Tag Archives: Secretary of Commerce

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.11, 2018



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.