Tag Archives: Jonathan Clements

POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 2, 2017


  • About us

Each week I receive Jonathan Clements’ Humble Dollar newsletter. Data from a recent one included stats from a 2016 General Social Survey that shows how much attitudes about our financial lives have changed over 44 years.

Here’s what that survey revealed:

-“30% of Americans said they were very happy in 2016, unchanged from the 30% who described themselves that way in 1972. Over this 44-year stretch, inflation-adjusted per capita disposable income rose 120%. More money, it seems, hasn’t bought happiness.”

-“29% of Americans were satisfied with their financial situation, versus 32% in 1972. Meanwhile, the percentage who aren’t at all satisfied has climbed from 23% in 1972 to 27% in 2016.”

-“31% of Americans felt their incomes were below average or far below average, compared with 24% in 1972.”

-“58% agreed or strongly agreed that they had a good chance of improving their standard of living, versus 72% in 1987.”

If you’re a survey results believer, it seems like those of us who have been around for a while were  financially happier in ’72 than we are today.


  • Market Quick Glance

It was a week of new all-time highs reached for the  DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ but not  the Russell 2000. The Russell did, however, see a nice move upward in its year-to-date performance.

For the past few weeks I’ve been pointing out that the 1-year return figures have been worth watching and I’ll say the say the same this week. Even though most saw gains, they were modest at best. Any trend seekers might want to keep their eyes on that longer view for no other reason, perhaps, than to have something to talk about.

Although the 1-year return for our major indices are attractive, they pale in comparison with that of the Caracas Stock Exchange, Caracas General: Its year-to-date return through June 2, 2017 is + 146.46% and for 1 year is up 403.44%.

Below are weekly and 1-year 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 2, 2017.

-DJIA +7.30% YTD up from last week’s +6.67%

  • 1 yr Rtn +19.08% up from last week’s 18.24%

The DJIA reached a new all-time high of 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017. (The previous high of 21,169.11 was reached on March 1, 2017.)


-S&P 500 +8.90% YTD up from last week’s 7.91%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.15% up from last week’s +15.58%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,440.23 on June 2, 2017. (Its previous high of 2,418.71 was reached on May 25, 2017. Prior to that, the previous high of 2,405.77 was reached on May 16, 2017. Before that the high of 2403.87 was reached on May 9, 2017and before that, the a high of 2,400.98 was reached on March 1, 2017. )


-NASDAQ +17.14% YTD up from last week’s +15.36%

  • 1yr Rtn +26.84% up a tad from last week’s 26.69%

The Nasdaq reached another new all-time high of 6,308.76 on June 2, 2017. (Its previous all-time high of 6,217.34 was reacged May 25, 2017. Then before that a high of 6,170,16 was reached on May 16, 2017; the high of 6,133 was reached on May 9, 2017; a high of 6102.72 was reached on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 hit on April 5, 2017.)

–Russell 2000 +3.56% YTD way up from last week’s +1.85%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.06 % down from last week’s +21.28%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)


-Mutual funds

As you might expect, the year-to-date return for the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund was up from the previous week. This, thanks to the new highs reached by equity prices. So, at the close of business on Thursday, June 1, 2017 the average equity fund’s year-to-date return was 7.56%, up a healthy amount from the previous week’s figure of 6.70%.

The top performance categories under that heading are beginning to sound like a broken record a Large-Cap Growth Funds continued to lead the way, now up 16.40 %—that week the figure was15.59%. Once again behind it were Equity Leverage Funds, up 16.02% (last week it was15.26%) and then followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 15.14% (last week’s figure was14.17%).

While the average Sector Fund return barely budged, it ended the week up 4.78% a breath above the previous week’s figure of 4.77%.

That said, Global Science/Technology Funds continued to lead the performance game, up on average 25.29% ( last week’s figure was 24.73%) while Commodities Energy Funds lost more ground during the week with an average return of -16.07% ( the previous week the figure was -13.72%.)

It continues to be the wide great big world that we live in where the most money looks like it’s being made. The average return for the 4,495 funds that fall under the World Equity Funds heading were up 15.48%–that’s up from last week’s 15.01%.

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.


  • Is a June Swoon on the way?

Wall Street seers have always had a way of coming up with clever ways to describe the investment world. A world in which making heads or tails about what’s going can only be read in a rearview mirror.

With May behind us, so goes the “Sell in May and go away” quip and in comes the “June swoon”.

In 30 days we will know if there is any truth to that little ditty.














For the week ending March 5, 2016

  • 2015s best collectible? Think “Zoom”.

Classic cars were last year’s best performing collectible roaring up 17 percent, according to the Wealth Report.

In second and third place were coins, gaining 13 percent, and wine at 5 percent.

The collectible car brand enjoying the highest returns was Ferrari.

Furniture was last year’s worst-performing collectible.


  • Market Quick Glance


Below are year-to-date performance figures for the major indices through March 4, 2016 according to Bloomberg. To provide a longer performance perspective, 1-year returns have been added.

Dow Jones -1.84% YTD

1yr Rtn -2.30 %

-S&P 500 -1.72% YTD

1yr Rtn -1.36%


1yr Rtn -3.02%

-Russell 2000 -4.54% YTD

1yr Rtn -9.87%

Last week  I wrote if “ year-to-date performances are any indication of a trend, all four market indices are doing better. “

This past week that upward movement in stock indices continued. The index performance winner, however, changed from the DJIA to the S&P500.

But investors beware: Even though the jobs report brought cheers, according to Friday’s Wall Street Journal, “The “U.S. economy experienced one of its worst productivity drops in over two decades at the end of 2015.”

Productivity is really important. Without it…well, you know.

-Winning Stocks so far

According to the Bespoke Investment Group, here are the five top performing stocks in the Russell 1000 Index year-to-date (through February): Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) was the top performing stock in February, and it’s also the top performing stock year-to-date with a gain of 55.7%; J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) ranks second up 53.15%; followed by Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) ahead 43.58%; Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) up 41.41%; and Alere (NYSE:ALR), up 36.35%


-Mutual funds

Through Thursday, March 3, 2016 the average U.S.Diversified Equity Fund had gained ground and was down 3.41 percent year-to-date, according to Lipper. That’s a performance improvement of over 3 percent.

Although Dedicated Short Bias Funds continue to be the top performing fund type under the General Equity Funds heading, they  lost serious ground last week—-as one would expect when market directions change. They were up on average 1.29 percent vs. up 8.18 percent during the week ending Feb. 26.

Fund investors looking for action continued to find it in Precious Metal Funds— up on average  37 percent. That figure is about 4 percent higher than it was the previous  week.

Commodities Precious Metals Funds ended the week up 11.83 percent.

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

-About those negative interest rates

From last week’s Jonathan Clements Money Guide Newsletter comes this: “TEN-YEAR TREASURY NOTES are currently yielding 1.9%. That means today’s buyers will likely lose money, once inflation and taxes are figured in—and yet demand remains robust, as evidenced by 2016’s rise in Treasury bond prices. The healthy appetite for Treasurys partly reflects the vast amount of excess capital sloshing around the global financial markets, as well as the tiny payouts on alternatives such as money-market funds and savings accounts. But it also reflects the current fear engendered by both stocks and lower-quality bonds.”

Then again,  there is an upside to negative interest rates: Borrowing money wins in a negative or low interest rate environment.

So don’t overlook the opportunities low rates can provide. I mean, who can hate the availability of cheap money if you’re purchasing a home, refinancing, financing a car, etc…