Monthly Archives: July 2018

POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 28, 2018

IMG_2607

 

  • Happy Birthday Medicare and Medicaid

 Every now and then celebrating a good thing is a good idea.Take Medicare and Medicaid, for instance. Both very good ideas signed into law on July 30, 1965 by Lyndon B Johnson as amendments to the Social Security Act of 1935.

Initially created to provide hospital and medical insurance for people aged 65 and over, and to care for low-income individuals, Medicare and Medicaid both went into effect in 1966. According to History.com, over 19 million people were enrolled that year.

In 1972, Medicare was extended and made available to Americans under the age of 65 who had certain disabilities.

Today, approximately 57 million people are enrolled in Medicare; AARP data expects that figure to swell to nearly 80 million  by 2030; and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report there are approximately  11.7 million people simultaneously enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.

So Happy Birthday to Medicare and Medicaid. Many Americans thank you dearly and rely upon your services every day of our lives.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

When last week ended it was indices representing  larger companies that made the most gains. That said, a look at year-to-date numbers reveal that NASDAQ continues to be the biggest winning index so far this year with the Russell 2000 next in line.

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, July 27, 2018.

DJIA 2.96% YTD a jump up from previous week’s return of 1.37%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.55% up from the previous week’s 15.95 %

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 5.43% YTD up from last week’s 4.80%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.03% up from last week’s 13.28%

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 12.08% YTD down from last week’s 13.28%

  • 1yr Rtn 21.38% down from last week’s 22.38%

Nasdaq reached a new 52-week high on July 25, 2081 of 7,933.32. The previous high was reached on July 17, 2018 of 7,867.15.

 

-Russell 2000 8.32% YTD down a lot from last week’s 10.50%

  • 1yr Rtn 16.38% down from last week’s 17.64%

The Russell 2000 reached a new 52-week high on July 10, 2018 of 1,708.56. The previous high was reached on June 20, 2018 of 1,708.1.

 

-Mutual funds

Pick your fund type. Pick any sized cap and as long as “large” is in part of it’s name, your investments are doing double-digit fine, so far this year.

At the close of business on Thursday, July 26, 2018, the average total return performance for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 6.96%, according to Lipper. That’s up from the previous week’s average of was 6.49%..

There are a total of 20 different  category types included under that broad heading representing 8,404 funds. And, there are now four different categories with double-digit average y-t-d returns. They include: Small-Cap Growth Funds, 16.67%; Large-Cap Growth Funds, 14.17%; Multi-Cap Growth Funds, 12.76%; and Mid-Cap Growth Funds, 12.35%.

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.

 

  • Pricy Convenience

 Last week, a friend of mine went online to pay her annual car license tag fee in the State of Florida.  A conservative spender, she won’t be doing that again.

Not only did she find the experience a bit confusing and time-consuming, she had to pay an additional $3.50, called a “convenience fee”, for completing the transaction online.

Some convenience, I thought. Mailing it would have been 50 cents— the cost of a First-Class stamp.

 

-30-

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

TrumpBits #30:Help Wanted and a Trump Rent-a-House

fullsizerender14

It’s that time of year again. You know, the one where Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago begins advertising for seasonal help at his resort where H-2B via helpers are preferred.

Trump, as do other Palm Beach hoteliers, have a penchant for hiring foreigners over U.S. citizens. Their reasoning: not enough help available for their seasonal and low paying jobs.

That  low paying pitch is kinda sorta funny given Trump’s hourly pay isn’t exactly puny.

For example, the minimum hourly wage in Florida is $8.25 an hour—which happens to be the same hourly wage as is the State’s “tipped minimum wage”, is for restaurant servers. But, hourly wages at Mar-a-Lago are considerably higher.

According to newespaper reports, the up coming 2018-2019 seasonal  wages at Mar-a-Lago have pretty much been hiked up. For instance, last year servers were paid $11.88 an hour while the proposed hourly rate this year is $12.68%, that’s an increase of 6.7% from last year.

Housekeepers will see a 3.4% increase from last year’s $10.33 an hour to $10.68. Cook’s, however, will see their hourly wage cut by a few pennies—from $13.34 last year to $13.31 this season.

With more money coming their way who knows where that money will go.

Speaking of money and the Trump’s—$100,000 will get you a 1-month rental in the South Ocean Blvd. beachfront house owned by Donald’s two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.

The house boasts 10,455 square feet of living space adorned by 194 feet of beachfront, according the The Palm Beach Daily News.

Hey, it could be yours.

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 21, 2018

IMG_5155
We all know that President Trump sees things differently than most. The same is true when it comes to his math.
  • Trump Math

 By now we’ve all learned that President Trump isn’t well-versed in a number of things including American history, manners, telling the truth and yes, even math.

Last week he said that the stock market has gone up 40% since he was elected president. Better not take that to the bank never mind believe it.

According to CNBC.com, the S&P 500 is up 31% since Trump was elected president on Nov. 8, 2016. That’s a far distance from 40%. Additionally, the lion’s share of those gains were made last year in 2017. So far this year, the S&P has gained around 4%.

Math matters to every investor sophisticated or not,  Democrat, Republican, Independent or the Un-politically interested.

Bottom line: Betting on Trump’s math could be detrimental to one’s portfolio expectations.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A few ups and a few downs but what counts the most is how your portfolio is doing.

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, July 20, 2018.

DJIA 1.37% YTD up a tiny bit previous week’s return of 1.21%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.95% down from the previous week’s 16.08 %

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 4.80% YTD up a hair from last week’s 4.78%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.28% down from last week’s 14.44%

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 13.28% YTD down a bit from last week’s 13.36%

  • 1yr Rtn 22.38% down from last week’s 24.73%

Nasdaq reached a new 52-week high on July 17, 2018 of 7,867.15. The previous high was reached on July 13, 2018 of 7,843.53.

 

-Russell 2000 10.50% YTD up from last week’s 9.87%

  • 1yr Rtn 17.64% down from last week’s 18.34%

The Russell 2000 reached a new 52-week high on July 10, 2018 of 1,708.56. The previous high was reached on June 20, 2018 of 1,708.1.

 

-Mutual funds

A y-t-d total return for the average equity fund has handsomely outperformed the year-to-date returns of the DJIA and S&P500 by a couple of percentage points.

And, at the close of business on Thursday, July 19, 2018, the total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had an average return was 6.49%, according to Lipper.

To compare, th DJIA on Friday had a y-t-d return of about 1.4% and the S&P 500, 4.8%.

Nonetheless, it’s first still a small cap world as the average cumulative total return for Small-Cap Growth Funds continue to be the out performers averaging 17.41% returns, followed by Mid-Cap Growth funds, 12.34% then Multi-Cap Growth, 12.32%.

The only other category of funds coming close to the Small-Cap performance was Science & Tech Funds with a y-t-d average return of 15.57%.

On the other hand, the average y-t-d Commodities Base Metals Funds performance stinks— it was -17.85%.

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.

 

  • Golden Cross

The price of gold can’t seem to get out of its own way.

Gold analysts are now saying that the price of this precious metal has entered into a death cross. My, that’s ugly. And, that  they don’t see anything but more bad news ahead.

A death cross is a bearish technical signal that happens when the 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day average. And that’s not happy news for those betting on the price of gold moving out of the woods anytime soon.

On the other hand, gold could be a buy for bottom buyers and those who consider themselves long-term optimistic  investors.

-30-

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 14, 2018

Here

img_5147.jpg
And from the recent running of the bulls comes this: a fake bull. Kinda sorta made me wonder about our market.

 

  • Millennial Yikes!

There’s a different world coming if you’re a believer in survey results

According to a recent 2018 Retirement Preparedness Survey commissioned by PGIM Investments, 31% of millennials aren’t saving for retirement at all BECAUSE they don’t see the point in preparing for it. They responded that “anything can happen between now and then.”

Well, that’s true. But, anything– whatever is meant by it– takes money. And heaps of it–particularly during the decades spent in retirement.

Additionally, 62% of those responding said they plan on retiring when they have enough money (wonder where they expect to get it?) and 66% said that they think full-time jobs would be kaput and that 75% of the public would work as freelancers in the future. And one more thing,  that “people will no longer retire comfortably in the future.”

Oh my.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

More ups over the short term, but not so for 1-year return figures.

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, July 13, 2018.

DJIA 1.21% YTD back up into positive territory re previous week’s return of –1.06%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.08% up from the previous week’s 14.71 %

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 4.78% YTD up from last week’s 3.22%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.44% down a hair from last week’s 14.53%

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 13.36% YTD a jump up from last week’s 11.37%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.73% down from last week’s 26.26%

Nasdaq reached a new 52-week high on July 13, 2018 of 7,843.53. The previous high was reached on June 20, 2018 of 7,806.6.

-Russell 2000 9.87% YTD down from last week’s 10.74%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.34% down from last week’s 20.93%

The Russell 2000 reached a new 52-week high on July 10, 2018 of 1,708.56. The previous high was reached on June 20, 2018 of 1,708.1.

 

-Mutual funds

A repeat.

At the close of business on Thursday, July 5, 2018, the total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had an average return of 4.35%, according to Lipper.

Nonetheless, it’s first still a small cap world as the average cumulative total return for Small-Cap Growth Funds averaged 14.34%.

The category of funds with the closest average y-t-d- return was–surprise surprise–Large Cap  Growth funds at 9.73%.

Double digit y-t-d average returns were also found under the Sector Funds heading with Science & Tech Funds, 12.04%, followed by Global Science/ Tech Funds, 11.64% and then Health/Tech Funds, 10.43%.

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.

  • The cost of trade wars

So far, estimates are that this just beginning trade war is going to cost households about $60 more bucks a year. Another source estimates that figure to be more than double–$127 per household.

I’m guessing it’s going to be considerably more. Time will tell.

Till then, consider this from the blog of money manager Doug Kass:

“History has proven that one trade tariff begets another and another until you get a full blown trade war. And the consumer seems to always get screwed. Currency wars always lead to trade wars and vice versa and which in turn could lead to hot war. ”

Kass says that trade wars aren’t supposed to be easy.

I’ll add, not cheap either.

-30-

 

 

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 7, 2018

 

IMG_5146
(Source: SeekingAlpha.com)
  • Making money in stocks? Where?

 No denying that lots of folks say that they are loving the economy believing in the super job growth and the sweet returns of the stock market. But before jumping on that  bandwagon, remember most of the praise comes from our president and those he has hired to praise him and praise all things Trump-related.

A look at the chart above, included in a recent SeekingAlpha.com article, shows how various types of stocks have fallen from their highs during the past 52 weeks.

Commentary in that same story pointed out that the telecom services sector stocks are down an average of nearly 19% from their highs and consumer discretionary stocks down 16%.

So how you doin?

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The DJIA was the only index that had a lower year-to-date return last week than it had the previous week.

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, July 7, 2018.

DJIA -1.06% YTD down even more than the previous week’s return of -056%

•1 yr Rtn 14.71% down from the previous week’s 14.88%

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 3.22% YTD  up from last week’s 1.67%

•1 yr Rtn 14.53% up from last week’s 12.34%

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 11.37% YTD up a lot from last week’s 8.79%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.26% way up from last week’s 22.23%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 20, 2018 of 7,806.6. The previous highs was reached on June 14,2018 of 7,768.6.

-Russell 2000 10.74% YTD up a heap from last week’s 7.00%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.93% up a lot from last week’s 16.02%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 20, 2018 of 1,708.1. The previous high was reached June 12, 2018 of 1,686.37.

 

-Mutual funds

Changes abound with some not exactly hot returns lately for your basic mutual fund. At the close of business on Thursday, July 5, 2018, the total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had an average return of 4.35%, according to Lipper.

Nonetheless, it’s  still a small cap world as the average cumulative total return for Small-Cap Growth Funds averaged 14.34%.

The category of funds with the closest average y-t-d- return behind it was–surprize surprize—Lare-Cap Growth funds at 9.73%.

Double digit y-t-d average returns were also found under the Sector Funds heading with Science & Tech Funds, 12.04%, followed by Global Science/ Tech Funds, 11.64% and then Health/Tech Funds, 10.43%.

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.

 

  • More of US not working

 Numbers show that not nearly as many of us are working today as there were 10 years ago.

MyBudget360.com reported that one-third of our work force—or 95.5 million Americans– are not working today. That’s a big jump up from the 80 million not working in 2009.

-30-

 

 

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 30, 2018

IMG_5069

  • Making America Great Again. Really?

Funny how a slogan can get people all jazzed up and believing things that may or may not be true. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” is one such slogan.

America from where I sit, even with its warts and all, was pretty much of a terrific nation before Donald Trump became president. Now, there are more warts.

That said, if individual voting citizens think that Trump is going to make America great again, they are fooling themselves if the greatness they are thinking of is money related.

The chart above shows how wealth gets distributed during times of economic expansions like the one we’ve been living in for a decade. As you can see, it’s not the bottom 90% of us who have gained economically, in fact we’re losing our economic strength—it’s the top 10%.

The way things  stand, there is no way an average person can accumulate enough money to live okay today and be able to save a bundle large enough to cover their 30-40 years in retirement if that gap between the top 10% and the lower 90 doesn’t change. And change dramatically in the working man’s and  working woman’s favor.

Until that happens, there can be no “great again”.

  • Market Quick Glance

Down. Down. Down. And down.

Not one of the four indices below had year-to-date or a 1-year return at the end of this week that was higher than that of the previous week.

On Thursday the week before last, a voice inside of my head was telling me to sell, sell, sell. And I didn’t, didn’t, didn’t.

Selling when your inside voice is telling you to act takes courage. Courage I didn’t happen to act upon. And it has cost me—on paper.

Deciding when to sell a stock is perhaps one of the two biggest challenges stock investors are faced with. The second is, deciding what to do with the proceeds after selling.

Look for more about this subject in an upcoming piece.

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, June 29, 2018.

DJIA -0.56% YTD down more from the previous week’s return of -056%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.88% down from the previous week’s 14.88%

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 1.67% YTD down a lot  from last week’s 3.04%

  • 1 yr Rtn 12.34% down more from last week’s 13.16%

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 8.79% YTD down plenty from last week’s 11.44%

  • 1yr Rtn 22.23% down from last week’s 23.35%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 20, 2018 of 7,806.6. The previous highs was reached on June 14,2018 of 7,768.6.

 

-Russell 2000 7.00% YTD down a big chunk from last week’s 9.77%

  • 1yr Rtn 16.02% wat down from last week’s 20.01%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 20, 2018 of 1,708.1. The previous high was reached June 12, 2018 of 1,686.37.

 

-Mutual funds

Below is a repeat of data from the week ending June 21, 2018:

The total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had an average return of 5.04% at the close of business on Thursday, June 21, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s up from the June 7, 2018 average total return of 5.11%.

Yes, it’s still a small cap world and will likely continue to be for the near future with Small-Cap Growth Funds up on average 15.66% followed by Mid-Cap Growth (10.56%) and Multi-Cap Growth Funds (10.55%).

Of the 25 largest funds, based on asset size, the two big winners were the Fidelity Contra Fund, 11.77%, and the American Funds Growth A Fund, 10.52%. Both are large-cap growth funds.

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.

 

  • Global Investing gone South

 All the hoopla about investing overseas in 2018 has proven to not be such a hot idea.

According to CNBC, investors have taken $12.4 billion out from global stock funds in June.

That’s the most money withdrawn from global funds and ETFs since October 2008, according to TrimTabs data.

-30-