Tag Archives: Lipper

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 April 7, 2018

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Lots of worries over what could happen if Trump starts a trade war. This Op-Ed cartoon is from the Sunday, April 8, 2018, Palm Beach Post.
  • Trading places

Lots of talking heads have lots of things to say about the likelihood of trade wars developing should the mighty US of A decide to let President Trump rule and impose additional tariffs on goods and services from places where tariffs already are in place.

In general, many talking heads agree that there is an imbalance in our trade agreement with China. And many think that getting into a tariff war with that country could be very disruptive and costly to us, as in the average consumer.

What’s important to remember is that no new tariffs have been imposed on any country, anywhere,  yet.

It’s also important to remember that it’s really smart to remember to pick your battles.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Q: Dear Wise One:

Any perspective investors ought to keep in mind with respect to the markets’ recent volatility?

 
A: Yes.

Right now the stock market is as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers. And that’s just how it is. Today.

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 6, 2018.

 

DJIA -3.18% YTD down more than the previous week’s -2.49%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.82% down from the previous week’s 16.28%

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 -2.59% YTD down more than last week’s -1.22%

  • 1 yr Rtn 10.48% down from last week’s 11.52%

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 0.17% YTD down from last week’s 2.32%

  • 1yr Rtn 17.62% down from last week’s 19.43%

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 -1.45% YTD down more than last week’s -0.40%

  • 1yr Rtn 10.91% up a tiny bit from last week’s 10.64%

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

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 Growth 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.

 

  • ETF returns

 I heard Jack Bogle, Vanguard’s founder, point out that mutual funds have had better returns than exchange-traded funds, ETFs, a point I found worth thinking about. Seems the big push to advertise big time by various ETF brand families is one thing. But, out performing various categories of index funds however, is another.

So, while some consider the ability to buy and sell ETFs throughout the day –as one can do with both stocks and ETFs– is appealing, it isn’t necessariy financially rewarding.

One reason  is that  Bogle thinks ETFs could encourage individuals to trade their holdings more often rather than  holding their investments  for the long term. Doing so, he said makes  it difficult for an investor/trader to outperform the market.

Good point.

Then again, Bogle loves index funds.

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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 March 24, 2018

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  • Remington’s got problems

Remington Outdoor, one of America’s oldest gun makers, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Why? Sales are off.

In business since 1816, it was a Remington rife that was used in 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. Since then, school and mass shootings haven’t stopped, fears of new gun regulations have increased all resulting in gun ownership losing a lot of its pow.

Chapter 11 doesn’t mean Remington is going bust. The move provides protection for a company and gives it time to reorganize its business and debt obligations.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Oh my…..last week’s stock prices grounded as three indices lost all of this year’s gains—one up 1.3%. Big woo!

What happened? Donald Trump’s trade war ideas.

Yale economist Robert Shiller, in an interview in Beijing on Saturday, called President Trump “ a showman” who “obviously relishes” in his celebrity, but behaves in a way that’s ”totally unbecoming for a president”, according to a CNBC.com report.

Addressing the China Development Forum, the Nobel-winner warned about the likelihood of an economic disaster if there is a trade war between the U.S. and China.

We shall see.

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, March 23, 2018.

DJIA -4.93% YTD down seriously from the previous week’s 0.92%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.93% down from the previous week’s 19.161%

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 -3.95% YTD down seriously from last week’s 2.93%

  • 1 yr Rtn 10.33 % down from last week’s 15.56%

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 1.29% YTD down seriously from last week’s 8.38%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.20% down from last week’s 26.80%

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 -1.66% YTD down a hunk from last week’s 3.29%

  • 1yr Rtn 11.57% down from last week’s 14.43%

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

And there go this year’s gains.

At the close of business on Thursday, March 22, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.11%. That’s down from last week’s average of 2.70%.

Large-Cap Growth Funds lost about 5% and averaged 3.67%—down from the previous week’s average year-to-date return of 8.19%.

Small-Cap Growth funds provided shareholders with the week’s highest average year-to-date return of 4.32%–down from the previous week’s averge return of 6.38%.

But Science & Technology Funds were higher at 7.72%. And Global

Science/Technology Funds lead the way with average returns in each category of 8.51% —off from its previous return of over 12%, year-to-date.

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.

 

•How YOU doin?

Even with the stock market’s recent downward plunge, things aren’t as horrible as the tv talking heads might get you to believe.

For instance, Trump  supporters rave about Donald and what a great job he is doing as president, how great the economy is and how their investments have preformed.

I’m not so sure about the greatness of our economy, but, there is no arguing with the performance of the stock market: On the day that Donald J. Trump was inaugurated, January 20, 2017—which seems like 100 thousand years ago—the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 19,827.25.

While the ride since then has been bumpy and lumpy, these numbers  don’t lie.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 17, 2018

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  • Ever hear of “crowding out”? Time to learn about it.

Trump’s tax cuts may have made million- and billionaires happy, even some workerbees may think it’s a terrific deal, but in reality the move will prove to be hugely costly to most Americans.

Why? Because somebody has to pay for those cuts.

A recent New York Times story reported that one of the results of the tax cuts is that in this fiscal year, the Treasury Department will likely  have to borrow $955 billion from investors. That’s a lot and big increase from last year.

If you’re a believer in debt, and think doing business as a big debtor is a great deal— as President Trump does, did, and has throughout this real estate business deals– a government that continues to accumulate debt isn’t an efficiently run government. Or, one anyone can or should be proud of. And is a vulnerable government.

Bottom line here is that as our debt grows so does our responsibility to pay it. Meaning, interest rates have to go up to cover those debt costs, and, it becomes more expensive for a company or an individual to borrow money translating to life costing more for everyone.

“Crowding out”, according to that same article is when “large-scale government borrowing sucks up the supply of available capital, driving up financing costs for just about everyone else.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again the numbers tell their weekly story of what goes up can come down.

It was Nasdaq where the weekly numbers showed best as it moved upward while the three other indices fell.

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, March 16, 2018.

DJIA 0.92% YTD down a hunk from the previous week’s 2.49%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.16% down from the previous week’s 21.21%

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 2.93% YTD down a hunk from last week’s 4.22%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.56 % down from last week’s 17.83%

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 8.38% YTD up from last week’s 5.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.80% down from last week’s 28.99%

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 3.29% YTD down from last week’s 4.01%

  • 1yr Rtn 14.43% down from last week’s 16.98%

 

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

At the close of business on Thursday, March 15, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of 2.70%. That’s up from the previous week’s average return of 0.57%.

Once again, Large-Cap Growth Funds lead this pack’s performance with an average year-to-date return of 8.19% —one week before that figure was 5.50%.

Behind it came Multi-Cap Growth Funds at 7.54% (the week before it was 4.49%). Then, a switch up from last week’s Mid-Cap Growth Funds, 6.18%, to Small-Cap Growth Funds at 6.38%.

Under the Sector Equity Funds heading Science & Technology Funds and Global Science/Technology Funds lead the way with average returns in each category of over 12%, year-to-date.

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.

  • CDs are looking kinda sorta good

Over the past few weeks ads in my local paper have been advertising CD rates of 2% and higher. That’s enough of a jump from the 1.10% kinds of returns to make short-term fixed income investors take notice. Particularly when the stock market is in its ninth year of a bull market and volatility is enough to cause one’s blood pressure to rise during daily and weekly market sessions.

Before biting, however, make sure to read the small print. For example, a recent ad from FCB, Florida Community Bank, offered a 2.15% APY, good through March 30,2018. To take advantage of it you’ve got to have $10,000 in “new funds” and be willing to lock those 10 Gs for 19 months.

Another ad from First Republic Bank offered a 20-month CD at the rate of 2.00%APY for a “limited time” with a minimum investment of $10,000.

Seeing yields in the 2’s is nice. But if you’re someone who thinks about annual returns, as in 12-months, make sure to read the small print in these offerings because you’d be locking up your money for at least 19 months. That’s more than a year and a half and makes the reality of these advertised 2% returns a bit of a tease.

As always, investor beware, read the small print and realize that rates could be going up before you know it.

 

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POCKETBOOK:Week ending March 3, 2018

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  • Another bull’s birthday

The bull market is going to be 9 this week. In dog years that would be 63 in human years. Okay okay—I know there’s nothing that really connects bulls with dogs and humans but then again, from a human’s point of view, 63 represents an age of maturity. One, that some figure, is an age worthy of retirement.

A look back at the historic lengths of  bull markets between 1926 through 2017 represented by  S&P 500 Index total returns reveals that a bull market lasts on average  9 years, according to FirstTrust (FTPortfolios.com). That puts this market in  watch-for-bears territory.

The longest bull market ,relating to that same index, lasted 13.9 years (from the 1930s-early 1940s), with an average annualized rate of return of 17.2%.  The shortest, 2.5 years in the early 1970s in which the average annualized gain was 25.3%.

Clearly, this bull market has been running a long time but more importantly,  bulls don’t run forever.

Then again, this same source reveals that S&P500 Index  bear markets have a history of being much shorter in length averaging only 1.4 years.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Back peddling and who knows for how long.

If, at the beginning of this year, you invested into an S&P 500 index fund or one that tracks the Russell 2000 you’ve lost money. Not so with the Nasdaq.

Who knows what the year-to-date returns will be by the end of this week but here’s a bet worth considering: If Trump continues to be hell-bent on imposing tariffs on the steel and aluminum that the US imports, the market might have a hell-bent time of moving upward.

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, March 3, 2018.

 

DJIA -0.73% YTD down and back into minus land–the previous week +2.02%  

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.83% down from the previous week’s 22.31%

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 +0.66% YTD significantly down from last week’s 2.76%

  • 1 yr Rtn +12.99% down from last week’s 16.40%

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 +5.13 YTD down from last week’s 6.29%

  • 1yr Rtn +23.83% down from last week’s 27.74%

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 -0.15%YTD down into minus land from last week’s 0.89%

  • 1yr Rtn +9.85% down from last week’s +11.08%

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

Reflecting a not-so-hot week for stocks, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was -0.31% at the close of business on Thursday, March 2, 2018, according to Lipper.

Near the end of 2017, many talking heads were projecting that markets outside of the U.S. were going to be the ones likely to score well this year. That however, hasn’t necessarily been the case. For instance, the year-to-date return for the average World Equity Fund was 0.11% as of Thursday’s close. There are 4,453 funds that fall under that broad heading.

Areas doing well and not-so-well under that heading include: Latin American Funds and China Region Funds, up 6.28% and3.66% respectively, on average. And, on the other hand,  India Region Funds and Global Equity Income Funds were down on average -5.40% and -2.08% respectively.

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.

 

  • Kohl’s and Aldi a match made in heaven?

There’s a maybe unlikely new couple coming to town: Kohl’s, the retailer that sends out so many discount coupons to their credit card holders that you wonder how in the world they make any money—-and Aldi, the German grocer that sells its food stuff and goodies at prices that don’t need any coupons to get shoppers into their stores.

The deal is, Kohl’s has too many stores with too much space in them and has plans to cut the size of its footprints, while Aldi is expected to open 900 new stores over the next five years, according to USA Today.

So,  the idea is to lob off some of existing Kolh’s stores space to make Aldi its next door neighbor.

If you’re a shopper of both, the idea makes sense. If you’re not, it might be time to try shopping at either.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.23, 2018

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  •   Some NRA related goodies now gone

I continue to be so very very proud of the students at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their behavior following the horrific slaughtering of their fellow students on Valentine’s Day. Their actions have changed—in a positive way–how I look at young people today. And, their impact across the country is not only admirable but their determination to make changes to the power that the NRA wields within our local and state governments and in Congress, with respect to the insane gun laws practiced in our country, is Nobel Prize for Peace worthy.

What today’s students are telling their fellow Americans of all ages is that they know better: Automatic rifles don’t belong in the hands of ordinary citizens because they are weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing groups of people within seconds. And the kids’ points are well-made and correct.

These kids also know that the wheels of justice aren’t WiFi connected or on speed dial regarding the amount of time it takes to change things. To that end, I was glad to read that some of our country’s most recognized brand business names have taken steps to hit NRA members where it hurts them the most—in their pocketbooks.

Of course some will say that  there are fairness issues here, but life trumps fairness. Always has. Always will.

So hats off to the organizations, firms and institutions that have decided to end their discount programs with the NRA and its members. A few of them include: Symantec, Chubb, Enterprise, MetLife, Best Western and Wyndham Hotels.

To learn more, visit #BoycottNRA on Twitter.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Words of advice from Warren Buffett’s latest annual letter: Don’t ever borrow money to buy stocks.

Amen to that.

And to these words from Buffett quoting his partner, Charlie Munger, a triple Amen: There are three ways to go broke:”liquor, ladies and leverage”.

As for last week, the place to bet in last week’s index winner performance race was Nasdaq—-it gained the most with a y-t-d return of almost 6.3% as of Friday’s close.

With stock volatility still very much in fashion and interest rates edging upwards, some are worried about inflation while others—namely Treasury Secretary Mnunchin—is pooh-poohing it and it’s impact.

I personally think he is way wrong. But then again, what do women know? (Wink wink.) A rising interest rate environment will affect all of us whether we are investors or not.

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. 23, 2018.

DJIA 2.02% YTD up from last week’s 2.02%  

  • 1 yr Rtn 22.31%

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 2.76% YTD up from last week’s 2.19%

  • 1 yr Rtn +16.22% down from last week’s 16.40%

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 +6.29 YTD up from last week’s 4.87%

  • 1yr Rtn +27.74% up from last week’s 24.50%

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 +0.89%YTD up from last week’s 0.52%

  • 1yr Rtn +11.08% up from last week’s +10.32%

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

As of Monday, Feb. 26, no new Lipper Performance figure updates were available.

Here is last a repeat of week’s report: 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 ll: Inv., -2.31%

-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.

 

•BlackRock

BlackRock is one heck of an investment firm and through the years has rewarded investors in its various index funds, ETFs, mutual funds and closed-end funds quite nicely.

That said, BlackRock, with an estimated $6 billion in assets that it manages, is a big time indirect gun company investor, according to the Associated Press.

Through its indirect investments,that same source reports that BlackRock is the largest stakeholder in America’s largest gun manufacturers. FactSet has reported that BlackRock has a 16.18% stake in Sturm Ruger, 11.91% in Vista, and a 10.5% stake in American Outdoor.

The trouble with fund investing is that it takes more than public outcry to change holdings in a fund, such as in mutual and index funds and ETFs. And, any changes in a fund’s investment objectives, style and holdings can’t be done willy-nilly: Changes and/or resolutions require votes and those voting privileges go out to everyone. That means you, as a shareholder, has voting rights.

Keep that in mind the next time you receive a voting proxy in the mail and decide to toss it out rather than to vote.

Funds are terrific investment vehicles. But, they are group investments. Don’t like what the fund invests in? Choose another fund. There are literally tens of thousands to choose from. Some are even Socially Responsible funds. Typically they don’t invest in sin stocks—like companies that make guns or ammunition.

Read a fund’s prospectus or check out its fund holdings before investing. You will find that info online at various sources. And don’t forget— a listing of  fund’s investments is partial and holdings aren’t updated daily but updated quarterly.

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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.

****

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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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

FullSizeRender(83)

•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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