Tag Archives: mutual fund performance

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.11, 2018


  • Minimum Wage

A minimum wage of 15 bucks an hour seems like a reasonable income base. It does, after all, translate to $600 a week provided one is working a 40-hr week and over $30,000 a year.

Whether or not you’re a fan of that hourly rate, you might be surprised to learn how few people really do make minimum wage in the U.S. these days.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ,(BLS), in 2017 over 80 million or 53.3 percent of workers ages 16 and over were paid an hourly rate. Of them, 2.3 percent, or 1.8 million folks, were paid the currently federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less.

I bet you thought there were more.


  • Market Quick Glance

Another week of mostly ups and a few downs. But who is counting?

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.17, 2018.

DJIA 3.84% YTD up from previous week’s return of 2.40%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.02% way up the previous week’s 15.88 %

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 6.60% YTD up from last week’s 5.97%

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.06% up from last week’s 17.29%

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 13.22% YTD down from last week’s 13.55%

  • 1yr Rtn 25.63% down from last week’s 26.09%

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 10.25% YTD up from last week’s 9.85%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.58% up from last week’s 22.90%

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

Equity funds lost a little ground last week, as, at the close of business on Thursday, August 16, 2018 the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 6.71%. That’s down a bit from the previous week’s figure of 6.97%, according to Lipper.

Small-Cap Growth Funds continue to lead the performance way. They, btw, fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading.

Looking at other headings,  under the Sector Fund heading— it includes health, bio-tech, commodities, precious metals and other fund types— the average return was 1.39%.

World Equity Funds, on the other hand, had an average return that was underwater, -4.64%; Mixed Asset Funds, 0.91%; Domestic Long-Term funds, -0.16%; and World Income Funds -4.43%.

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.


  • Funerals: Beyond First-Class

 For those with plenty of money to spend —and I mean plenty—and who wish to send their loved ones off in super style, Bloomberg has reported that the rich and powerful and now spending tens of thousands of dollars burying their loved ones.

From a recent 8/18/18 Bloomberg piece comes this: “They are choosing to be laid to rest in $60,000 gold-plated coffins and ferried by horse-draw funeral carriage or Rolls-Royces hearses. Some are even flying friends and relatives to exotic locals for destination funerals.”


Yes, really.



POCKETBOOK:Week ending Sept. 3, 2016

IMG_0204•Labor Realities

I remember when a goodly number of stores were closed in celebration of Labor Day. Of course, that was decades ago and in the last generation. Today, more people than ever work on this national holiday. Bummer.

I also remember when government figures weren’t quite so confusing. The G-man’s figures didn’t appear to have the need to be sliced and diced as they currently are. Or, updated as frequently.

But there are many more of us today than there were decades ago and as a result, government facts and figures aren’t what they used to be.

As a result, anyone wanting to get a handle on how many people are working—or not working — todayyou’ve got to look beyond the first paragraph of any copy addressing that subject.

For example, on Friday the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent in August. But that’s the U-3 number (metrics that show the state of jobs), according to CNBC.com.

But wait—there’s more: A broader definition of the unemployment rate is called the U-6 rate. At the end of August is stood at 9.7 percent.

Go figure.

  • Market Quick Glance

The stock market was showing its stuff as of the close of business on Friday, Sept 2, 2016. All four of the indices below closed higher than they had the previous week, according to Bloomberg. Perhaps performance was in celebration of the anticipated Labor Day weekend. Maybe not.

Whatever. If stock indices are an indication of the state of our economy—there’s no room for any investors to complain about America not being great—-it has been for investors year-to-date and over the past year.

On that note, I don’t recall any talking heads who said they expected 1-year returns on equities to be in the mid- to high-double digits this year. But, that’s where they stood as of September 2nd, as you will see in the following numbers.

Below are the closing YTD performance numbers of four popular US indices along with their 1-year performance figures.


-Dow Jones +8.19% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +17.94%

-S&P 500 +8.27% YTD

  • 1yr Rtn +15.98%


  • 1yr Rtn +13.61%

Russell 2000 +11.29 %

  • 1yr Rtn +11.86%

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, September 1, 2016, the average YTD return of U.S.Diversified Equity Funds was +6.17%,according to Lipper.

On their continued slide downwards, the average YTD return on Precious Metals Equity Funds fell under 100% to 95.70%.

Lipper’s Sector Equity Funds, where you will find the Precious Metals heading, also continued to lose ground. At the close of business on Thursday the average fund under this heading it was up 11.72%.

Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds were up, on average, 6.16%. And World Income Funds up over 10% at 10.04%.

Wondering how best to use Lipper’s fund performance figures? Use their YTD returns as a guideline for how your individual fund(s) are performing. For instance, the average stock fund is up about 6.5 percent so far this year. Are your stock funds doing better or worse than that?

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

Lipper’s weekly performance figures for stock and fixed-income funds are at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.

  • How to Negotiate

Working or not, every one of us will need to negotiate our way into something—or out of something—at some point during our lives.

According to Ken Marlin, a Marine, executive and author, you can’t win in a negotiation unless you are willing to walk away and call the whole thing off. You’ve also got to be willing to tell the truth.

Those are two of Marlin’s nine negotiation rules from his new book, The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street: 11 Key Principles from Battlefield to Boardroom.

In a nutshell, here are Marlin’s nine rules of negotiations from the chapter “Negotiate from the High Ground” in his book:

9 Negotiation Rules from Ken Marlin

Rule 1: Be prepared to walk away from the table.

Rule 2: Know where you are going.

Rule 3: Recognize when you have leverage—and when you don’t.

Rule 4: Tell the truth.

Rule 5: Remember the peace.

Rule 6: Negotiate big things before little things.

Rule 7: Don’t bully.

Rule 8: It is personal.

Rule 9: Take reasonable, defensible positions.

(Full disclosure: I have not read Marlin’s book. Found the negotiating tips on a blog and  thought they  were worth sharing.)







IMG_0204For the week ending Jan. 2, 2016

  • You saved how much on gas?

There’s been a lot of hoopla about how much money folks have saved because of the big decline in the cost of a gallon of gas. According to AAA, collectively Americans saved $115 billion in 2015 with the average driver saving $550. That’s all well and good. Trouble is, not every body has a car.

  • Market Quick Glance


Here’s how the major indices performed for the year ending December 31,2015, according to Yahoo Finance:

The only winning index was the NASDAQ closing up +5.7% YTD

-S&P 500 -0.7% YTD

-Dow Jones -2.2% YTD

-Russell 2000 -5.9% YTD


-Mutual funds

Year-end average equity fund performance figures from Lipper show the following:

-U.S. Diversified Equity Funds – 2.08 percent

Large-Cap Growth Funds performed the best + 5.13 percent

Equity Leverage Funds, the worst – 12.26 percent

-Sector Equity Funds -7.61 percent

Global Health/Tech Funds performed the best up 9.08 percent

Commodities Energy Funds, the worst -36,60 percent

-World Equity Funds –3.94 percent

Japanese Funds performed the best +12.09 percent

Latin American Funds, the worst -29.71 percent

Find all of Lipper’s weekly performance figures on both stock and fixed-income funds at www.allaboutfunds.com in the left column on the home page.


The performances of Exchanged-traded funds (ETFs) and Exchanged-traded notes (ETNs) in 2015 can’t be overlooked. Here are some figures from ETF Hub:

-NASDAQ (QQQ) +9.8 percent

-S&P500 (SPY) +1.3 percent

-DJIA (DIA) +0.1 percent

-US Dollar (UUP) +6 percent

More ETF and ETN performance figures at http://seekingalpha.com/insight/etf-hub/asset_class_performance/key_markets

     •In today’s America, finding a working guy isn’t all that easy.

According to MyBudget360.com, around 94.5 million folks aren’t in the labor force and the lion’s shares of them are men. Oh my.

From that same source:” Those “not in the labor force” remains at a record level and this cannot be explained away simply by shifting demographics. Demographics alone is a convenient explanation for this large number but unfortunately only explains part of the large number of Americans not being included in the labor force. We have many going to college but as it turns out, not all colleges and degrees are created equal although most universities charge premium tuition. You also have many wanting a job but not being able to find one. …”

  • No matter what, be happy.

No matter what kind of market returns 2015 brought you, and whether you’re working or not, it’s always good for our psyche’s to be happy. In case that’s been a challenge, here are four  things the pros say to do to  remedy that.

According to TIME magazine, and a story titled “4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy, According to Neuroscience”, here is  what brain research says to do to make you happy. They do not include puffing on a fat one or sucking down a case of anything:

  1. Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  2. Label those negative emotions. Give it/them a name and your brain won’t be so bothered by them.
  3. Decide to go  for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch.  (I’m going to add gingerly here…as we’re not talking perv touching of any sort. Just good old-fashioned hugging.)

To make sure you get it, read the full happy story at: http://time.com/4042834/neuroscience-happy-rituals/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter