Tag Archives: Lipper

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.16, 2018

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

 

 

  • Presidents’ Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 +2.19% YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -2.02%

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

From underwater to breathing a little bit of air.

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

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

  • The three funds with the highest returns, ytd:

-Fidelity Contrafund, up 6.58%

-American Funds Growth A, up 5.49%

-Vanguard FTSE Emerging Market ETF Fund, up 5.03%

 

  • The three funds with the least returns, ytd:

-Vanguard Total Bond ll: Inv, -2.31%

-Vanguard Total Bond;Ad, -2.20%

-American Funds CIB:A, -0.59%

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

 

  • Gun Sales Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

You go kids!

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.9, 2018

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  • Corrections and bears a good thing

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 -2.02% YTD down and in minus territory from last week’s 3.31%

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

After up comes down. And then more down.

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Gold not so golden

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

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

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

The performance numbers in that paragraph are good to remember.

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.2, 2018

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•2.5%—ya buy 2% milk, don’t ya?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We shall see.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

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

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

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

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.

 

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

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

No new high for the DJIA. The last one was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.

 

-S&P 500 +3.31% YTD down seriously from last week’s 7.45%

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Russell 2000 reached its latest all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

After up comes down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • REPEAT: Consider a stop-loss

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

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

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

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan. 26, 2018

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Personal income up and so is spending

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

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

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

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

Smart friend.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.

 

-Mutual funds

Higher returns, again.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

  • Consider a stop-loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nonetheless, a stop-loss order is worth considering.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan. 19, 2018

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  • Government shutdowns

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

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

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

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

We shall see.

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

More gains.

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

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

-Equity Leverage Funds, +8.37 %

-Large-Cap Growth Funds, +6.06%

-Multi-Cap Growth Funds, +5.59%

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

 

  • ETF Investing 24 hours a day

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

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

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

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

Again, remember that.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Jan. 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 Dec. 29, 2017

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  • Not every stock makes money

One of the honest-to-goodness realities of investing in stocks is that all stocks don’t make their shareholders money. In fact, every year—including in 2017— there are some winning doozies and some losing doozies.

Louis Navellier, in a recent email, included a listing of companies in which shares lost money and were on his “sell” list in 2017. Some included General Electric, down -43%, AmTrust Financial Services, down 63% and L Brands, down -44%.

Some of the winners on his “buy” list included TSL Education Group, up 150%, Align Technologies, up 146% and Burlington Stores, up 30%.

The way I see it, if your investments were up 10% or more, consider it a profitable year.

Wishing you another lucky year in 2018.

 

  • 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, Dec. 29, 2017.

DJIA +25.08% YTD down from last week’s 25.26%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.72% up from last week’s 24.27%

The last new high for the DJIA was reached on December 18, 2017 of 24,876.07.

 

-S&P 500 +19.85% YTD down from last week’s 19.85%.

  • 1yr Rtn +18.87% up from last week’s +18.68%

The S&P 500 reached its latest new high on December 18, 2017 of 2,694.97.

 

-NASDAQ +28.24% YTD down from last week’s +29.29%.

  • 1yr Rtn +27.09% down from last week’s 27.77%

Nasdaq reached its latest new high of 7,003.89 on December 18, 2017.

 

-Russell 2000 +13.14%YTD down from last week’s +13.69%

1yr Rtn +12.64% down from last week’s +13.23%

The Russell 2000 reached its last new all-time high on December 4, 2017 of 1,559.61.

 

-Mutual funds

Although the final year-end numbers for mutual funds has yet to be published, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading were still charming.

On the day before the 2017 trading year ended, Thursday, December 28, 2017, the average return was 18.91%, according to Lipper. That’s up from the close on Thursday of the previous week of 18.57%.

Below are the best and worst average returns for the fund types that fall under the Lipper’s four broad equity fund category headings through 12/28/17:

  • U.S. Diversified Equity Funds

-best: Equity Leverage Funds, average +42.86%

-worst: Alternative Equity Market Neutral Funds, -0.06%

 

  • Sector Equity Funds

-best: Global Science/Technology Funds, +44.61%

-worst: Energy MLP Funds, -5.95%

 

  • World Equity Funds

-best: China Region Funds, +43.34%

-worst: Global Equity Income Funds, +17.30

 

  • Mixed Asset Funds

-best: Mixed-Asset Target 2055+Funds,+21.48%

-worst: Alternative Multi-Strategy Funds, +4.80%

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.

 

  • Market volatility

2017 was a rewarding one for many. It was also a year in which the markets didn’t jump around as much as one might remember.

In fact, according to a recent SeekingAlpha story by Lance Roberts, the DJIA “enjoyed less adversity in 2017 than any other year in history going back over 100 years, (beginning data in 1915).”

Here’s hoping that 2018 is as easy going a year.

Happy New Year!

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Dec. 15, 2017

 

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He’s coming.

  • Dissatisfied

If you’re a market watcher, you’ve seen the market roar in a year that early 2017 talking heads predicted everything from a down market, to one up 10-15% or one filled with risk.

With only a few trading days left in the year, it appears forecasters had it wrong as the bull that lived in 2016 was stronger and more powerful in 2017.

But just because there has been plenty of bull around, doesn’t mean everyone  reaped its rewards. Half of Americans aren’t investors and of them, one broker told me that it’s pretty much only those will millions who have made the big money.

Ain’t that always the case.

That said, if the streaming traffic into local malls is any indication of holiday spirits and gift buying, folks appear to be spending money—or creating more debt for themselves—like crazy.

If that’s a good thing, the not-so-good good thing is that a recent Willis Towers Watson employee-based survey revealed  that just over one-third, (35%), of employees interviewed were satisfied with their finances this year (2017). That’s down from the 48 percent who were happy in 2015.

I’m hoping you are one of the satisfied ones.

  • Market Quick Glance

Flyin high.

At the close of business on Friday, all the indices followed here had made positive gains. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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, December 15, 2017.

DJIA +24.74% YTD up from last week’s 23.11%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.18% up from last week’s 24.03%

Oh geez..another new high for the DJIA. This time it was reached on December 15, 2017 with the Dow closing at 24,688.62

The previous was reached on December 4. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +19.52% YTD up from last week’s 18.43%.

  • 1yr Rtn +18.29% up from last week’s +18.04%

The S&P 500 reached another new high on December 15, 2017 as it closed at 2,679.63. Its previous high was reached on December 4, 2017 of 2,665.19.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +28.86% YTD up from last week’s +27.07%.

  • 1yr Rtn +27.12% up from last week’s 26.26%

On December 15, 2017, Nasdaq reached another new high of 6,945.82 The previous high of of 6,914.19 oon Nov. 28, 2017.

On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +12.77%YTD up from last week’s +12.13%

1yr Rtn +12.00% way up from last week’s +9.76%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high on December 4, 2017 of 1,559.61. The previous high was reached on November 30, 2017 of 1,551.69.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

-Mutual funds

No change from one week to the next  in the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading. On Thursday, December 14, 2017, it stood at +16.59% at the close of business that day, according to Lipper. That’s the same as it was on Thursday of the previous week, 16.59%.

Looking back one year, more specifically 52 weeks,  the average return of funds under that heading was a bit lower at +15.51%. Two year ago it stood at +13%. Three years ago at +8.53%. And five years ago (12/13/12 to 12/14/17) it was +12.68%.

The point here?

Although returns might not change from week to week, stock fund performances change often. Like daily. All the time. And every year.

Remember that.

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.

 

  • Looking ahead

Like him or not, our admitted pussy-grabbing president is more popular today than he was in September, according to a brand new hot-off-the-Internet CNBC All-American Economy Survey.

Survey results show:

-42% approve of the job Trump is doing as president—that’s up 4 points from the previous survey.

-49% disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president—that’s down 3 points.

-41% expect the economy to improve next year.

–And for the first time in 11 years, over half of those questioned rated the economy as good or excellent.

Huh.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Dec. 8, 2017

 

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My Bitcoin story at bottom of this blog. (Photo from Reuters)
  • Bulls

Last week’s AAII sentiment survey reflected that bull-o-mania continued to be alive and well in investors’ minds.

And, that that sentiment continued to break records: For 153 weeks straight that positive, making-money thinking has been going on, according to Bespoke.

That’s kinda scary as most investors know first-hand that bull markets don’t last forever—-even the most fertile of bulls need to take a rest every now and then.

Time to place your bets on when this one will.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A few cracks in year-to-date and 1-year returns with all of the 1-year returns lower than they were 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, December 8, 2017.

DJIA +23.11% YTD up from last week’s 22.61%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +24.03% down from last week’s 26.26%

Another new high for the DJIA was reached on December 4, 2017 of 24,534.04. The previous high was hit on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 of  24,327.82.

On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +18.43% YTD up a bit from last week’s 18.02%.

  • 1yr Rtn +18.04% down from last week’s +20.59%

The S&P 500 reached another new high on December 4, 2017 of 2,665.19. Its previous high was reached on November 30, 2017 of 2,657.74.

On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +27.07% YTD down a bit from last week’s +27.20%.

  • 1yr Rtn +26.26% down a lot from last week’s 30.40%

 

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,914.19 oon Nov. 28, 2017. The previous high of 6,890.02 was reached on November 24, 2017.

On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +12.13%YTD down from last week’s +13.26%

•1yr Rtn +9.76% way down from last week’s +16.99%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high on December 4, 2017 of 1,559.61. The previous high was reached on November 30, 2017 of 1,551.69.

On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Cracks here, too.

Last week the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading, was +16.59% at the close of business on Thursday, December 7, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s down from the previous week’s return of +17.37%.

Fourteen of the 25 largest (most assets) funds around had year-to-date returns of over 20%. The most rewarding? The Fidelity Contrafund at +31.06%.

The least rewarding? Two of Vanguard’s bond funds: The Vanguard Total Bond II:Investors and the Vanguard Total Bond: Admiral. Both up +3.43% and +3.53% 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.

 

 

  • Betting on Bitcoin

I’ve been watching the per share prices on the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) for the past couple of years. Over the past year I’ve seen its share price go from a low of around $60 to a high of$1,905.55. And through it all I’ve thought about kicking  myself for not buying at least a couple of shares.

The reason I didn’t pull the trigger was because of its so hugely volatile stock price. One day GBTC would spike up and a few days later fall dramatically.

But more important than deciding to buy into that trust was coming up with an answer about when to sell the  shares.

I know myself well enough to know that if I had actually purchased shares at say 100 or even 300 bucks a share, I probably would have sold those shares when/if they doubled or tripled in price.

I believe in taking profits.

Oldsters might remember Fidelity’s super-duper fund manager Peter Lynch. Stocks that doubled in share price after he’d purhased them he refered to as a double-bagger. Those that tripled, a triple-bagger. And so on.

It’s not every day of the year, or week, or month that a stock’s price moves up by two-, three-, ten-fold or more. I know that.

I also know that it would have been real easy to have purchased GTBC at $100 a share, sell it at say $300 and then wish I had held on longer.

But the name of the Wall Street game isn’t about kicking yourself for what you didn’t do: It’s about making money for what you did do re your investment choices.  Then moving on.

So not knowing how high–or low–a stock price will move over time  is what makes investing such a seductive and mysterious game. And one not everyone is equiped to handle.

That said, as  I wrote earlier, I believe in taking profits.

And then  being glad they were there to be had–no matter how big or little the reward.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov. 24, 2017

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Could there be a bear in Wall Street’s future? The Vanguard Group thinks that there is now a 70 percent of a stock market correction.(Photo from CNBC)
  • Wal-Mart

If you’re looking for low-wage work, Wal-Mart is the place to apply. Why? For one, it’s the largest employer across America with over 1.5 million employees. And two, it’s the largest employer in nearly half of our nation’s 50 states—actually 22 states out of our 50.

Guess that helps to explain why so many people across our nation are financially challenged: low wage jobs don’t translate into financial security.

While that’s the way it is today, low-wage jobs from mega-corporations such as Wal-Mart haven’t always been in vogue.

Once upon a time working for big companies was in and came with substantial salaries and attractive benefits. Even for those without a high-school diploma or a college degree.

According to MyBudget360.com, looking back to the mid-1950s, when America was building cars, car parts and the fuel that made them run, the biggest employers were GM, Chrysler, U.S. Steel, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Amoco, Goodyear and Firestone.

It was good-paying jobs at companies like those, and those in other industries,  that created a growing and prosperous middle-class.

Now that’s all changed. As the middle-class dwindles and the numbers of low-wage jobs have increased along with  stagnant wages , workers struggle to pay their bills and get ahead.

That said, this holiday season is projected to be a big one for retailers. Like Wal-Mart.

Go figure.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Last week was a short week with pretty good results.

 But before going there, Vanguard is telling its investors not to expect more than a 4 to 6 percent annual return from the stock market going forward for the next five years.

“It’s unreasonable to expect rates of returns, which exceeded our own bullish forecast from 2010, to continue,” said Joe Davis, Vanguard’s chief economist.

Makes sense to me.

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, November 24, 2017.

DJIA +19.20% YTD up from last week’s 18.19%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +23.45% down from last week’s 23.56%

Another new high for the DJIA of 23,617.8 was reached on November 21, 2017.

The previous high of 23,602.12 was reached on November 7, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +16.24% YTD up from last week’s 15.19%.

  • 1yr Rtn +18.04% up from last week’s +17.91%

The S&P 500 reached another new high on November 24, 2017 of 2,604.21.

Its previous high of 2,597.02 was reached on November 7, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +27.98% YTD up from last week’s +26.00%.

  • 1yr Rtn +28.04% up from last week’s 27.16%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,890.02 on November 24, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,806.67 was reached on November 16, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +11.94%YTD up from last week’s +10.00%

1yr Rtn +13.19% down from last week’s +14.00%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,524.18 on November 22, 2017.

Its previous high of 1,514.94 was reached on October 5, 2017. On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Last week provided a solid  move upward in the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds. Under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading, the average fund was +15.55% at the close of business on Wednesday, November 22, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s up from the previous week’s return of +14.34%.

Leaving equity fund types aside, here are the year-to-date cumulative total reinvested returns for various fixed-income funds:

  • The average Ultra-Short Obligation Fund, + 11.28%.
  • Short/Intermediate Govt. & Treasury Funds,  +1.67%
  • Short /Intermediate Investment Grade Funds, +2.95%
  • General Domestic Taxable Fixed-Income Funds, +4.81%
  • And World Income Funds up7.19%.

Looking at the entire fixed-income group the average year-to-date return was +4.48% through11/22/17.

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.

 

  • Forget cybershopping. Be fiscally wise. Use cash.

I was at J.Jill the other day purchasing myself a few holiday items. (The first person on my gift list is me, isn’t it you on yours?)

When it came time to pay my most excellent sales woman asked if I wanted to open a J.Jill credit card. She said that doing so would save me an additional 10% on my purchases that day and come with a bunch of other savings opportunities in the future. I declined. The last thing I need is another credit card. So I paid in cash.

Yes, cash. It’s still accepted at retailers you know,  but apparently is a bit of an oddity.

After I handed her the required cash, she commented that usually most people pay with credit cards but that the majority of those she had waited on this day were paying in cash.

I smiled and thought to myself about the benefits of paying with cash: No worries about somebody stealing my credit card number or hacking my bank accounts,  retailers don’t  have  to pay any fees to  credit card companies for using the cards, and best of all I don’t overspend.

And then there are the health benefits: Paying with cash gets you out of the house, moving and  socializing.

Cash: Looks like a win-win for everyone.

Try it.

 

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