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.”
It all began in 1885 with the distinct purpose of celebrating the birth date of America’s first president, George Washington, whose actual birthday is February 22nd. (He died in 1799.)
In the 133 years since, George’s b-day has morphed into a national holiday with little regard or respect for his actual day of birth. So instead of parades and speeches, his big day has been clumped in with the birthdays of three other past presidents and mashed into a three-day holiday weekend where shopping and mini-vacations rule—not presidential praise.
Incase you may have forgotten, the reason we have a 3-day Presidents’ Day holiday, along with other 3-day celebrations, is because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act put in place in 1971. When I was a kid, that wasn’t the case. And, there were also only three past presidents who had birthdays in February and not four as there are currently.
With that said, here are the names of the four presidents whose birthdays are in February and thus part of reason we celebrate are….drum roll please….George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
If you named all four, consider yourself much much smarter than a 5th Grader and many current high school and college grads.
And from our first US president, George Washington, on this Presidents’ Day comes this timely tidbit: “I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
Market Quick Glance
With stocks on sale last week, it’s not surprising that by Friday all indices followed here moved from negative into positive year-to-date returns.
The markets are closed on Monday, February 19, 2018 in honor of Presidents’ Day.
Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018.
–DJIA +2.02% YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -2.14%
- 1 yr Rtn +22.31% up from last week’s 19.92%
Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.
-S&P 500 +2.19% YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -2.02%
- 1 yr Rtn +16.40% up from last week’s 13.51%
The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.
-NASDAQ +4.87 YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -0.42%
- 1yr Rtn +24.50% up a jump from last week’s 20.287%
Nasdaq latest new all-time high of 7,505.77 was reached on January 26, 2018. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38.
-Russell 2000 +0.52%YTD up and back into + territory from last week’s -3.76%
- 1yr Rtn +10.32% an up jump from last week’s +7.20%
The Russell 2000 reached an all-time high on January 24, of 1,615.52. The previous high was reached on January 16, 2018 of 1,604.02.
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!