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.

Weekly Market Commentary August 31, 2015

U.S. stock markets finished last week higher than they started it, but the five-day ride was awfully bumpy.

Concerns about China’s slowing growth, shifting currency valuations, and falling stock markets, coupled with uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy move, contributed to malaise in world markets early last week.

After falling by about 6 percent the previous week, U.S. stocks spiraled even lower early last week. They flirted with correction status (a correction is a 10 percent drop from previous highs) before moving higher.

By midweek, markets were on the rebound, bolstered in part by the comments of New York Fed President William Dudley who indicated a September rate hike might not be all that compelling. Strong U.S. economic data also soothed some investors. Barron’s reported:

“The economic data, however, have been good enough to suggest that the market is too pessimistic. There was that strong second-quarter gross-domestic-product reading, which even included signs of stronger capital spending, while good housing data suggest that third-quarter GDP could be better than many observers expect.”

Market whiplash left investors feeling pretty shaky, as did late-week comments from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer who indicated it was too soon to know what the Fed would decide about interest rates in its September meeting. He indicated the decision would depend on economic data that is still being collected.

While the market’s end of week bounce was welcome, The Wall Street Journal reported traders and investors appear to be ready for additional volatility.

Whether markets are volatile or calm this week, it’s important to remember that it’s impossible for any of us to control what happens in Washington, on Wall Street, or on Main Street. We can, however, control how we prepare for and respond to market volatility. As you know, we believe thoughtful goal identification, risk tolerance education, and a disciplined approach can help investors reach their long-term financial goals.

We understand that market volatility is uncomfortable, but it is not unusual or unexpected. If you have any questions or would like to discuss recent events, please contact your financial advisor.


Data as of 8/28/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.9% -3.4% -0.4% 12.2% 13.7% 5.1%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 0.0 -4.9 -13.2 3.3 2.5 1.9
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.2 NA 2.3 1.6 2.6 4.2
Gold (per ounce) -1.9 -5.4 -12.2 -12.0 -1.9 10.2
Bloomberg Commodity Index 1.8 -14.4 -29.3 -14.8 -7.5 -6.2
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -2.9 -4.7 2.1 8.5 12.8 7.0

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 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 August 24, 2015

Correction!

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost about 6 percent last week. That puts the benchmark index about 10 percent below its record high on May 19, 2015, according to Barron’s.

A drop of that magnitude from a new high may be a correction – a brief but jarring drop in value that often causes investors to reassess the state of the market and the health of the companies they hold. If investors judge markets and holdings to be sound, a correction may represent a buying opportunity. Of course, there is a chance markets could fall further. A drop of 20 percent or more is considered a bear market.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost about the same amount as the Dow last week and is down almost 8 percent from its May high. Technically, it’s not yet in correction territory. A dip greater than 5 percent and less than 10 percent is a pullback.

Many factors contributed to U.S. stock markets’ performance last week. Concerns about global recovery were top of mind for many investors. China’s slowdown may significantly reduce demand for commodities, and emerging markets that are dependent on commodity exports are struggling. CNN Money reported:

“China's economic slowdown and currency devaluation have investors worried that things could get worse as the year goes on. Developing countries like Brazil and Russia are struggling to revive their economies as their currencies depreciate dramatically against the dollar. Brazil's currency value has declined over 20 percent and Russia's over 40 percent, hurting imports and everyday citizens. It's also a huge worry for America's biggest companies. About 44 percent of the revenues from S&P 500 companies come from outside the United States.”

Currency depreciation (not to be confused with devaluation, which is a government’s deliberate downward adjustment in currency value) is market-driven and sometimes causes investors to pull assets out of a country, which can put more pressure on the currency.

Uncertainty about the timing of a rate hike in America didn’t help matters. CNBC reported, after the minutes of the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting were released last week and indicated “almost all members” had some concerns about the strength of U.S. economic growth, the CME FedWatch barometer put the likelihood of a September increase at 24 percent – a 45 percent drop from the prior day.


Data as of 8/21/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -5.8% -4.3% -1.1% 11.7% 13.1% 4.9%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -5.0 -4.9 -13.1 2.8 2.5 1.7
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.1 NA 2.4 1.8 2.6 4.2
Gold (per ounce) 3.4 -3.6 -9.3 -11.0 -1.2 10.2
Bloomberg Commodity Index -2.8 -15.8 -30.0 -15.6 -7.7 -6.1
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -2.4 -1.8 4.3 9.8 13.7 7.3

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 August 17, 2015

The Markets

Stock markets in the United States got off to a good start last week, heading higher before stumbling over China’s currency news.

China, which has one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies, is experiencing a slowdown in economic growth. The Economist reported data released last week showed, “…an 8 percent fall in Chinese exports in July and a 5.4 percent drop in factory-gate prices. Output prices have fallen for 41 straight months, a symptom of overcapacity in much of China’s heavy industry.” MarketWatch suggested China may be in (or on the verge of) recession.

In an effort to slow its slowdown, China announced an unexpected devaluation of its currency, the renminbi, last week. Don’t confuse the terms renminbi and yuan. Renminbi is the name of China’s currency. Yuan describes a unit of that currency. For instance, when shopping in China, you would not ask how many renminbi you owed, you would ask how many yuan you owed.

Barron’s questioned whether China’s relatively small currency adjustment would be enough to help its economy and speculated last week’s devaluation could be the tip of the iceberg:

“One wonders what a 3 percent adjustment in the yuan will do to spur China’s economy… To a longtime observer of finance ministers and central bankers, the claim that the initial moves to tweak currencies will suffice is a familiar refrain. The larger the underlying imbalance, the larger the eventual exchange-rate adjustment.”

A Fed spokesman told The Wall Street Journal China’s new currency policy has significant implications for the world economy and it probably won’t affect the Fed’s impending rate hike.

The currency devaluation didn’t have a sustained affect on U.S. stock markets last week. Major U.S. stock markets finished the week higher. China’s benchmark national index was up for the week, too.


Data as of 8/14/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.7% 1.6% 7.0% 14.2% 14.2% 5.4%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -1.5 0.1 -7.6 5.1 3.3 2.1
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.2 NA 2.4 1.7 2.6 4.3
Gold (per ounce) 2.3 -6.8 -14.9 -11.2 -7.8 9.7
Bloomberg Commodity Index -0.1 -13.4 -28.1 -14.0 -7.3 -5.8
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 1.5 0.6 8.5 11.1 14.0 7.5

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 August 10, 2015

Back to school…back to higher interest rates?

After a solid July jobs report arrived on Friday – 215,000 new jobs were created and unemployment remained at 5.3 percent – analysts were pretty confident there would be ample support for a Federal Reserve rate increase (a.k.a. liftoff) in September. Bloomberg reported the odds of a September liftoff shot from 38 percent to 52 percent just last week.

The pending rate increase was not a surprise, but investors were ruffled and U.S. stock markets moved lower. According to Barron’s, the Dow Jones Industrial Index has lost value for seven days – its longest losing streak in four years.

However, nobody was reaching for a panic button:

“…The decline in U.S. stocks has raised few alarms in part because it’s been gradual and doesn’t seem tied to any fundamental flaws in the economy. The natural drift of the market now is lower because, frankly, there are few obvious catalysts to lift stocks higher. Large-company U.S. stocks fetch valuations well above their historical averages and their earnings aren’t growing. Paying more for these stocks ahead of a Fed rate increase equates to “fighting the Fed,” a prospect investors look upon almost as favorably as sticking their fingers in an electrical outlet.”

The Fed rate increase is expected to be slow and gradual, but no one is certain what will happen after it begins. Russ Koesterich, Chief Global Investment Strategist at BlackRock, expects, “Short-term bonds will be most affected by higher rates, while longer-term bond yields should inch up at a gentler pace. High-dividend stocks that have served as “bond market proxies” are also likely to suffer, but overall, stocks’ reaction to liftoff should be relatively tempered.”


Data as of 8/7/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -1.3% 0.9% 8.8% 14.0% 13.0% 5.4%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -0.8 1.6 -4.7 5.7 2.8 2.5
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.2 NA 2.4 1.6 2.8 4.4
Gold (per ounce) -0.5 -8.8 -16.7 -12.1 -1.9 9.6
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.4 -13.3 -29.2 -14.3 -7.7 -5.7
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 0.0 -0.9 9.3 10.2 12.5 7.7

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 August 3, 2015

The market is flat.

That’s right. It’s a rare occurrence – something that has happened just 12 times since 1926, according to Fortune – but the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) has remained in a narrow trading range for seven months. For every sector that has delivered performance gains (for instance, healthcare, software, and consumer discretionary), there has been one with losses that have offset those gains (for instance, energy, materials, and industrials).

The S&P 500’s unremarkable gains year-to-date are owed to just a handful of stocks, which Barron’s said means the market has bad breadth. That’s not a good sign, but it’s not a bad sign, either. Less breadth doesn’t always signal the end of a bull market:

“Big downturns are almost always preceded by a lack of breadth, which is one reason some folks are preparing for the end. There’s only one problem: Declining breadth doesn’t always signal the end of a bull market. From September 4 to October 13 of last year, the S&P 500 outperformed the equal-weighted version of the index by more than 1.5 percentage points [a measure indicating lack of breadth], leading to similar calls that it was time to bail. The S&P 500 gained 8.5 percent during the next three months.”

Fortune’s analyst reviewed the historical data for the dozen years that offered similar market performance during the first seven months of the year and found that a range of outcomes is possible. The S&P 500 Index could: 

  •    Remain relatively flat: It happened in 1994.   
  •    Deliver a loss over the full year: It happened in 1930, 1941, and 1990.    
  •   Deliver a gain over the full year: It happened during the remaining eight years.

The median return for the twelve years was 6 percent.

Reading stock market tea leaves is no easy task. That’s why it’s important to remain focused on your financial goals and the strategies you’ve selected to help pursue them.


Data as of 7/31/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 1.2% 2.2% 9.0% 15.1% 13.3% 5.5%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 0.5 2.4 -6.1 6.8 3.1 2.7
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.2 NA 2.6 1.5 3.0 4.3
Gold (per ounce) 1.6 -8.4 -14.5 -12.2 -1.6 9.8
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.6 -12.0 -28.3 -14.0 -7.5 -5.5
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 1.0 -0.9 9.1 9.9 12.4 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 July 27, 2015

There was a spate of bad news last week, and it drove U.S. markets lower.

China’s wild ride isn’t over yet. The Purchasing Managers’ Index, a private measure of Chinese manufacturing, came in below expectations at 48.2, according to BloombergBusiness. Results below 50 indicate the sector is contracting. That doesn’t bode well for growth in China, which is the biggest global consumer of metals, grains, and energy, or the rest of the world.

Things weren’t rosy in the United States either. Sales of new homes in June came in below expectations, and the median new home price fell from a year ago. That news was a U-turn from recent data indicating strength in the housing market.

Earnings news was also less than stellar. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is kind of pricey, according to Reuters, and second quarter earnings for companies in the index were mixed. Seventy-four percent of companies beat earnings expectations but not nearly as many delivered on expected revenues.

Earnings weren’t the only issue on investors’ minds. Last week, the Federal Reserve has signaled a September rate hike was a possibility. This week it inadvertently released a confidential staff forecast that included estimates for inflation, unemployment, economic growth, and the fed funds rate. The Washington Post reported:

“Currently, the fed funds rate is between 0 and 0.25 percent, the same level it has been since the financial crisis hit in 2008… The staff prediction is that the prevailing fed funds rate during the fourth quarter will be 0.35 percent. Though there is no reference to exactly when or how that could happen, analysts say the most likely way is for the central bank to raise its target rate in September.”

Experts cited by Barron’s cautioned, “…it’s not the first rate hike that’s important. It is what comes after that.” Stay tuned.


Data as of 7/24/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -2.2% 1.0% 4.6% 15.8% 13.3% 5.4%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -2.0 1.9 -8.4 8.3 3.5 2.8
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.3 NA 2.5 1.4 3.0 4.3
Gold (per ounce) -4.6 -9.9 -16.4 -12.0 -1.8 9.8
Bloomberg Commodity Index -4.4 -10.6 -27.7 -13.1 -6.4 -5.0
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -0.5 -1.9 5.8 10.4 12.7 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 July 20, 2015

Investors around the world breathed a sigh of relief last week.

It wafted many markets higher. The NASDAQ jumped by more than 4 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 2.4 percent. France’s national benchmark index rose 4.5 percent, Germany’s was up 3.2 percent, Italy’s increased by 3.6 percent, and China’s Shanghai Composite was up 2.1 percent. So, what happened?

Global markets stabilized.

First, the Chinese stock market staunched its wounds and recovered some value, which eased investors’ worries. According to Barron’s, by the end of the week, the Shanghai Composite Index was up 13 percent from its early July low. The market’s recovery owed much to Chinese government intervention. BloombergBusiness explained:

“Chinese policy makers have gone to unprecedented lengths to put a floor under the market as they seek to bolster consumer confidence and prevent soured loans backed by equities from infecting the financial system. Over the past few weeks, they’ve banned large shareholders from selling stakes, ordered state-run institutions to buy shares, and let more than half of the companies on mainland exchanges halt trading.”

Investors also were appreciative when Greece reached an agreement with its creditors. It accepted austerity measures, which voters had soundly rejected with a ‘no’ vote on July 5 to forge a bailout agreement with European Union (EU) leaders.

That doesn’t mean the Greek debt debacle is over. Late last week, the International Monetary Fund issued a memo indicating it would not support a bailout for Greece unless significant debt relief was involved. Neither the EU nor the European Central Bank is interested in forgiving Greek debt. In fact, that was one of the main reasons negotiations with creditors failed the first time around.


Data as of 7/17/15
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 2.4% 3.3% 8.6% 16.0% 14.7% 5.7%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 1.7 3.9 -5.3 8.1 4.7 3.1
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.4 NA 2.5 1.5 3.0 4.2
Gold (per ounce) -2.3 -5.5 -13.0 -10.6 -0.8 10.4
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.8 -6.5 -25.0 -11.6 -5.1 -4.7
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 0.9 -1.4 7.5 9.3 14.5 7.1

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.

* 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 July 13, 2015

It’s a cautionary tale…

Many Chinese investors were so optimistic about the prospects for Chinese stock markets they bought on margin, meaning they borrowed money to buy stocks. Borrowing to invest has been so popular that the amount of margin loans doubled in just six months to about $320 billion, according to Barron’s. Experts cited in the article said, “…margin financing in China is equal in size to Indonesia’s entire stock market valuation and as high a portion as it has been in any market at any time…”

The problem with buying on margin is repaying the loan if stocks move in the wrong direction. Since the middle of June, Chinese stock markets have lost more than $3 trillion, reported CNN.com. Barron’s explained how margin works:

“In China, a typical investor can borrow $1.25 for every dollar of cash she has, giving her what China calls a “guarantee ratio” of 180 percent, or $2.25 (cash and stock bought on margin) divided by $1.25 (loan value). But, as her stock loses value, the guarantee ratio also falls. At 150 percent, the broker will start to issue margin calls. When the ratio hits 130 percent, the brokerage will force the liquidation of the position to meet the loan.”

About 80 percent of the investors in China’s markets live in China. Many have suffered significant losses as markets have moved lower.

The BBC reported China’s market regulator responded to the market downturn by making it even easier for people to borrow money to invest. Apparently, the hope is small investors will put more money in stocks. Regulators also banned investors who hold 5 percent or more of a company’s stock from selling their shares for six months.

By the middle of last week, Chinese markets had stopped losing value. Only time will tell whether they have truly stabilized.

Closer to home, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) suffered a computer glitch that halted trading for several hours last week. The NYSE tweeted, “The issue we are experiencing is an internal technical issue and is not the result of a cyber breach.”

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.