Tag Archives: mutual funds

POCKETBOOK Week Ending Nov. 3, 2018

 

  • Our Economy

I know more than one investor who doesn’t believe the figures emphasizing how great our economy is, that the unemployment rate is as low as is  publicized and that all on Wall Street is hunky dory.

So in search of some easy to understand market commentary, I’ve turned to Cresset Wealth Advisors November 2018 Market Review.

Here is what Cresset’s CFA, Jack Ablin, wrote in it re the economy: “The US economy has been growing at a rate that is above potential. Its 2.5% potential GDP growth rate is derived from 0.7% labor force growth plus a 1.8% (generous) productivity rate. Current 3.5% annualized growth has been fueled by consumer demand. Government spending added 0.6% to growth, fixed investments flat-line.”

Re tariffs: “Tariff talk has had a deleterious impact on exports. This sector, which on average has added 0.5% to economic activity, dragged growth down 0.5% in Q2.”

The entire Cresset November Market Review is worth a read and available at cressetwealth.com. Check it out.

  • Market Quick Glance

It was a week that brought some year-to-date returns up from underwater for the DJIA, S&P 500 and the Russell 2000. Yahoo, for that. Whether that trend will continue, however, is still anybody’s guess.

But to cover our bases, lest we think the bull is back, here’s another look  at the following historic equity performance data from CNBC.com:

– Since World War II, the average correction for the S&P500 lasts 4 months and sees equities slide 13% before bottoming.

-Bear markets average a loss of 30.4% and last 13 months and takes stocks nearly 22 months, on average, to recover.

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 is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.

 

DJIA 2.23% YTD up from the previous week’s return of -0.13%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 7.46% up from the previous week 5.50 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Oct.3, 2018 of 26,951.81. The previous high was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16.

 

-S&P 500 1.85% YTD up from last week’s -0.56%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 5.55% up from last week’s 3.84%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 6.57% YTD up a lot from last week’s 3.82%

  • 1yr Rtn 9.56% up a bit from last week’s 9.31%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 0.81% YTD up a lot from last week’s -3.37%

  • 1yr Rtn 3.44% also up a lot from last week’s -0.91%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

Equity funds have lost about half of their average year-to-date returns since October 18. And, at the close of business on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 1.37%, according to Lipper. That’s down from 2.36% reported on 10/18/18.

Where you want to have been invested most recently is in that large broad category of funds and not in funds that fall under the Sector Equity Funds heading— they are down at  -2.90% on average. Or in World Equity Funds, these babies are on average down at -9.46%.

World Income Funds have fared better, – 4.80% and Mixed Asset Funds -2.14% on average.

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 money? Maybe

The end of the third quarter—that would be the end of September 30— Fidelity delivered some sweet news for its investors. For instance:

  • The average 401(k) balance hit a new high of $106,500, up 2.4% from Q2.
  • The average individual retirement account averaged $111,000, up 3.8% from Q2.
  • The number of 401(k) millionaires was up 41 percent from last year at the same time.
  • And, the number of IRA millionaires was up 25 percent from last year.

Hope these account balances continue to flourish for Fidelityites.

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POCKETBOOK Week Ending Oct. 27, 2018

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  • Another look

Trump’s tax break, that helped the very very wealthy in America and corporate America, is heading in the direction of something other than the very great things it was supposed to do for the country and all of its citizens.

A couple of examples: The U.S. economy slowed in the third quarter. Additionally, revenues aren’t going to come anywhere close to covering the huge cost of Trump’s had-to-have tax plan as the federal budget deficit has exploded to $779 billion, roughly $300 billion more than estimated, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

And then there’s the stock market.

With the bears in charge, here are a few bear number tidbits worth keeping in mind from CNBC.com:

– Since World War II, the average correction for the S&P500 lasts 4 months and sees equities slide 13% before bottoming.

-Bear markets average a loss of 30.4% and last 13 months and takes stocks nearly 22 months, on average, to recover.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Well, what a week it was. The only investors I can think of who may have been happy and rewarded for last week’s performance of the DJIA and S&P500 were those who shorted their positions in them.

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 is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

DJIA -0.13% YTD underwater from the previous week’s return of 2.93%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 5.50% way down from the previous week 9.85 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Oct.3, 2018 of 26,951.81. The previous high was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16.

 

-S&P 500 -0.56% YTD way underwater from last week’s 3.52%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 3.84% way down more than half from last week’s 8.03%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 3.82% YTD down a lot from last week’s 7.90%

  • 1yr Rtn 9.31% down from last week’s 12.78%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 -3.37% YTD big way down from last week’s 0.42%

  • 1yr Rtn -0.91% big down from last week’s 2.65%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

A repeat from last week:

At the close of business on Thursday, Oct. 18,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 2.36%, according to Lipper. That’s higher than the 1.13% average return posted one week prior.

While the average performance of the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds was above water, that’s not been the case for the other types of equity funds that Lipper tracks.

So even though y-t-d numbers have improved slightly, the following broad categories of funds have y-t-d average performances that are still underwater.

Below is a comparison of the 10/18 total returns from the previous week’s numbers:

-Sector Equity Funds, on 10/18 enjoyed an average return of -1.59, an improved from the previous week of -2.51%

-World Equity Funds, an average return of -9.30, a bit of an improvement from the prior week’s return of -9.73%

-Mixed Asset Funds, -1.61% is an improvement from the prior week’s return of -2.11%

-Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds, now- 0.67% is an improvement from prior week’s average return of -0.80%

-World Income Funds, -4.41% is an improvement from the prior week’s average return of-4.86%.

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.

 

  • Up In Smoke

If you bought into the rush of last week’s move by Canada to legalize pot, hopefully you didn’t bet the farm expecting to make a quick bundle.

Here’s what I mean; Below are the 52-week highs and lows of a few popular pot stocks along with where they closed on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

-Tilray ( TLRY), although it had gained 745% since its IPO in July, its 52-wk price range has gone from $20.10 to $300 per share. On Friday, the stock closed at $108.08.

-MedMen Enterprises, (MMNFF) has moved between a low of $2.61 a share to a high of $7.67 over the past 52 weeks. It closed on Friday at $4.67.

-Canopy Growth Corp (CGC) has a 52-week per share range of $16.74 to $59.25. On Friday it closed at $38.70 per share.

No new highs here.

 

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POCKETBOOK Week Ending Oct. 20, 2018

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  • Caution Ahead

When it comes to taking our short term investing clues from talking heads, no matter what’s happening in the market for every one whose head nods up and down another shakes theirs side to side.

So in this world of nobody knows for sure what’s going to happen day-to-day, if you were to take a step back and look out over the past few months some basic clues do show their heads and ought not be overlooked.

For openers, don’t discount the fact that the major indices are and have been losing ground since reaching new all-time highs in August and September.  Or, that the Fed has increased interest rates three times thus far this year with one more increase expected in December. Both represent ouches of sorts for equities.

As a result, Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at Wharton, who typically wears a bull’s cap, is now waving a yellow caution flag to investors with respect to  the markets performances through this year and in 2019.

Re a rising interest rate environment, Cresset Wealth Advisors Jack Ablin said: “ It is going to put some headwind on risk-taking which of course has enjoyed “only-child’ stature for the last 10 years.”

Through in the fact that America’s national debt has balooned,  things on Wall Street aren’t as rosey as some heads would like us to believe.

That said, with  caution in the wind, look out five or 10 years from now, and if we haven’t accidentially blown ourselves up or been invaded by aliens who don’t care about money or investing, interest rates and the major equity indices ought to be higher than they currently are. Perhaps.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Round and around and around she goes and where she stops nobody knows.

Depending upon the time of day or the day of the week you decide to check in on what’s happening in the markets, the performance results found could either be pleasing or confounding.

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 is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.

DJIA 2.93% YTD up a tad from previous week’s return of 2.51%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 9.85% down again from the previous week 10.94 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Oct.3, 2018 of 26,951.81. The previous high was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16.

 

-S&P 500 3.52 % YTD up a hair from last week’s 3.50%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 8.03% down from last week’s 8.48%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 7.90% YTD down from last week’s 8.60%

  • 1yr Rtn 12.78% down from last week’s 13.74%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 0.43% YTD down from last week’s 0.73% (it was over 10% two weeks ago)

  • 1yr Rtn 2.65% down from last week’s 2.76%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

The market moved up a bit and that positive move was reflected within the mutual fund world.

At the close of business on Thursday, Oct. 18,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 2.36%, according to Lipper. That’s higher than the 1.13% average return posted one week prior.

While the average performance of the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds was above water, that’s not been the case for the other types of equity funds that Lipper tracks.

So even though y-t-d numbers have improved slightly, the following broad categories of funds have y-t-d average performances that are still underwater.

Below is a comparison of the 10/18 total returns from the previous week’s numbers:

-Sector Equity Funds, on 10/18 enjoyed an average return of -1.59, and improved from the previous week of -2.51%

-World Equity Funds, an average return of -9.30, a bit of an improvement from the prior week’s return of -9.73%

-Mixed Asset Funds, -1.61% is an improvement from the prior week’s return of -2.11%

-Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds, now- 0.67% is an improvement from prior week’s average return of -0.80%

-World Income Funds, -4.41% is an improvement from the prior week’s average return of-4.86%.

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.

 

  • City Opportunities

If San Francisco and New York City are your kind of cities, a report of Glassdoor shows they don’t necessarily offer the best prospects for jobs—and we all know that the cost of living in either can be astronomical.

On the other hand, Glassdoor results show that it’s the smaller cities where work can be found. Add to that the bonus of a lower cost of living it all the makes smaller cities worth looking into.

In case you’re interested, here are the top five cities in Glassdoor’s list of the 25 best cities for jobs in 2018:

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Louis, MO
  3. Indianapolis, IN
  4. Cincinnati, OH
  5. Hartford, CT

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POCKETBOOK: Week Ending Oct. 13, 2018

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    Worth a look and a reminder.
  • Time to get high?

On Wednesday, October 17, Canada will legalize recreational marijuana. That’s big news for anyone who isn’t afraid of sin stocks, and, who is willing to take a chance on a growing, ever-changing, speculative and bottom line risky business.

According to a Bloomberg piece on Yahoo!Finance.com, there are 135 publicly traded pot companies in Canada. How many will be around in a year from now is anybody’s guess. My guess is that figure will be halved. And of that half, maybe 6-10 worth a look.

That said, here is a small sampling of some of the largest pot companies around in no particular order and without recommending: Tilray ( TLRY), it’s up 745% since it IPO in July; Canopy Growth Corp (CGC); Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACBFF); Aphria Inc.; Cronos Group Inc. (CRON); and Hexo Corp. (HYYDF).

These companies, and many more,  need to be seriously and thoroughly researched before investing even a nickel-bag’s worth of your hard-earned cash into as there is much much more to each of them than meets the eye.

Bottom line: Stoners would be wise not to participate in –what could be a huge rush into the cannabis market– until they are clear-headed.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Oh boy. If stocks continue in last week’s downward direction you can pretty much kiss this year’s profits goodbye. Particularly, if you’re an index investor.

So even though a new high was reached for the DJIA on Oct. 3, 2018, that average lost big time y-t-d performance ground when compared to its previous week’s performance.

Lower performance figures for the y-t-d figures were also true for the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ—both losing nearly half of their performance returns for 2018.

But it was the Russell 2000 that experienced the biggest hit–it’s y-t-d figure is nearly flat. Ouch.

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 is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

DJIA 2.51% YTD way down again from previous week’s return of 6.99%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 10.94% way down again from the previous week 16.12 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Oct.3, 2018 of 26,951.81. The previous high was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16.

 

-S&P 500 3.50 % YTD down and about ½ of what it was re last week’s 7.93%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 8.48% way down from last week’s 13.07%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 8.60% YTD way down from last week’s 12.82% (1/2 of what it was in late September.)

  • 1yr Rtn 13.74% way way down from last week’s 18.27% (nearly ½ of what it was in late September.)

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 0.73% YTD hugely down from last week’s 6.29% (it was over 10% two weeks ago)

  • 1yr Rtn 2.76% way way down from last week’s 7.94%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

As you no doubt expected, equity funds lost ground last week, too.

How much? Well, at the close of business on Thursday, Oct. 11,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 1.13%, according to Lipper.

That’s not much to crow about and makes fixed-income, such as short-term CD investing, look pretty attractive: Little risk and short-term money lockup time always looks attractive when equity markets dive.

Other broad Lipper headings ended last week like this:

-Sector Equity Funds, -2.51%

-World Equity Funds, -9.73%

-Mixed Asset Funds, -2.11%

-Domestic L-T Fixed Income Funds, -0.80%

-World Income Funds, -4.86%.

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.

 

  • Save Your Self

According to a recent CNBC.com business news story relying on data from the FDIC, the top 1 percent of earners have $113 million in their banking and retirement accounts. Their average account balances translates to $2.5 million. Oh my.

On the other hand, the bottom 20 percent of earners have an average of $8,720 saved with a median amount saved of $0.

A more specific look at wage earner savings results looks like this:

-Top 10%–average household with savings, $989,430. Median households with savings, $173,860.

-60 to 79.9%—average household with savings, $148,600. Median households with savings, $96,800.

-40 to 59.9%—average household with savings, $82,730. Median households with savings, $54,930.

-20 to 39.9%—average household with savings,$46,950. Median households with savings, $26,450.

-Bottom 20%—average household with savings, $22,600. Median households with savings, $0.

Speaking from experience, it takes a yacht load of money to live life after you’ve passed age 70. Even with an average Social Security check in the neighborhood of $1,300 a month or a plump one of over $2,000 coming in—money flies out of one’s pocketbook, savings and investment accounts faster than you can imagine.

Believe me on that one.

 

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POCKETBOOK Week Ending Oct .6, 2018

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  • Numbers

Listen up, people. It’s time to start really looking at the numbers—your financial numbers– rather than listening to talking heads saying that all is rosy in America. And, that the economy is humming along just fine and that the unemployment rate is prof of that; that everyone’s retirement accounts are plumper than ever and that inflation is under control even though prices on our goods and services—like those on gas and health care–are going up while not so much for salaries.

For instance, of the roughly  50% of working folks who do have investments, how rewarding have they really been this year? A look back absolutely does show huge upwards gains in the market over the past nine-plus years. But in 2018, the returns haven’t been so hot year-to-date.

With the DJIA up about 7% and S&P500 up 8%, as of Friday’s close, those indices over the last couple of weeks have been falling. Along with that slide, their 1-year returns have fallen as well.

In this, our Great Money Game, the only thing that really matters is how well your investments are working for you. And from what I hear, most investors prefer listening to what the talking heads say rather than taking the time to look at the particulars of their own investments.

Turns out many of us really are quite lazy when it comes to keeping tabs on our holdings. Until, that is, a crash or correction comes along And then it’s a big , “What the heck happened?” What happened was you weren’t paying attention.

So if you’re an investor, please do me a favor: Take the time to open and then read the statements you’ve received from your various brokers and in you online accounts. That would include the statement for September’s performance and those reflecting that of the third quarter of 2018.

And if you don’t really understand how to read all of that information, or have a clear-cut idea of where your money is invested, please take the time to make the appropriate calls to find out.

It is after all, your money and not the markets.

Do that and I’ll guarantee you that  the performance numbers in your accounts will be different from those TV and online talkers talk about.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Even though a new high was reached for the DJIA on Oct. 3, 2018, that average lost y-t-d performance ground when compared to its previous week’s performance.

A lower performance for the y-t-d was also true for the S&P 500. And bigger chunk losses were tallied on both the NASDAQ and the Russell 2000.

Hum.

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 is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept. 29, 2018.

DJIA 6.99% YTD down again from previous week’s return of 7.04%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.12% down again from the previous week 18.22 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Oct.3, 2018 of 26,951.81. The previous high was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16.

 

-S&P 500 7.93 % YTD down again from last week’s 8.99%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 13.07% way down from last week’s 16.09%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 12.82% YTD way down from last week’s 16.56%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.27% way way down from last week’s 24.68%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 6.29% YTD way down from last week’s 10.49%

  • 1yr Rtn 7.94% way way down from last week’s 13.96%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, Sept. 27,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 8.70%. That’s down a bit from two weeks ago when the average was week’s 8.96%, according to Lipper.

Taking a longer look back, the average return for the past 52 weeks was 14.83%. Look out two years—9/22/16 through 9/27/18—the total return for this entire group was 15.17%; for the past three years it was 13.29% and over the past five years, 10.10%.

In other words, the look back is a positive two-digit one.

The same can’t be said for funds that fall under the broad Sector Equity Funds heading. Average total returns there range from: y-t-d of 2.32%; 52 weeks, 6.56%; 2 years, 6.51%; three years, 8.44% and five years, 5.34%.

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.

 

  • Time for Gold?

Gold has been an unenthusiastic participant in the markets over the past oh-so many years. But maybe, just maybe, with Wall Street’s bull looking tired and inflation creeping up and not so hot reports from various world economies, maybe it’s time to take a look at gold.

In the old world,( that would be the one that ended in 1999), investment advisors  suggested a 5% position in gold for many of their clients’ portfolios to ward off all sort of possible market demons—like bears and inflation.

But like I said, that was in the old-world. In this not so new  millennial, I’m not sure what the investment advice is but for sure gold has had a rough go of it. Perhaps that’s about to change. We shall see.

That said, at 12:05 today, (10.8.18), the ask price for an ounce of gold was 1186.20, according to KITCO.com.

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POCKETBOOK Week Ending Sept. 22, 2018

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  • 50/50 Kinda

There are so many reports regarding the number of people who actually are investors in one form or another whether they be individual investors who have portfolios made up of stocks and/or bonds or both; folks who have opened then funded their 401k, IRAs or ROTH IRAs; owners of various kinds of annuities; or whatever’s can be confusing.

To keep things as simple as possible, let’s call it about a  50/50 divide: 50% of people are invested in the markets and 50% aren’t.

That’s not a good split no matter how you count it: If half of all of us don’t have any investments that’s for sure going to be one huge problem come retirement age—or old age in general. This financially challenged issue may seem as though it’s an individual one to those rolling in dough or who have plump portfolios, but in reality it’s going to create lot of problems individually and have a major impact on our United States coffers.

The picture isn’t a pretty one because a 50/50 split might sound like a fair split, in the world of money reality, it isn’t.

According to the Federal Reserve re 2016 numbers, America’s top10% of households are about 120 times wealthier than the lower middle class. And, the top 10% had an average net worth of $5.34 million; the lower middle class had $44,700.  That  huges spread in household wealth is in direct correlation to those who are  investors vs  those who are not.

I’m hoping your portfolios are plump enough to help any family and/or friends who may need financial assistance now and in the future.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Two new record year-to-date all-time highs were reached by both the DJIA and S&P 500 indices last week. That’s a big yippee for many investors.

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 is according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

DJIA 8.19% YTD up substantially from previous week’s return of 5.81%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 19.61% a jump up from the previous week 17.90 %

Most recent DJIA a new ALL-TIME CLOSING HIGH was reached on Sept. 21, 2018 of 26,796.16. The previous high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71.

 

-S&P 500 9.58% YTD a jump up from last week’s 8.65%

  • 1 yr. Rtn 17.08% up from last week’s 16.40%

The S&P 500 reached a BRAND NEW CLOSING ALL-TIME HIGH on Sept. 21, 2018 of 2,940.91. The previous closing high was reached on August 29, 2018 of 2,916.50.

 

-NASDAQ 15.70% YTD down from last week’s 16.03%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.36% down a tad from last week’s 24.59%

Nasdaq reached a BRAND NEW 52-week CLOSING HIGH on August 30, 2018 of 8,1333.30. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 7,949.71.

 

-Russell 2000 11.51% YTD down from last week’s 12.13%

  • 1yr Rtn 18.57% down from last week’s 20.82%

The Russell 2000 reached a BRAND NEW 52-week ALL-TIME HIGH on August 31, 2018 of 1,742.09. The previous high was reached on August 24, 2018 of 1,726.97.

 

-Mutual funds

Quite like the average equity fund’s y-t-d performance has moved up a bit. But, no data to confirm it and/or by how much. New Lipper figures will be posted as soon as they are received.

Until then below is last week’s commentary:

Moving up a bit.

At the close of business on Thursday, Sept. 13,2018, the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 8.96%. 8.26%. That’s up a bit from the previous week’s 8.26%, according to Lipper.

It continues to be a Small-Cap Growth Funds world, fund here now up on average 22%.

Comparing that group’s return with 25 of the largest individual funds around, (largest in terms of assets) and it’s the Invesco QQQ Trust 1 with the best y-t-d performance at 18.92%

Fifteen of the 25 funds in that listing have returns over 10%. Impressive.

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.

 

  • Mortgage Rates

They’re creeping up.

Anyone keeping an eye on the Treasury’s long bond—that would be the one that matures in 30 years—has seen its yield move up. And as it moves up so do things like the interest earned on things like money market funds or CDs. And, more importantly, in the amount of money needed to pay any variable rate or fixed-income mortgage.

More to come.

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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 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 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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