Tag Archives: mutual funds

POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 5, 2018

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  • Buffett’s advice

Warren Buffett has some investing advice all of us can learn from—even for those who don’t own any Apple stock—a stock he currently loves.

Three tidbits outlined in a recent CNBC.com story include:

  1. Circle of competence. Basically this means understanding and knowing if the business you are buying is making money and that you feel confident that money-making will be sustainable going forward.
  2. Piece of a business. Buffett was influenced big time by Ben Graham’s classic book “The Intelligent Investor”. Read it.
  3. Margin of safety. Buffett likes value and when looking at purchasing a company  “he wants the value at his entry price to be much lower than his value estimate for the company”. That spread difference is what he calls the “margin of safety”.

Why listen to Buffett’s advice? Guess it’s because from 1965 to 2017, Berkshire Hathaway’s stock’s annual return was 20.9% compared to that of the S&Ps 9.9%.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

The Russell 2000 and NASDAQ were the indices that scored the most on the upside of things last week.

And one more time: It’s been since January when, at that time, new all-time highs were reached on three of the four indices followed below: The DJIA, the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000. NASDAQ hit its last new high in March.

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 4, 2018.

DJIA -1.85% YTD down more than the previous week’s -1.65%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.80% down a hair from the previous week’s 15.87%

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

 

-S&P 500 -0.38% YTD down more than last week’s -0.14%

  • 1 yr Rtn 11.46% down from last week’s 11.77%

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 4.44% YTD up from last week’s 3.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.67% up from last week’s 17.70%

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 1.96% YTD up from than last week’s 1.35%

  • 1yr Rtn 12.73% up from last week’s 9.82%

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

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, 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  of 4.10% —down from the previous week’s 6.27%

Then again, Dedicated Short Bias Funds’ averagre returns 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.

 

  • Not running out of money

Well here’s some could be good news for retirees who don’t have $1 million or more bucks saved in their retirement accounts.

According to a Reuters piece by Gail Marks Jarvis, “The myth of outliving your retirement savings”, folks with less than $500,000 in savings on average spend “just about a quarter of it during the first 20 years of retirement.”

That data is from a study by Sudipto Banerjee of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Huh. Not sure I believe that but if it’s true, wouldn’t that be nice to know.

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 30, 2018

  • file000242429675•April Fools

A new month. A new quarter. New Spring hopes. Maybe.

Take out any behind the scene guffaws from  White House policy makers, or economic and international surprises and the fourth month of the year could be a rewarding one for investors, if history is any guide.

Based on historical returns, ever since 1950 the S&P 500 has posted an average gain of 1.5% in April.

“From a purely seasonality point of view, April is a pretty good month…” says Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial.

And guess what? There’s a 50/50 chance he’s right.

We shall see.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Remember when the indices below were reaching new all-time highs all the time? Well, believer it or not, that was happening only three months ago in January —but for some reason it seems like oh-so long ago. That’s the funny thing about keeping too close an eye on watching year-to-date returns—they’re clearly fickle. And, unless you’re a day trader, can make you crazy and doubt your overall reason for investing.

Investing for most of us, is a long-term obligation. One that comes with bouts of the unexpected on both the up- and downsides. All of which brings us to the end of the first quarter of 2018. For  many it was in a word: lousy. The S&P 500, for instance, lost 1 percent, according to CNBC.com. It was the first time that quarter has “ended in the red  since 2009”.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

 

DJIA: -2.49% YTD improved but still down from the previous week’s -4.9%

•1 yr Rtn 16.28% up from the previous week’s 13.93%

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

 

-S&P 500:  -1.22% YTD improved but still down from last week’s -3.95%

  • 1 yr Rtn 11.52% up from last week’s 10.33%

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

 

-NASDAQ:  2.32% YTD up from last week’s 1.29%

  • 1yr Rtn 19.43% down from last week’s 20.20%

NASDAQ reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell:  2000 -0.40% YTD improved from last week’s -1.66%

  • 1yr Rtn 10.64% down from last week’s 11.57%

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

 

-Mutual funds

Not such a hot week. But there’s always tomorrow.

At the close of business on Thursday, March 29, 2018 the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of -0.37%. That’s down more than the previous week’s average of -0.11%.

Stepping back and taking a look at the big picture, while the average diversified fund was -0.37%, the average Sector Fund’s y-t-d return was -2.70 and the average World Equity Fund, kinda sorta almost flat at +0.11%.

Throw some fixed-income into the fold and the average Mixed Asset Fund’s y-t-d return was -0.90%; Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds, -0.85%; and World Income Fund +0.97%.

Bottom line: Q1 of 2018 has turned out to be a stingy one for many investors. So, even though money market funds continue their puny returns, they nonetheless have provided people with positive returns. And as such, stand as a reminder that one keep some money in cash, short-term fixed-income investments and some in equities. How much and where is always your call.

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

  • Gas up

Spring is here and along with it typically comes higher prices at the pump.

On a trip to Hutchinson Island over the weekend, the range for a gallon of regular gas that I saw ranged from about $2.69 to $2.72. That’s above the national March average of $2.56, according to AAA.

And it’s considerably higher than prices last year were when the national average price in March was $2.30. That, however, was way higher than in 2016 when it was $1.93.

But that 2.30 isn’t nearly as expensive as petrol was four years ago when, in 2014, the average price for one gallon of regular gas was—hold on to your hat—$3.51.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending March 24, 2018

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  • Remington’s got problems

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

What happened? Donald Trump’s trade war ideas.

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

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

We shall see.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, March 23, 2018.

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 -3.95% YTD down seriously from last week’s 2.93%

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

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

 

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

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

Nasdaq reached a brand new all-time high on March 13, 2018 of 7,637.27. The previous high was reached on March 9, 2018 of 7,560.81.

 

-Russell 2000 -1.66% YTD down a hunk from last week’s 3.29%

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

And there go this year’s gains.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

•How YOU doin?

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

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

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

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending 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. 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. 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 Sept. 29, 2017

 

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  • “In God We Trust”, money and then there’s Florida.

I’m a big fan of God. Trust too. But that phrase on money? Not so much. Money, after all, is simply one convenient way of exchanging services for goods/services for goods. Or, paying for stuff we want. In other words, money isn’t a God thing it’s an economic one.

That said, October 1, 2017 marked the 60th anniversary of the inclusion of the phrase “In God We Trust” on our $1 paper currency. Prior to 1967, God wasn’t part of our paper bills. The phrase “E pluribus unum” was. Translated it means “out of one, many”.

I remember when that change occurred and wondered why the need for the change.  “E pluribus unum” seemed to be a perfectly good, reasonable, common sense political phrase and the other so religiously focused. Wasn’t there supposed to be a separation of state and church? At least that’s how it looked to me, then a young Minnesotan. That however wasn’t the mid-1950s thinking of a Florida politician.

Floridian Representative Charles Edward Bennet was the guy who had enough influence to get “E pluribus unum” erased from our paper currency and replaced with “In God We Trust”.

According to Wikipedia, Bennet’s “ staunch ethical stance appeared to be too much for his colleagues in the House of Representatives, who nicknamed him, “Mr. Clean”.

FYI, “In God We Trust” had been the accepted state motto for Florida since the 1800s but wasn’t officially adopted until 2006 when Gov. Jeb Bush signed a House Bill making it so.

From where I sit,  it looks as though we were a more common sense economically sound nation before God made his way on to our money.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

As of yet there’s been no stopping the bull running on Wall Street.

At the close of business on Friday, September 29, 2017, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had posted its first 8-quarter win streak in 20 years, according to CNBC.com.

Additionally, all three of the other indices followed here were up for the week with the Russell 2000 scoring the most. On a tear for the past few weeks, that index closed locking in a new high.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, September 29, 2017.

 

-DJIA +13.37 YTD up a bit from last week’s 13.09%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +23.49% up from last week’s 21.51%

 

A new all-time high for the DJIA of 22,419.51 was reached on Sept. 21, 2017. The previous high of 22,275.02 was reached on September 15, 2017.

On March 1, the all-time high on that date for the year was 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +12.53 % YTD up from last week’s 11.76%.

  • 1yr Rtn +17.12% up a lot from last week’s +14.93%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,519,44 on September 29, 2017. The previous high of 2,508.85 was reached on September 20, 2017.

On March 1, 2017, that index closed at its then all-time high of 2,400.98.

 

•NASDAQ +20.67% YTD up from last week’s +19.39%.

  • 1yr Rtn +23.28% up from last week’s 20.37%

 

The Nasdaq reached its latest new all-time high of 6,497.98 on September 29, 2017. Its previous high of 6,477.77 was reached on September 18, 2017.

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

 

-Russell 2000 +9.85% YTD up a heap from last week’s +6.90%.

  • 1yr Rtn +20.45% up considerably from last week’s +14.83%

The Russell 2000 reached a brand new all-time high of 1493.56 on September 29, 2017.Its previous high was reached on July 25, 2017 of 1,452.09.

On March 1, 2017 the then high of this index was 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

 Mutual fund average performance figures continue onward and upward.

The year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading ended the week at 11.86% on Thursday, September 28, 2017. That average is up from the previous week’s close of 10.7%, according to Lipper.

According to Bespoke, here are the year-to-date Asset Class Performance total returns, through 9/30/17, for various countries. Those with the greatest gains include Italy, up 31.89%, Hong Kong, up 28.90% and Spain, up 28.49%.

On the less-but-still-up side include: Russia, up 5.04%, Canada, up 11.58% and Japan, up 14.75%.

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 power

 Like it or not, sad to say, are we crazy or what….history has shown us that gun manufacturers make out like bandits after a national killing.

Before the stock market opened today, Monday, October 2, 2017, the day of America’s most recent mass shooting, gun stocks ticked upward.

According to CNBC, there have been 32 instances of mass shootings since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Looking at two well-known gun companies, Sturm Ruger (RGR) and American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), in the past both closed higher one-month after the date of the killing event: RGR gained 2.89%; AOBC up 5.36%; and the S&P 500 up 1.66%.

Currently,  around 12 noon today, 10/2/17, the S&P 500 had gained 2% from its closing price since  on Friday,  RGR was up 3.58% and AOBC up 4.07%.

Setting any possible financial gains aside, isn’t it ironic that deadly mass shootings bring out both a fear and the need to kill in many.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 28, 2017

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  • Fewer choices

Equity prices and market indices continued their tear. One reason? Could be because there are fewer stocks to choose from.

According to data from the University of Chicago’s Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) the number of stocks is at its lowest level in decades. In November of 1997, for instance, there were  7,355 U.S. stocks and now there are fewer than 3,500.

That’s a huge drop. Huge.

Also on the slide are the number of initial public offerings, IPOs, while the appetite for investing in the private market is growing.

That aside, in today’s high-rising market environment, investors ought not forget to remember –re the higher prices—  that what happens when a serious desire for equities mixes with a bounty of money and fewer publicly traded companies to choose from is  prices go up.

And that’s how bid/ask auction marketplaces work.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

As equity prices continued to rise, they brought with them new index highs. The DJIA, for instance, reached a new high when the market closed on Friday, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ hit there’s on Thursday and the Russell 2000 on Monday.

So much for consistency.

Speaking of which, if there is one consistent thing this bull has shown investors is that this time it really is different. And quite likely, the sooner everyone decides to believe that, the sooner the bears will probably begin to roar.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, July 28,   2017.

-DJIA + 10.46% YTD up from last week’s +9.20%

  • 1 yr Rtn +18.28% up from last week’s 16.54%

The DJIA reached a new all-time high of 21,841.18 on July 28, 2017.

(Previous highs include: July 14, 2017 of 21,681.53; July 3,2017 of 21,562.75; 21,535.03 on June 20, 2017; 21,391.97 reached on June 14, 2017; 21,305.35 on June 9, 2017; 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017; and 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.)

 

-S&P 500 +10.42% YTD down a hair from last week’s 10.44%

  • 1yr Rtn +13.92% down from last week’s +14.20%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high on July 27, 2017 of 2,484.04.

(Previous high of 2,477.62 was reached on July 20, 2017. Prior to that date new highs and dates include: 2,463.54 on July 14, 2017; 2453.82 on June 19,2017; 2,446.2 reached on June 9, 2017; 2,440.23 reached on June 2, 2017; 2,418.71 reached on May 25, 2017; 2,405.77 reached on May 16, 2017; 2403.87 on May 9, 2017; 2,400.98 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-NASDAQ +18.42% YTD down from last week’s +18.66%

  • 1yr Rtn +23.66% down from last week’s 25.89%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,460.84 on July 27, 2017.

(Previous highss include: July 20, 2017 of 6,398.26; 6,341.7 on June 9, 2017; 6,308.76 on June 2; 6,217.34 reached on May 25; 6,170,16 on May 16; 6,133 on May 9, 2017; 6102.72 on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

-Russell 2000 +5.31% YTD down from last week’s +5.80%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.41% down from last week’s +19.27%

The Russell 2000 reached its latest all-time high on July 25, 2017 of 1,452.09.

(Previous highs include: 1,452.05 on July 21, 2017; 1,433.789 on June 9, 2017; 1,425.7 reached on April 26, 2017 and of 1,414,82 reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

Average returns? Less than the week before.

The average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund lost a little ground last week closing at 9.59% at the close of business on Thursday, July 27, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s down from the previous week’s close of 9.84%.

If you’ve still only been thinking U.S. equities, one thing this year has shown investors is that better investment returns can be found in other places around the globe.

For instance, the average y-t-d return of the 4,516 funds that fall under the World Equity Funds heading,is 19.35%. That about 10% higher than what the average diversified equity fund has returned.

Yes, India Region Funds still rule—up on average 32.03%.

Of course the big question is how long will world funds continue to outperform U.S. ones. And the answer is: as long as other countries’ econonmies grow faster than ours.

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.

 

  • Happy Birthday Medicare & Medicaid

In case you missed it, it was on July 30, 1965 that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. He also signed Medicaid into law that same day. Both amendments to the Social Security Act.

Here’s more about that  history from History.com: “At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled as Medicare’s first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card. Johnson wanted to recognize Truman, who, in 1945,had become the first president to propose national health insurance, an initiative that was opposed at the time by Congress.

“The Medicare program, providing hospital and medical insurance for Americans age 65 or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. Some 19 million people enrolled in Medicare when it went into effect in 1966. In 1972, eligibility for the program was extended to Americans under 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with permanent kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant. In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which added outpatient prescription drug benefits to Medicare.

“Medicare is funded entirely by the federal government and paid for in part through payroll taxes. Medicare is currently a source of controversy due to the enormous strain it puts on the federal budget. Throughout its history, the program also has been plagued by fraud–committed by patients, doctors and hospitals–that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

“In 1977, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was created to administer Medicare and work with state governments to administer Medicaid. HCFA, which was later renamed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Baltimore…”

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 2, 2017

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  • About us

Each week I receive Jonathan Clements’ Humble Dollar newsletter. Data from a recent one included stats from a 2016 General Social Survey that shows how much attitudes about our financial lives have changed over 44 years.

Here’s what that survey revealed:

-“30% of Americans said they were very happy in 2016, unchanged from the 30% who described themselves that way in 1972. Over this 44-year stretch, inflation-adjusted per capita disposable income rose 120%. More money, it seems, hasn’t bought happiness.”

-“29% of Americans were satisfied with their financial situation, versus 32% in 1972. Meanwhile, the percentage who aren’t at all satisfied has climbed from 23% in 1972 to 27% in 2016.”

-“31% of Americans felt their incomes were below average or far below average, compared with 24% in 1972.”

-“58% agreed or strongly agreed that they had a good chance of improving their standard of living, versus 72% in 1987.”

If you’re a survey results believer, it seems like those of us who have been around for a while were  financially happier in ’72 than we are today.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It was a week of new all-time highs reached for the  DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ but not  the Russell 2000. The Russell did, however, see a nice move upward in its year-to-date performance.

For the past few weeks I’ve been pointing out that the 1-year return figures have been worth watching and I’ll say the say the same this week. Even though most saw gains, they were modest at best. Any trend seekers might want to keep their eyes on that longer view for no other reason, perhaps, than to have something to talk about.

Although the 1-year return for our major indices are attractive, they pale in comparison with that of the Caracas Stock Exchange, Caracas General: Its year-to-date return through June 2, 2017 is + 146.46% and for 1 year is up 403.44%.

Below are weekly and 1-year performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, June 2, 2017.

-DJIA +7.30% YTD up from last week’s +6.67%

  • 1 yr Rtn +19.08% up from last week’s 18.24%

The DJIA reached a new all-time high of 21,225.04 on June 2, 2017. (The previous high of 21,169.11 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-S&P 500 +8.90% YTD up from last week’s 7.91%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.15% up from last week’s +15.58%

The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high of 2,440.23 on June 2, 2017. (Its previous high of 2,418.71 was reached on May 25, 2017. Prior to that, the previous high of 2,405.77 was reached on May 16, 2017. Before that the high of 2403.87 was reached on May 9, 2017and before that, the a high of 2,400.98 was reached on March 1, 2017. )

 

-NASDAQ +17.14% YTD up from last week’s +15.36%

  • 1yr Rtn +26.84% up a tad from last week’s 26.69%

The Nasdaq reached another new all-time high of 6,308.76 on June 2, 2017. (Its previous all-time high of 6,217.34 was reacged May 25, 2017. Then before that a high of 6,170,16 was reached on May 16, 2017; the high of 6,133 was reached on May 9, 2017; a high of 6102.72 was reached on May 2, 2017; 6074.04 on April 28, 2017; and 5,936.39 hit on April 5, 2017.)

–Russell 2000 +3.56% YTD way up from last week’s +1.85%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.06 % down from last week’s +21.28%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

As you might expect, the year-to-date return for the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund was up from the previous week. This, thanks to the new highs reached by equity prices. So, at the close of business on Thursday, June 1, 2017 the average equity fund’s year-to-date return was 7.56%, up a healthy amount from the previous week’s figure of 6.70%.

The top performance categories under that heading are beginning to sound like a broken record a Large-Cap Growth Funds continued to lead the way, now up 16.40 %—that week the figure was15.59%. Once again behind it were Equity Leverage Funds, up 16.02% (last week it was15.26%) and then followed by Multi-Cap Growth Funds, up 15.14% (last week’s figure was14.17%).

While the average Sector Fund return barely budged, it ended the week up 4.78% a breath above the previous week’s figure of 4.77%.

That said, Global Science/Technology Funds continued to lead the performance game, up on average 25.29% ( last week’s figure was 24.73%) while Commodities Energy Funds lost more ground during the week with an average return of -16.07% ( the previous week the figure was -13.72%.)

It continues to be the wide great big world that we live in where the most money looks like it’s being made. The average return for the 4,495 funds that fall under the World Equity Funds heading were up 15.48%–that’s up from last week’s 15.01%.

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.

 

  • Is a June Swoon on the way?

Wall Street seers have always had a way of coming up with clever ways to describe the investment world. A world in which making heads or tails about what’s going can only be read in a rearview mirror.

With May behind us, so goes the “Sell in May and go away” quip and in comes the “June swoon”.

In 30 days we will know if there is any truth to that little ditty.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 28, 2017

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  • It’s May

 Fans of the Wall Street adage, “ Sell in May and go away”, know the strategy has some merit  and historically has paid off. On paper anyway.

Folks at the Bespoke Investment Group did their research and found that  $100 invested for 50 years in the S&P 500 and owning stocks from May through October would have returned a puny $139. But investing 100 bucks and owning stocks for 50 years from November through April would have paid off to the tune of $2,136.

Huh.

  • Market Quick Glance

A big week for a couple of indices: Both the NASDAQ and the Russell 2000 reached new highs during the week ending Friday, April 28, 2017. Yippy skippy for them. The DJIA and S&P 500 preformed well too, just no new highs.

Below are the weekly and 52-week performance results— including the dates each has reached its high according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, April 28, 2017.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +5.96% YTD up attractively from last week’s 3.97%

  • 1yr Rtn +17.447% up from last week’s 14.27%

The DJIA reached an all-time high of 21,169.11 on March 1, 2017.

 

-S&P 500 +6.45% YTD up from last week’s 4.91%

  • 1yr Rtn +14.86% up from last week’s +12.30%

The S&P 500 reached an all-time high of 2,400.98 on March 1, 2017.

 

-NASDAQ +12.34% YTD up handsomely from last week’s +9.80%

  • 1yr Rtn +25.85% up from last week’s 19.50%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6074.04 on April 28, 2017.

(Its previous high of 5,936.39 on April 5, 2017.)

 

–Russell 2000 +3.19% YTD up from last week’s +1.67%

  • 1yr Rtn +22.80% up from last week’s +21.49%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,425.7 on April 26, 2017.

(Its previous high of 1,414,82 was reached on March 1, 2017.)

 

-Mutual funds

Moving ahead.

At the close of business on Thursday, April 27 ,2017, the average total return for U.S. Diversified Equity Funds was 6.40%. That’s a nice jump up from last week’s 4.64%, according to Lipper.

Four fund types with the highest average returns under that broad heading and through that date were Equity Leverage Funds, 13.69%, Large-Cap Growth Funds, 12.14%, Multi-Cap Growth Funds, 11.42% and Mid-Cap Growth Funds, 10.05%

Under the Sector Equity heading where the average fund is up 4.07%, Global Science Funds were the biggest winners with average y-t-d returns of 17.98%. Commodities Energy Funds the biggest losers, down 13.68%.

And around the world it’s India where the money is being made. Lipper tracks 24 India Region Funds. Average y-t-d return for the group was 25.13%

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.

• Lookout

A few things to consider going forward:

  1. Last week I wrote that expecting less from the stock market might wind up being more so I’m with Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, who recently warned investors to plan for and expect lower returns going forward. “These are hazardous time. There are not cheap times. In the market, one never knows what is coming next,” said Bogle in a CNBC interview.
  2. Covering the costs of a tax reform plan that is based on the relative short-term future growth of our country is as goofy as thinking that the Earth is flat. Economic growth is not a sure thing in the near- or short-term. Outlooks, hopes and promises saying so are poppycock.
  3. Never invested in stocks before? Don’t start now unless you are absolutely positively sure that you don’t/won’t need the money anytime soon. Like in  the next three, five, 10 or 15 months or even a few years out. Investing over the short-term always comes with accepting much more risk than does investing for the long-term, like 10, 20, 30, or 50 years.

 

 

 

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