Tag Archives: Lipper

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.11, 2018

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•Grifter

Have to admit, I never really thought much about what a grifter was until I’d heard that Wilbur Ross, our United States Secretary of Commerce, was described as one. The 80-year old Jr., is supposed to be one of the richest members in Trump’s cabinet, who somehow didn’t divest all of his securities before accepting the position. As for how he accumulated all of his wealth, that Forbes estimates it to be around $700 million, all sorts of reasons swirl—including those resulting from the talents of a grifter.

From a Forbes story written by Dan Alexander published earlier this month: “If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.”

Who knows if that’s true or not. But, what does have a foundation in the truth is what a grifter is. Here are two definitions:

  • From www. vocabulary.com :” If there’s one type of person you don’t want to trust, it’s a grifter: someone who cheats others out of money. Grifters are also known as chiselers, defrauders, gougers, scammers, swindlers, and flim-flam men. Selling a bridge and starting a Ponzi scheme are things a grifter might do.”
  • From http://www.merriam-webster.com :”Grift” was born in the argot of the underworld, a realm in which a “grifter” might be a pickpocket, a crooked gambler, or a confidence man-any criminal who relied on skill and wits rather than physical violence-and to be “on the grift” was to make a living by stings and clever thefts.”

For some reason, I can’t help but think that their may be a few more grifters roaming around in Trump’s White House world.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

An upper of a week for all four indices here.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data if according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Aug.10, 2018.

DJIA 2.40% YTD down from previous week’s return of 3.01%

•1 yr Rtn 15.88% up the previous week’s 15.60 %

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 5.97% YTD down from last week’s 6.24%

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.06% up from last week’s 14.89%

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

 

-NASDAQ 13.55% YTD up from last week’s 13.16%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.09% up from last week’s 23.21%

Nasdaq reached a new 52-week high on July 25, 2081 of 7,933.32. The previous high was reached on July 17, 2018 of 7,867.15.

 

-Russell 2000 9.85% YTD up from last week’s 8.98%

  • 1yr Rtn 22.90% up from last week’s 19.08%

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

 

-Mutual funds

A jump up for the week’s average from two weeks ago. Then, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 6.97%. At the close of business on Thursday, August 9, 2018 that average return had moved ahead to 7.18%, according to Lipper.

Small-Cap Growth Funds was the group with the best average performance for the 592 funds that Lipper tracks under that heading — average total return of 16.48%.

Now is as good a time as any to that a look back at how equity  funds have performed over the past 52 week, 2 years, 3 years and 5 years. And, Small-Cap Growth Funds have done well, from this perspective. From the most recent (52 weeks) to the longest, (5 years) that group’s average performance was: 32.42%; 22.58%; 12.84%; and 11.99%.

Compare that with the average total returns for all of the U.S. Diversify Equity Funds and the performance numbers look as follows: 18.40%; 15.34%; 10.14% and 10.15%.

Small-Cap Growth Funds has outperformed in all.

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.

 

  • Turkeys

 Remember the old 1970s and 1980s saying, “Don’t let the turkeys get you down”?

Back then the turkey part had nothing to do with the country of Turkey. It referred to dealing with jerks and suggested not to let those who can wreck our day do just that.

Today, it’s the value of Turkey’s withering currency and their economic problems that have been playing havoc with our markets.

Combine that with President Trump’s desire to impose tariffs on pretty much everything, and perhaps it’s time to bring back that old saying.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 28, 2018

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  • Happy Birthday Medicare and Medicaid

 Every now and then celebrating a good thing is a good idea.Take Medicare and Medicaid, for instance. Both very good ideas signed into law on July 30, 1965 by Lyndon B Johnson as amendments to the Social Security Act of 1935.

Initially created to provide hospital and medical insurance for people aged 65 and over, and to care for low-income individuals, Medicare and Medicaid both went into effect in 1966. According to History.com, over 19 million people were enrolled that year.

In 1972, Medicare was extended and made available to Americans under the age of 65 who had certain disabilities.

Today, approximately 57 million people are enrolled in Medicare; AARP data expects that figure to swell to nearly 80 million  by 2030; and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report there are approximately  11.7 million people simultaneously enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.

So Happy Birthday to Medicare and Medicaid. Many Americans thank you dearly and rely upon your services every day of our lives.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

When last week ended it was indices representing  larger companies that made the most gains. That said, a look at year-to-date numbers reveal that NASDAQ continues to be the biggest winning index so far this year with the Russell 2000 next in line.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, July 27, 2018.

DJIA 2.96% YTD a jump up from previous week’s return of 1.37%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.55% up from the previous week’s 15.95 %

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 5.43% YTD up from last week’s 4.80%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.03% up from last week’s 13.28%

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

 

-NASDAQ 12.08% YTD down from last week’s 13.28%

  • 1yr Rtn 21.38% down from last week’s 22.38%

Nasdaq reached a new 52-week high on July 25, 2081 of 7,933.32. The previous high was reached on July 17, 2018 of 7,867.15.

 

-Russell 2000 8.32% YTD down a lot from last week’s 10.50%

  • 1yr Rtn 16.38% down from last week’s 17.64%

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

 

-Mutual funds

Pick your fund type. Pick any sized cap and as long as “large” is in part of it’s name, your investments are doing double-digit fine, so far this year.

At the close of business on Thursday, July 26, 2018, the average total return performance for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 6.96%, according to Lipper. That’s up from the previous week’s average of was 6.49%..

There are a total of 20 different  category types included under that broad heading representing 8,404 funds. And, there are now four different categories with double-digit average y-t-d returns. They include: Small-Cap Growth Funds, 16.67%; Large-Cap Growth Funds, 14.17%; Multi-Cap Growth Funds, 12.76%; and Mid-Cap Growth Funds, 12.35%.

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.

 

  • Pricy Convenience

 Last week, a friend of mine went online to pay her annual car license tag fee in the State of Florida.  A conservative spender, she won’t be doing that again.

Not only did she find the experience a bit confusing and time-consuming, she had to pay an additional $3.50, called a “convenience fee”, for completing the transaction online.

Some convenience, I thought. Mailing it would have been 50 cents— the cost of a First-Class stamp.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Golden Cross

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

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

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

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 14, 2018

Here

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And from the recent running of the bulls comes this: a fake bull. Kinda sorta made me wonder about our market.

 

  • Millennial Yikes!

There’s a different world coming if you’re a believer in survey results

According to a recent 2018 Retirement Preparedness Survey commissioned by PGIM Investments, 31% of millennials aren’t saving for retirement at all BECAUSE they don’t see the point in preparing for it. They responded that “anything can happen between now and then.”

Well, that’s true. But, anything– whatever is meant by it– takes money. And heaps of it–particularly during the decades spent in retirement.

Additionally, 62% of those responding said they plan on retiring when they have enough money (wonder where they expect to get it?) and 66% said that they think full-time jobs would be kaput and that 75% of the public would work as freelancers in the future. And one more thing,  that “people will no longer retire comfortably in the future.”

Oh my.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

More ups over the short term, but not so for 1-year return figures.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, July 13, 2018.

DJIA 1.21% YTD back up into positive territory re previous week’s return of –1.06%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.08% up from the previous week’s 14.71 %

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

-S&P 500 4.78% YTD up from last week’s 3.22%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.44% down a hair from last week’s 14.53%

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

-NASDAQ 13.36% YTD a jump up from last week’s 11.37%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.73% down from last week’s 26.26%

Nasdaq reached a new 52-week high on July 13, 2018 of 7,843.53. The previous high was reached on June 20, 2018 of 7,806.6.

-Russell 2000 9.87% YTD down from last week’s 10.74%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.34% down from last week’s 20.93%

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

 

-Mutual funds

A repeat.

At the close of business on Thursday, July 5, 2018, the total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had an average return of 4.35%, according to Lipper.

Nonetheless, it’s first still a small cap world as the average cumulative total return for Small-Cap Growth Funds averaged 14.34%.

The category of funds with the closest average y-t-d- return was–surprise surprise–Large Cap  Growth funds at 9.73%.

Double digit y-t-d average returns were also found under the Sector Funds heading with Science & Tech Funds, 12.04%, followed by Global Science/ Tech Funds, 11.64% and then Health/Tech Funds, 10.43%.

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.

  • The cost of trade wars

So far, estimates are that this just beginning trade war is going to cost households about $60 more bucks a year. Another source estimates that figure to be more than double–$127 per household.

I’m guessing it’s going to be considerably more. Time will tell.

Till then, consider this from the blog of money manager Doug Kass:

“History has proven that one trade tariff begets another and another until you get a full blown trade war. And the consumer seems to always get screwed. Currency wars always lead to trade wars and vice versa and which in turn could lead to hot war. ”

Kass says that trade wars aren’t supposed to be easy.

I’ll add, not cheap either.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 7, 2018

 

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(Source: SeekingAlpha.com)
  • Making money in stocks? Where?

 No denying that lots of folks say that they are loving the economy believing in the super job growth and the sweet returns of the stock market. But before jumping on that  bandwagon, remember most of the praise comes from our president and those he has hired to praise him and praise all things Trump-related.

A look at the chart above, included in a recent SeekingAlpha.com article, shows how various types of stocks have fallen from their highs during the past 52 weeks.

Commentary in that same story pointed out that the telecom services sector stocks are down an average of nearly 19% from their highs and consumer discretionary stocks down 16%.

So how you doin?

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The DJIA was the only index that had a lower year-to-date return last week than it had 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, July 7, 2018.

DJIA -1.06% YTD down even more than the previous week’s return of -056%

•1 yr Rtn 14.71% down from the previous week’s 14.88%

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 3.22% YTD  up from last week’s 1.67%

•1 yr Rtn 14.53% up from last week’s 12.34%

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

-NASDAQ 11.37% YTD up a lot from last week’s 8.79%

  • 1yr Rtn 26.26% way up from last week’s 22.23%

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

-Russell 2000 10.74% YTD up a heap from last week’s 7.00%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.93% up a lot from last week’s 16.02%

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

 

-Mutual funds

Changes abound with some not exactly hot returns lately for your basic mutual fund. At the close of business on Thursday, July 5, 2018, the total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had an average return of 4.35%, according to Lipper.

Nonetheless, it’s  still a small cap world as the average cumulative total return for Small-Cap Growth Funds averaged 14.34%.

The category of funds with the closest average y-t-d- return behind it was–surprize surprize—Lare-Cap Growth funds at 9.73%.

Double digit y-t-d average returns were also found under the Sector Funds heading with Science & Tech Funds, 12.04%, followed by Global Science/ Tech Funds, 11.64% and then Health/Tech Funds, 10.43%.

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.

 

  • More of US not working

 Numbers show that not nearly as many of us are working today as there were 10 years ago.

MyBudget360.com reported that one-third of our work force—or 95.5 million Americans– are not working today. That’s a big jump up from the 80 million not working in 2009.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 17, 2018

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  • Not so subtle signs

The great divide between our two America’s — one in which the wealthy enjoy the fruits of their fortunes and the much larger group that finds making it harder and more challenging than ever—is not-so subtly showing signs of widening.

On the one hand, the Fed says the economy is roaring along just fine even guestimating GDP growth could hit something like 4% this year. On the other, the second rise in key short-term rates this year from 1.75 to 2% may add pennies to one’s saving accounts and money market fund accounts. But, it is also making a bigger dent  for those  who will see increases on the interest rates charged by credit card accounts,  rates on mortgages, variable line-of-credit accounts,  car loans. etc.

And everybody is noticing. Two examples: CNBC reported that half of Americans aren’t taking summer vacations this year and  real estate developers are offering super deals for new home buyers.

In my local paper on Friday (6/15/18), I saw  new home developers offering  mighty attractive discounts to entice  new home buyers to buy.

At On Top of the World, a 55+ community in Ocala, Florida where new homes are priced from the $160s to over $400s, ran a full-page read, “GET MORE FOR LESS” offering a 25% on all options.

Divosta, a developer with a huge and long-standing presence in Palm Beach County, was —get this— giving a free pool with screen enclosure—to new home buyers at their Sonoma Isles development in Jupiter through June 18th.

That said, my adult life’s experience in South Florida has shown me that whenever  real estate developers start discounting their prices and/or offering what’s typically costly upgrades, it’s been a sign that they’re concerned about sales.

The good news here is  anybody who can qualify and afford a new home at either of these developments has got to love getting any kind of discount or a new pool.

The bad news is  not everyone can either qualify for or afford to buy a new home these days. And even small interest rate hikes upward only exasperate that problem.

Now imagine what a number of interest rate hikes upward will do.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

LISTEN UP!!!! Two, yes, not one but two of the indices followed here scored big last week: Both the NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 hit new all-time record numbers last week. Yahoo for  them.

That’s something to crow about particularly since the rest of the investing arena is in a little bit of quandary with interest rates on the rise. As we all know, any move in any direction of interest impacts all sorts of things including equities.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, June 15, 2018.

DJIA 1.50% YTD ouch as that index is down again from the previous week’s return of 2.42%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.27% big downward move from the previous week’s 19.52%

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

 

-S&P 500 3.97% YTD up a hair from last week’s 3.94%.

•1 yr Rtn 14.27% up a bit from last week’s 14.19%

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

 

-NASDAQ 12.21% YTD a whopping big move up from last week’s 10.75%

  • 1yr Rtn 25.64% also a big up from last week’s 20.94%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 14,2018 of 7,768.6. The previous highs was reached on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27

 

-Russell 2000 9.66% YTD up from last week’s 8.92%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.42% up from last week’s 18.15%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW ALL-TIME HIGH on June 12, 2018 of 1,686.37. The previous high was reached on January 24, of 1,615.52.

 

-Mutual funds

Last week’s data not available yet. Data below is from previous week:

The total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading enjoyed an average return of 5.11% at the close of business on Thursday, June 7, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s up a lot from the previous week’s average total return of 2.84%.

In the big time skids this year are Latin American Funds. Of the 33 that Lipper tracks, the y-t-d average total return was underwater at -12.00%.

Other World Equity Funds that haven’t fared well so far this year was India Funds, -7.50%. And in third underwater place Emerging Markets Funds, -1.38%.

Overall, World Equity Funds are up 0.90%.

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

 

  • Golden opportunities?

If you’re a believer in Morningstar data and research, the pros over at that Chicago-based firm aren’t expecting much in returns from that precious metal we call gold.

In a recent column by Kristoffer Inton, “Gold Steady in Face of Rate Hikes”, had this to write about the recent the impact of interest rates on gold: “This rate doesn’t change our view…. We continue to expect the gold price to fall to $1,225 per ounce by then end of 2018…. “

He continued:  “Additionally, although the recent rise in inflation bodes well for gold, we think that higher inflation will only spur a more rapid pace of rate hikes.”

And then there is this from a recent ETFTrends.com story: “China is the world’s largest consumer of many commodities, including precious metals.

“Tariffs on China could be a game changer for metals markets, ” George Gero, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, told the WSJ.”

The ETFTrends.com story points out that one area precious metals are making positive strides is in inverse or bearish ETFs.

If you’re a fan of gold, that’s an area worth investigating.

Sometimes down pays up.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 9, 2018

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Telling lines.
  • Fickle trickle

Funny how the average guy and gal have to use a magnifying glass to see the effect of Trump’s trickle down economic policies in their day-to-day lives.

Yes, businesses are expanding, the unemployment rate is down and the stock market has yet to stumble and fall. But unless you’re in the top 10 percent of wage earners, odds are your salary hasn’t increased much over the past couple of years.

Wealth equality in the U.S. is and has been a rising problem for decades. Statistica.com reported that in 2017, the lower-income 50 percent of the population owned about 1.1% of total wealth while that sliver of the top 1% owned 35% of it.

That spread doesn’t bode well for the majority of Americans who hope and believe that their hard work will come with huge financial rewards for them and their families in the coming years. But while hard work is a virtue in itself, it comes with no guarantees of everyone becoming a multi-millionaire.

That said, every working person can build a nest egg. How big that nest egg grows to depends more on goal-setting, focus and perseverance than it does most everything else—including market conditions and government policies.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Last week, NASDAQ made the greatest gains, now up over 10% for the year, behind it was the Russell 2000 with a year-to-date return of nearly 9%.

So it continues to be a kinda sorta small-cap world.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, June 8, 2018.

DJIA 2.42% YTD  up again and a lot from the previous minus week’s close of -0.34%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.52% down from the previous week’s 16.51%

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 3.94% YTD up from last week’s 2.28%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.19% up from last week’s 12.53%

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 10.75% YTD up from last week’s 9.43%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.94% up a hair from last week’s 20.93%

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 8.92% YTD up from last week’s 7.32%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.15% up from last week’s 18.05%

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

Following the indices returns, the total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading enjoyed an improved average y-t-d return–it was  5.11% at the close of business on Thursday, June 7, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s up a lot from the previous week’s average total return of 2.84%.

In the big time skids arena this year are Latin American Funds. Of the 33 that Lipper tracks, the y-t-d average total return was underwater at -12.00%.

Another of the  World Equity Funds that haven’t fared well so far this year was India Funds, -7.50%. And in third underwater place Emerging Markets Funds, -1.38%.

Overall, World Equity Funds are up 0.90%.

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

 

  • Recession ahead? Yes. Sometime.

Lots of chatting about an upcoming recession. Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher even put his two cents worth in the other night with respect to it.

Not in favor of his words. Then again, his point is well taken as American voters have a historic tendency to vote with respect to how fat their pocketbooks are. So a recession happening prior to voting time could have a big impact in taking Trump out of office.

That said, recessions happen. They are a natural part of our economic world. Always have been. Always will be.

That means, it should come as no surprise at all to read that economists at the National Association of Business Economics are foreseeing a recession beginning next year or in early 2020.

And why do they think that? Well, after a steaming economy and a bull market running something like 9,10,11 years or so means it’s a sooner-or-later, for sure, natural event that’s gonna happen. Sometime.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 1, 2018

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•More bull?

Wall Street’s talking heads are never at a loss of words. Or outlooks. Here’s what one bull sees.

Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research thinks that there is still plenty of money to be made in this market, has a S&P 500 index year-end target price of 3100 —that’s 13% above where it stands today—and sees the small-cap rally continuing.

In a recent CNBC.com story, Yardeni said, “Small cap stocks are on fire, at record highs, because they are not as exposed to the global economy in currency and protectionism.”

And, he’s  not alone in his small-cap rally thinking.

We shall see.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It’s been a small-cap world for anyone paying attention to the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices as each has made some nice strides in a positive direction lately and last 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, June 1, 2018.

DJIA -0.34% YTD once again back into minus territory from the previous week’s

+0.14%.

•1 yr Rtn 16.51% down from the previous week’s 19.61%

  • 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 2.28% YTD up from last week’s 1.78%

  • 1 yr Rtn 12.53% down a tad from last week’s 12.68%

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 9.43% YTD up a heap from last week’s 7.68%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.93% up from last week’s 19.80%

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 7.32% YTD a jump up from last week’s 5.95%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.05% down from last week’s 17.60%

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

Your basic equity fund lost a little ground last week.

The average performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a total return of 2.84% year-to-date at the close of business on Thursday, May 31, 2018. That’s lower than it was one week before, (May 26), it was 3.34%.

It’s been a Small-Cap Growth funds’ world lately as the average y-t-d return for them clocked in at 10.75% last Thursday. That’s up from the previous week.

Science & Tech funds with home grown as well as global companies in their portfolios continue to do well, too.

Not so hot have been World Equity Funds—the average one’s return was underwater at -0.86% last week.

World Income Funds have fared worse with the average y-t-d total return of the 750 funds that fall under this heading of -2.57%.

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.

 

  • Our poor kids

No matter how great you think last week’s job report was, or how great you think the economy is, if you step back and take an objective view, President Trump’s personal business management style for America has rewarded the wealthy far more than it has the middle, and lower classes.

Philip Alston, a U.N. human rights investigator released a report that he will present to the United Nations Human Rights Council later this month, pointed out that while Trump has cut benefits and health insurance to the poor in America, his reforms have been “financial windfalls” for the mega-rich and large corporations.

Nothing new there. But what I found was of particular importance was how hard hit his policy changes have been for  our kids.

Alston said that nearly 41 million people, 12.7 percent, live in poverty in the U.S. Of them 18.5 million live in extreme poverty and one in three kids are poor.

Worse yet, he said that the United States has the highest youth poverty rate among industrialized countries.

That’s nothing to be proud about no matter what figures the Trump Administration boasts about.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 26, 2018

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  • Uber-Rich Goal Setting

Having a personal goal of a retirement account with $1 million in it is noble, even though 1,000,000 won’t necessarily get many very far in retirement. Certainly not as far as it did 20, 30 or definitely 50 years ago. Nonetheless, that target figure is worth shooting for for the masses.

For the super elite, however, it’s chump change.

According to Bloomberg, in the world of private bankers who cater to the uber-wealthy, having $25 million in investable wealth makes one considered rich and provides the “basic service” from private wealth bankers.

But wait. There’s more.

Business Class for the uber-wealthy in a private banker’s eye takes $100 million; First Class, $200 million; and Private Jet Rich, $1 billion.

Set your goals as your needs dictate.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Once again it was the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices where positive strides were recorded last week.

If the indices are telling investors anything, it’s to have a diversified portfolio.

Nothing exciting about that news except that it’s always wise advice.

Last week Bespoke Investments listed some of NASDAQs best and worst performing stocks so far this year. Here are the names of the most notable in each category:

  • Top 3 performing stocks from the NASDAQ 100:

Netflix (NFLX) up 81.96%; Micron (MU) up 12.41%; and Align Technology (ALGN) up 42.69%.

  • Three biggest losing stocks from the NASDAQ 100:

DISH Network (DISH) down -36.15%, NetEase(NTES) down -35.37%; and Dentsply Sirona (XRAY) down -29.80%.

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, May 25, 2018.

DJIA 0.14% YTD moved up into plus territory from the previous week’s -0.02%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.61% down from the previous week’s 19.61%

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 1.78% YTD up a tiny bit from week’s 1.47%

  • 1 yr Rtn 12.68% down from last week’s 14.68%

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 7.68% YTD up a little from last week’s 7.24%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.80% down from last week’s 21.46%

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 5.95% YTD up a hair from last week’s 5.93%

  • 1yr Rtn 17.60% down from last week’s 19.51%

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

With the beginning of summer fast approaching, and the old saying reminding investors to sell in May and go away, that play hasn’t been particularly a good one within the mutual fund arena—so far.

For example,the average performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was up 3.34% year-to-date at the close of business on Thursday, May 24, 2018. That’s much higher than it was three weeks before– on May 3 it was 0.65%.

Small-Cap Growth funds have made the biggest gains and were up on average over 10%,

Also with heading averages up 10% or more year-to-date were Science & Technology Funds, 10.98%; Global Science & Technology funds, 10.79%; and Commodities Energy Funds, 12.99%.

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 Card Debt Growing

Not sure who in Washington has noticed, but it has been apparent to most folks living across America that the cost of living is going up. Who hasn’t noticed that the increased cost of a gallon of gas makes an impact in the amount of disposable cash one has in their pockets? Or that groceries, even at places like Aldi’s, cost a little more? And that a buck or two increase in one’s hourly pay doesn’t translate to much?

So it may come as no surprise that people are using their credit cards more and more. And, not paying their balances off in full each month.

According to MyBudget360.com, there is more than $1 trillion in credit card debt outstanding in America these days.  Most of that debt is on cards issued by smaller banks.

From that source: “Credit card delinquencies at more than 4,700 small US banks are not past the figure reached at the peak of the last financial crisis.”

Oh my.

 

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 18, 2018

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  • The BEST investing advice EVER

Sometimes the most realistic investment advice comes in the form of a simple truth.

According to Bob Veres, editor of Inside Information as quoted in an ETFTrends.com piece last week, Veres said: “As it turns out, the predictions made by financial experts are no better than those made by gypsies looking into crystal balls, soothsayers gazing at the entrails of a sacrificed animal or wizards with tall caps who gaze into space. In fact, the financial experts might even be LESS reliable than those other charlatans.”

In other words, article author Rick Kahler, wrote: “The problem with accurately predicting what direction the US stock market is heading in the near future is that no expert really knows.”

And as Lily Tomlin’s character Edith Ann used to say, “ And that’s the truth.”

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Last week’s worst performance was in the DJIA—it slumped back into minus territory but not by much—a hair, if you will.

The place to play recently? NASDAQ and Russell 2000 indices. NASDAQ was up the most, Russell 2000 and then the S&P 500.

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, May 18, 2018.

DJIA -0.02% YTD back into minus territory from previous week’s +0.45%

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.61% up from the previous week’s 18.70%

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 1.47% YTD down from week’s 2.02%

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.68% up from last week’s 13.92%

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 7.24% YTD down from last week’s 7.24%

  • 1yr Rtn 21.46% up a tiny bit from last week’s 21.04%

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 5.93% YTD up from last week’s 4.64%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.51% up a lot from last week’s 15.58%

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 the May 3 report:

The average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.53% at the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2018, 0.65%, according to Lipper. That’s a fall from the previous week’s 0.65% average.

Small-Cap Growth funds ended the week with an average y-t-d return average of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again Dedicated Short Bias Funds had improved and were down only -4.25% instead of -5.43% from the previous week.

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.

 

  • Got a million in your 401(k)? Good. But keep saving.

Once upon a time having a retirement account with one million bucks in it was a big deal. Today, that ain’t necessarily so.

Fidelity Investments reports that at the end of the first quarter of 2018, there were about 50,000 more 401(k) plans with balances of $1 million or more than there were last year. That’s a figure increase from 108,000 to 157,000. Also, that contributors have increased the amount they save.

That’s all good news, accept that all that moola may not be enough to live a comfortable  retirement life.

In a FoxBusiness.com report, author and tax attorney Rebecca Walser reminded investors that what goes up must come down. “Most major crashes occur within a short 2.5-month timeframe, and even Warren Buffett recently warned shareholders that a 50% loss should be expected.

“If someone is 10 years or less from retirement, they need a plan to forgo the large downturn that is coming this time around – they do not have the investment horizon left to recover from such a portfolio loss.”

Geez. One can’t help but wonder when–if– the need for huge bucks to live out our old age will ever stop.

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