Tag Archives: Vanguard

POCKETBOOK: Week ending April 7, 2018

IMG_1835
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.

-30-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Feb.23, 2018

FullSizeRender(81)

  •   Some NRA related goodies now gone

I continue to be so very very proud of the students at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and their behavior following the horrific slaughtering of their fellow students on Valentine’s Day. Their actions have changed—in a positive way–how I look at young people today. And, their impact across the country is not only admirable but their determination to make changes to the power that the NRA wields within our local and state governments and in Congress, with respect to the insane gun laws practiced in our country, is Nobel Prize for Peace worthy.

What today’s students are telling their fellow Americans of all ages is that they know better: Automatic rifles don’t belong in the hands of ordinary citizens because they are weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing groups of people within seconds. And the kids’ points are well-made and correct.

These kids also know that the wheels of justice aren’t WiFi connected or on speed dial regarding the amount of time it takes to change things. To that end, I was glad to read that some of our country’s most recognized brand business names have taken steps to hit NRA members where it hurts them the most—in their pocketbooks.

Of course some will say that  there are fairness issues here, but life trumps fairness. Always has. Always will.

So hats off to the organizations, firms and institutions that have decided to end their discount programs with the NRA and its members. A few of them include: Symantec, Chubb, Enterprise, MetLife, Best Western and Wyndham Hotels.

To learn more, visit #BoycottNRA on Twitter.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

Words of advice from Warren Buffett’s latest annual letter: Don’t ever borrow money to buy stocks.

Amen to that.

And to these words from Buffett quoting his partner, Charlie Munger, a triple Amen: There are three ways to go broke:”liquor, ladies and leverage”.

As for last week, the place to bet in last week’s index winner performance race was Nasdaq—-it gained the most with a y-t-d return of almost 6.3% as of Friday’s close.

With stock volatility still very much in fashion and interest rates edging upwards, some are worried about inflation while others—namely Treasury Secretary Mnunchin—is pooh-poohing it and it’s impact.

I personally think he is way wrong. But then again, what do women know? (Wink wink.) A rising interest rate environment will affect all of us whether we are investors or not.

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, Feb. 23, 2018.

DJIA 2.02% YTD up from last week’s 2.02%  

  • 1 yr Rtn 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 2.76% YTD up from last week’s 2.19%

  • 1 yr Rtn +16.22% 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 +6.29 YTD up from last week’s 4.87%

  • 1yr Rtn +27.74% up from last week’s 24.50%

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 +0.89%YTD up from last week’s 0.52%

  • 1yr Rtn +11.08% up from last week’s +10.32%

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

As of Monday, Feb. 26, no new Lipper Performance figure updates were available.

Here is last a repeat of week’s report: On Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested returns for equity funds that fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was +1.53%, according to Lipper. That’s down from the -3.40% posted one week earlier.

Lipper tracks 25 of the largest mutual funds around. Within that group, here are some of the year-to-date returns of a few of those individual funds:

  • The three funds with the highest returns, ytd:

-Fidelity Contrafund, up 6.58%

-American Funds Growth A, up 5.49%

-Vanguard FTSE Emerging Market ETF Fund, up 5.03%

 

  • The three funds with the least returns, ytd:

-Vanguard Total Bond ll: Inv, -2.31%

-Vanguard Total Bond ll: Inv., -2.31%

-American Funds CIB:A, -0.59%

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

 

•BlackRock

BlackRock is one heck of an investment firm and through the years has rewarded investors in its various index funds, ETFs, mutual funds and closed-end funds quite nicely.

That said, BlackRock, with an estimated $6 billion in assets that it manages, is a big time indirect gun company investor, according to the Associated Press.

Through its indirect investments,that same source reports that BlackRock is the largest stakeholder in America’s largest gun manufacturers. FactSet has reported that BlackRock has a 16.18% stake in Sturm Ruger, 11.91% in Vista, and a 10.5% stake in American Outdoor.

The trouble with fund investing is that it takes more than public outcry to change holdings in a fund, such as in mutual and index funds and ETFs. And, any changes in a fund’s investment objectives, style and holdings can’t be done willy-nilly: Changes and/or resolutions require votes and those voting privileges go out to everyone. That means you, as a shareholder, has voting rights.

Keep that in mind the next time you receive a voting proxy in the mail and decide to toss it out rather than to vote.

Funds are terrific investment vehicles. But, they are group investments. Don’t like what the fund invests in? Choose another fund. There are literally tens of thousands to choose from. Some are even Socially Responsible funds. Typically they don’t invest in sin stocks—like companies that make guns or ammunition.

Read a fund’s prospectus or check out its fund holdings before investing. You will find that info online at various sources. And don’t forget— a listing of  fund’s investments is partial and holdings aren’t updated daily but updated quarterly.

-30-

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Nov. 17, 2017

cd79ce09-9cf9-4f3e-8eb4-23c20b137fe6.jpg
Happy Thanksgiving from my family’s table to yours.
  • One more time: We don’t need tax reform

More than anything in the world, the Republican party wants to make sure that they accomplish something during the first 300-and-some days since the President Trump has been in office.

Doing something is a good idea. Tax reform, or whatever it winds up being called, isn’t.

Here’s the main reason why I think that is so: When taxes are cut, somebody or something has to pay in one way or another to cover the government coffer shortfalls the tax cuts create.

Any decrease in monies flowing in will translate into an increase in America’s defecit and could make unwelcomed changes to things such as our Vet’s programs,  Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP and other much needed government funded impacts-people programs.

Plus, while 800-to-1200 bucks a year in savings for the average person amounts to something,  the cuts will more than likely cost middle and lower-income people more than that with respect to their annual  health care costs and deductions allowed on their tax returns depending upon the state in which they live.

And, history has shown that the trickle-down talk of how tax reforms/cuts translate into more jobs and higher wages is just that—talk. The same kind of poppycock talk similar to the election promises Trump made to the coal miners telling them that their coal jobs would be coming back.

Or the Paul Ryan talk about how America has been in a horrible mess ever since the Great Recession began. Someone must not have shown him a chart showing  that GDP growth has been being improving since that recession or one showing  the roaring returns that the stock market has provided investors. Or the one with a snapshot of how corporations already have tons of money on their balance sheets available for spending should they desire to spend it.

If the party in power wants to make a positive impact, why not pass a bill that creates jobs focused on improving our country’s roads, bridges and all around infrastructure? Or one that limits the types and number of guns individuals can own? Or requires background checks for anyone purchasing a gun at a trade show, or online? Or provides health care for all without strings attached?

Those kinds of changes would make a big everyday difference in the lives of most Americans.

Tax cuts not so much.

But no matter how you feel, why call your state Senator’s office today and voice your “yeah” or “nay” on the subject.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

A bit of a downer last week. But if history is any guide, Thanksgiving week is more often than not a good week for stocks in the S&P 500.

According to the fine folks at the Bespoke Investment Group, the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 0.65% during the four-day Thanksgiving week. “And in years when the S&P is up 10%+ YTD heading into Thanksgiving week (as it is this year), returns during the week are even stronger.”

We shall see….

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, November 17, 2017.

DJIA +18.19% YTD down from last week’s 18.52%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +23.56% down from last week’s 24.27%

 

The DJIA most recent all-time high of 23,602.12 was reached on November 7, 2017.

Its previous high of 23,557.06 was reached November 3, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +15.19% YTD down from last week’s 15.34%.

  • 1yr Rtn +17.91% down from last week’s +19.31%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent new high on November 7, 2017 of 2,597.02

Its previous high of 2,588.42 was reached on November 3, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +26.00% YTD up from last week’s +25.66%.

  • 1yr Rtn +27.16% down from last week’s 28.91%

The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,806.67 on November 16, 2017.

Its previous high of 6,795.52 was reached on November 7, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +10.00%YTD up from last week’s +8.71%

1yr Rtn +14.00% down from last week’s +15.04%

The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,514.94 on October 5, 2017. On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.

 

-Mutual funds

Moving up a tiny bit.

The year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds was +14.34% at the close of business on Thursday, November 16, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s up from the previous week’s return of +14.24%.

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading were:

-Highest: Equity Leverage Funds, +33.72%

-Lowest: Alternative Equity Market Neutral Funds, -0.18%

The average return for funds under this heading was +14.34%.

 

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the Sector Equity Funds heading were:

-Highest: Global Science/Technology Funds, +46.84%

-Lowest: Energy MPL Funds, -11.68%

The average return for funds under this heading was +9.76%%.

 

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the World Equity Funds heading were:

-Highest: China Region Funds, +43.84%

-Lowest: Global Equity Income Funds, +13.62%

The average return for funds under this heading was 24.72%.

 

  • The highest and lowest average y-t-date returns under the Mixed Asset Funds heading were:

-Highest: Mixed-Asset Target 2055+Funds, +17.54%

-Lowest: Alternative Multi-Strategy Funds, +3.26%

The average return for funds under this heading was 11.28%.

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.

 

  • What’s up for 2018?

There’s already been lots of speculation going on about how the markets will perform in 2018 and Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, is one of them forecasting.

Bogle, who is now retired, is predicting that going forward into the New Year and beyond that the U.S.  market will be a better bet than global markets; average returns on stocks are going to be much lower—as in the 4% annual return area—over the next 10 years; and bond portfolios will increase into the +3% average annual 10-year returns.

More than one experienced talking head agrees.

Wishing you plenty to be thankful for and a happy thanksgiving week.

-30-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POCKETBOOK: Week ending Sept. 15, 2017

 

FullSizeRender(40)

  • Electric power

My power was out from Sunday thru late Wednesday afternoon. It’s a hot, sweaty and costly drag when that happens. In addition to no breezes, tossing out all refrigerated and frozen foods that warmed and thawed in my coolers, the one who suffered the most was my dog, Gracie. Now 13 and 3/4s years old, Tuesday night she barely slept panting the night away. I apologized to her which may have been humanly kind but don’t think those words mattered much to her. She was hot. And old. And suffering.

So, early the next morning I took her for an extended ride in my car, air conditioning blasting. And then with me to the 12:05 service at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach. We made it through the police check-points on the island after telling those guarding the town that I was going to church.

Grace is a good church-going dog. She’s been to this place for services a few times before for the Blessing of the Animals service and knew the drill: Go to the grass bathroom before entering the church, try not to bark and spread out as much as you’d like on the cool wooden pews.

For an hour she was much happier thanks to the generator powering the AC at Bethesda.

Speaking of power, I have a friend in Tavernier (one of the Florida Keys) whose home never lost its power during or after  Hurricane Irma.

Amazing.

 

  • Market Quick Glance

It had been about seven weeks since the DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ had reached new all-time highs. But at the close of business on Friday, September 15, 2017, all of that changed as each of those indices scored again.

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results— including the dates each reached new highs— according to data from CNBC.com. Data is based on prices at the close of business for the week ending on Friday, Sept 15, 2017.

-DJIA +12.68 YTD a big jump up from last week’s 10.30%.

  • 1 yr Rtn +22.27% down from last week’s 17.95%.

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

Prior to that date, the DJIA most recent all-time high of 22,179.11 was reached on August 8, 2017 . Looking back six months, on March 1, the then all-time high on that date was 21,169.11.

 

-S&P 500 +11.68 % YTD way up from last week’s 9.94%.

  • 1yr Rtn +16.44% up a lot from last week’s +12.84%

The S&P 500 reached a new high of 2,500.23 on September 15, 2017.

Prior to that date, its most recent all-time high was on August 8, 2017 at 2,490.87. And six months earlier, on March 1, 2017, that index closed at a then all-time high of 2,400.98.

 

-NASDAQ +19.79% YTD up from last week’s +18.15%.

  • 1yr Rtn +22.84% down from last week’s 23.11%

The Nasdaq also reach a new all-time high on September 15, 2017 closing at 6,464.27.

Prior to that date, its most recent all-time high of 6,460.84 was reached on July 27, 2017. Looking back, on April 5, 2017 this index closed at 5,936.39.

 

-Russell 2000 +5.50% YTD up from last week’s +4.16%.

  • 1yr Rtn +16.68% up a heap from last week’s +11.21%

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

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

 

-Mutual funds

Good news with respect to the year-to-date cumulative total reinvested return performance for equity funds falling under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading: On Thursday, September 14, 2017, equity funds y-t-d return average was 10.11%—that’s up from the previous week’s close of 8.60%, according to Lipper.

If you’re a fan or investor in the largest funds around some of the big ones have returned big  returns.

Four of them include: Vanguard FTSE Emg Mkt ETF, 25.98%; Fidelity Contrafund, 23.20%; Dodge & Cox Intl Stock, 21.97%; and the Vanguard Total 1 Stock, 21.26%.

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.

 

  • Hacked

You’ve heard me write this before and I’ll continue to mention it as there is some truth to it:  My now 102-year old Auntie Pat said– decades ago– that the internet was the devil’s work.

Recently her point  is proven to hold water  when it comes to the Dark Web and the hacking of  personal financial on-line accounts, including those of banks and credit rating agencies.

Personally, I’ve had my identity stolen and have been a victim of mail-fraud hacking. Both no fun to deal with or correct.

Speaking of correcting a hacking problem, I’m not 100% sure that once any of your accounts have been hacked that your Social Security Number, and various health-related accounts or credit or debt accounts in your name, will ever be free from harm.

So, while a hacking experience can cost us plenty and take months to correct our credit score after our cards have been stolen and used to rack up sales we never made, it’s the high-end no-limit credit cards that hackers really like getting their hands on. According to Bloomberg.com, on the Dark Web a Platinum American Express card will sell for $15 to $20 while a regular MasterCard without a large limit for around $9.

Not much given all the aggravation it costs the card owner.

-30-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POCKETBOOK

IMG_0204For the week ending Jan. 9, 2016

  • Worst week? So what?

If you haven’t heard, the first trading week of 2016 has the distinction of being the worst first week of any year ever on Wall Street. If you’re upset by this year’s dour start, better forget long-term investing. Owning equities isn’t for those who don’t get that stock prices go up and down over time. Always have. Always will.

  • Market Quick Glance

-Indices

Here’s how the major indices have performed year-to-date, YTD, through January 8, 2016 according to Bloomberg:

-S&P 500 -5.91% YTD

-Dow Jones -6.1% YTD

-NASDAQ -7.24 YTD (BTW, remember this was the only index that closed 2015 up.)

-Russell 2000 -7.88% YTD

-Mutual funds

Lipper’s year-to-date mutual fund performance figures through January 7, 2016 show:

-The average U.S. Diversified Equity Funds -4.93 percent.

-Commodity Precious Metals Funds +1.49 percent.

-Dedicated Short-bias Funds gained the most + 9.31 percent.

-Domestic L-T Fixed-Income Funds +0.11 percent.

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

-ETF News

Investors are loving ETFs.

According to Bloomberg: “ETFs took in a grand total of about $238 billion in 2015—just shy of their annual record of $243 billion set last year. No other investment vehicle came even close to this number. It is more than the flows into index funds, active mutual funds, and hedge funds combined.”

BlackRock’s IShares brought in $106 billion outpacing Vanguard’s ETF haul of $76 billion, according to that same source.

International ETFs saw the most inflows. SPY, the most outflows.

On the other hand, Vanguard is still big on keep its fees low. InstititionalAssetManager reported Vanguard clients saved a total of USD 12.4 million as a result of lower expense ratios for 53 individual mutual fund shares, including 21 exchange-traded fund shares (ETFs).

  • Turns out, when it comes to market value our secret passwords aren’t worth that much.

There seems to be no shortage of cyber crimals around. Or, computer accounts for them to hack. While that’s ugly enough, a study by TrendMicro found that passowrds for entertainment accounts with NetFlix, Hulu and Spotify can be had for as little as $2 bucks a piece.

Geez, isn’t anything sacred anymore?

 

-30-