Category Archives: Uncategorized

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.16, 2018

FullSizeRender(87)From our first US president, George Washington, comes this timely tidbit: “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

 

 

  • Presidents’ Day

It all began in 1885 with the distinct purpose of celebrating the birth date of America’s first president, George Washington, whose actual birthday is February 22nd. (He died in 1799.)

In the 133 years since, George’s b-day has morphed into a national holiday with little regard or respect for his actual day of birth. So instead of parades and speeches, his big day has been clumped in with the birthdays of three other past presidents and mashed into a three-day  holiday weekend where shopping and mini-vacations rule—not presidential praise.

Incase you may have forgotten, the reason we have a 3-day Presidents’ Day holiday, along with other 3-day celebrations, is because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act put in place in 1971. When I was a kid, that wasn’t the case. And, there were also only three past presidents who had birthdays in February and not four as there are currently.

With that said, here are the names of the four presidents whose birthdays are in February and thus part of reason we celebrate are….drum roll please….George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

If you named all four, consider yourself much much smarter than a 5th Grader and many current high school and college grads.

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And from our first US president, George Washington, on this Presidents’ Day  comes this timely tidbit: “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

  • Market Quick Glance

With stocks on sale last week, it’s not surprising that by Friday all indices followed here moved from negative into positive year-to-date returns.

The markets are closed on Monday, February 19, 2018  in honor of Presidents’ Day.

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, Feb. 16, 2018.

DJIA +2.02% YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -2.14%  

  • 1 yr Rtn +22.31% up from last week’s 19.92%

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 +2.19% YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -2.02%

  • 1 yr Rtn +16.40% up from last week’s 13.51%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ +4.87 YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -0.42%

  • 1yr Rtn +24.50% up a jump from last week’s 20.287%

Nasdaq latest new all-time high of 7,505.77 was reached on January 26, 2018. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38.

 

-Russell 2000 +0.52%YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -3.76%

  • 1yr Rtn +10.32% an up jump from last week’s +7.20%

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 underwater to breathing a little bit of air.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was +1.53%, according to Lipper. That’s down from the -3.40% posted one week earlier.

Lipper tracks 25 of the largest mutual funds around. Within that group, here are some of the year-to-date returns of a few of those individual funds:

  • The three funds with the highest returns, ytd:

-Fidelity Contrafund, up 6.58%

-American Funds Growth A, up 5.49%

-Vanguard FTSE Emerging Market ETF Fund, up 5.03%

 

  • The three funds with the least returns, ytd:

-Vanguard Total Bond ll: Inv, -2.31%

-Vanguard Total Bond;Ad, -2.20%

-American Funds CIB:A, -0.59%

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.

 

  • Gun Sales Down

Ask me and I’ll tell you one of the best pieces of investment news I’ve heard recently is that gun sales and down! Yahoo. Yippy skippy. And it’s about time.

Guess I need to rewrite that—it’s not about time, it’s about lives.

Money.CNN.com reported that last year was the worst year for gun sales since 1999. And, that FBI background checks fell by 8% in 2017—the biggest drop on record.

Other  gun news from that same source: Gunmaker Remington announced last week it was filing for bankruptcy. And, revenues reported in 2017 by gun and ammunition manufacturers by Sturm Ruger, American Outdoor Brands, Vista Outdoors and Olin Corp. were collectively down by 13%, or $566 million, last year.

With respect to this news, I’m hoping two things: First, that that’s a trend that continues.

And second, which is much much more important, that the very verbal, well-spoken and bright high school students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are the ones whose voices will be loud enough to be heard around our country and thus make a difference in changing America’s liberal gun laws and practices.

You go kids!

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TrumpBits#22:Half-mast

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Photo taken from Bill DiPaolo’s Tweet today, Feb. 16, 2018

The flag at Mar-a-Lago, Donny’s Winter White House, respectfully flies at half-mast as a symbol of respect, mourning and distress regarding the horrible mass shooting of students and teachers at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in  Parkland, FL.

As long as this President, the NRA and members of Congress  continue to assess  America’s out-of-control gun control problems as related to one’s mental health, let me suggest the  following: From this day forward, anyone of any age, gender or race,  who wants to purchase a gun of any type must first be required to go through a lengthy mental health evaluation program before ever being able to purchase a gun. Period. No ifs ands or buts about it.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.9, 2018

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  • Corrections and bears a good thing

As uncomfortable as it can be listening to all the talking heads sound as though the world is coming to an end with respect to the very natural movements of stock prices going down, the truth is—and always has been—stock prices go up and down. Bears and bulls, while the don’t live in the same pen, are typically natural occurrences within the investing arena. So instead of reaching for that second bottle of Jim Beam, get a paper and pencil out and do some math.

Figuring out how your portfolio(s) has weathered this current nearly 10% fall in prices has impacted your wealth is the best thing you can do under these market conditions. In fact, that’s the best thing you can do no matter which animal is roaming Wall Street, the bears or the bulls.

With that in mind, here are three market-related points to ponder:

  • From Goldman Sachs comes this  posted at TheStret.com: “Most equity market corrections recover without developing into bear markets or presaging recessions. Of 16 drawdowns of 10% plus since 1976, only five occurred around a recession. S&P 500 typically declined by 15% during the 11 non-recession corrections.”
  • For the second week in a row, the Merrill Lynch bull-bear indicator is flashing “sell”. This indicator has been correct in predicting 11 out of the 11 U.S. stock market corrections since 2002.
  • To be called a “bear market”, broad market indexes have to fall 20% or more from their peak over a two-month period.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

See-sawing from down a 1000 points to up 500 then down again. Go figure.

Every index followed here is underwater with respect to its year-to-date returns. And that’s the bad news. The good news happens when you take a longer term look. Then you will learn that three of the four indices have just fine double-digit 1-year performance returns. The exception is the Russell 2000.

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, Feb. 9, 2018.

DJIA -2.14% YTD down and in minus territory from last week’s +3.24%  

  • 1 yr Rtn +19.92% down from last week’s 28.34%

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 down and in minus territory from last week’s 3.31%

  • 1 yr Rtn +13.51% down from last week’s 21.10%

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 -0.42 YTD down and in minus territory from last week’s 4.89%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.28% down from last week’s 28.47%

Nasdaq latest new all-time high of 7,505.77 was reached on January 26, 2018. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38.

 

-Russell 2000 -3.76%YTD down and in minus territory from last week’s +0.77%

  • 1yr Rtn +7.20% down a pinch from last week’s +13.99%

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

After up comes down. And then more down.

For the first time this year, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was underwater: On Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, it stood at -3.40%. had That’s down from the +4.44% posted one week earlier.

Of the 20 different fund types that fall under the umbrella heading of U.S. Diversified Equity Funds, only one had a positive year-to-date return. It was the Dedicated Short Bias Funds of which Lipper tracks 164. The average return for funds under its heading was +3.08%

The broad umbrella headings’ y-t-d performances though 2/8/18 were as follows:

  • U.S. Diversified Equity Funds, -3.40%
  • Sector Equity Funds, -4.82%
  • World Equity Funds, -2.16%
  • Mixed Asset Funds, -2.47%
  • Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds, 0.93%
  • World Income Funds, 0.22%

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.

 

  • Gold not so golden

Once thought as a safe haven for whatever crapola is going on with stock prices, investing in gold was thought of as a no-brainer. This precious metal has always been pitched as an asset investors ought to commit about 5% of their portfolio to.

The thinking for that suggestion has been— when stock prices fall the price of gold would increase. And the proof was in the past-performance pudding.

From CNBC.com comes this: “During the 2008 crisis when the S&P 500 Index lost 57 percent in market capitalization, gold rose 24 percent. Earlier in the bear market from 2000 to 2002, theS&P lost 49% while gold added nearly 13 percent.”

The performance numbers in that paragraph are good to remember.

Nonetheless, gold prices haven’t behaved as expected and have fallen by about 2% so far this month, according to that same source.
 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.2, 2018

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•2.5%—ya buy 2% milk, don’t ya?

Readers of this site know that I’ve been posting “be careful”  kinds of blogs for more than a year now. Well, maybe forever. That might be making me a glass half-empty kind of gal but I see it as being realistic more than anything else.

Why? Because if anyone tells you that there is no risk to investing in equities they’d be lying and you’d be a fool to believe them.

Investing in stocks has always been risky with no guarantees of making a profit no matter what any mountain charts look like.

A mountain chart, in case you’ve forgotten, is a chart that looks at the performance of  say a stock or  popular index such as the DJIA  over an extended period of time—like since 1920, or 1990 or 2000 or 2008 until now. There’s no standard begin time when designing a mountain chart but the end is typically now.

The purpose of a mountain chart is to show that yes indeedy stock prices have increased over the long haul. And, yes indeedy trends both up and down can be seen on it. And yes indeedy markets do recover.

That said, the 2.5% fall of the DJIA on Friday, Feb 2, 2018 is no big deal if it’s a onsey. If that fall is the beginning of a trend, unfortunately, that’s something no one knows ahead of time.

So, who knows what this week will bring? But, if Merrill Lynch’s bull-bear indicator —which has been correct in predicting 11 out of the 11 U.S. stock market corrections since 2002—is correct again, it’s now sending out a “sell” signal.

We shall see.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

All four of the indices followed here saw their year-to-date returns suffer seriously—like nearly halved– when the markets closed on Friday. The worst hit was to the Russell 2000—it lost nearly all the positive ground  made this year.

The DJIA dropped nearly 666 points on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018—a rare occasion and the sixth-worse decline in the Dow’s nearly 122 year history.

A closer historical look reveals that a decline of over 500 points for the DJIA in one day has happened 17 times since 1993, according to Kensho, a hedge fund analytics tool CNBC referenced in a story.

Using that same tool, the Dow rose 1.5% on average, the day after that kind of fall with a 65% chance of recovery.

If you’re looking for some investment advice here, I’d suggest remembering that, as with all things in life, everything changes. And profits are best taken for real and not merely seen on paper.

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, Feb. 2, 2018.

 

DJIA +3.24% YTD down seriously from last week’s 7.28%  

  • 1 yr Rtn +28.34% down from last week’s 32.42%

No new high for the DJIA. The last one 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 +3.31% YTD down seriously from last week’s 7.45%

  • 1 yr Rtn +21.10% down from last week’s 25.09%

No new high for the S&P 500 Index. The last one was reached on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ +4.89 YTD down seriously from last week’s 8.73%

  • 1yr Rtn +28.47% down from last week’s 32.72%

Nasdaq latest new all-time high of 7,505.77 was reached on January 26, 2018. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38.

 

-Russell 2000 0.77%YTD down bad from last week’s 4.72%

  • 1yr Rtn +13.99% down a pinch from last week’s +16.90%

The Russell 2000 reached its latest 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

After up comes down.

As you would expect, on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading stood at +4.44%. That’s down from the +5.32 % posted one week earlier.

To show how quickly things can change, below are the three fund types that have enjoyed positive y-t-d return so far this year under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds broad heading. Here is how their y-t-date average returns have changed from one week to the next to the next to the next:

-Equity Leverage Funds: +9.43% (2/1/18): the week before it, +12.08%: and the week prior, +8.37 %.

-Large-Cap Growth Funds: +7.64%(2/1/18); the week before, +8.00%; and the week prior, +6.06%.

-Multi-Cap Growth Funds:+ 6.96% (2/1/18); the week before, +7.47%; and the week prior, +5.59%.

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.

  • REPEAT: Consider a stop-loss

A few weeks ago I wrote about how a falling dollar isn’t typically a great economic indicator, nor is the fact that credit card balances are increasing and savings rates declining. Throw in a rising interest rate environment and all can point to a not-so-hot performing stock market.

Last week I wrote about using stop-loss orders—a subject  worth repeating. So here goes: “When it comes to the ups and downs of investing in stocks, don’t forget that one way to protect yourself when the market turns south is to place a stop-loss on the stocks you want to preserve gains in.

From investopedia.com:”A stoploss order is an order placed with a broker to sell a security when it reaches a certain price. Stop loss orders are designed to limit an investor’s loss on a position in a security.””

And don’t forget, locking in the gains made from your stock investments is what investing is all about.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan. 26, 2018

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Personal income up and so is spending

Funny thing about our money habits—the more we get the more we tend to spend. When it comes to income, personal income rose 0.4 percent in December and in all of 2017 rose 3.1%, according to the Department of Commerce.
Who can deny that there’s a bit of a rush in having more money thanks to an increase in salary, take-home pay or an unexpected bonus check. So for many, the answer to “What to do with the extra moola?” takes less than a nano-second to decide: Spend it.

Spending, lest you forget, is one of the big slight-of-hand strategies that can come with double-edged feelings: A gain on the one hand when received and the feeling of loss on the other after spent/redistributed.

While consumer spending was up in December (not surprising given the holiday season), the savings rate dropped to 2.4 percent that month, the lowest since September 2005.

What’s troubling about that low savings part is this: Are folks hitting their savings accounts because they believed the New Year would be hugely financially rewarding and as such they would be able to replenish their savings accounts? Or, are they tapping their accounts because their paychecks still aren’t enough to cover life expenses?

I’m inclined to go with the second point and root for a national minimum wage for every one of $25 bucks an hour. That’s doable, you know, and oh what a difference that would make to our lives and for the economy.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

New “up a lot” highs were recorded for all the indices followed here last week: Three on Friday and one, the Russell 2000, at the close of business on Wednesday, January 24.

Overhead: Two women were having lunch at a trendy restaurant and talking stocks when one asked the other how much higher she thought the stock market would go expecting a definite answer.

Her friend answered, “I don’t know but it’s gotta fall some time.”

“Well I know that,” the woman snipped back disappointed in her friend’s answer.

To which the friend replied: “That’s all there is to know.”

Smart friend.

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, Jan. 26, 2018.

 

DJIA +7.28% YTD up a lot from last week’s 5.47%

  • 1 yr Rtn +32.42% up from last week’s 32.12%

Another new high for the DJIA was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 +7.45% YTD up a lot from last week’s 5.11%

  • 1 yr Rtn +25.09% up from last week’s 24.15%

A new high for the S&P 500 Index was reached on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.

 

-NASDAQ +8.73 YTD up a lot from last week’s 6.27%

  • 1yr Rtn +32.72% up a pinch from last week’s 32.42%

Nasdaq hit another new all-time high of 7,505.77 on January 26, 2018. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38.

 

-Russell 2000 4.72%YTD up from last week’s 4.05%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.90% down a pinch from last week’s +16.97%

The Russell 2000 reached a new 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

Higher returns, again.

On Thursday, January 24, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 5.32 %, according to Lipper. That’s up a heap from the 3.87% return posted one week earlier.

The three fund types under that heading that enjoyed the greatest y-t-d- increases were the same three this week as  from the previous week. Here’s a look at the changes in each:

-Equity Leverage Funds, +12.08% —last week +8.37 %.

-Large-Cap Growth Funds, +8.00%—last week +6.06%

-Multi-Cap Growth Funds, +7.47%—last week +5.59%

 

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.

  • Consider a stop-loss

There’s a whole heap of questions investors need to ask themselves before buying any stock. Some include: Why have I decided to purchase this company’s stock, at what price, what kind of return do I expect, how long do I plan on holding the stock, and at what price will I sell it?

Answering all of those questions is great prior to purchasing any stocks—and even logical. But logic isn’t necessarlity at home on Wall Street.

Given that fact, when it comes to the ups and downs of investing in stocks, one way to protect yourself when the market turns south is to use a stop-loss.

From investopedia.com:”A stoploss order is an order placed with a broker to sell a security when it reaches a certain price. Stop loss orders are designed to limit an investor’s loss on a position in a security.”

The market is not going to go up forever. At some point in time a correction is going to come along and if you don’t want to stomach seeing your stocks plunge say 15, 20, 25% or more, consider utilizing a stop-loss strategy. It may be the smartest investment move you make.

Like always, there is a down side as no one ever knows how low a stock price can go, when the fall will happen or how long it will take for that stock price to recover.

Nonetheless, a stop-loss order is worth considering.

 

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$1 and sense

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Blog entry Jan 26, 2017

Funny thing about money, for the vast majority of us, managing the total amount of dollars we have coming into our households on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is challenging. And, for the vast majority of us, we do a better job of managing our money than the U.S. government does. Pat yourself on your back for that.

When it becomes a question of us vs. the government, what’s most important to the vast majority of us is how far our dollars go in the keeping of a roof over our heads, our ability to buy stuff and in the covering the costs of our all-around living expenses.

All of which makes the U.S. dollar really valuable to us. So, when the value of the dollar falls it can make a difference in our lives. Here are two instances:

•For those lucky enough to be international travelers, if the dollar is considered weak when measured against other currencies—as it is now—traveling abroad becomes more expensive and a buck doesn’t buy as much as it does when the dollar is strong. In other words, if you’re a value player and enjoy getting the biggest spending bang for your buck, that happened three years ago when the dollar was much stronger. Now that’s not the case and you’ll need more money to enjoy the same pleasures you did back then.

•For the most of us, however, international travel isn’t a part of our every day, every month or every year lives. But having to put gas in our cars is. And if you haven’t noticed, the price of a gallon of gas has been going up lately.

I’ve noticed a spike of between 20-30 cents a gallon over the past few months alone.

That means, if the gas tank in your vehicle holds 15 gallons of gas that increase translates to paying about $4.50 more a fill-up than it did months ago. Need to fill-up four times a month and odds are that that 18 bucks will eat up most, if not all, of the whoop-tee-do tax savings you’re expected to see in your paycheck coming in a month or so thanks to the new tax law.

From Oregon Business News story published online Jan.2, 2018 comes this: “Gas prices in particular are incredibly relevant to most American households,” Wells Fargo’s Erik Nelson said. “As the dollar depreciates more consistently and more significantly, I think you’ll see commodity prices, in dollar terms, tend to rise.”

But wait, there’s more: A weak dollar makes life more expensive on a host of other everyday living costs. Costs  the likes of Sallie, Sam or Grandma Sue aren’t going to be able to cover thanks to their stock investments because many ordinary folk don’t own equities…. they are far more familiar with the realities of debt.

So don’t believe brand new are-you-kidding-me Treasury Secretary Mnuchin when he says that a weak dollar is good. It isn’t.

………

Below are two  Bloomberg  charts  from a January 25, 2018 story, “A Doomsayer’s Guide to the Dollar and Why It Could Keep Plunging”. That piece begins, “The dollar’s worst start to a year since 1987 may get a lot worse.”

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan. 19, 2018

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  • Government shutdowns

It’s Monday, January 22, and  Day 3 of our government shutdown.

Based on history, and likely your common sense, the longer the shutdown, the more impact it has on everything from stock market returns to the economy and perhaps even your life.

Looking back, CNN.com reports that the 16-day shutdown five years ago, in 2013, was the costliest in our history: “$20 billion, according to an estimate from Moody’s Analytics.”

That said, should the current shutdown go on for that same amount of time, the pros don’t think the results would be as costly because our economy is in much better shape than it was in 2013.

We shall see.

  • Market Quick Glance

And more high scores for stocks prices last week as three of the four indices followed below hit new all-time highs on Friday and one—the DJIA—on Thursday.

I’ve heard from more than one professionally reliable source that stock prices are likely to continue their current upward trend through earnings season—like May. Provided, of course, nothing out of the ordinary happens.

But something already out of the ordinary has happened—a government shutdown. So, take that projection with the mixture of a grain or two of salt and reality.

Re the current market environment, another source reminded me of the huge impact a rising interest rate environment has on stocks. In short, the higher interest rates move, the more unattractive stocks become.

In other words, an increase in interest rates translates into fixed-income returns with  higher yields positively impacting income-focused investors. It also means less attractive returns on things like utility and dividend paying stocks and more money to financial institutions.

Given that change is the current and future name of the investing game, the stock market has been living in a low-interest rate heaven for years now and rewarding stock investors delightfully for longer than anyone could have imagined eight or nine years ago.

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, Jan. 19, 2018.

DJIA +5.47% YTD up from last week’s 4.39%

  • 1 yr Rtn +32.13% up from last week’s 29.72%

Ho hum, a new high for the DJIA was reached again this year on January 18, 2018 of 26,153.42. The previous high was reached on January 12, 2018 then 25,810.43.

-S&P 500 +5.11% YTD up from last week’s 4.21%

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.15% up from last week’s 22.72%

A new high for the S&P 500 Index was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33. The previous high was reached on January 12, 2018 of 2,787.85.

-NASDAQ +6.27 YTD up from last week’s 5.18%

  • 1yr Rtn +32.42% up a pinch from last week’s 30.89%

Nasdaq hit another new high on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38. The second new high for this index was reached on January 12, 2018 of 7,265.26.

-Russell 2000 4.05%YTD up lots from last week’s 3.68%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.97% up a lot from last week’s +13.71%

The Russell 2000 reached another new all-time high on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02. The previous high was reached on January 12, 2018 of 1,598.18.

 

-Mutual funds

More gains.

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 3.87% at the close of business on Thursday, January 18, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s up from the previous week’s figure of 3.33%.

Three fund types enjoying a positive new year under that broad heading include:

-Equity Leverage Funds, +8.37 %

-Large-Cap Growth Funds, +6.06%

-Multi-Cap Growth Funds, +5.59%

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.

 

  • ETF Investing 24 hours a day

Once upon a time, when I was a broker and for decades before that, the stock exchanges had fixed hours that they were open. Investing on Internet platforms didn’t exist back then. Neither did things like dot com stuff, iPhones or anything “i” related.

Today things have changed dramatically  and investors can purchase shares before and after traditional market hours, currently 9:30-4:00

Now, TD Ameritrade has changed all that and beginning today that online brokerage firm offers 24-hour trading possible for ETFs.

While that may sound super-duper to some, the most important part of this story is that it comes with a caveat worth remembering: “The problem with trading equity around the clock is there’s not that much demand to keep a natural supply-demand balance, “ Larry Tabb of The Tabb Group says. “Small amounts of supply and demand can really move prices, so you have to be careful.”

Again, remember that.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan. 12, 2018

 

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Thank You, Dr.King.

 

  • A Rich Market

No two ways about it, last week stock prices continued on their upward tear.

With that fact behind us, consider the following SeekingAlpha.com piece from Victor Dergunov of Albright Investment Group:

  • U.S stocks are quite expensive relative to most other countries by historical standards.
  • The S&P 500s Shiller P/E ratio is about 34, more than double its median ratio of 16 and has only been higher one time in history—at the height of the dotcom boom.
  • The price-to-sales ratio for the S&P 500 is at an all-time high, 2.35—the media is 1.44 “suggesting that stock prices are rising relative to revenue growth faster than at any other time throughout history.”

We all know stock prices, indices, charts don’t always go up and that that upward trend will turn south sometime. But until it does, do enjoy the ride.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

And it was another extremely rewarding week for equities. Of the four indices followed here, all reached new highs—each gaining roughly 2 percent! That’s a remarkable start for any year.

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, Jan. 12, 2018.

DJIA +4.39% YTD up lots from last week’s 2.33%

  • 1 yr Rtn +29.72% up from last week’s 27.12%

A new high for the DJIA was reached on January 12, 2018 of 25,810.43. Its previous high was reached one week earlier, on January 5, 2018 of 25,299.79.

 

-S&P 500 +4.21% YTD up lots from last week’s 2.60%

  • 1 yr Rtn +22.72% up from last week’s 20.92%

A new high for theS&P 500 Index was reached on January 12, 2018 of 2,787.85. Its previous high was reached one week earlier on January 5, 2018 of 2,743.45.

 

-NASDAQ +5.18 YTD up a heap from last week’s 3.38%

  • 1yr Rtn +30.89% up a pinch from last week’s 30.04%

Nasdaq its second new high of this year on January 12, 2018 of 7,265.26. Its previous new high was reached on January 5, 2018 of 7,137.04.

 

-Russell 2000 +3.68%YTD up lots from last week’s 1.60%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.97% upa lot from last week’s +13.71%

The Russell 2000 reached a second new all-time high of January 12, 2018 of 1,598.18. Its previous high was 1,560.84 reached on January 4, 2018.

 

-Mutual funds

More gains.

On Thursday, January 11, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 3.33%. That’s up a hike from the previous week’s figure of 1.64%.

Three fund types not enjoying a positive new year include:

-Dedicated Short Bias funds, down on average -5.69%

-Real Estate Funds, -3.75%

-Utility Funds, -2.32%

Place your bets now as to whether that trend will continue for each knowing in advance that the direction of interest rates plays a big part in the relative performance of both real estate and utility 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.

 

  • Compound It

As a big fan of dividend-paying stocks, I can’t think of any reason not to reinvest the dividends the stocks in your portfolio pay back into those companies.

Remember, compounding works the same no matter how much money you are working with—a few bucks or millions.

Its rewards come to you based on percentages and time—the percentage rate that’s paid and the amount of time the security is held hence allowing the reinvested dividend to work for you.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan. 5, 2018

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  • Dogs of the Dow 2018

I’m a big fan of dogs. And dividends. Both are rewarding in oh-so many ways. And, can provide us with some of life’s finest simple pleasures—- faithful companionship and income.

With that in mind, below are this year’s Dogs of the Dow. Lest you think this investment strategy  (basically purchasing the shares of the 10 stocks of the DJIA 30 that pay the highest dividends ), isn’t worth your time, think again.

Yes, it’s true that in 2017, the Dogs’ return of 19% didn’t match or beat that of the 25% return of the DJIA,  but 19% is nothing to turn your nose up at no matter what market conditions are.

That said, below are the 2018 Dogs of the Dow, according to DogsoftheDow.com:

Verizon 4.5%
IBM 3.9%
Pfizer 3.8%
ExxonMobil 3.7%
Chevron 3.5%
Merck 3.4%
Coca-Cola 3.2%
Cisco Systems 3%
Procter & Gamble  3%
General Electric  2.8%

FYI: New to the pack of 10 this year are Procter & Gamble and General Electric.

  • Market Quick Glance

After a year in which the equity market indices continued to make new highs and new highs and new highs, many investors were smiling all the way to the bank. That said, during the last week of 2017, all four indices followed below lost ground. Not a lot of ground—but all wound up lower than they had at the end of 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, Jan. 5, 2018.

DJIA +2.33% YTD

  • 1 yr Rtn +27.12% up from last week’s 24.72%

A new high for the DJIA was reached on January 5, 2018 of 25,299.79. Its previous high was reached on December 18, 2017 of 24,876.07.

-S&P 500 +2.60% YTD

  • 1 yr Rtn +20.92% up from last week’s 18.87%

A new high for the S&P 500 Index was reached on January 5, 2018 of 2,743.45. The S&P 500 reached its previous new high on December 18, 2017 of 2,694.97.

-NASDAQ +3.38% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +30.04% up from last week’s 27.09%

Nasdaq reached a new high on January 5, 2018 of 7,137.04. Its previous new high of 7,003.89 was reached on December 18, 2017.

-Russell 2000 +1.60%YTD

•1yr Rtn +13.71% up from last week’s +12.64%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,560.84 on January 4, 2018. Its previous new all-time high was reached on December 4, 2017 of 1,559.61.

-Mutual funds

After a financially rewarding year for many mutual fund shareholders, on Thursday, January 4, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 1.64%.

As a point of reference, on the day before the 2017 trading year ended, Thursday, December 28, 2017, the average return was for this fund category was 18.91%. All data figures according to Lipper.

Below are fund types with a weekly performance that screeched out of the box in this new year:

  • Equity Leverage Funds, up on average +4.20.

FYI: This group had the BEST average return for fund types that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds in 2017 of +42.86%.

  • Energy MPL Funds, up on average +4.16%.

FYI: This group was the WORST average return for fund types that fall under the Sector Equity Funds heading in 2017 of -5.95%.

  • China Region Funds, up on average +3.74%.

FYI: This fund group had the BEST average return for funds that fall under the World Equity Funds heading in 2017 of +43.34%.

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.

 

  • Investing round the world.

I’m a keeper of lots of paper stuff. Lots. The other day one of the items I ran across was a chart from Thornburg Investment Management. It was a Country Indices chart showing the annual return of 20 different countries from 1995 through 2004.

Given that country investing was rewarding for many investors in 2017—world equity funds, for example, were up over 22% on average—here’s a 20-year look back at what the top three performing countries were in 1997. And then in 1998.

In 1997, the top country performers were: Switzerland, +44.84%; Italy, +36.38%; and US, +34.09.

And in 1998, the top country performers were: Korea, +141.15%, Belgium, +68.73%; and Italy, +53.20%. (The US came in in sixth place that year, up +30.72%.)

Since it’s always been and will continue to be a changing world, and, that history has a way of repeating itself in that ever-changing environment, figured the above might be an interesting read.

Wishing you much investing luck in 2018 wherever you decide to place your bets.

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