Archive Monthly Archives: September 2015

Weekly Market Commentary September 28, 2015

Oh, the uncertainty!

Investors are keeping one eye on the Federal Reserve and the other on politicians trying to determine what may happen during the last quarter of the year.

The Fed, which is the central bank of the United States, is responsible for conducting monetary policy with an eye toward full employment and stable prices. If, as St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told Reuters, the economy is near full employment and inflation is sure to rise, then why didn’t the Fed raise rates in September?

Reuters reported voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided uncertainty in global markets had the potential to negatively affect domestic economic strength. Mr. Bullard believes the decision puts an October increase in doubt, too, according to Nasdaq.com. Mr. Bullard told reporters:

“For the committee, it's always hard to have made a big decision at one meeting and come back at the next meeting. The key question will be what kind of data did you get during the intervening period that changed your mind, and it's not that clear what data we will have in hand in October that we would be able to cite to support my position, relative to what we had at the September meeting. But it is possible.”

Regardless, Chairwoman Janet Yellen made it clear last week she expects to see a rate hike before year-end. That might have helped settle markets, except Speaker of the House John Boehner resigned soon after Yellen spoke. The Speaker’s resignation made a government shutdown this week less likely, according to Barron’s. However, fiscal policy issues haven’t been resolved. A meeting of the political minds this week would set the stage for a mid-December showdown and that’s data the Fed will have to consider if the December FOMC meeting occurs amidst a government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis.

No one seemed to be happy with the state of affairs this week, and stock markets were awash in red ink.


Data as of 9/25/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -1.4% -6.2% -1.8% 10.2% 11.1% 4.7%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -3.4 -9.2 -13.7 0.2 -0.1 0.9
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.2 NA 2.5 1.7 2.5 4.3
Gold (per ounce) 0.5 -4.4 -5.5 -13.5 -2.4 9.5
Bloomberg Commodity Index 0.9 -15.2 -25.7 -15.5 -8.7 -6.6
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -0.3 -4.7 8.4 9.0 11.6 6.9

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Need some Personalized Advice?

Contact us and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.  No bull.

* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.

*Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.

* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.

* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.

* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Weekly Market Commentary September 21, 2015

As Tom Petty often sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

Whether it’s waiting for college acceptance letters, medical test results, employment offers, or Federal Reserve monetary policy changes, waiting can produce a lot of anxiety. A 2012 research paper written by Associate Professor Kate Sweeney and Graduate Fellow Sara Andrews of the University of California, Riverside, explained it like this:

“…Although waiting for inevitable events such as the arrival of a bus or one’s turn in line may be irritating…the combination of uncertainty about the outcome and waiting for that outcome can be particularly excruciating. In fact, waiting may be more anxiety provoking than actually facing the worst case scenario…”

That may go a ways toward explaining why markets didn’t rally when the Federal Reserve decided to leave rates unchanged last week. The Federal Open Market Committee’s statement indicated they were concerned, “Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term.”

On the face of it, continued low rates should have been good news for assets like stocks, according to Barron’s. However, any positive aspects to the news were mitigated by the fact everyone expects the Fed to begin raising rates soon. Investors are waiting for it to happen, and they’re uncertain how economies and markets will react when it does.

Heightened anxiety may be one of the reasons investors responded the way they did last week. On Friday, after mulling the Fed’s decision, national stock market indices around the world – in the United States, England, Germany, France, and Japan – fell significantly, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Now, we’re back to waiting.

If anxiety remains high, markets may be volatile.


Data as of 9/18/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -0.2% -4.9% -2.7% 10.3% 11.4% 4.8%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 1.3 -6.0 -13.0 1.3 0.9 1.3
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.1 NA 2.6 1.8 2.7 4.3
Gold (per ounce) 3.8 -4.8 -6.5 -13.6 -2.3 9.4
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.4 -15.9 -27.2 -15.9 -8.7 -6.6
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 2.8 -4.4 6.5 7.9 10.8 6.8

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Need some Personalized Advice?

Contact us and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.  No bull.

* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.

*Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.

* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.

* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.

* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Weekly Market Commentary September 14, 2015

The market is as streaky as a slice of bacon.

U.S. stock markets have been sliding higher. They’ve been sliding lower.

Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has tumbled from gains to losses and back again for 10 weeks in a row. The Dow Jones Industrial Index has tagged along with nine weeks of flip-flops. You’d almost think they were running for office.

There are market optimists. There are market pessimists.

The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) weekly survey of investor sentiment reported 34.6 percent of respondents were bullish. That’s up from the previous week. Thirty-five percent of respondents were bearish. That’s also up from last week. What’s down? Neutral sentiment. More people are forming opinions about the possible direction of the market.

There are questions that need to be answered.

Will the Federal Reserve begin to raise rates this week? Some say yes. Some say no. Barron’s said it’s too close to call. There is no clear consensus, Fed officials have given mixed signals, and the bond market has not priced in a rate hike. If the Fed does raise rates, experts cited by Barron’s said markets could get ugly for a little while or they could remain calm. A lot depends on the wording of the Fed’s statement.

Have Chinese markets stabilized? MarketWatch reported the Shanghai Composite Index finished last week higher. It was the first positive weekly outcome in a month. Chinese authorities, once again, are taking steps to stabilize markets. The Economist offered this thought, “As China’s financial markets develop, its stock market will become less bumpy. For now, investors must remember that many things are bigger in China, including the daily ups and down of its stock market.”

Will the U.S. government shut down again? It’s in the hands of our elected officials.


Data as of 9/11/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 2.1% -4.8% -1.8% 11.0% 12.1% 4.7%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 1.8 -7.2 -14.1 1.7 0.8 1.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.2 NA 2.5 1.7 2.8 4.2
Gold (per ounce) -1.6 -8.3 -11.4 -14.1 -2.4 9.4
Bloomberg Commodity Index 0.5 -14.8 -26.9 -15.7 -8.3 -6.1
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 2.2 -7.0 0.2 7.2 10.8 6.3

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Need some Personalized Advice?

Contact us and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.  No bull.

* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.

*Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.

* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.

* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.

* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Weekly Market Commentary September 8, 2015

Who’s the culprit?

Speculating on who or what is to blame for recent market weakness is a popular pastime right now. Last week, Barron’s said the search for someone to blame is a lot like a game of Clue. So far, the most common conclusions are “the People's Bank of China with a devalued currency in Beijing,” and “Janet Yellen with a potential interest-rate hike in Washington.”

The article pointed out those theories might be flawed. After all, China’s slowdown wasn’t a surprise. Analysts have been factoring slower growth into their calculations for some time. U.S. rate hikes are highly anticipated and, even though some fear they could tip the American economy into recession (and argue recent stock price movement supports the claim), relatively strong economic data casts doubt on the idea. Some analysts believe the stock market can help predict where a country’s economy is headed. A significant drop in stock prices could be indicative of a future recession and a significant increase could suggest future economic growth.

So, why have markets headed south? Barron’s offered an alternative answer: Investors with volatility trading strategies (and/or a case of nerves) across the globe. The article pointed out the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a.k.a. the fear gauge, popped from a low of 13 to a high of 53 between August 18 and August 24:

“That’s higher than when Standard & Poor's cut the credit rating of the United States in 2011, or at the peak of the European debt crisis in 2010, and seems extreme given the evidence. But volatility isn’t simply a measure of fear. It has been used to manage risk in portfolios that employ sophisticated trading schemes… Although each type of fund adjusts to market changes at a different speed, they all respond in the same way – by selling stocks… Don’t just blame the professionals. For months now, there have been warnings about overcrowding in the market’s best-performing stocks. And, when the market started to tumble in August, these stocks were among the hardest hit…”

So, who caused the market downturn? Take your pick.


Data as of 9/4/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -3.4% -6.7% -3.8% 11.0% 12.0% 4.5%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -4.1 -8.8 -17.0 2.3 1.0 1.0
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.1 NA 2.5 1.6 2.6 4.1
Gold (per ounce) -1.5 -6.8 -12.1 -13.0 -2.2 9.6
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.0 -15.2 -29.0 -15.5 -8.2 -6.4
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -4.6 -9.0 -3.0 6.5 10.6 6.0

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Need some Personalized Advice?

Contact us and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.  No bull.

* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.

*Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.

* The MSCI EM (Emerging Markets) Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of the emerging market countries of the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The MSCI EM Index consists of the following emerging market country indices: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.

* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.

* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.

* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.

* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.