Tag Archives: Dian’s Column

POCKETBOOK:Week ending Sept.10,2016


  • Well this ain’t pretty

Debt is something our nation is no stranger to. Neither are many of its citizens. And, like you, I know that debt isn’t always a horrible 4-letter word. It has its valid and good reasons for being. And then there is the other side.

On the not-so-hot side,  our nation debt it is getting close to $19.5 trillion. And, according to MyBudget360.com, “The U.S. nation debt is more than all the world’s physical cash, gold, silver and bitcoin combined.”

That’s a lot

  • Market Quick Glance

So, last week I wrote:” I don’t recall any talking heads who said they expected 1-year returns on equities to be in the mid- to high-double digits this year…”

And, “If stock indices are an indication of the state of our economy—there’s no room for any investors to complain about America not being great—-it has been for investors year-to-date and over the past year.”

And this week I get to eat some of those words thanks to market reversing its hotsy-totsy performance record with the year-to-date and 1-year return for Dow, S&P500, Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 all closing off from the prior week’s close.

At the close of business on Friday, Sept 9, 2016, all four indices closed lower than they had the previous week, according to Bloomberg. Below are the closing YTD performance numbers of four popular US indices along with their 1-year performance figures.


-Dow Jones +5.87% YTD (Down 3% from last week’s YTD close of 8.19%)

  • 1yr Rtn +13.00% (Down 4.94% in one week)

-S&P 500 +5.72% YTD (Down from last week’s 8.27% YTD figure)

  • 1yr Rtn +10.88% (Down over 5%)

NASDAQ +3.35% YTD (Down from last week’s 5.84 % YTD)

  • 1yr Rtn +7.74% (Clipped by more than 6% from last week’s 13.61%)

Russell 2000 +8.42% YTD (Down about 3%)

  • 1yr Rtn +6.90%(Off more than 5% from last week’s 11.86%)

-Mutual funds

In mutual fund land the picture is a bit different. But that’s because of the day fund returns are calculated.

If you’ve noticed, Lipper bases its performance figures on returns collected at the close of business on Thursday’s. (I think that calculation day all started because Lipper wanted to make sure the numbers made it into Friday’s papers.)

So, because Lipper’s figures missed  Friday’s big-time  down turn, their numbers are better than one might otherwise expect had they been based on the Sept.9 closing prices.

That said, at the close of business on Thursday, September 8, 2016, the average YTD return of U.S.Diversified Equity Funds was +7.01% according to Lipper. That’s up from last week’s 6.17%.

That figure represents the average YTD return on 8,390 different equity funds that fall under 20 different fund types  including  an assortment of large-cap, small-cap, mid-cap, speciality, alternative, S&P500 etc. funds.

Precious Metals Equity Funds picked up ground over the week with year-to-date average returns now standing at 109.43% —that’s up from last week’s average fund return of 95.70%.

Lipper’s Sector Equity Funds, where Precious Metals funds live, also gained ground. At the close of business on Thursday the average fund under this heading it was up 11.72%.

Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds were up on average a tad more at 6.23%. World Income Funds gained over 1% with an average YTD return of 11.06%.

Wondering how best to use Lipper’s fund performance figures? Use their YTD returns as a guideline for how your individual fund(s) are performing. For instance, the average stock fund is up about 6.5 percent so far this year. Are your stock funds doing better or worse than that?

Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for weekly updates to see 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.

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

  • One money guy’s point of view

Peter Schiff’s EuroPac International Value Fund (EPIVX) is up over 30% as of August 31, 2016, according to Morningstar. The reason for the handsome returns are in part due to gold’s gains. And, investments in places like New Zealand, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia, according to a CNBC.com recent story.

Schiff said he likes investing in countries in that part of the world because they don’t have much exposure to the United States.

From the CNBC.com story, “Why Peter Schiff’s international fund is up over 35% year-to-date” by Bryan Borzykowski, comes this: “The U.S. consumer…is living on credit, has no savings, and the whole economy is headed for collapse, and I want protection against that. I‘m tryin to invest in markets and companies that are best positioned to do well in an environment where the U.S. economy is not doing well.”


But before running out and investing in the fund keep in mind that —-whether you buy Schiff’s thinking or not— last year the fund was down 26.31%, according to Morningstar.

And so it goes…









$$$ review for week ending Dec.11, 2015:

  • Net worth

“The MEDIAN net worth of folks 65-74 is $190k. That means half of everyone has more and the other half has less, which is a far better reflection of how wealth is distributed than the “average”….”

(Source: Regarded Solutions, SeekingAlpha.com)

  • Market Quick Glance


Year-to-date returns based on Friday’s close (12/11/15) show the DJIA and S&P 500 indexes down less than 1 percent;   0.72 percent and 0.27 percent respectively. The year’s big winner so far is NASDAQ, up 5.46 percent.

-Mutual funds

Lipper’s mutual fund performance figures are published every Thursday.The data is updated weekly and provides the best one-stop-shopping overview of how various types of funds have performed over the short and long term that  you’ll find anywhere.You can read abaout them all in the column to the left of Dian’s Column at http://www.Allaboutfunds.com . Please read through it every week. The more you know about how your fund’s performance measures up against other like funds, the better investor you’ll become.

That said, here are a few Lipper  year-to-date performance highlights for the week ending Thursday, December 10, 2015:

-Under the World Income Fund category, Japanese Funds have rewarded their shareholders the most. Of the 51 funds included in  it, the group’s average was up 11.46 percent.

-On the other hand, the biggest losing group was Latin American Funds. Of the 49 funds under that heading the group average was down 27.58 percent.

-Under the U.S. Equity Fund heading, of which there are 8,409 funds, the average group return was down 1.43 percent.

-Lipper keeps tabs on 2,637,660 fixed-income funds. Year-to-date, the average return on this lot was down 1.45 percent.

  • Dividend investing: Kinda Hot and Cold Rewards

First, the hot-ish rewards….

From Morningstar’s ETF Specialist column: “Dividend Investing: Man vs. Machine …..On average, dividend-oriented ETFs beat their actively managed mutual fund counterparts in each of the four categories studied. Most of the funds in the sample were in the large-value category, where the average ETF returned 12.25% during the five years ended Sept. 30, 2015, compared with 10.67% for the average actively managed, dividend-oriented mutual fund.”

Now, the cold-ish….

If you’re a fan of dividend investing as I am –and so are most people who’ve made any money over the long haul— below is an interesting  list included in  USA TODAY’s Matt Krantz’s piece published 12/11/15 , ” 13 companies can’t afford their big dividends”.


-Company, Symbol, Dividend yield, payout ratio

-Kinder Morgan, KMI, 12.1%, 329.6%

-ONEOK, OKE, 11.1%, 160.3%

-Williams, WMB, 8.85%, 528.8%

-Frontier Communications, FTR, 8.54%, NM **

-CenturyLink, CTL, 8.19%, 166.1%

-Iron Mountain, IRM, 7.17%, 421.4%

-Wynn Resort, WYNN, 7.15%, 359.1%

-HCP, HCP, 6.29%, 437.9%

-Spectra Energy, SE, 6.18%, 128.4%

-Murphy Oil, MUR, 6.13%, NM

-ConocoPhillips, COP, 6.11%, NM

-CenterPoint Energy, CNP, 6.03%, NM

-Mattel, MAT, 6.01, 169.2%”

(* Based on dividends and net income the past 12 months.Source: S&P Capital IQ, USA TODAY)

Full story at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2015/12/11/payout-ratio-big-dividends-afford/77115700/

  • Giving

According to Wealth-X, hugely rich entrepreneurs do give.

From their recent press release,” America’s Billionaire Entrepreneurs Give Nearly US$180 Million In Lifetime, More Than Other UHNW Donor Groups”, comes this:

“America’s billionaire entrepreneurs give, on average,  US$179.5 million per person to various causes during their lifetimes — more than any other ultra high net worth (UHNW) donor group — according to a new report by Wealth-X and Arton Capital….”

  • Scoring a Mortgage

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported “59% of new mortgage originations (by dollar, not by number) in the 3rd quarter of 2015, were obtained by borrowers with credit scores above 780.”

I snooped around and data from  the Statistic Brain Research Group showed, as of July 8, 2014, the national FICO average credit score  was 691.

FICO scores range from  300 to  850.

  • Mergers or let’s just call it “ DuPoints”

The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell wrote a read-worthy piece published December 11, 2015, titled “Dow and DuPont, two of America’s oldest giants, to merge in jaw-dropping mega deal”.

In case you have forgotten what these two iconic companies manufacture, here’s some of what  Harwell wrote:

“Dow was founded in 1897 by chemist Herbert Henry Dow primarily as a seller of bleach, but it would become one of America’s chief suppliers of chemicals for explosives, medicines and tear gas during World War I. With the Monsanto Company, Dow would also produce Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide made infamous during and after the Vietnam War.

“DuPont was founded in 1802 as a gunpowder mill by the French-American industrialist Éleuthère Irénée du Pont. The company would go on to develop neoprene, a synthetic rubber; corian, used in home countertops; mylar, a plastic in balloons; and the refrigerant freon.”

Full story at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2015/12/11/dow-and-dupont-two-of-americas-oldest-giants-to-merge-in-job-dropping-megadeal/