances off in full each month.

According to MyBudget360.com, there is more than $1 trillion in credit card debt outstanding in America these days.  Most of that debt is on cards issued by smaller banks.

From that source: “Credit card delinquencies at more than 4,700 small US banks are not past the figure reached at the peak of the last financial crisis.”

Oh my.

 

 

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Remembering Decoration Day

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Long before it became known as Memorial Day and celebrated on the third Monday in  May –which,incidentally, allowed federal employees to enjoy a three-day holiday weekend giving marketing mavens the chance to turn a  day  honoring those who have died in service to our country into an occasion to shop—-it was simply called  Decoration Day.

First celebrated on the 30th day of May in 1868, Decoration Day was created to honor all of the 620,000 who died in military service  during the Civil War.  According to History.com, that war  “claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history”.

People across the country recognized the day by adorning the graves of those in their cities and towns who died on American soil during that war with flowers and decorations. Hence the name Decoration Day.

If you do nothing else this Memorial Day,  why not take a moment to remember the 100s of thousands of individuals who have been involved in any wars  that America has been involved in and  have died for our freedoms. We owe them that respect. We owe them that honor.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 18, 2018

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  • The BEST investing advice EVER

Sometimes the most realistic investment advice comes in the form of a simple truth.

According to Bob Veres, editor of Inside Information as quoted in an ETFTrends.com piece last week, Veres said: “As it turns out, the predictions made by financial experts are no better than those made by gypsies looking into crystal balls, soothsayers gazing at the entrails of a sacrificed animal or wizards with tall caps who gaze into space. In fact, the financial experts might even be LESS reliable than those other charlatans.”

In other words, article author Rick Kahler, wrote: “The problem with accurately predicting what direction the US stock market is heading in the near future is that no expert really knows.”

And as Lily Tomlin’s character Edith Ann used to say, “ And that’s the truth.”

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Last week’s worst performance was in the DJIA—it slumped back into minus territory but not by much—a hair, if you will.

The place to play recently? NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices. NASDAQ was up the most, Russell 2000 and then the S&P 500.

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, May 18, 2018.

DJIA -0.02% YTD back into minus territory from previous week’s +0.45%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.61% up from the previous week’s 18.70%

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 1.47% YTD down from week’s 2.02%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.68% up from last week’s 13.92%

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 7.24% YTD down from last week’s 7.24%

  • 1yr Rtn 21.46% up a tiny bit from last week’s 21.04%

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 5.93% YTD up from last week’s 4.64%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.51% up a lot from last week’s 15.58%

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

From the May 3 report:

The average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.53% at the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2018, 0.65%, according to Lipper. That’s a fall from the previous week’s 0.65% average.

Small-Cap Growth funds ended the week with an average y-t-d return average of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again Dedicated Short Bias Funds had improved and were down only -4.25% instead of -5.43% from the previous week.

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.

 

  • Got a million in your 401(k)? Good. But keep saving.

Once upon a time having a retirement account with one million bucks in it was a big deal. Today, that ain’t necessarily so.

Fidelity Investments reports that at the end of the first quarter of 2018, there were about 50,000 more 401(k) plans with balances of $1 million or more than there were last year. That’s a figure increase from 108,000 to 157,000. Also, that contributors have increased the amount they save.

That’s all good news, accept that all that moola may not be enough to live a comfortable  retirement life.

In a FoxBusiness.com report, author and tax attorney Rebecca Walser reminded investors that what goes up must come down. “Most major crashes occur within a short 2.5-month timeframe, and even Warren Buffett recently warned shareholders that a 50% loss should be expected.

“If someone is 10 years or less from retirement, they need a plan to forgo the large downturn that is coming this time around – they do not have the investment horizon left to recover from such a portfolio loss.”

Geez. One can’t help but wonder when–if– the need for huge bucks to live out our old age will ever stop.

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TrumpBits #26: Mar-a-Lago’s loss

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Oh dear. Mar-a-Lago, once the premier Palm Beach hot spot to hold charity balls where millions upon millions have been raised to help out the less fortunate, has lost some of its luster during the 2017-2018 season.

As fundraisers ditched the joint during this past season due to any number of reasons traced back to President Trump’s less than presidential behavior, the unthinkable happened: The club lost 12 million smackeroos, according to data from the federally required annual financial disclosure form released by the Office of Government Ethics today, May 16, 2018.

Even with last year’s doubling in annual membership fees from 100 grand to 200 grand, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club brought in only $25,000,000. That’s down from the previous year’s reported figure of $37 million.

But before you tear-up and weep for this he-who-speaks-with-forked-tongue master, and, whose presidential style stands as a perfect example of “be best” bullying, his DC hotel doubled its revenues from $20 to 40 million.

(Divesting from his businesses prior to his inauguration clearly never happened.)

The good news in all of this for Trump is that his fans have short memories.

I expect the upcoming Mar-a-Lago season to be more profitable than this past one. That is, unless the stock market tanks.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 12, 2018

 

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Perscription drugs play a big part in thel lives of many.  But the costs of meds can be pricey. With any luck at all, their costs may be coming down, and who knows, your investments in them going up. Fingers crossed on both accounts.
  • More sage advice

Investors like advice about everything—including how to be successful. Whether they take that advice or not, nobody  knows for sure, but that doesn’t stop the topic from being a hot and well-read one.

Last week this opening section focused on Warren Buffett’s investing words of wisdom—the simplest point he always makes is to be sure to invest in companies you know about.

This week, I’m passing on investment advice and moving into what it takes to be successful.

That said, below are tidbits from three people whose names we are all familiar with thanks to their media star power and the fact that they have made oodles of money and been hugely successful. Info is from a  recent CNBC.com piece:

  • Barbara Corcoran, you know her from “Shark Tank”, as the go-to gal for looking good and first impressions. She’s a big believer in dressing for success. No plumber-butt pants for her or the men whose products she’s promoting.

From the CNBC.com story: “When the real estate queen rented her first apartment in 1973, she collected a $360 commission check, ran over to Bergdorf Goodman and “blew it on a new coat,” she says. “It was the smartest thing I could have done with the money because, in it, I felt powerful.”

  • Richard Branson, the guy who knows how to make the most of a Virgin, is big on relationships.

“The key to success in business is all about people, people, people,” the billionaire entrepreneur writes on his blog. “It should go without saying, if you look after your people, your customers and bottom line will be rewarded too.”

So how do you develop extraordinary people skills? Branson says to pay attention to what people say and to be a great listener.

  • Mark Cuban understands the value of having no debt.

From the piece: “The best investment anyone can make is “paying off your credit cards,” says the self-made billionaire. “Paying off whatever debt you have.”

Cuban said: “Whatever interest rate you have — it might be a student loan with a 7 percent interest rate — if you pay off that loan, you’re making 7 percent. That’s your immediate return, which is a lot safer than trying to pick a stock or trying to pick real estate, or whatever it may be.”

I’m hoping President Trump reads and heeds Cuban’s advice.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

If you had followed the old adage, “ Sell in May and go away” you would have short-changed yourself, based on last week’s index returns.

All four indices followed here made some nice jumps up in their year-to-date performances figures. The Russell 2000 and NASDAQ leaping the most.

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, May 11, 2018.

DJIA +0.45% YTD moved up from the previous week’s -1.85

•1rRtn 18.70% up a bunch from the previous week’s 15.80%

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 +2.02% YTD up a heap from week’s -0.38%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.92% a jump up from last week’s 11.48%

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 7.24% YTD big jump up from last week’s 4.44%

  • 1yr Rtn 21.04% up from last week’s 18.67%

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 4.64% YTD jumping up from last week’s 1.96%

  • 1yr Rtn 15.58% up a lot from last week’s 12.73%

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

Below is a repeat of last week’s report:

The average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.53% at the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2018, 0.65%, according to Lipper. That’s a fall from the previous week’s 0.65% average.

Small-Cap Growth funds ended the week with an average y-t-d return average of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again Dedicated Short Bias Funds had improved and were down only -4.25% instead of -5.43% from the previous week.

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.

 

  • Healthcare ETFs

Last week, President Trump declared war on big pharma. As anyone who depends on prescription medications know, the cost of our meds can be outrageous. Not always—Publix, for instance, provides a few drugs for free —but horror stories abound about how some prescription drugs cost pennies to make but big bucks  to purchase  are well documented. To fight the sometimes-crippling costs of staying alive via meds, plenty of folks  have made it a practice to cross the borders into Mexico and/or Canada to save money on their must-have meds.

So Trump’s decision to face pharma is a welcomed one by many. How successful he will be at making a difference on that subject is, however, anybody’s guess. Big pharma has big bucks and even bigger lobbying power.

But the healthcare world has been a source of profits for many investors over the years, and today’s healthcare ETFs are one way to play that field.

If you’re looking for funds to research, ETFTrends.com addressed some of the exchange-traded-funds that focus on healthcare. Below are a few of them.

  • Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV)— the largest healthcare exchange traded fund.
  • iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQGM: IBB)— the largest biotech exchange traded fund by assets.
  • VanEck Vectors Generic Drugs ETF (NasdaqGM: GNRX)
  • ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF (NYSEArca: SBIO)
  • PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (NYSEArca: PJP)
  • SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEArca: XBI)

 

Good luck. Be well.

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Happy Mother’s Day

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I ran across this quote, from an unknown author,  in an old phone book I had from the 1970s. While so many names and addresses in that book have changed, this who-knows-why-I-had-written-it-in-that-book remains and has stood the test of time.

“May the strength and love, the power and will, determination and glory, that enjoyed a home within your mother, be your arms during this lifetime and your keys to universal understanding.”

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 5, 2018

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  • Buffett’s advice

Warren Buffett has some investing advice all of us can learn from—even for those who don’t own any Apple stock—a stock he currently loves.

Three tidbits outlined in a recent CNBC.com story include:

  1. Circle of competence. Basically this means understanding and knowing if the business you are buying is making money and that you feel confident that money-making will be sustainable going forward.
  2. Piece of a business. Buffett was influenced big time by Ben Graham’s classic book “The Intelligent Investor”. Read it.
  3. Margin of safety. Buffett likes value and when looking at purchasing a company  “he wants the value at his entry price to be much lower than his value estimate for the company”. That spread difference is what he calls the “margin of safety”.

Why listen to Buffett’s advice? Guess it’s because from 1965 to 2017, Berkshire Hathaway’s stock’s annual return was 20.9% compared to that of the S&Ps 9.9%.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The Russell 2000 and NASDAQ were the indices that scored the most on the upside of things last week.

And one more time: It’s been since January when, at that time, new all-time highs were reached on three of the four indices followed below: The DJIA, the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000. NASDAQ hit its last new high in March.

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, May 4, 2018.

DJIA -1.85% YTD down more than the previous week’s -1.65%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.80% down a hair from the previous week’s 15.87%

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 -0.38% YTD down more than last week’s -0.14%

  • 1 yr Rtn 11.46% down from last week’s 11.77%

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 4.44% YTD up from last week’s 3.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.67% up from last week’s 17.70%

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 1.96% YTD up from than last week’s 1.35%

  • 1yr Rtn 12.73% up from last week’s 9.82%

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

The average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.53% at the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s a fall from the previous week’s 0.65% average.

Small-Cap Growth funds ended the week with an average y-t-d return  of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again, Dedicated Short Bias Funds’ averagre returns had improved and were down only -4.25% instead of -5.43% from the previous week.

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.

 

  • Not running out of money

Well here’s some could be good news for retirees who don’t have $1 million or more bucks saved in their retirement accounts.

According to a Reuters piece by Gail Marks Jarvis, “The myth of outliving your retirement savings”, folks with less than $500,000 in savings on average spend “just about a quarter of it during the first 20 years of retirement.”

That data is from a study by Sudipto Banerjee of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Huh. Not sure I believe that but if it’s true, wouldn’t that be nice to know.

 

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