Tag Archives: NASDAQ

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.11, 2018

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•Grifter

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

An upper of a week for all four indices here.

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

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 5.97% YTD down from last week’s 6.24%

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

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

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

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

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

Small-Cap Growth Funds has outperformed in all.

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

 

  • Turkeys

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

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

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

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending July 28, 2018

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  • Happy Birthday Medicare and Medicaid

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 5.43% YTD up from last week’s 4.80%

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

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

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

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

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

 

  • Pricy Convenience

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

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

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

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 23, 2018

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Passed on a money-related photo this week for something far more important than money.
  • 1% Wealth Money Lessons

 If you’ve got wealth envy, forgetaboutit. No matter where one falls on the how-much-money-do-you-have chart, everybody  has money worries/concerns to some degree or another.

The ultra rich have the “rice-paddy-to-rice-paddy” thing going on—that’s the same as the “from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” concern. Both sayings point out that the delicacy and trickiness of a family keeping and maintaining its wealth through the generations ain’t easy. The paycheck to paycheck folks worry about where the bucks to keep a roof over their heads is going to come from before their next pay-day. And all the folks in the middle have money worries, too.

That said, teaching your kids about money is as important as teaching them to brush their teeth and wash their face every day.

CNBC recently published a piece titled, “What the 1 percent are teaching their children about money”. The story included four money lessons. I modified it to three. All of them are simple and worth talking with and to kids about whether you are a parent, teacher, friend, relative or someone who just likes helping kids. And, rich or just getting by.

They include:

-Have a money message and communicate those money values.

“We’re more than what’s in our bank account,” said Judy Spalthoff, executive director and head of family and philanthropy advisory at UBS. ”If what defines our family is just what’s in our bank account. It’s not productive. We’re sending the wrong message of who we are.”

In other words, I say don’t make a big deal out of teaching your kids how much money/wealth your family has or how little it has. Each of us is a unique individual with talents all our own that count and have value no matter how much money our family has or doesn’t have.

-Put your children to work.

-Give back. Teaching your kids to donate their time and talents to others might just be the most rewarding lesson you’ll ever teach them.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It’s back to bumpy.

We are almost half way through this year and there isn’t much to crow about when comparing your year-to-date returns to that of the various indices—unless, of course, you’re a NASDAQ or Russell 2000 fan. They’re both up double digits while the  DJIA is underwater.

 

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, June 22, 2018.

DJIA -0.56% YTD underwater and down from the previous week’s return

  • 1 yr Rtn 14.88% up from the previous week’s 14.27%

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 3.047% YTD down from last week’s 3.97%

  • 1 yr Rtn 13.16% down from last week’s 14.27%

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

 

-NASDAQ 11.44% YTD down from last week’s 12.21%

  • 1yr Rtn 23.35% down from last week’s 25.63%

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

 

-Russell 2000 9.77% YTD up from last week’s 9.66%

  • 1yr Rtn 20.01% up from last week’s 19.42%

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

 

-Mutual funds

The total return performance of the funds under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had an average return of 5.04% at the close of business on Thursday, June 21, 2018, according to Lipper. That’s up from the June 7, 2018 average total return of 5.11%.

Yes, it’s still a small cap world and will likely continue to be for the near future with Small-Cap Growth Funds up on average 15.66% followed by Mid-Cap Growth (10.56%) and Multi-Cap Growth Funds (10.55%).

Of the 25 largest funds, based on asset size, the two big winners were the Fidelity Contra Fund, 11.77%, and the American Funds Growth A Fund, 10.52%. Both are large-cap growth funds.

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.

 

  • Banks got money and they’ll spent it on you if….

Seems as though banks are so flush with cash they’re dolling it out for free. Well, kinda sorta.

If you’ve got a few hundred or many hundreds of dollars that you don’t know what to do with, consider investigating the banks that offer cash bonuses for people willing to open a new account with their bank.

But, as with  all money-related things in life, there are a few catches. Which means, ya gotta read the small print and understand the deal before you fall for it.

For instance, there are always terms—such as the amount of money required to open a checking or savings account, the length of time required to qualify for the bonus, etc.

Like I said, you’ve got to research and read the deal before committing to it.

If you don’t, all could be for naught and could wind up costing you.

Oh, and remember:  any bonus money is TAXABLE.

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending June 9, 2018

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Telling lines.
  • Fickle trickle

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 3.94% YTD up from last week’s 2.28%

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

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

 

-NASDAQ 10.75% YTD up from last week’s 9.43%

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

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

 

-Russell 2000 8.92% YTD up from last week’s 7.32%

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

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

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

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

Overall, World Equity Funds are up 0.90%.

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

 

  • Recession ahead? Yes. Sometime.

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

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

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

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

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 26, 2018

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  • Uber-Rich Goal Setting

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

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

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

But wait. There’s more.

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

Set your goals as your needs dictate.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

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

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

  • Top 3 performing stocks from the NASDAQ 100:

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

  • Three biggest losing stocks from the NASDAQ 100:

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

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, May 25, 2018.

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 1.78% YTD up a tiny bit from week’s 1.47%

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

-Russell 2000 5.95% YTD up a hair from last week’s 5.93%

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Credit Card Debt Growing

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

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

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

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

Oh my.

 

 

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending May 18, 2018

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  • The BEST investing advice EVER

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

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

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

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

 

  • Market Quick Glance

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

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

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, May 18, 2018.

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

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

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

 

-S&P 500 1.47% YTD down from week’s 2.02%

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

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

 

-NASDAQ 7.24% YTD down from last week’s 7.24%

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

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

 

-Russell 2000 5.93% YTD up from last week’s 4.64%

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

From the May 3 report:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 7, 2018

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Lots of worries over what could happen if Trump starts a trade war. This Op-Ed cartoon is from the Sunday, April 8, 2018, Palm Beach Post.
  • Trading places

Lots of talking heads have lots of things to say about the likelihood of trade wars developing should the mighty US of A decide to let President Trump rule and impose additional tariffs on goods and services from places where tariffs already are in place.

In general, many talking heads agree that there is an imbalance in our trade agreement with China. And many think that getting into a tariff war with that country could be very disruptive and costly to us, as in the average consumer.

What’s important to remember is that no new tariffs have been imposed on any country, anywhere,  yet.

It’s also important to remember that it’s really smart to remember to pick your battles.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Q: Dear Wise One:

Any perspective investors ought to keep in mind with respect to the markets’ recent volatility?

 
A: Yes.

Right now the stock market is as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers. And that’s just how it is. Today.

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, April 6, 2018.

 

DJIA -3.18% YTD down more than the previous week’s -2.49%

  • 1 yr Rtn 15.82% down from the previous week’s 16.28%

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

 

-S&P 500 -2.59% YTD down more than last week’s -1.22%

  • 1 yr Rtn 10.48% down from last week’s 11.52%

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 0.17% YTD down from last week’s 2.32%

  • 1yr Rtn 17.62% down from last week’s 19.43%

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 -1.45% YTD down more than last week’s -0.40%

  • 1yr Rtn 10.91% up a tiny bit from last week’s 10.64%

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

At the close of business on Thursday, April 4, 2018,  the average fund that falls under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading had a year-to-date return of +0.32%. That’s up—yes up—from the previous week’s average of -0.37%.

Large-Cap Growth and Small-Cap Growth funds were up on average well over 3% last week. Science & Technology Funds and Global Science & Technology Funds both up at 4.92 and 5.08% respectively.

Latin American Funds, too, were up—averaging almost 6% y-t-d.

The biggest loser fund type of all were Energy MLP, down on average -10.02%.

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.

 

  • ETF returns

 I heard Jack Bogle, Vanguard’s founder, point out that mutual funds have had better returns than exchange-traded funds, ETFs, a point I found worth thinking about. Seems the big push to advertise big time by various ETF brand families is one thing. But, out performing various categories of index funds however, is another.

So, while some consider the ability to buy and sell ETFs throughout the day –as one can do with both stocks and ETFs– is appealing, it isn’t necessariy financially rewarding.

One reason  is that  Bogle thinks ETFs could encourage individuals to trade their holdings more often rather than  holding their investments  for the long term. Doing so, he said makes  it difficult for an investor/trader to outperform the market.

Good point.

Then again, Bogle loves index funds.

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POCKETBOOK:Week ending March 3, 2018

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  • Another bull’s birthday

The bull market is going to be 9 this week. In dog years that would be 63 in human years. Okay okay—I know there’s nothing that really connects bulls with dogs and humans but then again, from a human’s point of view, 63 represents an age of maturity. One, that some figure, is an age worthy of retirement.

A look back at the historic lengths of  bull markets between 1926 through 2017 represented by  S&P 500 Index total returns reveals that a bull market lasts on average  9 years, according to FirstTrust (FTPortfolios.com). That puts this market in  watch-for-bears territory.

The longest bull market ,relating to that same index, lasted 13.9 years (from the 1930s-early 1940s), with an average annualized rate of return of 17.2%.  The shortest, 2.5 years in the early 1970s in which the average annualized gain was 25.3%.

Clearly, this bull market has been running a long time but more importantly,  bulls don’t run forever.

Then again, this same source reveals that S&P500 Index  bear markets have a history of being much shorter in length averaging only 1.4 years.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Back peddling and who knows for how long.

If, at the beginning of this year, you invested into an S&P 500 index fund or one that tracks the Russell 2000 you’ve lost money. Not so with the Nasdaq.

Who knows what the year-to-date returns will be by the end of this week but here’s a bet worth considering: If Trump continues to be hell-bent on imposing tariffs on the steel and aluminum that the US imports, the market might have a hell-bent time of moving upward.

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 3, 2018.

 

DJIA -0.73% YTD down and back into minus land–the previous week +2.02%  

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.83% down from the previous week’s 22.31%

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 +0.66% YTD significantly down from last week’s 2.76%

  • 1 yr Rtn +12.99% down from last week’s 16.40%

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 +5.13 YTD down from last week’s 6.29%

  • 1yr Rtn +23.83% down from last week’s 27.74%

Nasdaq latest new all-time high of 7,505.77 was reached on January 26, 2018. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 7,336.38.

 

-Russell 2000 -0.15%YTD down into minus land from last week’s 0.89%

  • 1yr Rtn +9.85% down from last week’s +11.08%

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

Reflecting a not-so-hot week for stocks, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was -0.31% at the close of business on Thursday, March 2, 2018, according to Lipper.

Near the end of 2017, many talking heads were projecting that markets outside of the U.S. were going to be the ones likely to score well this year. That however, hasn’t necessarily been the case. For instance, the year-to-date return for the average World Equity Fund was 0.11% as of Thursday’s close. There are 4,453 funds that fall under that broad heading.

Areas doing well and not-so-well under that heading include: Latin American Funds and China Region Funds, up 6.28% and3.66% respectively, on average. And, on the other hand,  India Region Funds and Global Equity Income Funds were down on average -5.40% and -2.08% 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.

 

  • Kohl’s and Aldi a match made in heaven?

There’s a maybe unlikely new couple coming to town: Kohl’s, the retailer that sends out so many discount coupons to their credit card holders that you wonder how in the world they make any money—-and Aldi, the German grocer that sells its food stuff and goodies at prices that don’t need any coupons to get shoppers into their stores.

The deal is, Kohl’s has too many stores with too much space in them and has plans to cut the size of its footprints, while Aldi is expected to open 900 new stores over the next five years, according to USA Today.

So,  the idea is to lob off some of existing Kolh’s stores space to make Aldi its next door neighbor.

If you’re a shopper of both, the idea makes sense. If you’re not, it might be time to try shopping at either.

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POCKETBOOK:Week ending Dec.24, 2016

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  • Holiday peace and joy to all

To honor the true spirit of the holiday season, this week’s money-focused POCKETBOOK will be brief. My hope in doing so is to remind everyone that what’s most important in this life is the wealth that lives within your heart and not the material wealth you may have been fortunate enough to have accumulated.

  • Market Quick Glance

Below are the weekly and 1-year performance results for four popular stock indices based on the close of business prices on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, according to Bloomberg.

-Indices:

-Dow Jones +17.51 YTD up from last week’s 16.96%

  • 1yr Rtn +16.65% down from last week’s 18.99%

 

-S&P 500 +13.17% YTD up from last week’s 12.84%

  • 1yr Rtn +12.27% down from last week’s 15.07%

 

-NASDAQ +10.55%YTD up from last week’s 10.02%

  • 1yr Rtn +9;68% down from last week’s 11.96%

 

-Russell 2000 +22.47%YTD up from last week’s 21.82%

  • 1yr Rtn +20.55% down from last week’s 23.55%

 

-Mutual funds

At the close of business on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, the performance of the average U.S. Diversified Equity Fund was 11.53%, off a bit from the previous week’s close of 11.73%, according to Lipper.

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.

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