All posts by dianvujovich

TrumpBits#28: Shame On US

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Every now and again, a simple op-ed newspaper cartoon says more than 1000 words ever could.

This one is by  Nick Anderson and appeared in The Palm Beach Post, Wednesday, June 20, 2018, page A10.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 17, 2018

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  • Not so subtle signs

The great divide between our two America’s — one in which the wealthy enjoy the fruits of their fortunes and the much larger group that finds making it harder and more challenging than ever—is not-so subtly showing signs of widening.

On the one hand, the Fed says the economy is roaring along just fine even guestimating GDP growth could hit something like 4% this year. On the other, the second rise in key short-term rates this year from 1.75 to 2% may add pennies to one’s saving accounts and money market fund accounts. But, it is also making a bigger dent  for those  who will see increases on the interest rates charged by credit card accounts,  rates on mortgages, variable line-of-credit accounts,  car loans. etc.

And everybody is noticing. Two examples: CNBC reported that half of Americans aren’t taking summer vacations this year and  real estate developers are offering super deals for new home buyers.

In my local paper on Friday (6/15/18), I saw  new home developers offering  mighty attractive discounts to entice  new home buyers to buy.

At On Top of the World, a 55+ community in Ocala, Florida where new homes are priced from the $160s to over $400s, ran a full-page read, “GET MORE FOR LESS” offering a 25% on all options.

Divosta, a developer with a huge and long-standing presence in Palm Beach County, was —get this— giving a free pool with screen enclosure—to new home buyers at their Sonoma Isles development in Jupiter through June 18th.

That said, my adult life’s experience in South Florida has shown me that whenever  real estate developers start discounting their prices and/or offering what’s typically costly upgrades, it’s been a sign that they’re concerned about sales.

The good news here is  anybody who can qualify and afford a new home at either of these developments has got to love getting any kind of discount or a new pool.

The bad news is  not everyone can either qualify for or afford to buy a new home these days. And even small interest rate hikes upward only exasperate that problem.

Now imagine what a number of interest rate hikes upward will do.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

LISTEN UP!!!! Two, yes, not one but two of the indices followed here scored big last week: Both the NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 hit new all-time record numbers last week. Yahoo for  them.

That’s something to crow about particularly since the rest of the investing arena is in a little bit of quandary with interest rates on the rise. As we all know, any move in any direction of interest impacts all sorts of things including equities.

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 15, 2018.

DJIA 1.50% YTD ouch as that index is down again from the previous week’s return of 2.42%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.27% big downward move from the previous week’s 19.52%

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 3.97% YTD up a hair from last week’s 3.94%.

•1 yr Rtn 14.27% up a bit from last week’s 14.19%

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 12.21% YTD a whopping big move up from last week’s 10.75%

  • 1yr Rtn 25.64% also a big up from last week’s 20.94%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 14,2018 of 7,768.6. The previous highs was reached on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27

 

-Russell 2000 9.66% YTD up from last week’s 8.92%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.42% up from last week’s 18.15%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 12, 2018 of 1,686.37. The previous high was reached on January 24, of 1,615.52.

 

-Mutual funds

Last week’s data not available yet. Data below is from previous week:

The total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading enjoyed an average return of 5.11% at the close of business on Thursday, June 7, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s up a lot from the previous week’s average total return of 2.84%.

In the big time skids this year are Latin American Funds. Of the 33 that Lipper tracks, the y-t-d average total return was underwater at -12.00%.

Other World Equity Funds that haven’t fared well so far this year was India Funds, -7.50%. And in third underwater place Emerging Markets Funds, -1.38%.

Overall, World Equity Funds are up 0.90%.

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 opportunities?

If you’re a believer in Morningstar data and research, the pros over at that Chicago-based firm aren’t expecting much in returns from that precious metal we call gold.

In a recent column by Kristoffer Inton, “Gold Steady in Face of Rate Hikes”, had this to write about the recent the impact of interest rates on gold: “This rate doesn’t change our view…. We continue to expect the gold price to fall to $1,225 per ounce by then end of 2018…. “

He continued:  “Additionally, although the recent rise in inflation bodes well for gold, we think that higher inflation will only spur a more rapid pace of rate hikes.”

And then there is this from a recent ETFTrends.com story: “China is the world’s largest consumer of many commodities, including precious metals.

“Tariffs on China could be a game changer for metals markets, ” George Gero, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, told the WSJ.”

The ETFTrends.com story points out that one area precious metals are making positive strides is in inverse or bearish ETFs.

If you’re a fan of gold, that’s an area worth investigating.

Sometimes down pays up.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 9, 2018

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Telling lines.
  • Fickle trickle

Funny how the average guy and gal have to use a magnifying glass to see the effect of Trump’s trickle down economic policies in their day-to-day lives.

Yes, businesses are expanding, the unemployment rate is down and the stock market has yet to stumble and fall. But unless you’re in the top 10 percent of wage earners, odds are your salary hasn’t increased much over the past couple of years.

Wealth equality in the U.S. is and has been a rising problem for decades. Statistica.com reported that in 2017, the lower-income 50 percent of the population owned about 1.1% of total wealth while that sliver of the top 1% owned 35% of it.

That spread doesn’t bode well for the majority of Americans who hope and believe that their hard work will come with huge financial rewards for them and their families in the coming years. But while hard work is a virtue in itself, it comes with no guarantees of everyone becoming a multi-millionaire.

That said, every working person can build a nest egg. How big that nest egg grows to depends more on goal-setting, focus and perseverance than it does most everything else—including market conditions and government policies.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Last week, NASDAQ made the greatest gains, now up over 10% for the year, behind it was the Russell 2000 with a year-to-date return of nearly 9%.

So it continues to be a kinda sorta small-cap world.

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 8, 2018.

DJIA 2.42% YTD  up again and a lot from the previous minus week’s close of -0.34%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.52% down from the previous week’s 16.51%

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 3.94% YTD up from last week’s 2.28%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.19% up from last week’s 12.53%

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 10.75% YTD up from last week’s 9.43%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.94% up a hair from last week’s 20.93%

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 8.92% YTD up from last week’s 7.32%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.15% up from last week’s 18.05%

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

Following the indices returns, the total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading enjoyed an improved average y-t-d return–it was  5.11% at the close of business on Thursday, June 7, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s up a lot from the previous week’s average total return of 2.84%.

In the big time skids arena this year are Latin American Funds. Of the 33 that Lipper tracks, the y-t-d average total return was underwater at -12.00%.

Another of the  World Equity Funds that haven’t fared well so far this year was India Funds, -7.50%. And in third underwater place Emerging Markets Funds, -1.38%.

Overall, World Equity Funds are up 0.90%.

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? Yes. Sometime.

Lots of chatting about an upcoming recession. Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher even put his two cents worth in the other night with respect to it.

Not in favor of his words. Then again, his point is well taken as American voters have a historic tendency to vote with respect to how fat their pocketbooks are. So a recession happening prior to voting time could have a big impact in taking Trump out of office.

That said, recessions happen. They are a natural part of our economic world. Always have been. Always will be.

That means, it should come as no surprise at all to read that economists at the National Association of Business Economics are foreseeing a recession beginning next year or in early 2020.

And why do they think that? Well, after a steaming economy and a bull market running something like 9,10,11 years or so means it’s a sooner-or-later, for sure, natural event that’s gonna happen. Sometime.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 1, 2018

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•More bull?

Wall Street’s talking heads are never at a loss of words. Or outlooks. Here’s what one bull sees.

Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research thinks that there is still plenty of money to be made in this market, has a S&P 500 index year-end target price of 3100 —that’s 13% above where it stands today—and sees the small-cap rally continuing.

In a recent CNBC.com story, Yardeni said, “Small cap stocks are on fire, at record highs, because they are not as exposed to the global economy in currency and protectionism.”

And, he’s  not alone in his small-cap rally thinking.

We shall see.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It’s been a small-cap world for anyone paying attention to the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices as each has made some nice strides in a positive direction lately and last 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, June 1, 2018.

DJIA -0.34% YTD once again back into minus territory from the previous week’s

+0.14%.

•1 yr Rtn 16.51% 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 2.28% YTD up from last week’s 1.78%

  • 1 yr Rtn 12.53% down a tad from last week’s 12.68%

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 9.43% YTD up a heap from last week’s 7.68%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.93% up from last week’s 19.80%

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 7.32% YTD a jump up from last week’s 5.95%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.05% down from last week’s 17.60%

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

Your basic equity fund lost a little ground last week.

The average performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a total return of 2.84% year-to-date at the close of business on Thursday, May 31, 2018. That’s lower than it was one week before, (May 26), it was 3.34%.

It’s been a Small-Cap Growth funds’ world lately as the average y-t-d return for them clocked in at 10.75% last Thursday. That’s up from the previous week.

Science & Tech funds with home grown as well as global companies in their portfolios continue to do well, too.

Not so hot have been World Equity Funds—the average one’s return was underwater at -0.86% last week.

World Income Funds have fared worse with the average y-t-d total return of the 750 funds that fall under this heading of -2.57%.

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.

 

  • Our poor kids

No matter how great you think last week’s job report was, or how great you think the economy is, if you step back and take an objective view, President Trump’s personal business management style for America has rewarded the wealthy far more than it has the middle, and lower classes.

Philip Alston, a U.N. human rights investigator released a report that he will present to the United Nations Human Rights Council later this month, pointed out that while Trump has cut benefits and health insurance to the poor in America, his reforms have been “financial windfalls” for the mega-rich and large corporations.

Nothing new there. But what I found was of particular importance was how hard hit his policy changes have been for  our kids.

Alston said that nearly 41 million people, 12.7 percent, live in poverty in the U.S. Of them 18.5 million live in extreme poverty and one in three kids are poor.

Worse yet, he said that the United States has the highest youth poverty rate among industrialized countries.

That’s nothing to be proud about no matter what figures the Trump Administration boasts about.

 

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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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