Weekly Market Commentary October 10, 2016

Was it good news or wasn’t it?

The U.S. unemployment rate ticked higher last week. The September jobs report showed the United States added 156,000 new jobs in September. That was 16,000 fewer than economists were expecting and 11,000 fewer than were added in August, according to Barron’s.

That doesn’t sound like good news, does it?

On the other hand, the report showed more people are working and looking for jobs. Also, wages increased so people are earning more. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

“The report – marked by a slight uptick in the unemployment rate to 5 percent – largely fit the narrative Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen laid out for the labor market after the central bank’s September policy meeting. People are rejoining the labor force in search of work. Many of them are finding jobs, but not all…Ms. Yellen sees the return of workers to the job search process as a healthy sign.”

That sounds like good news, right?

The jobs report seemed to support the conclusion of The New York Times that there are two economic realities in the United States, “…healthy hiring and falling unemployment on the one hand, millions of economically sidelined Americans on the other…”

Uncertainty surrounding the jobs report caused U.S. stock markets to fall last week.


Data as of 10/7/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -0.7% 5.4% 7.9% 8.7% 13.3% 4.8%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -0.4 3.3 1.4 -1.6 3.5 -0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.7 NA 2.1 2.6 2.1 4.7
Gold (per ounce) -4.7 18.6 10.1 -1.6 -5.3 8.2
Bloomberg Commodity Index 0.4 9.0 -5.0 -12.6 -9.6 -6.2
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -5.2 6.7 10.4 11.9 15.1 5.5

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.

is IT a cyclical rotation? Economic growth may not be predictable, but it tends to follow a pattern that is known as a business or economic cycle. Periods of recession (when the economy contracts) are followed by periods of growth (when the economy expands).

Some companies and market sectors tend to perform better during economic expansions. They’re known as cyclical companies, and they make goods or deliver services – entertainment, automobiles, vacations, and so on – that people want to buy when they’re feeling prosperous. Generally, people feel prosperous during periods of economic expansion. Other companies are called ‘defensive.’ They offer goods or services – food, beverages, personal products, and so on – that people need regardless of their wealth or economic conditions.

In recent months, we’ve seen what may be a rotation from defensive market sectors into cyclical ones. Financial Times explained the shift in U.S. markets:

“The shift signals investors are worrying about high prices for the defensive, dividend-paying stocks that were in heavy demand in the first half as worries over the outlook for the global economy dominated…Indications of a potential rate increase this year and hopes that economic growth was improving were making unloved, cyclical parts of the market look more attractive.”

If you look at returns for the first three quarters of the year, cyclical stocks and defensive stocks delivered almost the same performance. Through September 30, 2016, the MSCI ACWI Cyclical Sectors Index was up 4.8 percent and the MSCI ACWI Defensive Sectors Index was up 4.7 percent. The trend appears when you look at the numbers during the third quarter. During July, August, and September, cyclical sectors were up 8.2 percent and defensive sectors were down 0.7 percent!

It appears to be a cyclical rotation.

Think About It

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

--William Shakespeare, British playwright

Need some Personalized Advice?

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

*Because of their narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies.

* 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 all Country World Index is an unmanaged, free float- adjusted, market capitalization-weighted index composed of stocks of companies located in countries throughout the world. It is designed to measure equity market performance in global developed and emerging markets. The index includes reinvestment of dividends, net of foreign withholding taxes.

* 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.

* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. 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.

Sources:

http://blogs.barrons.com/incomeinvesting/2016/10/07/september-payrolls-disappoint-mildly-unemployment-rises-to-5/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/hilsenrath-jobs-data-ensures-no-fed-rate-increase-in-november-1475846564

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/business/economy/jobs-report-unemployment-wages.html?_r=0

http://www.nber.org/cycles/cyclesmain.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/finance/investment-library/low-risk-investments/10911755/stock-sectors-cyclical-defensive.html

https://www.ft.com/content/724e9658-72d7-11e6-bf48-b372cdb1043a

https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/williamsha164317.html

Weekly Market Commentary October 3, 2016

Markets were relatively calm during the third quarter of 2016, yet they delivered some attractive returns overall.

In the United States, all three major U.S. indices posted record highs twice during a single 7-day period in August, reported CNBC.com. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) experienced a 51-day streak without at least a 1 percent decline. The index returned 3.3 percent in the third quarter.

Investors were fairly complacent until comments by Federal Reserve officials raised awareness the Fed might raise rates during 2016, possibly as early as September. The S&P 500 lost 2.5 percent and the VIX, known as the market’s fear gauge, rose 40 percent in a single day. The upheaval was short-lived and U.S. stocks rebounded quickly.

World markets were moved higher after the Fed opted to maintain its current policy. When the European Central Bank did the same – choosing not to implement further stimulus measures – markets moved lower. Markets were also less than enthused with the plans put forth by the Bank of Japan (BOJ). The central bank will attempt to control the yield curve by keeping 10-year Japanese government bonds at zero percent.

The BOJ’s goal is to push inflation to 2 percent, reported Reuters. However, some analysts believe the new policy may be less accommodative than the old one. Experts cited by Financial Times said, “On the face of it the BOJ has arguably, by setting the [Japanese Government Bond] curve at its current level, just announced a modest tightening in monetary conditions relative to where they were in the summer.”

Speculation about a September rate hike caused many emerging markets, which have been top-performers throughout the year, to give back some gains late in the quarter. When the U.S. central bank pushes rates higher, emerging market assets become relatively less attractive to investors seeking yield. In addition, a rate hike tends to strengthen the U.S. dollar, inflating the value of dollar-denominated debt held by emerging countries and potentially slowing economic growth.

Brazil has been a top performer during 2016, despite recession and political upheaval. President Dilma Rousseff was impeached in September. Her successor, Michel Temer plans to enact fiscal reforms he hopes will bring about a mild economic recovery by 2017. Director of Latin America Strategy for Templeton Emerging Markets Group Gustavo Stenzel explained, “We believe Brazil offers a salient example of how political change can accelerate a turnaround in an economy and stock market.”

Worries about China’s economic stability receded during the quarter, Reuters explained:

“Recent economic data has shown signs of recovery in China's economy. Industrial sector profits jumped 20 percent in August, the best showing in three years, while a Reuters poll showed manufacturing sector activity likely expanded modestly for a second straight month in September. But many investors remain skeptical about the sustainability of a recovery that they believe has depended on government stimulus.”

At the end of the quarter, emerging markets moved higher after OPEC announced a preliminary agreement to limit production. It was the first production cut in eight years. The agreement boosted oil and energy stocks in countries around the world.

The fourth quarter of 2016 may be a bumpy one. The U.S. election has the potential to cause some upheaval, as does a rate hike by the Federal Reserve.


Data as of 9/30/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.2% 6.1% 12.9% 8.8% 13.9% 5.0%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -0.9 3.8 7.4 -1.5 3.9 -0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.6 NA 2.1 2.6 1.9 4.6
Gold (per ounce) -1.2 24.5 18.7 -0.1 -4.0 8.2
Bloomberg Commodity Index 1.2 8.6 -2.8 -12.4 -9.5 -6.0
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -1.7 12.5 21.2 13.9 15.9 6.4

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.

Laugh then think – HARDER. The Ig® Nobel Prizes were awarded last week. The prizes celebrate some of the most imaginative, unusual, and peculiar scientific achievements of the year. For 2016, the winners included:

  • Economics: Journalism and marketing professors from New Zealand and Britain for their work in marketing theory. The winning paper was entitled, “The Brand Personality of Rocks: A Critical Evaluation of a Brand Personality Scale.”

  • Physics: A slew of Hungarian, Spanish, Swedish, and Swiss researchers for dual discoveries. They explored and confirmed the reasons that white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof, as well as the reasons dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones.

  • Chemistry: A certain German automobile manufacturer for “…solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested.”

  • Medicine: German researchers who authored a paper titled, “Itch Relief by Mirror Scratching. A Psychophysical Study.” Apparently, anyone with an itch on the left side of the body can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of the body, and vice versa.

  • Biology: A Brit who built prosthetic limb extensions with plastic hooves and wore a helmet to romp and butt heads with goats during the three days that he lived among them. His co-winner was another British Islander who lived in the wild as a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox, and a bird.

The winners’ accomplishments were celebrated at Harvard University where winners “physically receive their prizes and a handshake from genuine, genuinely bemused Nobel laureates.”

Think About It

“I have lived as a badger in a hole in a Welsh wood, as an otter in the rivers of Exmoor, an urban fox rummaging through the dustbins of London’s East End, a red deer in the West Highlands of Scotland and on Exmoor, and, most hubristically, a swift, oscillating between Oxford and West Africa…Why I did this is not an unreasonable question. There are many answers. One is that I wanted to perceive landscapes more accurately. We have at least five senses. By and large we use only one of them – vision. That’s a shame…I suspect it’s responsible for lots of our uncertainty about the sort of creatures we are, our personal crises, and the frankly psychopathic way in which most of us treat the natural world.”

--Charles Foster, Ig Nobel Prize winner

Need some Personalized Advice?

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

* International debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets. Because of their narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies.

* 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.

Sources:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/15/us-markets.html

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/articles/Is-That-All

http://us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500

http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html?mod=BOL_Nav_MAR_other

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-07/asian-stock-futures-deviate-as-s-p-500-ends-flat-crude-tops-46

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-economy-boj-idUSKCN11W0E7

https://www.ft.com/content/f883a303-cd02-335f-b156-3996312c7bc7

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/29/emerging-markets-can-weather-a-rate-rise-expert.html

http://www.afr.com/opinion/the-higher-the-government-debt-the-slower-economic-growth-20160731-gqhl7y

http://country.eiu.com/brazil

http://mobius.blog.franklintempleton.com/2016/08/09/brazil-on-the-olympic-stage/

http://in.reuters.com/article/china-stocks-close-idINZZN2RUA00

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-29/emerging-market-assets-advance-on-opec-deal-as-ringgit-climbs

http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-09-29/energy-shares-lead-asian-stocks-higher-on-opec-output-deal

http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/

http://www.improbable.com/ig/2016/

http://www.improbable.com/2016/09/29/a-one-person-conversation-about-living-in-the-wild-a-la-several-different-animals/

Weekly Market Commentary September 26, 2016

As expected…

The U.S. Federal Reserve left rates unchanged last week and markets celebrated. Across the globe, national stock market indices finished the week higher. In the United States, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and NASDAQ gained more than 1 percent.

Not everyone was thrilled with the decision, however. Three Federal Reserve presidents cast dissenting votes. All believed interest rates should move higher. That’s the most dissents since December 2014 when even the dissenters were divided about what should happen.

Proceeding with caution is the right approach, according to Barron’s:

“A rate hike is usually aimed at preventing an economy from overheating, and there’s no sign of that – not even close. Housing activity has been disappointing, wholesale inflation is weak, retail sales are declining, and manufacturing activity is slowing. Such a confluence of negative data has never stopped the Fed from tightening rates – the central bank did so in December, even though the economic data looked even worse than it does now – but it isn’t exactly screaming for immediate action.”

While that may be true, Financial Times suggested markets are coming to the conclusion the influence of central banks may be limited, and those limits may be near.

We’ll find out eventually. In the United States, the new consensus is we’ll have a rate hike for the holidays, according to CNBC.com.


Data as of 9/23/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 1.2% 5.9% 11.7% 8.4% 13.8% 5.0%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 3.1 4.7 7.8 -1.5 4.5 0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.6 NA 2.1 2.7 1.8 4.6
Gold (per ounce) 2.3 26.0 18.3 0.4 -4.5 8.6
Bloomberg Commodity Index 1.3 7.3 -3.3 -12.9 -10.0 -6.0
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 4.3 14.5 23.0 14.2 16.0 6.6

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.

It’s an election year! The influence of elections on markets, investors, and economies has been examined and re-examined over time. Theories have been developed. Ideas have been promoted. Some may be accurate; some may not be. Here are a few things to keep in mind especially if markets get volatile before the election:

  • Stock markets don’t care who is elected: You may have read markets perform best when Democrats win, or you may have read markets outperform when Republicans are elected. The numbers just don’t prove out either way, according to a white paper from BlackRock:

“…while many investors connect political alignment with equity market returns, very few of these patterns hold up to scrutiny. Historically, whether a Republican or Democrat occupies the White House has had no statistically significant impact on U.S. equity markets.”

  • Change tends to happen slowly, especially with divided government: We’ve all become familiar with the term, ‘gridlock.’ There are issues – taxes, immigration, energy – that have been debated for years. In general, policy changes have been relatively small. Sometimes, changes have been reversed. Morgan Stanley concluded, “Hence, election outcomes where one party controls both the White House and Congress are most conducive to expeditiously putting transformative policies into practice.”

  • The strength of the economy influences voters. According to Oppenheimer Funds:

“Decades of history prove that the state of the economy determines the president, not the other way around. In fact, the economy’s impact on elections can be stated in a fairly simple equation: Strong economy (declining [un]employment and inflation) = a win for the incumbent party candidate.”

If that’s the case, it will be pretty difficult to guess a likely winner. A Gallup poll found just as many Americans viewed the economy positively as those who viewed it negatively in early September. On the other hand, more Americans said the economy was getting worse than those who thought it was getting better.

Think About It

“We in Britain stopped evolving gastronomically with the advent of the pie. Everything beyond that seemed like a brave, frightening new world. We knew the French were up to something across the Channel, but we didn't want anything to do with it.”

--John Oliver, British comedian

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.

Sources:

http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html?mod=BOL_Nav_MAR_other

https://www.stlouisfed.org/about-us/resources/a-history-of-fomc-dissents

http://www.barrons.com/articles/why-the-fed-should-raise-rates-slowly-1474693229?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns

https://www.ft.com/content/71218818-7fa1-11e6-bc52-0c7211ef3198

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/19/expect-a-december-not-september-hike-for-rates-fed-survey-respondents.html

https://www.blackrock.com/investing/literature/whitepaper/political-outlook-market-perspectives-january-2016.pdf?cid=blog:marketperspectives:blackrockblog:russ

https://www.morganstanleyfa.com/public/projectfiles/onthemarkets.pdf

https://www.oppenheimerfunds.com/investors/article/what-investors-need-to-know-about-the-2016-election/six-truths-about-washington-regardless-of-who-wins

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195689/economic-confidence-index-stable.aspx?g_source=ECONOMY&g_medium=topic&g_campaign=tiles

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnoliver579176.html

Weekly Market Commentary September 19, 2016

If it’s not one thing, it may be another.

Economic data released last week will factor into this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decision on whether to push interest rates higher in the United States. Some of the August data supports the idea economic growth was soft. For example, August retail sales fell more than expected, down 0.3 percent from July. Other data was as expected: U.S. producer prices were flat, which was in line with expectations.

However, the kicker may be inflation. It increased during August, “…offering fresh evidence that U.S. inflation may be firming after years of sluggish price growth,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. The Consumer Price Index, which is a gauge of inflation, rose more than economists had expected in August in large part because of higher healthcare costs, according to Reuters.

Stock markets steadied last week as the chances of a rate hike this week declined. Barron’s reported:

“The probability of a rate hike, as measured by the fed-futures market, sank to 20 percent from more than 30 percent a week earlier. Still, investors fear a September surprise… ‘The Fed’s in a tough spot,’ says Aaron Clark, a portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management. ‘The governors want to hike but the window is closing.’ The Fed can cry wolf so many times before it loses credibility and dilutes the power of “Fedspeak” in the future.”

If the FOMC increases rates this week, there may be “knee-jerk selloff,” according to Barron’s, and if rates remain unchanged, a relief rally may ensue. Either way, the paper opined, much will depend on the FOMC’s explanation.

So, will the Federal Reserve raise rates or won’t they? We’ll find out soon.


Data as of 9/16/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.5% 4.7% 7.2% 8.0% 12.0% 4.9%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -2.5 1.5 0.5 -2.1 2.1 -0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.7 NA 2.3 2.9 2.1 4.8
Gold (per ounce) -1.7 23.2 17.1 -0.4 -6.1 8.5
Bloomberg Commodity Index -0.9 5.7 -6.7 -13.6 -12.0 -6.3
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -0.7 9.8 18.8 12.8 12.9 6.1

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.

Is your state crafty? Oktoberfest is upon us and that means beer. In the United States, celebrations are likely to include craft-brewed drafts, which are a far cry from traditional American lager, according to the Brewer’s Association. The Economist wrote:

“Any American university student can inform you that much of the beer in the United States is utter swill. Those who graduate from the red Solo cup – the brand so synonymous with beer pong and college life – can afford to purchase better. And so they do. Craft beer, the stuff made by small and independent breweries, has exploded beyond just hipsters. Sales reached $22.3 billion in 2015, and volumes have climbed 13 percent over the past year, even as overall beer sales in America dipped somewhat.”

Craft brewers have been winning market share from big brand names for some time. Less than 50 years ago, more than 99 percent of the beer quaffed in the United States was lager produced by large domestic breweries, according to research cited by Forbes.

Since then, the drafts produced by microbreweries, brewpubs, regional craft breweries, and contract brewing companies have gained popularity. In 1994, there were 537 craft brewers in America. That number swelled over the next two decades and, by 2013, there were 2,800 craft brewers and more than 1,500 additional breweries in development.

Remarkably, Vermont, which is one of the smallest states, has the most craft breweries per capita – 44 of them. Oregon, Colorado, Montana, Maine, and Washington also boast a significant number of small breweries, while Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama have the fewest.

After tallying the numbers, the Brewer’s Association reported craft beer accounted for more than 12 percent of sales during 2015, and imports for almost 16 percent. The craft brewing industry contributed almost $56 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014, and has created more than 424,000 jobs.

Think About It

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

--Maya Angelou, American poet

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.

Sources:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-15/retail-sales-in-u-s-decline-in-august-by-more-than-forecast

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/15/us-producer-price-index-aug-2016.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-consumer-prices-rose-0-2-in-august-1474029209

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-idUSKCN11M193

http://www.barrons.com/articles/dow-s-p-eke-out-slim-gains-as-rate-fears-flag-1474097390?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns

https://www.brewersassociation.org/brewers-association/history/history-of-craft-brewing/

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/09/daily-chart-7

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adammillsap/2016/09/15/craft-brewing-has-brought-variety-to-oktoberfest/#7bbf14f2468f

https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/national-beer-sales-production-data/

https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/economic-impact-data/

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/maya_angelou.html

Weekly Market Commentary September 12, 2016

Blame it on the central banks!

After 44 consecutive sleepy, summer days when Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index opened and closed without a 1 percent move in either direction, the index tumbled last week – and so did indices in other markets around the world. What roused investors from complacency? Some experts pointed their fingers at central banks:

“Three central banks announced their monetary policy decisions during the week and all three maintained the status quo and did not change policy. The news disappointed the markets – they were looking for more stimulus. And, in some cases, good economic data was interpreted as bad news because it meant that there was less of a probability of more stimulus.”

The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee doesn’t meet until September 20, but markets reacted sharply after Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren (whom Thomson Reuters labels as a dove) said, “My personal view, based on economic data that we have received to date, is that a reasonable case can be made for continuing to pursue a gradual normalization of monetary policy.” After his speech, Reuters reported the odds of a September Fed rate increase rose from 24 percent to 30 percent.

Expectations for market volatility moved higher, too, but markets weren’t too worried. The CBOE Volatility index (VIX) jumped 33 percent on Friday, reaching 16.56, according to MarketWatch. That was a big move, but significant market volatility is not indicated until the VIX moves above 20.


Data as of 9/9/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -2.4% 4.1% 9.6% 8.4% 13.0% 5.1%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 0.2 4.1 3.3 -0.6 2.8 0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.7 NA 2.2 2.9 1.9 4.8
Gold (per ounce) 0.5 25.3 19.9 -1.4 -6.4 8.5
Bloomberg Commodity Index 1.2 7.0 -4.8 -13.6 -12.2 -6.4
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -3.8 10.6 24.6 13.5 14.0 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.

what’s changing in world markets? grocery shopping! Groceries may be mundane, but they’re big business. By 2020, the value of the world’s grocery market is expected to reach $11.8 trillion, according to The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD). The largest markets are expected to be China, United States, India, and Russia. That’s not the interesting part, though.

According to Morgan Stanley, fewer people will gather food by carting up and down the aisles of local grocery stores. Instead, in many countries, people will fill their baskets online. Globally, the share of shoppers buying groceries via the Worldwide Web and having them delivered is expected to grow from 21 percent in 2015 to 34 percent in 2016:

“Several factors may be driving the trend. Generally, more shoppers are accustomed to buying online, including a younger, more mobile generation of consumers. More specifically, boutique online-only grocery services in recent years have proven that the business model can work, overcoming logistical and consumer-behavioral barriers and building credibility for the category as a whole. Now, larger traditional players have entered the arena, offering more choices, services, and attractive prices, all within familiar eCommerce experiences and expectations for an even larger audience.”

Developed economies are expected to experience faster adoption rates. For instance, fewer than 10 percent of Americans bought fresh groceries online last year, but this year the percentage is expected to reach 26 percent. In Germany, just 10 percent of shoppers purchased groceries online. In 2016, that number is expected to rise to 36 percent.

In emerging markets, the expansion of online grocery shopping is dependent on the expansion of mobile networks. In countries like China and India, online grocers must leverage mobile networks to grow their market share.

Think About It

“People have been starting to focus less on the disability and more on the actual sport. I’ve had so many interviews that don’t even mention the backstory of how I became an amputee or whatever. I prefer that – I prefer being on the back pages with the rest of the sportsmen, not being just a heart-warming story.”

--Jonnie Peacock, British paralympic sprinter

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.

Sources:

http://www.barrons.com/articles/worried-the-market-is-too-calm-bring-on-the-noise-1473485492?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns

http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html

https://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/F/10/scale.swf

https://www.bostonfed.org/news-and-events/news/top-takeaways-president-rosengrens-090916-economic-outlook.aspx

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-rosengren-idUSKCN11F1O9

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-streets-fear-gauge-jumped-the-most-since-brexit-2016-09-09

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/v/vix.asp

http://www.igd.com/Research/Retail/Global-grocery-markets-our-forecasts-to-2020/

http://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/online-groceries-could-be-next-big-ecommerce-driver

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/jonnie-peacock-this-is-my-life-and-i-wouldn-t-change-it-8139211.html

Weekly Market Commentary September 6, 2016

“We can never know about the days to come, but we think about them anyway…”

--Carly Simon

Economists and market analysts have been thinking a lot about the Federal Reserve and the actions it may take before the end of 2016. Friday’s employment numbers helped fan the speculative fire. The U.S. Labor Department reported the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent with 151,000 jobs added during August.

The broad market consensus was 180,000 jobs would be created, according to MarketWatch. The publication cited a source as saying the report, “…wasn’t strong enough to force the Fed to raise rates in September, but it also wasn’t weak enough to raise concern about the U.S. economy or dampen the outlook for corporate earnings. As such it’s a mildly dovish report…”

Economists and political leaders also are thinking a lot about the impending British exit from the European Union (EU). At the G20 Summit – a forum for government and central bank leaders from 20 countries – British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed, “Brexit means Brexit.” However, the BBC reported there remains a general lack of agreement within the British government about exactly what the country’s relationship with the EU should be after Brexit.

The potential effects of Brexit gained some clarity at the G20. The Guardian reported, “…the U.S. wanted to focus on trade negotiations with the EU and a bloc of pacific nations before considering a deal with the U.K.” In addition, it reported Japan threatened, “…a string of corporate exits from the U.K. unless some of the privileges that come with access to the single market are maintained.”

U.S. stock markets remained sanguine. The Dow Jones Industrial and Standard & Poor’s 500 Indices finished the month almost flat. Most stock markets across Europe finished the month higher.


Data as of 9/2/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.5% 6.7% 11.9% 10.0% 13.2% 5.2%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 1.0 3.9 6.4 0.2 1.8 -0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.6 NA 2.2 2.9 2.0 4.8
Gold (per ounce) 0.5 24.7 16.4 -1.6 -6.7 7.8
Bloomberg Commodity Index -2.4 5.6 -6.7 -14.3 -12.6 -7.0
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index 1.6 15.0 27.7 16.4 14.7 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.

We’re devils and black sheep, and really bad eggs… The movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, made light of piracy but maritime crime has a significant economic impact.

About 50 percent of the goods that trade globally travel by sea, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s 2014 report, Maritime Piracy. It estimated the economic costs of piracy – including ransoms, insurance, re-routing ships, security equipment and guards, naval forces and military operations, counter-piracy organizations, and other factors – at $7-12 billion in 2010.

During the first half of 2016, however, the cost hit a two-decade low. The Economist reported:

“The recent decline in global piracy can be attributed in part to better security on ships. For years, the UN’s International Maritime Organization discouraged boat owners from arming their crews. Ships tried in vain to defend against heavily-armed pirates using little more than diligent watch-keeping and water cannons. In the mid-2000s, facing rising insurance and ransom costs, shipping companies began employing private security contractors. These firms are increasingly supplied by “floating armories” to help evade laws that bar crews from bringing weapons into territorial waters…Better policing of the high seas has also played a part.”

In 2010, governments and marine insurers identified high-risk shipping areas. Not long after, floating armories were established and became a type of temporary agency for armed guards on the high seas. The Economist reported, “At the peak of Somali piracy in 2012, ship owners would pay about $45,000 per trip for armed guards.” When they weren’t on a client’s ship, guards returned to the floating armory until employed by another merchant ship.

Floating armories are experiencing some growing pains, as have many fledgling industries before them. Piracy is down, and so is demand for their services.

Think About It

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) recently sent letters to individuals who have filed to be Presidential contenders, who may not really be qualified to run. The list of suspect candidates includes Darth Vader, Jean-Luc Picard, God, Captain Crunch, and Queen Elsa. A letter sent to H. Majesty Satan Lord of Underworld Prince of Darkness said:

“It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to include an accurate candidate name and an accurate principal campaign committee under 52 U.S.C. § 30102(e) when you filed FEC Form 2…Furthermore, the Commission requires the filing to be true, correct, and complete…Additionally, knowingly and willfully making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to a federal government agency, including the Federal Election Commission, is punishable under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 1001.”

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.

Sources:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/carlysimon/anticipation.html

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/opa/opa20160902

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-poised-for-small-gains-with-key-jobs-report-ahead-2016-09-02

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-37269916

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/04/g20-theresa-may-warns-of-tough-times-for-uk-economy-after-brexit

http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html

http://pirates.wikia.com/wiki/Quote:Jack_Sparrow

http://www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/UNCTAD-Maritime-Piracy-Part1.pdf

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/09/daily-chart-1

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21688900-brisk-business-safeguarding-guns-cruisin-guns

https://www.marketplace.org/2016/09/01/elections/final-note/satan-wont-run-president-fecs-watch

http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/439/201608310300097439/201608310300097439.pdf

Weekly Market Commentary August 29, 2016

Attention investors: U.S. interest rates may be moving up and it might happen this year.

During last Friday’s speech at the Federal Reserve’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled that a rate hike is probably coming but, as usual, she didn’t offer any specifics about the timing:

“…Indeed, in light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months. Of course, our decisions always depend on the degree to which incoming data continues to confirm the Committee's outlook.”

There’s a good chance the increase could occur during 2016. Goldman Sachs economists, cited by Bloomberg, said the subjective odds of a September rate hike increased from 30 percent to 40 percent last week. Bloomberg’s data suggests a 65 percent chance of a rate hike by December.

The U.S. bond market responded with a flattening of the yield curve. When the bond yield curve is flat, short-term and long-term bonds of similar credit quality offer investors almost the same rates. Barron’s explained: “A flattening yield curve can indicate economic weakness. It signals investors expect inflation (and interest rates) to stay low for a long time.”

Why would the yield curve flatten as the Fed raises rates? One expert told Barron’s he expects a Fed rate hike to lower inflation expectations, causing interest rates on longer-term benchmark Treasuries to move lower.

Stock investors weren’t thrilled about Yellen’s comments last week, and major U.S. indices largely finished the week lower.


Data as of 8/26/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) -0.7% 6.1% 11.8% 9.4% 13.0% 5.2%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -0.9 2.9 4.4 -0.4 2.2 -0.1
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.6 NA 2.2 2.8 2.2 4.8
Gold (per ounce) -2.1 24.2 17.7 -2.4 -5.9 8.0
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.5 8.2 -0.2 -13.5 -12.0 -6.7
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -0.4 13.1 24.3 14.9 14.5 6.7

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.

Why aren’t American businesses investing? For quite some time, American consumers have made the largest contribution to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth. During the second quarter of 2016, personal spending and exports made positive contributions to GDP. These were largely offset by negative contributions from “private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, state and local government spending and nonresidential fixed investment.”

Last week, The Economist pondered why businesses are not investing:

“Firms are on a six-year hiring spree that shows little sign of abating; payrolls swelled by an average of 190,000 a month between May and July. Competition for workers is pushing up wages. The median pay rise in the year to July was 3.4%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Americans are spending that cash; in the second quarter, consumption per person grew at an annual pace of 5.5%, equaling its fastest growth in a decade. Yet real GDP is expanding by only 1.2% a year. The culprit seems to be business investment, which has fallen for three consecutive quarters.”

The Economist reflected on the effects of low oil prices, questioning whether weak demand for goods or tighter credit was the culprit behind low business spending. It concluded that slow trend growth (the rate at which the U.S. economy is expected to grow over a period of time) is producing fewer opportunities for profitable long-term investment, and offered the opinion that a solution could be found in fiscal policy:

“Businesses anticipating slower long-term growth cannot be expected to invest much. And politicians cannot easily conjure up technological progress. But they can boost competition, simplify taxes and regulation, and invest in infrastructure and education, all of which would help to raise American productivity.”

Of course, getting politicians to agree on a course of action and implement a coherent fiscal policy is a tall order.

Think About It

When we decided not to sell our business people called us a lot of things besides crazy – things like arrogant and entitled. The same words that I've heard used to describe our generation time and time again. The Millennial Generation. The 'Me' Generation. Well, it's true. We do have a sense of entitlement, a sense of ownership, because, after all, this is the world we were born into, and we are responsible for it.

--Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat

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.

Sources:

[1] https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/yellen20160826a.htm

[2] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-27/september-in-play-for-bond-traders-as-goldman-sees-40-fed-odds

[3] http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/flatyieldcurve.asp

[4] http://www.barrons.com/articles/watch-out-the-yield-curve-is-flattening-1472273131?tesla=y

[5] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-markets-idUSKCN11101N

[6] http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm

[7] http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21705847-americans-are-spending-and-hiring-so-why-arent-firms-investing-econundrum

[8] https://mic.com/articles/118488/in-one-quote-the-snapchat-ceo-s-graduation-speech-shuts-down-millennial-haters#.gKtkTKUu9

Weekly Market Commentary August 22, 2016

Last week, Wall Street was speculating about monetary policy with the enthusiasm of commentators trying to predict who will bring home Olympic gold.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is expected to introduce another rate hike before the end of 2016, according to the BBC, and it has just three opportunities to deliver the goods – during its September, November, or December meetings.

Analysts and pundits parsed minutes from July’s FOMC meeting looking for clues about timing and found relatively few because there was no consensus view at the July meeting. The BBC wrote, “According to the minutes, some FOMC members felt ‘economic conditions would soon warrant taking another step,’ while others believed more data was needed.” The BBC also pointed out a hike in November was unlikely because of the timing relative to the U.S. Presidential election.

The sooner-is-better camp inside the Fed has been quite vocal recently. CNBC reported New York Fed President William Dudley, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, and San Francisco Fed President John Williams each made statements confirming solid economic growth is expected during the second half of 2016, and indicating it’s time to continue increasing interest rates in the United States.

Recently, the CME Fed Watch tool (which looks at 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices to gauge the likelihood of changes in Fed policy) put the probability of one-quarter to one-half percentage point rate increase during September at 88 percent.

That may change this week after Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks at the Fed’s summer retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She’s expected to provide some indication of whether the Fed is ready to take action.

If you would like more information, just ‘friend’ the Fed. It now has a Facebook page.


Data as of 8/19/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.0% 6.9% 5.0% 9.9% 14.2% 5.3%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -0.4 3.8 -1.5 -0.3 2.5 0.0
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.6 NA 2.1 2.9 2.1 4.8
Gold (per ounce) -0.4 26.8 19.6 -0.5 -6.1 8.0
Bloomberg Commodity Index 2.6 9.8 -2.6 -12.8 -11.5 -6.7
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -1.9 13.6 15.8 16.3 15.4 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.

Public Wi-Fi is remarkably convenient, making it possible to connect your tablet, laptop, phone, or other device in the middle of a national park, at a local bookstore or café, or while waiting for a flight. Whenever you’re connecting in a public venue, remember public Wi-Fi is not secure – even if you’re paying to access it. Norton warned:

“…Wi-Fi uses radio waves. The openness of these signals at public hotspots, combined with the right eavesdropping software, can allow others to take information without your knowledge – much like someone overhearing a private conversation in a crowded restaurant. Don’t assume that a public Wi-Fi network is safe and secure simply because it has a password. Remember, these passwords are shared, so anyone nearby can easily hop onto the network and see what you’re doing.”

Protect yourself with some dos and don’ts of free public Wi-Fi:

Do:

  • Turn ‘sharing’ off. Your computer may be set to ‘share’ files and printers or allow remote login from other computers. Make sure ‘sharing’ is turned off when you are on public Wi-Fi.

  • Access only public sites. Check the weather or stock markets. Read the news or your favorite blogs. Avoid sites that require you to login.

  • Use a virtual private network or VPN. VPN software may allow you to route all of your activity through a separate and secure private network even when using public Wi-Fi.

Don’t:

  • Assume a Wi-Fi option is legitimate. Cyber criminals have been known to set-up connections with names that are similar to the name of wireless offered by the café, hotel, etc. Talk with an employee before accessing Wi-Fi to get the correct name and IP address.

  • Access password-protected websites. When you’re on public Wi-Fi, do not log in to password protected email accounts or social media sites; do not enter credit card information; and do not engage in online banking.

Public Wi-Fi is wonderful – as long as you understand the risks and protect your personal information.

Think About It

“I just work hard and try my best every time I step up on those blocks. I'm very goal-oriented. I've always set high goals for myself. When I was little I never dreamed of going to the Olympics, but once I did I wanted to do my very best at that level. Four years ago, when I was visualizing my final, I never envisaged anything other than winning gold. Once I get to that level, I'm able to set the goals for myself and go out and achieve them.”

--Katie Ledecky, Olympic gold medalist

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.

* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37111395

http://www.profitf.com/calendars/fomc-meeting-schedule/

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/18/feds-williams-waiting-too-long-to-hike-rates-could-be-costly.html

http://www.cmegroup.com/trading/interest-rates/countdown-to-fomc.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-20/goldman-says-don-t-bet-on-dollar-selloff-as-dovish-fed-priced-in

http://qz.com/761534/finally-you-can-be-friends-with-the-federal-reserve-on-facebook/

http://us.norton.com/dangers-of-public-wifi/promo

http://lifehacker.com/5576927/how-to-stay-safe-on-public-wi-fi-networks

https://usa.kaspersky.com/internet-security-center/internet-safety/public-wifi#.V6uOzBTp5g0

http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2016/dangers-of-free-public-wifi-ea.html?intcmp=AE-HP-WFY1

https://action.aarp.org/site/SPageNavigator/FWN_Cyber_Scams.html?cmp=RDRCT-WTCHURWIFI_JUL08_015

http://www.health.com/fitness/katie-ledecky-quotes

2016 Small Business of the Year Award

The Manatee Chamber of Commerce has released the list of finalists for the 37th Annual Manatee Small Business of the Year Awards.

The winners will be announced at an awards luncheon at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 12 at IMG Academy Golf Club.

The finalists are divided into four categories based on the company’s revenue: under $249,000; $250,000 to $1 million; $1.1 million to $6.5 million; and non-profit organizations.

The finalists in the under $249,000 category are: Clean As A Whistle of Manatee, LLC; Feathers and Tails Hideaway; L.A. Events, Inc.; Painting With A Twist; Population Health Consultants; and SWAT Networking-Successful Women Aligning Together.

In the $250,000 to $1 million category, the finalists are: Ace’s Live; Darwin Brewing Company; PCI Communications, Inc.; Sherrill Wealth Management; Spa NorthWest, LLC; The Anna Maria Islander; Tim Lester International Realty, Inc.; Williams Wealth Management Group, Inc.; and Zoller Autrey Architects P.A.

In the $1.1 million to $6.5 million category, the finalists are: Alpha Business Solutions, LLC; Anthony’s Cooling Heating Electrical; Guy’s Hauling and Dumpster Service, Inc.; Historic Manasota Memorial Park & Funeral Home; Johnson Printing; Tempus Pro Services, LLC; and U.S. Tent Rental Inc. & Linens by the Sea.

And the finalists in the non-profit organization category are: HOPE Family Services, Inc.; Humane Society of Manatee County, Inc.; Keep Manatee Beautiful, Inc.; Manatee County Habitat for Humanity; Manatee Education Foundation; Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee; PACE Center for Girls of Manatee County; Realize Bradenton; South Florida Museum & Bishop Planetarium, Inc.; and To Inform Families First.

Alan Bellittera: 9417457011, @AlanBell35​

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/business/article92141382.html#storylink=cpy

Need some Personalized Advice?

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

Weekly Market Commentary August 15, 2016

How do you measure stock market valuation?

If you look at conventional measures – like price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios – then U.S. stock markets appear to be pricey. The Wall Street Journal reported trailing 12-month P/E ratios are high when compared to 10-year averages.

High P/E ratios haven’t dampened investors’ interest in U.S. stocks, and share prices have been moving higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow), Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and NASDAQ all reached new highs last Thursday – the first time that has happened since 1999.

Barron’s suggested investors’ enthusiasm for stocks is rooted in the search for yield. “With the Treasury’s 10-year note yielding 1.5 percent – near lows not seen before in modern history – there’s no alternative to stocks for investors who want returns.”

The relationship between stock yields and bond yields may have some investors measuring market valuations in different ways. Investopedia reported, during the late 1990s, Wall Street professionals came up with a new method for gauging stock market valuation. It was called The Fed Model and it determined full valuation by comparing stock yields to bond yields. (Please note: ‘The Fed Model’ wasn’t created by the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Reserve System does not endorse it.)

The Wall Street Journal offered this analysis:

“…the so-called Fed model, which says that stocks’ earnings yields – that is, expected annual earnings divided by the share price – should equal the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. With the 10-year now yielding 1.52 percent, the Dow would be fairly valued at 66 times earnings rather than the current, measly 18. Dow 68,000 anyone?”

It’s an enthusiastic estimate. While some analysts are speculating the Dow could surpass 20,000 during the next 12 months, according to CNBC, others are suggesting investors proceed with caution.


Data as of 8/12/16
1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.1% 6.9% 4.7% 8.9% 13.1% 5.6%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. 2.7 4.3 -2.6 -0.3 2.0 0.2
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 1.5 NA 2.1 2.6 2.2 5.0
Gold (per ounce) 0.9 27.3 20.8 0.3 -4.9 8.0
Bloomberg Commodity Index 0.3 7.0 -7.5 -12.9 -11.8 -6.9
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -0.2 15.8 19.2 14.3 15.1 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.

An olympic medal in any other shape still represents a great feat. In 1900, the Olympic games were part of the World’s Fair in Paris. Champions received square medals! Olympics.org reported:

“The 1900 Olympic Games are perhaps the most unusual Olympics in modern history. They have been termed, with the 1904 Olympics, ‘The Farcical Games.’ The 1900 Olympics were poorly organized, almost chaotic. Years later many of the competitors had no idea that they had actually competed in the Olympics, but only that they had competed in an international sporting event in Paris in 1900.”

During the Paris Olympics, champions did not receive gold medals; they were given silver medals. The first time gold medals were awarded was at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. While gold medals have become the standard, they haven’t been made of solid gold since 1912. Instead, winners’ medals have been made of a combination of gold and silver.

CNN reported gold medals in Brazil are comprised of “494 grams of silver and 6 grams of gold…a gold medal is worth about $587 in current market prices.” The silver medal is worth about $305, and the bronze medal has negligible monetary value, according to CNNMoney. Of course, once a medal has been awarded, its value may increase significantly.

U.S. Olympians receive cash rewards, in addition to medals. CNNMoney reported, “The U.S. Olympic Committee awards $25,000 for gold medals, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.” Olympians owe state and federal taxes on their prize money, as well as the value of their medals.

Think About It

“…most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating.”

--Stephen Covey, American author

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.

* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/stocks-hit-new-highs-and-that-could-be-just-the-start-1470954978

http://www.barrons.com/articles/stocks-hit-record-highs-but-end-little-changed-1471060856?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/stocks/08/fed-model.asp

http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2016/08/10/dow-68000-here-we-come/

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/11/wall-street-sees-these-10-stocks-lifting-the-dow-to-20000.html

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/goldman-sachs-says-stay-away-from-stocks-for-the-next-three-months-2016-08-01

https://www.olympic.org/paris-1900

http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/Mallon/1900.pdf (Page ix)

http://www.topendsports.com/events/summer/traditions/medals.htm

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/31/sport/olympics-making-of-a-medal/

http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/12/news/olympians-gold-medals-taxes-us/

https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit5.php