Tag Archives: CNBC

POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, July 20, 2018.

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

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

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 4.80% YTD up a hair from last week’s 4.78%

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

 

  • Golden Cross

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

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

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

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 23, 2018

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Passed on a money-related photo this week for something far more important than money.
  • 1% Wealth Money Lessons

 If you’ve got wealth envy, forgetaboutit. No matter where one falls on the how-much-money-do-you-have chart, everybody  has money worries/concerns to some degree or another.

The ultra rich have the “rice-paddy-to-rice-paddy” thing going on—that’s the same as the “from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” concern. Both sayings point out that the delicacy and trickiness of a family keeping and maintaining its wealth through the generations ain’t easy. The paycheck to paycheck folks worry about where the bucks to keep a roof over their heads is going to come from before their next pay-day. And all the folks in the middle have money worries, too.

That said, teaching your kids about money is as important as teaching them to brush their teeth and wash their face every day.

CNBC recently published a piece titled, “What the 1 percent are teaching their children about money”. The story included four money lessons. I modified it to three. All of them are simple and worth talking with and to kids about whether you are a parent, teacher, friend, relative or someone who just likes helping kids. And, rich or just getting by.

They include:

-Have a money message and communicate those money values.

“We’re more than what’s in our bank account,” said Judy Spalthoff, executive director and head of family and philanthropy advisory at UBS. ”If what defines our family is just what’s in our bank account. It’s not productive. We’re sending the wrong message of who we are.”

In other words, I say don’t make a big deal out of teaching your kids how much money/wealth your family has or how little it has. Each of us is a unique individual with talents all our own that count and have value no matter how much money our family has or doesn’t have.

-Put your children to work.

-Give back. Teaching your kids to donate their time and talents to others might just be the most rewarding lesson you’ll ever teach them.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It’s back to bumpy.

We are almost half way through this year and there isn’t much to crow about when comparing your year-to-date returns to that of the various indices—unless, of course, you’re a NASDAQ or Russell 2000 fan. They’re both up double digits while the  DJIA is underwater.

 

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 22, 2018.

DJIA -0.56% YTD underwater and down from the previous week’s return

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.88% up from the previous week’s 14.27%

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 3.047% YTD down from last week’s 3.97%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.16% down from last week’s 14.27%

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

 

-NASDAQ 11.44% YTD down from last week’s 12.21%

  • 1yr Rtn 23.35% down from last week’s 25.63%

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

 

-Russell 2000 9.77% YTD up from last week’s 9.66%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.01% up from last week’s 19.42%

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

 

-Mutual funds

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

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

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

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.

 

  • Banks got money and they’ll spent it on you if….

Seems as though banks are so flush with cash they’re dolling it out for free. Well, kinda sorta.

If you’ve got a few hundred or many hundreds of dollars that you don’t know what to do with, consider investigating the banks that offer cash bonuses for people willing to open a new account with their bank.

But, as with  all money-related things in life, there are a few catches. Which means, ya gotta read the small print and understand the deal before you fall for it.

For instance, there are always terms—such as the amount of money required to open a checking or savings account, the length of time required to qualify for the bonus, etc.

Like I said, you’ve got to research and read the deal before committing to it.

If you don’t, all could be for naught and could wind up costing you.

Oh, and remember:  any bonus money is TAXABLE.

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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 April 14, 2018

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  • Golden

Good news this week for gold investors. On Wednesday, gold futures traded at an intraday high of $1,369.30 an ounce, according to Gary Wagner’s Kitco Commentary on Friday, April 13, 2018.

The June Comex contract wasn’t quite that high at the close of business on Friday ($1,348.60), but even so, for the week gold had enjoyed an $11 an ounce  gain.

That’s a big deal because this precious metal has had a hard time making any kind of sustainable gains over the past few years. And, in a jumpy market like we’ve all been a part of, one might consider that a bit of an oddity.

That said, the big takeaway here is that you’ve got to go back to August 2016 to find gold trading at that high a level. “More importantly,” writes Wagner, “ the highs achieved during that rally were the first occurrence of a higher high since the multiyear correction (that) began in the middle of 2011.”

Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the value of this precious metal for ones investment portfolio other than see its worth only in golden bangles, earrings or as a cap to top off one of your back molars.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A better performance week for stock index results than the week before with the downs not as down and the ups more up.

Look at the 1-year returns and one might even begin to wonder what all the bears on Wall Street are concerned about. Then again, the only time that 1-year returns that seem to matter to the average investor is when the end of the year 52-week results are in.

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, April 13, 2018.

 

DJIA -1.45% YTD down but less than the previous week’s -3.18%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.10% up from the previous week’s 15.82%

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 -0.65% YTD down much less than last week’s -2.59%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.06% up from last week’s 10.48%

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 2.94% YTD way up from last week’s 0.17%

  • 1yr Rtn 22.42% way up from last week’s 17.62%

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 0.91% YTD up from than last week’s -1.45%

  • 1yr Rtn 15.18% way up from last week’s 10.91%

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

Lipper’s weekly mutual fund performance figures not available yet. Will post them when received.

Till then, here’s a repeat look at last week’s report: At the close of business on Thursday, April 4, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of +0.32%. That’s up—yes up—from the previous week’s average of -0.37%.

Large-Cap and Small-Cap Growth funds were up on average well over 3% last week. Science & Technology Funds and Global Science & Technology Funds both up at 4.92 and 5.08% respectively.

Latin American Funds, too, were up–averaging almost 6% y-t-d.

The biggest loser fund type of all were Energy MLP, down on average -10.02%.

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 Risks

The ability to raise, borrow and repay money is great deal. And one individuals as well as businesses count on. But like everything else within the world of money, risks exist and timing is everything.

Last week, Jack Ablin,CFA and Chief Financial Officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors published a piece titled “Credit Conditions and Risk Taking”.

From the piece: “The easiest way to gauge real time credit conditions is by observing the yield differential between 10-year, BBB bonds and 10-year Treasury notes. Since the bond market is roughly seven times the size of the stock market, the yield premium lenders require to extend credit to lower-quality borrowers is a useful barometer.”

While currently credit conditions are “favorable”, Ablin thinks that rising credit spreads can be an early warning sign of troubles ahead.

The chart below  provides additional insight on the subject.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 30, 2018

  • file000242429675•April Fools

A new month. A new quarter. New Spring hopes. Maybe.

Take out any behind the scene guffaws from  White House policy makers, or economic and international surprises and the fourth month of the year could be a rewarding one for investors, if history is any guide.

Based on historical returns, ever since 1950 the S&P 500 has posted an average gain of 1.5% in April.

“From a purely seasonality point of view, April is a pretty good month…” says Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial.

And guess what? There’s a 50/50 chance he’s right.

We shall see.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Remember when the indices below were reaching new all-time highs all the time? Well, believer it or not, that was happening only three months ago in January —but for some reason it seems like oh-so long ago. That’s the funny thing about keeping too close an eye on watching year-to-date returns—they’re clearly fickle. And, unless you’re a day trader, can make you crazy and doubt your overall reason for investing.

Investing for most of us, is a long-term obligation. One that comes with bouts of the unexpected on both the up- and downsides. All of which brings us to the end of the first quarter of 2018. For  many it was in a word: lousy. The S&P 500, for instance, lost 1 percent, according to CNBC.com. It was the first time that quarter has “ended in the red  since 2009”.

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 Thursday, March 29, 2018.

 

DJIA: -2.49% YTD improved but still down from the previous week’s -4.9%

•1 yr Rtn 16.28% up from the previous week’s 13.93%

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:  -1.22% YTD improved but still down from last week’s -3.95%

  • 1 yr Rtn 11.52% up from last week’s 10.33%

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:  2.32% YTD up from last week’s 1.29%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.43% down from last week’s 20.20%

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 -0.40% YTD improved from last week’s -1.66%

  • 1yr Rtn 10.64% down from last week’s 11.57%

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

Not such a hot week. But there’s always tomorrow.

At the close of business on Thursday, March 29, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.37%. That’s down more than the previous week’s average of -0.11%.

Stepping back and taking a look at the big picture, while the average diversified fund was -0.37%, the average Sector Fund’s y-t-d return was -2.70 and the average World Equity Fund, kinda sorta almost flat at +0.11%.

Throw some fixed-income into the fold and the average Mixed Asset Fund’s y-t-d return was -0.90%; Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds, -0.85%; and World Income Fund +0.97%.

Bottom line: Q1 of 2018 has turned out to be a stingy one for many investors. So, even though money market funds continue their puny returns, they nonetheless have provided people with positive returns. And as such, stand as a reminder that one keep some money in cash, short-term fixed-income investments and some in equities. How much and where is always your call.

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

Spring is here and along with it typically comes higher prices at the pump.

On a trip to Hutchinson Island over the weekend, the range for a gallon of regular gas that I saw ranged from about $2.69 to $2.72. That’s above the national March average of $2.56, according to AAA.

And it’s considerably higher than prices last year were when the national average price in March was $2.30. That, however, was way higher than in 2016 when it was $1.93.

But that 2.30 isn’t nearly as expensive as petrol was four years ago when, in 2014, the average price for one gallon of regular gas was—hold on to your hat—$3.51.

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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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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 16, 2017

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  • Income investors

Funny thing about investors—seasoned as well as  newbies. For some reason they imagine, hope for and quite often expect annual returns that just aren’t likely to happen. Call it dreaming. Call it denial. Call it believing a sales pitch. Call it whatever you’d like but it turns out believing less is more is better for your psyche that expecting more and getting less.

But hasn’t expecting less always been a sound route to take in everything life and money related?

On that money score, Lisa Abramowicz wrote a piece for Bloomberg.com titled, “Stop Fooling Yourself About 8% Easy Returns”. The piece focuses on the results of a Legg Mason, Inc. survey of fixed-income investors.

Most were expecting average annual returns of 8.6%. Those still working expected 9%.

Both are in-your-dreams like state of annual return hopes. Unless, of course, your dreams are risky and racy.

Want to maybe be kinda sorta happy with your annual and longer term investment returns—fixed income or otherwise? Then think somewhere in the neighborhood of 5%—give or take.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Any short-term investor and day trader looking for sound evidence that this market is headed in one direction or another probably understands better than most that each day is a new day. And as such, brings with it new opportunities and financial challenges and rewards.

Long-term investors would be wise to remember that as well.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, June 23, 2017.

-DJIA + 8.26% YTD up a hair from last week’s +8.21%

  • 1 yr Rtn +18.79% down from last week’s 20.59%

The DJIA reached a new all-time high of 21,535.03 on June 20, 2017. (Previous high of 21,391.97 reached on June 14, 2017; before it 21,305.35 on June 9, 2017; 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017; and 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.)

 

-S&P 500 +8.91% YTD up a hair from last week’s 8.68%

  • 1yr Rtn +15.38% down a chuck from last week’s +17.09%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,453.82 on June 19,2017. (Previous high of 2,446.2 was reached on June 9, 2017. Before that 2,440.23 was reached on June 2, 2017; 2,418.71 reached on May 25, 2017; 2,405.77 reached on May 16, 2017; 2403.87 on May 9, 2017; 2,400.98 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-NASDAQ +16.39% YTD up attractively from last week’s +14.28%

  • 1yr Rtn +27.60% up from last week’s 26.97%

The Nasdaq reached its most recent new all-time high of 6,341.7 on June 9, 2017. (Previous highs include: 6,308.76 on June 2; 6,217.34 reached on May 25; 6,170,16 on May 16; 6,133 on May 9, 2017; 6102.72 on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

-Russell 2000 +4.25% YTD up a tidy amount from last week’s +3.65%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.69% down from last week’s +22.52%

The Russell 2000 reached its latest all-time high of 1,433.789 on June 9, 2017. (Previous highs include 1,425.7 reached on April 26, 2017 and of 1,414,82 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

No big change in the average total return for funds that fall under the broad heading of U.S. Diversified Equity Fund. At the close of business on Thursday, June 22, 2017 the average equity fund’s year-to-date return was 7.57%. The previous week’s figure was 7.58%.

Those looking for attractive returns found them in World Equity Funds. Year-to-date the average return for the 4,533 funds under this heading was 15.28%. Wouldn’t you just love to lock a return like that in for the year?

The biggest scorers were India Region Funds, up on average 26.84%; Pacific Ex Japan Funds, 21.83%; China Region Funds, 21.46%;; and International Small/Mid-Cap Growth Funds, at 18.52%.

There are 26 different fund categories under that heading and only three of them had average total returns of under 10%. They were Latin American Funds, 9.61%; Global Multi-Cap Funds, 9.11%; and Global Equity Income Funds, 9.00%.

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.

 

  • This could make you sick

Fingers crossed that the revised health-care plan the Senate has proposed will not get enough votes to pass. If it does, the poor, elderly and sick will become poorer and health care costs and premiums will continue to go up as they always have. Additionally, grandma will likely be asking you if she can move in as a number of those who need full-time care in nursing homes will get the boot.

And don’t believe the way too bleached blonde Kellyanne Conway who says those on Medicaid who lose health care coverage can always get a job with a company that has health insurance and will cover them. That’s just plain poppycock and simply not true. It’s also a perfect example of how out of touch this White House and its administration is with millions upon millions of people who make up our population in America.

So, if you’re looking for some startling data on where in the country and in which states a repeal of Obamacare would impact people the most, BusinessInsider.com can help. In a story titled, “MAP: Areas of the US where an Obamacare repeal would hit the heardest”, are two maps worth looking at.

In one map you will see the areas in the U.S. where a repeal of Obamacare would impact people the most. In the second is a state by state look. Do check out both.

The story and the maps can be found here: http://www.businessinsider.com/where-obamacare-repeal-would-hit-the-hardest-map-2017-6

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb. 4, 2017

  • img_1539REPEAT: Markets hate uncertainty

This was the opening piece in last week’s POCKETBOOK but it’s worth rereading particularly given the decisions, actions and tweets of President Trump over the past week.

Funny thing about the stock market: On the one hand it looks ahead, on the other it doesn’t like uncertainty. Or social unrest and there is plenty of that going on.

So, with a new President in town, and one who takes bold actions and is hard to figure, investors would be wise to expect a fair amount of market volatility going forward. Also, that life is going to be more expensive on a number of fronts for individuals and the country.

Re the country, expect more debt..

Even though the GOP is no fan of debt, President Trump has been called the King of Debt. Which is okay when your kingdom is a privately held corporation. But not so okay when you are a public servant.

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed over 20,000 and at 20,071.46 on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. Nonetheless, the Dow lost ground over the week from its previous week’s close —and— for the past year.

Looking at just the 1-year returns, the Russell 2000 appears to have been the place to be: Up over 36% for the past year. But numbers can be deceiving—the Russell 2000 hit its all time high in December 2016 unlike the other three indices followed here. Each of them reached their new highs in January.

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices at the close of business on Friday, Feb. 3, according to CNBC.com. (I’ve changed sources here because Bloomberg.com has changed its format and, in my opinion, the new site, its look and the changes for the free user are horrible.)

-Indices:

-Dow Jones + 1.56% YTD, down a bit from last week’s 1.78%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.86% down from last week’s 25.32%

The DJIA reached its all time high of 20,125.58 on 1/26/17

 

-S&P 500 +2.62% YTD up a bit from last week’s 2.60% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +20.86% down bit last week’s 20.86%

The S&P 500 reached its all time high of 2,300.99 on 1/26/17

 

-NASDAQ +5.27% YTD up a bit from last week’s 5.20%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.81% way up from last week’s 24.36%

The Nasdaq reached its all time high of 5,669.61 on 1/26/17

 

–Russell 2000 +1.53% up from last week’s +1.05%

  • 1yr Rtn +36.38% up from last week’s 34.36%

The Russell 2000 reached its all time high of1,392.71 on 12/9/16

 

-Mutual funds

A bit of a downer as far as the average goes for the 8,479 funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Fund umbrella. At the close of business on Thursday, Feb.2, 2017 the average year-to-date return for those funds was 1.81%, according to Lipper. That was down the previous week’s 2.61% average.

Under that broad U.S. Diversified Equity Fund heading, Equity Leverage Funds which were hotsy totsy the week before lost ground from their up 7.52% average with  YTD returns now at  5.59%. Next in performance were Large-Cap Growth Funds up 4.27% followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 4.14%.

Precious Metals Equity Funds scored the highest under the Sector Fund heading, up 17.38% on average. The average YTD return for the 2,307 funds under the Sector Fund heading was up 2.48%.

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.

 

  • Let’s talk unemployment and say “Thank You, Obama.”

When it comes to the unemployed, there are fewer of them now (on record) than there were seven years ago.

Jon Erlichman, a journalist for Fortune, the Business News Network and a number of other outlets, posted the U.S Unemployment Rates based on end of January figures.

In a nutshell, they reveal that at the end of Jan. 2010 the unemployment rate was 9.8%—at the end of Jan. 2017, that rate stood at 4.8%.

Thank you, President Obama.

The bar has now been set for President Trump, who took office officially on Jan. 20, 2017.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Dec.31, 2016

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  • It’s all about the numbers

If you were in the stock market in 2016, odds are you made money.

According to CNNMoney, 77% of investors made money. How much? OpenFolio reported that the average investor enjoyed a 5% increase in the value of their investments.

Unfortunately, men’s portfolios outperformed those owned by the ladies, reports that same source. Which, BTW, is nothing new. That trend has been going on for the past three years. Oh my.

  • Market Quick Glance

The chart at the top of this blog sums up the performance of the indices in 2016  very nicely with one exception: It’s missing the performance of the Russell 2000—- it  ended the year up a whopping 19.48%, according to CNNMoney.com

Here are a very few of the best and worst performing stocks in 2016:

  • The top performing stock in the DJIA was Caterpillar, up 36.46%, according to CNBC.com. The worst, Nike, down18.67%.
  • The best performing stock in the S&P 500 was Nvidia, up 224%, and the worst was  Endo International, down 73.1%, according to Salon.com.

Although no one knows how the markets will perform in the short-term, as in 2017, the  chart below, cockeyed as it is, shows how the DJIA has moved over the past 10 years, from 2007 through 2016.  (Source: It and the chart at the beginning of this blog are pictures  I took of charts  found at CNBC.com on Friday, December 30, 2016.)

A DJIA 10-year mountain chart:

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-Mutual funds

All was shiny and bright for many stock fund investors as at the close of business on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, the performance of the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund was up 11.23%, off a bit from the previous week’s clost of 11.53%, according to Lipper.

Under that broad heading, Small-Cap Value Funds’ scores were the highest with the average return up 27.25%. Dedicated Short Bias Funds were down the most, off 25.69%.

Under the Sector Equity Funds heading, where the highest gains (and losses) are likely to be found, Precious Metals EquityFunds were the winners—up on average 58.53%. Biggest losing group? Commodities Specialty Funds, down 15.13%.

And, the average General Domestic Taxable Fixed-Income Fund ended the year up 7.47%.

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.

•Hoping 2017 is a happy, healthy and rewarding one for all of us!

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