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POCKETBOOK: Week Ending Oct. 6, 2018

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    Worth a look and a reminder.
  • Time to get high?

On Wednesday, October 17, Canada will legalize recreational marijuana. That’s big news for anyone who isn’t afraid of sin stocks, and, who is willing to take a chance on a growing, ever-changing, speculative and bottom line risky business.

According to a Bloomberg piece on Yahoo!Finance.com, there are 135 publicly traded pot companies in Canada. How many will be around in a year from now is anybody’s guess. My guess is that figure will be halved. And of that half, maybe 6-10 worth a look.

That said, here is a small sampling of some of the largest pot companies around in no particular order and without recommending: Tilray ( TLRY), it’s up 745% since it IPO in July; Canopy Growth Corp (CGC); Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACBFF); Aphria Inc.; Cronos Group Inc. (CRON); and Hexo Corp. (HYYDF).

These companies, and many more,  need to be seriously and thoroughly researched before investing even a nickel-bag’s worth of your hard-earned cash into as there is much much more to each of them than meets the eye.

Bottom line: Stoners would be wise not to participate in –what could be a huge rush into the cannabis market– until they are clear-headed.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Oh boy. If stocks continue in last week’s downward direction you can pretty much kiss this year’s profits goodbye. Particularly, if you’re an index investor.

So even though a new high was reached for the DJIA on Oct. 3, 2018, that average lost big time y-t-d performance ground when compared to its previous week’s performance.

Lower performance figures for the y-t-d figures were also true for the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ—both losing nearly half of their performance returns for 2018.

But it was the Russell 2000 that experienced the biggest hit–it’s y-t-d figure is nearly flat. Ouch.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

DJIA 2.51% YTD way down again from previous week’s return of 6.99%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 10.94% way down again from the previous week 16.12 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Oct.3, 2018 of 26,951.81. The previous high was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16.

 

-S&P 500 3.50 % YTD down and about ½ of what it was re last week’s 7.93%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 8.48% way down from last week’s 13.07%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 8.60% YTD way down from last week’s 12.82% (1/2 of what it was in late September.)

  • 1yr Rtn 13.74% way way down from last week’s 18.27% (nearly ½ of what it was in late September.)

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 0.73% YTD hugely down from last week’s 6.29% (it was over 10% two weeks ago)

  • 1yr Rtn 2.76% way way down from last week’s 7.94%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

As you no doubt expected, equity funds lost ground last week, too.

How much? Well, at the close of business on Thursday, Oct. 11,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 1.13%, according to Lipper.

That’s not much to crow about and makes fixed-income, such as short-term CD investing, look pretty attractive: Little risk and short-term money lockup time always looks attractive when equity markets dive.

Other broad Lipper headings ended last week like this:

-Sector Equity Funds, -2.51%

-World Equity Funds, -9.73%

-Mixed Asset Funds, -2.11%

-Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds, -0.80%

-World Income Funds, -4.86%.

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.

 

  • Save Your Self

According to a recent CNBC.com business news story relying on data from the FDIC, the top 1 percent of earners have $113 million in their banking and retirement accounts. Their average account balances translates to $2.5 million. Oh my.

On the other hand, the bottom 20 percent of earners have an average of $8,720 saved with a median amount saved of $0.

A more specific look at wage earner savings results looks like this:

-Top 10%–average household with savings, $989,430. Median households with savings, $173,860.

-60 to 79.9%—average household with savings, $148,600. Median households with savings, $96,800.

-40 to 59.9%—average household with savings, $82,730. Median households with savings, $54,930.

-20 to 39.9%—average household with savings,$46,950. Median households with savings, $26,450.

-Bottom 20%—average household with savings, $22,600. Median households with savings, $0.

Speaking from experience, it takes a yacht load of money to live life after you’ve passed age 70. Even with an average Social Security check in the neighborhood of $1,300 a month or a plump one of over $2,000 coming in—money flies out of one’s pocketbook, savings and investment accounts faster than you can imagine.

Believe me on that one.

 

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POCKETBOOK Week Ending Oct .6, 2018

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  • Numbers

Listen up, people. It’s time to start really looking at the numbers—your financial numbers– rather than listening to talking heads saying that all is rosy in America. And, that the economy is humming along just fine and that the unemployment rate is prof of that; that everyone’s retirement accounts are plumper than ever and that inflation is under control even though prices on our goods and services—like those on gas and health care–are going up while not so much for salaries.

For instance, of the roughly  50% of working folks who do have investments, how rewarding have they really been this year? A look back absolutely does show huge upwards gains in the market over the past nine-plus years. But in 2018, the returns haven’t been so hot year-to-date.

With the DJIA up about 7% and S&P500 up 8%, as of Friday’s close, those indices over the last couple of weeks have been falling. Along with that slide, their 1-year returns have fallen as well.

In this, our Great Money Game, the only thing that really matters is how well your investments are working for you. And from what I hear, most investors prefer listening to what the talking heads say rather than taking the time to look at the particulars of their own investments.

Turns out many of us really are quite lazy when it comes to keeping tabs on our holdings. Until, that is, a crash or correction comes along And then it’s a big , “What the heck happened?” What happened was you weren’t paying attention.

So if you’re an investor, please do me a favor: Take the time to open and then read the statements you’ve received from your various brokers and in you online accounts. That would include the statement for September’s performance and those reflecting that of the third quarter of 2018.

And if you don’t really understand how to read all of that information, or have a clear-cut idea of where your money is invested, please take the time to make the appropriate calls to find out.

It is after all, your money and not the markets.

Do that and I’ll guarantee you that  the performance numbers in your accounts will be different from those TV and online talkers talk about.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Even though a new high was reached for the DJIA on Oct. 3, 2018, that average lost y-t-d performance ground when compared to its previous week’s performance.

A lower performance for the y-t-d was also true for the S&P 500. And bigger chunk losses were tallied on both the NASDAQ and the Russell 2000.

Hum.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept. 29, 2018.

DJIA 6.99% YTD down again from previous week’s return of 7.04%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.12% down again from the previous week 18.22 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Oct.3, 2018 of 26,951.81. The previous high was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16.

 

-S&P 500 7.93 % YTD down again from last week’s 8.99%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 13.07% way down from last week’s 16.09%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 12.82% YTD way down from last week’s 16.56%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.27% way way down from last week’s 24.68%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 6.29% YTD way down from last week’s 10.49%

  • 1yr Rtn 7.94% way way down from last week’s 13.96%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, Sept. 27,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 8.70%. That’s down a bit from two weeks ago when the average was week’s 8.96%, according to Lipper.

Taking a longer look back, the average return for the past 52 weeks was 14.83%. Look out two years—9/22/16 through 9/27/18—the total return for this entire group was 15.17%; for the past three years it was 13.29% and over the past five years, 10.10%.

In other words, the look back is a positive two-digit one.

The same can’t be said for funds that fall under the broad Sector Equity Funds heading. Average total returns there range from: y-t-d of 2.32%; 52 weeks, 6.56%; 2 years, 6.51%; three years, 8.44% and five years, 5.34%.

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 for Gold?

Gold has been an unenthusiastic participant in the markets over the past oh-so many years. But maybe, just maybe, with Wall Street’s bull looking tired and inflation creeping up and not so hot reports from various world economies, maybe it’s time to take a look at gold.

In the old world,( that would be the one that ended in 1999), investment advisors  suggested a 5% position in gold for many of their clients’ portfolios to ward off all sort of possible market demons—like bears and inflation.

But like I said, that was in the old-world. In this not so new  millennial, I’m not sure what the investment advice is but for sure gold has had a rough go of it. Perhaps that’s about to change. We shall see.

That said, at 12:05 today, (10.8.18), the ask price for an ounce of gold was 1186.20, according to KITCO.com.

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POCKETBOOK: Week Ending Sept. 29, 2018

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  • October High

Turns out, if you’re a fan of #1 hits, October has been the #1 performer in monthly stock market performance over the past 20 years, according to the Bespoke Investment Group.

Looking ahead, time will tell how the 10th month of this year will perform but talking heads continue to guess upward.

Navellier’s Marketmail recent newsletter points out that one of the reasons for the overall stock markets good performance this year has been due to buybacks.

How so?

When a company decides to actually buy back its publicly traded shares, that literally reduces the number of shares available for investors to purchase. As a result, if the stock is a popular one, the more people wanting to purchase shares of the company, the higher its per share price goes.

Popularity pays.

If the stock is not in hot demand,  there are still fewer shares available which is kinda often always a good thing for a corporation’s coffers.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A downer of a week for all four indices followed here.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018.

DJIA 7.04% YTD down from previous week’s return of 8.19%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.22% down from the previous week 19.61 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16. The previous high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71.

 

-S&P 500 8.99 % YTD down from last week’s 9.58%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 16.09% down from last week’s 17.08%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 16.56% YTD up from last week’s 15.70%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.68% up a tad from last week’s 24.36%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 10.49% YTD down from last week’s 11.51%

  • 1yr Rtn 13.96% way down from last week’s 18.57%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, Sept. 27,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 8.70%. That’s down a bit from two weeks ago when the average was week’s 8.96%, according to Lipper.

Taking a longer look back, the average return for the past 52 weeks was 14.83%. Look out two years—9/22/16 through 9/27/18—the total return for this entire group was 15.17%; for the past three years it was 13.29% and over the past five years, 10.10%.

In other words, the look back is a positive two-digit one.

The same can’t be said for funds that fall under the broad Sector Equity Funds heading. Average total returns there range from: y-t-d of 2.32%; 52 weeks, 6.56%; 2 years, 6.51%; three years, 8.44% and five years, 5.34%.

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.

 

  • Gas Up

AAA reports that gas prices in September were the highest they’ve been in four years. Yikes!

Nationally, that translates to average gas prices at the pump of $3.39 in 2014 to $2.85 in 2018.

Here in Florida, the average price per gallon last month was $2.77. That looks pretty  cheap compared to what it was four years ago—$3.32 per gallon.

Looking ahead, with the price of oil going up up and up, don’t expect our gas prices to go down down down anytime soon.

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POCKETBOOK Week Ending Sept. 22, 2018

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  • 50/50 Kinda

There are so many reports regarding the number of people who actually are investors in one form or another whether they be individual investors who have portfolios made up of stocks and/or bonds or both; folks who have opened then funded their 401k, IRAs or ROTH IRAs; owners of various kinds of annuities; or whatever’s can be confusing.

To keep things as simple as possible, let’s call it about a  50/50 divide: 50% of people are invested in the markets and 50% aren’t.

That’s not a good split no matter how you count it: If half of all of us don’t have any investments that’s for sure going to be one huge problem come retirement age—or old age in general. This financially challenged issue may seem as though it’s an individual one to those rolling in dough or who have plump portfolios, but in reality it’s going to create lot of problems individually and have a major impact on our United States coffers.

The picture isn’t a pretty one because a 50/50 split might sound like a fair split, in the world of money reality, it isn’t.

According to the Federal Reserve re 2016 numbers, America’s top10% of households are about 120 times wealthier than the lower middle class. And, the top 10% had an average net worth of $5.34 million; the lower middle class had $44,700.  That  huges spread in household wealth is in direct correlation to those who are  investors vs  those who are not.

I’m hoping your portfolios are plump enough to help any family and/or friends who may need financial assistance now and in the future.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Two new record year-to-date all-time highs were reached by both the DJIA and S&P 500 indices last week. That’s a big yippee for many investors.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

DJIA 8.19% YTD up substantially from previous week’s return of 5.81%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.61% a jump up from the previous week 17.90 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16. The previous high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71.

 

-S&P 500 9.58% YTD a jump up from last week’s 8.65%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 17.08% up from last week’s 16.40%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 15.70% YTD down from last week’s 16.03%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.36% down a tad from last week’s 24.59%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 11.51% YTD down from last week’s 12.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.57% down from last week’s 20.82%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

Quite like the average equity fund’s y-t-d performance has moved up a bit. But, no data to confirm it and/or by how much. New Lipper figures will be posted as soon as they are received.

Until then below is last week’s commentary:

Moving up a bit.

At the close of business on Thursday, Sept. 13,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 8.96%. 8.26%. That’s up a bit from the previous week’s 8.26%, according to Lipper.

It continues to be a Small-Cap Growth Funds world, fund here now up on average 22%.

Comparing that group’s return with 25 of the largest individual funds around, (largest in terms of assets) and it’s the Invesco QQQ Trust 1 with the best y-t-d performance at 18.92%

Fifteen of the 25 funds in that listing have returns over 10%. Impressive.

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.

 

  • Mortgage Rates

They’re creeping up.

Anyone keeping an eye on the Treasury’s long bond—that would be the one that matures in 30 years—has seen its yield move up. And as it moves up so do things like the interest earned on things like money market funds or CDs. And, more importantly, in the amount of money needed to pay any variable rate or fixed-income mortgage.

More to come.

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POCKETBOOK weekend Sept. 15, 2018

 

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•Big Debts

Carry on all you’d like about the economy and a bull market that just doesn’t know when to stop running but make sure not to forget about, or overlook, the debt President Trump’s policies have put in place.

Each of us knows how important facing the debt we have in our personal lives is—and what happens when we overlook it. The same is true for government debt spending: debts need to be addressed and paid back.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the government has spent a whole lot more during the past 11 months than it has brought in from taxes and revenues.

How much more? $895 billion more. That’s “b” as in “billion”  not “m”. And is a figure that reflects an increase of  33 percent.

Debts matter.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Year-to-date gains still gaining.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

DJIA 5.81% YTD up from previous week’s return of 4.84%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 17.90% down from the previous week 18.97 %

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 8.65% YTD up from last week’s 7.41%

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.40% down a hair from last week’s 16.41%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50. The previous closing high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 2,876.16.

 

-NASDAQ 16.03% YTD up from last week’s 14.47%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.59% up from last week’s 23.52%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 12.13% YTD up from last week’s 11.57%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.82% down from last week’s 22.49%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

Moving up a bit.

At the close of business on Thursday, Sept. 13,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 8.96%. That’s up  from the previous week’s 8.26%, according to Lipper.

It continues to be a Small-Cap Growth Funds world, as funds here now up on average 22%.

Comparing that group’s return with 25 of the largest individual funds around, (largest in terms of assets), and it’s the Invesco QQQ Trust 1 with the best y-t-d performance at 18.92%

Fifteen of the 25 funds in that listing have returns over 10%. Impressive.

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.

 

  • Yahoo!! Your SS check is going up!

It’s mo money time, almost.

Every October, along with the ghosts and goblins of the season, the Social Security Administration announces what their cost of living (COLA) adjustments for the coming year will be.

And there is good news for those of us who count on every penny from that government check: It’s going up 2.8%.

Translating that into dollars and cents, the average Social Security check in 2018 is $1400. Beginning in January 2019, if the world doesn’t fall apart by then, that check will see an increase of $39.

While that’s the good news, the not-so-hot good news is that inflation is running around that same amount.

Bottom line: Don’t expect that extra 2.8% increase to have much purchasing power next year.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept.8, 2018

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The S&P 500 has rewarded investors for a long time. But nothing lasts forever as the chart above shows.
  • So how you doin?

Forget what talking heads say about the markets, unemployment, our economy and place in the world. Talking heads are just talking heads reading scripts.

What counts in all of this is how your investments are performing. Your own personal investments be they in retirement or personal accounts.

Mine aren’t up 14% like the NASDAQ was year-to-date as of last week. Or up 7% like the S&P 500. Nope. A couple of months ago my performance was better than either of those two figures. Now, I’m underwater for the year. Rats.

If you’re in a similar reward position, perhaps it’s time to do some thinking and answering a few questions like:

-Are the loses greater than I can handle? Like over 10% for each holding?

-Can I handle a 10% or 20% or more loss on any or on my overall holdings?

-No matter the size of the loss (or gain for that matter) do I still want to own these companies?

-How long was I planning on owning each security?

-If I decide to sell any of my positions, what kinds of costs will that incur—like taxes and commissions?

-Finally, what will I do with the proceeds?

Unless you’re a robot, deciding if and/or when to sell a stock takes some serious considerations.

Happy thinking.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Year-to-date numbers have changed—and not in an upward direction.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data if according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept.7, 2018.

DJIA 4.84% YTD down from previous week’s return of 5.04%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.97% up from the previous week 18.30 %

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 7.41% YTD down a lot from last week’s 8.52%

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.41% down from last week’s 17.39%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50. The previous closing high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 2,876.16.

 

-NASDAQ 14.47% YTD way down from last week’s 17.47%

  • 1yr Rtn 23.52% down from last week’s 26.15%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 11.57% YTD way down from last week’s 13.37%

  • 1yr Rtn 22.49% down from last week’s 23.87%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

And we are down.

At the close of business on Thursday, Sept. 6,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 8.26% That’s down from the previous week’s 9.12 %, according to Lipper.

Small-Cap Growth Funds still lead the performance way while off a bit from the previous week—21.10%. The week before that figure was 21.86%.

Around the world, the average World Equity Fund return fell substantially: the average fund under this heading was down -5.14% ending last week. The week previous that figure was -2.04%.

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.

 

  • One Opinion

From CNBC’s “Trading Nation” program, B. Riley FBR’s Arthur Hogan thinks that if the U.S. works out its trade issues these three industries could be good for investors over the next 16 months:

-Technology

-Health care

-Financials

Nothing earth shattering there.

On the other hand, Hogan expects the S&P 500 to hit 3200 by the end of 2019.

Time will tell.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept.1, 2018

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  • Happy Labor Day

 Let’s begin with the good news: It’s Labor Day. A national holiday that’s been recognized by rewarding some working Americans with a day off of work —but not all of them.

It’s also a long holiday weekend that marks the end of summer for many. And it’s traditionally a good reason for friends and family to get together, eat and shop the multitude of Labor Day sales going on.

The bad news is that gas prices are at a 4-year high now and laboring hasn’t paid off too much for many: Real wages are lower now than they were one year ago. One reason:  While some salaries have increased over the past year, those increases haven’t mattered much if anything because they haven’t kept up with inflation. Bummer.

As for President Trump’s big tax breaks, few, very few, workers have gotten any benefit from it. Or, are likely to when 2018 taxes are due in 2019.

For a little history about how Labor Day got started, you’ll find an informative read in USA TODAY at:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/09/02/labor-day-why-do-we-celebrate-holiday/1180558002/

Some excerpts from it include:

-“In the late 1800s, the state of labor was grim as U.S. workers toiled under bleak conditions: 12 or more hour workdays; hazardous work environments; meager pay. Children, some as young as 5, were often fixtures at plants and factories…..

“The dismal livelihoods fueled the formation of the country’s first labor unions, which began to organize strikes and protests and pushed employers for better hours and pay. Many of the rallies turned violent.”

-“On Sept. 5, 1882 — a Tuesday — 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march in a parade from City Hall to Union Square in New York City as a tribute to American workers. Organized by New York’s Central Labor Union, It was the country’s first unofficial Labor Day parade. Three years later, some city ordinances marked the first government recognition, and legislation soon followed in a number of states.”

Check out the on-line story for more.

Bottom line: If you are lucky enough to have a well-paying job today, pat yourself on your back. According to another newspaper report, only 1 in 4 working Americans think they are doing okay when it comes to their financial well-being.

I hope you are one of them.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Turns out year-to-date index returns were all up at the close of last week. But, 1-year returns all lost ground.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data if according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Aug.31, 2018.

DJIA 5.04% YTD up from previous week’s return of 4.33%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.30% down a hair from the previous week 18.39 %

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 8.52% YTD up a jump from last week’s 7.52%

  • 1 yr Rtn 17.39% down from last week’s 17.86%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50. The previous closing high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 2,876.16.

 

-NASDAQ 17.47% YTD way up from last week’s 15.10%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.15% down from last week’s 26.70%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 13.37% YTD a jump up from last week’s 12.38%

  • 1yr Rtn 23.87% down from last week’s 25.61%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

Another big jump up for the average equity fund.

At the close of business on Thursday, August 30,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 9.12 %. That’s up considerably from the previous week’s figure of 7.87%, according to Lipper.

And, it continues to be a small-cap world: Small-Cap Growth Funds lead the performance way—returning on average 21.86%.

On the other hand, under that same broad heading the biggest loser was Dedicated Short Bias Funds, -11.96%

Looking around the world, returns aren’t so hot either as the average World Equity Fund had a return of -2.04%.

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.

 

  • September Markets

While the skies may be ever-so slightly changing from that beautiful robin’s egg blue color to a deeper hue of blue in September, history shows that stock prices change too.

The DJIA averages a decline of 0.7% and the S&P 500 down 0.5% during the ninth month of the calendar year, according to “Stock Traders Almanac”.

You’ve been told.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.25, 2018

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From The Palm Beach Post Editorial Page, Tuesday, August21, 2018.
  • Trump’s Money Blind Spot

Last week, President Trump said that if he were impeached, the stock market would crash and the result would be a lot of poor people.

From The Washington Post on Aug.22, 2018 titled, “Impeachment means losing his big economic brain, Trump warns.” comes this: “I tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking ( he pointed at his head), you would see—-you would see numbers that you would believe in reverse.”

Ya gotta laugh when you hear, read or see stuff like that coming out of Mr. Trump’s mouth.

Why? Primarily because there already are a whole bunch of poor, i.e. low-income, people in America.

How many? According to Pew Research, 32 percent of households are considered low-income as in earning less that $35,000 a year.

So while the stock market has continued to reach new historic performance heights, that bull has done little—if anything—to help the millions upon millions of poor people and low-income  households.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Another week where all-time record closing index highs were everywhere—-almost.

It was the DJA that didn’t make the reaching-new-highs-grade last week. Maybe that’s because it’s made up of large companies and the market this year has been living in a small- to medium-size world.

As for the stats, according to Ironman at Political Calculations.com, it took only 147 trading days for the closing value of the S&P 500 (SPX) to reach its new closing high. That would be from January 26, 2018 to August 24, 2018.

Looking back much further, this bull market has run longer than any other—on March 9,2009, the S&P 500 closed that day at 676.53.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data if according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Aug.24, 2018.

DJIA 4.33% YTD up from previous week’s return of 3.84%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.39% up a bit from the previous week’s 18.02 %

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 7.52% YTD up a jump from last week’s 6.60%

  • 1 yr Rtn 17.86% up from last week’s 16.06%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on August 24, 2018 of 2,876.16. The previous high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87..

 

-NASDAQ 15.10% YTD way up from last week’s 13.22%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.70% up from last week’s 25,53%

NASDAQ reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71. The previous high was reached on July 25, 2081 of 7,933.32.

 

-Russell 2000 12.38% YTD way up from last week’s 10.25%

  • 1yr Rtn 25.61% up from last week’s 24.58%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97. The previous high was reached on July 10, 2018 of 1,708.56.

 

-Mutual funds

A big week for equities thanks to the S&P 500, Russell 2000 and NASDAQ all closing at record highs translating into some sweet improved returns for various fund types.

At the close of business on Thursday, August 23, 2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 7.87%. That’s up almost one full percentage point  from the previous week’s figure of 6.71%, according to Lipper.

Once again, Small-Cap Growth Funds lead the performance way—returning on average 19.43%. Only Science & Technology Funds, they fall under the Sector heading, came kinda sorta close to that return averaging 15.15%

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.

 

  • Your Kids’ Futures

Here, from my University of North Dakota Alumni Review magazine comes this: “85% of today’s children will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created.”

The source: Institute for the Future.

Huh. That’s kinda sorta scary.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.11, 2018

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  • Minimum Wage

A minimum wage of 15 bucks an hour seems like a reasonable income base. It does, after all, translate to $600 a week provided one is working a 40-hr week and over $30,000 a year.

Whether or not you’re a fan of that hourly rate, you might be surprised to learn how few people really do make minimum wage in the U.S. these days.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ,(BLS), in 2017 over 80 million or 53.3 percent of workers ages 16 and over were paid an hourly rate. Of them, 2.3 percent, or 1.8 million folks, were paid the currently federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less.

I bet you thought there were more.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Another week of mostly ups and a few downs. But who is counting?

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data if according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Aug.17, 2018.

DJIA 3.84% YTD up from previous week’s return of 2.40%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.02% way up the previous week’s 15.88 %

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 6.60% YTD up from last week’s 5.97%

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.06% up from last week’s 17.29%

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 13.22% YTD down from last week’s 13.55%

  • 1yr Rtn 25.63% down from last week’s 26.09%

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 10.25% YTD up from last week’s 9.85%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.58% up from last week’s 22.90%

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

Equity funds lost a little ground last week, as, at the close of business on Thursday, August 16, 2018 the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 6.71%. That’s down a bit from the previous week’s figure of 6.97%, according to Lipper.

Small-Cap Growth Funds continue to lead the performance way. They, btw, fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading.

Looking at other headings,  under the Sector Fund heading— it includes health, bio-tech, commodities, precious metals and other fund types— the average return was 1.39%.

World Equity Funds, on the other hand, had an average return that was underwater, -4.64%; Mixed Asset Funds, 0.91%; Domestic Long-Term funds, -0.16%; and World Income Funds -4.43%.

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.

 

  • Funerals: Beyond First-Class

 For those with plenty of money to spend —and I mean plenty—and who wish to send their loved ones off in super style, Bloomberg has reported that the rich and powerful and now spending tens of thousands of dollars burying their loved ones.

From a recent 8/18/18 Bloomberg piece comes this: “They are choosing to be laid to rest in $60,000 gold-plated coffins and ferried by horse-draw funeral carriage or Rolls-Royces hearses. Some are even flying friends and relatives to exotic locals for destination funerals.”

Really?

Yes, really.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.11, 2018

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•Grifter

Have to admit, I never really thought much about what a grifter was until I’d heard that Wilbur Ross, our United States Secretary of Commerce, was described as one. The 80-year old Jr., is supposed to be one of the richest members in Trump’s cabinet, who somehow didn’t divest all of his securities before accepting the position. As for how he accumulated all of his wealth, that Forbes estimates it to be around $700 million, all sorts of reasons swirl—including those resulting from the talents of a grifter.

From a Forbes story written by Dan Alexander published earlier this month: “If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.”

Who knows if that’s true or not. But, what does have a foundation in the truth is what a grifter is. Here are two definitions:

  • From www. vocabulary.com :” If there’s one type of person you don’t want to trust, it’s a grifter: someone who cheats others out of money. Grifters are also known as chiselers, defrauders, gougers, scammers, swindlers, and flim-flam men. Selling a bridge and starting a Ponzi scheme are things a grifter might do.”
  • From http://www.merriam-webster.com :”Grift” was born in the argot of the underworld, a realm in which a “grifter” might be a pickpocket, a crooked gambler, or a confidence man-any criminal who relied on skill and wits rather than physical violence-and to be “on the grift” was to make a living by stings and clever thefts.”

For some reason, I can’t help but think that their may be a few more grifters roaming around in Trump’s White House world.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

An upper of a week for all four indices here.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data if according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Aug.10, 2018.

DJIA 2.40% YTD down from previous week’s return of 3.01%

•1 yr Rtn 15.88% up the previous week’s 15.60 %

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 5.97% YTD down from last week’s 6.24%

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.06% up from last week’s 14.89%

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 13.55% YTD up from last week’s 13.16%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.09% up from last week’s 23.21%

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 9.85% YTD up from last week’s 8.98%

  • 1yr Rtn 22.90% up from last week’s 19.08%

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 jump up for the week’s average from two weeks ago. Then, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 6.97%. At the close of business on Thursday, August 9, 2018 that average return had moved ahead to 7.18%, according to Lipper.

Small-Cap Growth Funds was the group with the best average performance for the 592 funds that Lipper tracks under that heading — average total return of 16.48%.

Now is as good a time as any to that a look back at how equity  funds have performed over the past 52 week, 2 years, 3 years and 5 years. And, Small-Cap Growth Funds have done well, from this perspective. From the most recent (52 weeks) to the longest, (5 years) that group’s average performance was: 32.42%; 22.58%; 12.84%; and 11.99%.

Compare that with the average total returns for all of the U.S. Diversify Equity Funds and the performance numbers look as follows: 18.40%; 15.34%; 10.14% and 10.15%.

Small-Cap Growth Funds has outperformed in all.

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.

 

  • Turkeys

 Remember the old 1970s and 1980s saying, “Don’t let the turkeys get you down”?

Back then the turkey part had nothing to do with the country of Turkey. It referred to dealing with jerks and suggested not to let those who can wreck our day do just that.

Today, it’s the value of Turkey’s withering currency and their economic problems that have been playing havoc with our markets.

Combine that with President Trump’s desire to impose tariffs on pretty much everything, and perhaps it’s time to bring back that old saying.

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