Great Numbers!

August 20, 2018

The Markets

As Maxwell Smart used to say…

Missed it by THAT much! After a rocky start, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index came within 1 percent of an all-time high last week, reported Ben Levisohn for Barron’s. It’s significant because the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has been trading below its January record all year. The article suggested the lack of progress begs the question: Are we still in a bull market?

It’s the old ‘Shrink Global Markets with Corporate Buybacks’ trick. Last week, Robin Wigglesworth of Financial Times reported, “The global equity market is shrinking at the fastest pace in at least two decades, as a wave of corporate share buybacks swamps the overall volume of companies going public, issuing new stock or selling convertible debt.”

The value of the global equity market is increasing despite the reduction in volume. In part, this is because stock buybacks help push share prices higher.

There is a potential downside to buybacks, though. Nasdaq.com explained, “…rewarding current shareholders so liberally can lead to a systemic extraction of value from companies on a macroeconomic scale. Throw in dividends and little is left for growth and expansion.”

Would you believe…the President asked for it? “President Trump on Friday asked regulators to review a decades-old requirement that public companies release earnings quarterly, a change some executives support to promote longer-term planning but that some investors worry could reduce market transparency,” reported Dave Michaels, Michael Rapoport, and Jennifer Maloney of The Wall Street Journal.

While transparency is essential to investors, critics suggest quarterly reporting “distracts companies from focusing on longer-term financial and strategic goals and may deter companies from going public,” wrote Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Mamta Badkar for Financial Times.

Stay tuned.

REMEMBER THAT SAYING ABOUT THE FOREST AND THE TREES? Some pretty good numbers have been posted for 2018. They’re the type of numbers that inspire confidence. For example:

4.1 percent. The United States experienced strong economic growth during the second quarter. The advance estimate for U.S. gross domestic product (the value of all goods and services produced by a nation) during the second quarter of 2018 was 4.1 percent. That was the highest rate of growth since the first quarter of 2014.

24.6 percent. 2017’s tax reform, which lowered corporate tax rates from an average of 35 percent to an average 21 percent, boosted corporate earnings, reported Nasdaq.com. With 91 percent of companies reporting in, the blended earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 was 24.6 percent during the second quarter of 2018.

$1 trillion. What are companies doing with their tax windfall? U.S. companies are rewarding shareholders by buying back stock, reported Nasdaq.com, which suggested buybacks could total $1 trillion in 2018.

3,453 days. Depending on how precisely you define the last bull market, August 22 may be the day that marks this one as the longest bull market in history.

While positive economic and market numbers are nice to see, they are trees in a forest and don’t necessarily provide a full or an accurate picture. For instance, the length of a bull market is interesting, but it has no predictive value, reported Barron’s. The length of the current economic expansion is far more important.

Barron’s cited Dr. Ed Yardeni, chief investment strategist at Yardeni Research, who said, “All I’m interested in is how long the expansion lasts…Because the longer it lasts, the longer the bull market lasts.”

It’s important to understand which numbers are important and how they relate to one another. If you would like to learn more, give us a call.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“There is no truth. There is only perception.”
–Gustave Flaubert, French novelist

 

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* 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.
* 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.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4865354
https://www.barrons.com/articles/will-jpmorgan-tank-when-jamie-dimon-leaves-1534433537 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-20-18_Barrons-The_Bull_Market_Rumbles_On_Despite_Turkey_Turmoil-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.ft.com/content/5a359796-a18e-11e8-85da-eeb7a9ce36e4 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-20-18_FinancialTimes-Global_Equity_Market_Shrinks_as_Buybacks_Surge-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://www.nasdaq.com/article/stock-buybacks-poised-to-eclipse-1-trillion-cm1006412
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-directs-sec-to-study-six-month-reporting-for-public-companies-1534507058 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-20-18_WSJ-Trump_Asks_SEC_to_Study_Six-Month_Reporting_for_Public_Companies-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://www.ft.com/content/c1d133aa-a211-11e8-85da-eeb7a9ce36e4 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-20-18_FinancialTimes-Trump_Asks_SEC_to_Study_Scrapping_Quarterly_Earnings_Reports-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.bea.gov/data/gdp/gross-domestic-product
https://www.factset.com/hubfs/Resources%20Section/Research%20Desk/Earnings%20Insight/EarningsInsight_081018.pdf
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/gustave_flaubert_161911?src=t_perception

 

 

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The Millennial Way

pokemon-pokemon-go-phone-game-159395.jpeg

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

August 6, 2018

The Markets

Capital gains tax reform comes with a big price tag: $100 billion over 10 years.

A capital gain is any increase in the value of an asset, such as an investment, a home, land, etc., between its purchase and its sale. The amount of a gain is determined by subtracting the purchase price from the sale price.

Last week, the White House proposed capital gains be adjusted or ‘indexed’ for inflation before they are taxed. Princeton Professor Alan Blinder explained the idea in The Wall Street Journal:

“Why index gains? Suppose you own a stock for many years, during which time overall prices have doubled because of inflation. Over the holding period, the value of your stock also has doubled. When you sell, the proceeds have precisely the same purchasing power as the original purchase. There’s no gain, no loss. But under current tax law, you owe taxes on the phantom ‘gain.’ Worse, if your stock went up by less than the cumulative inflation, you’ll still get taxed despite your loss. This is unfair and dysfunctional.”

While the suggestion is appealing to many investors, it’s not without controversy. For example, the White House suggested the Treasury Department change the tax code without Congressional approval by modifying enforcement regulations. However, the legislative branch – Congress – is constitutionally responsible for tax law.

In addition, adjusting capital gains for inflation without doing the same for interest expense and depreciation may allow some taxpayers to be able to generate significant losses on paper. Current tax law includes provisions that limit this kind of tax strategy, but indexing capital gains would reopen the door, reported the Tax Policy Center.

Another consideration is the impact of the change on the deficit and the national debt. The Congressional Budget Office estimates suggest 2017 tax reform will increase “…the total projected deficit over the 2018-2028 period by about $1.9 trillion.” Adjusting capital gains for inflation could increase the shortfall by about $100 billion over a decade, reported Naomi Jagoda for The Hill.

THE MILLENNIAL WAY. From social media to housing options to banking, every generation has had its own preferences. Today, millennials (individuals between the ages of 18 and 34) are having a profound influence on lifestyle and culture. Here are three trends to watch:

1. Millennials are moving to smaller cities. “Mid- or second-tier cities, loosely defined as those under a million people that aren’t regional powerhouses like Austin or Seattle, are increasingly seen as not just places to find a lower cost of living, easier commute, and closer connections with family, but also a more approachable, neighborhood-oriented version of the urban lifestyle that sent many to the larger cities in the first place,” reported Patrick Sisson for Curbed.com.

2. Millennials like point-of-sale loans. Point-of-sale loans are catching on. The Economist reported, “Consumers who might previously have financed big-ticket purchases such as furniture, electronics, or home-improvement projects with a credit card are now opting to borrow at the checkout, often with an initial 0 percent interest rate. These short-term credit products were once the domain of big banks…[and] store-branded credit cards. Now tech startups are entering the market with innovative techniques for underwriting and approving potential borrowers, often in seconds.”

3. Millennials tend to prefer healthier lifestyles. “For millennials, wellness is a daily, active pursuit. They’re exercising more, eating smarter, and smoking less than previous generations. They’re using apps to track training data and online information to find the healthiest foods. And, this is one space where they’re willing to spend money on compelling brands,” reported Goldman Sachs.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience, not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.”
–Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* 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.
* 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.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
http://thehill.com/policy/finance/399953-trump-asked-treasury-to-look-into-capital-gains-tax-cut-sanders-says
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capital%20gain
https://www.wsj.com/articles/index-capital-gains-but-not-without-congresss-consent-1533163465 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-06-18_WSJ-Index_Capital_Gains_but_Not_Without_Congress_Consent-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox/should-treasury-index-capital-gains
https://www.house.gov/the-house-explained/branches-of-government
https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53787
https://www.statista.com/topics/2705/millennials-in-the-us/
https://thoughtcatalog.com/jae-schaefer/2017/05/14-reasons-why-millennials-are-amazing-and-will-change-the-world/
https://www.curbed.com/2018/5/1/17306978/career-millennial-home-buying-second-city
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/08/04/tech-startups-are-reviving-point-of-sale-lending (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-06-18_TheEconomist-Tech-Startups_are_Reviving_Point-of-Sale_Lending-Footnote_10.pdf)
https://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/leo_tolstoy_153949

 

 

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Capital Gains

August 6, 2018

The Markets

Capital gains tax reform comes with a big price tag: $100 billion over 10 years.

A capital gain is any increase in the value of an asset, such as an investment, a home, land, etc., between its purchase and its sale. The amount of a gain is determined by subtracting the purchase price from the sale price.

Last week, the White House proposed capital gains be adjusted or ‘indexed’ for inflation before they are taxed. Princeton Professor Alan Blinder explained the idea in The Wall Street Journal:

“Why index gains? Suppose you own a stock for many years, during which time overall prices have doubled because of inflation. Over the holding period, the value of your stock also has doubled. When you sell, the proceeds have precisely the same purchasing power as the original purchase. There’s no gain, no loss. But under current tax law, you owe taxes on the phantom ‘gain.’ Worse, if your stock went up by less than the cumulative inflation, you’ll still get taxed despite your loss. This is unfair and dysfunctional.”

While the suggestion is appealing to many investors, it’s not without controversy. For example, the White House suggested the Treasury Department change the tax code without Congressional approval by modifying enforcement regulations. However, the legislative branch – Congress – is constitutionally responsible for tax law.

In addition, adjusting capital gains for inflation without doing the same for interest expense and depreciation may allow some taxpayers to be able to generate significant losses on paper. Current tax law includes provisions that limit this kind of tax strategy, but indexing capital gains would reopen the door, reported the Tax Policy Center.

Another consideration is the impact of the change on the deficit and the national debt. The Congressional Budget Office estimates suggest 2017 tax reform will increase “…the total projected deficit over the 2018-2028 period by about $1.9 trillion.” Adjusting capital gains for inflation could increase the shortfall by about $100 billion over a decade, reported Naomi Jagoda for The Hill.

THE MILLENNIAL WAY. From social media to housing options to banking, every generation has had its own preferences. Today, millennials (individuals between the ages of 18 and 34) are having a profound influence on lifestyle and culture. Here are three trends to watch:

1. Millennials are moving to smaller cities. “Mid- or second-tier cities, loosely defined as those under a million people that aren’t regional powerhouses like Austin or Seattle, are increasingly seen as not just places to find a lower cost of living, easier commute, and closer connections with family, but also a more approachable, neighborhood-oriented version of the urban lifestyle that sent many to the larger cities in the first place,” reported Patrick Sisson for Curbed.com.

2. Millennials like point-of-sale loans. Point-of-sale loans are catching on. The Economist reported, “Consumers who might previously have financed big-ticket purchases such as furniture, electronics, or home-improvement projects with a credit card are now opting to borrow at the checkout, often with an initial 0 percent interest rate. These short-term credit products were once the domain of big banks…[and] store-branded credit cards. Now tech startups are entering the market with innovative techniques for underwriting and approving potential borrowers, often in seconds.”

3. Millennials tend to prefer healthier lifestyles. “For millennials, wellness is a daily, active pursuit. They’re exercising more, eating smarter, and smoking less than previous generations. They’re using apps to track training data and online information to find the healthiest foods. And, this is one space where they’re willing to spend money on compelling brands,” reported Goldman Sachs.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience, not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.”
–Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* 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.
* 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.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. 

Sources:
http://thehill.com/policy/finance/399953-trump-asked-treasury-to-look-into-capital-gains-tax-cut-sanders-says
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capital%20gain
https://www.wsj.com/articles/index-capital-gains-but-not-without-congresss-consent-1533163465 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-06-18_WSJ-Index_Capital_Gains_but_Not_Without_Congress_Consent-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox/should-treasury-index-capital-gains
https://www.house.gov/the-house-explained/branches-of-government
https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53787
https://www.statista.com/topics/2705/millennials-in-the-us/
https://thoughtcatalog.com/jae-schaefer/2017/05/14-reasons-why-millennials-are-amazing-and-will-change-the-world/
https://www.curbed.com/2018/5/1/17306978/career-millennial-home-buying-second-city
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/08/04/tech-startups-are-reviving-point-of-sale-lending (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/08-06-18_TheEconomist-Tech-Startups_are_Reviving_Point-of-Sale_Lending-Footnote_10.pdf)
https://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/leo_tolstoy_153949

 

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Sugar Rush

July 30, 2018

The Markets

Is it a sugar rush or something more sustainable?

Economic growth in the United States was strong during the second quarter. Gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, grew by 4.1 percent. That’s the fastest growth in four years, reported the BBC.

The news was received with varying levels of enthusiasm. President Trump said the gain is “an economic turnaround of historic importance” and thinks the economy should continue to grow rapidly, reported Shawn Donnan in Financial Times.

Economists were less certain. They think second quarter’s GDP gains were underpinned by one-time factors. These included high levels of profitability attributable to last year’s corporate tax cuts and an increase in exports as U.S. producers and their buyers abroad tried to avoid upcoming tariffs, reported Financial Times.

Another consideration is the business cycle. The business cycle tracks the rise and fall of a country’s productivity over time. The U.S. appears to be in the latter stages of the current cycle. John Authers of Financial Times explained:

“…President Donald Trump’s self-congratulation yesterday was fully merited. Things are going according to plan. This business cycle looks ever more like a normal one, which is a fantastic and welcome development after an epochal crisis and then a decade of doldrums…The advent of a normal cycle is itself a problem because a normal cycle terminates with high interest rates and declining growth. The president has voiced his disapproval of these things, but they are the logical and sensible consequence of the economic developments that are now unfolding.”

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index moved higher while the NASDAQ Composite gave up some ground.

IT’S CAMPING SEASON! In 1869, the first recreational camping guide, Adventures in Wilderness, was authored by minister William H.H. Murray and became a bestseller. The book’s success may have owed something to a new train route that made the Adirondacks more accessible. Time.com reported his practical guide offered advice on important topics:

“For sleeping, he describes how to make ‘a bed of balsam-boughs.’ On what to wear, he suggests bringing a ‘felt hat,’ ‘stout pantaloons,’ and a ‘rubber blanket or coat.’ For warding off woodchucks, ‘a stick, a piece of bark, or tin plate shied in the direction of the noise will scatter them like cats.’ As for wolves, his technique would likely not pass muster with fire wardens: ‘touch a match to an old stump and in two hours there will not be a wolf within ten miles of you.’”

His book inspired Kate Field to try camping, and she became an early advocate of land preservation. She wrote for the Adirondack Almanac in 1870. A more recent article in the publication reported:

“Field advised her readers to bring a tent rather than kill trees. ‘It is cruel to stab a tree to the heart merely to secure a small strip of bark,’ she said. ‘It is ungrateful to destroy the pine and balsam that have given us our beds of boughs, and fanned us with their vital breath. Let there be tents.’”

Additional advice can be found in Civil War veteran John M. Gould’s 1877 guide to backpacking, titled How To Camp Out. He warned against the allure of new gear:

“Do not be in a hurry to spend money on new inventions. Every year there is put upon the market some patent knapsack, folding stove, cooking-utensil, or camp trunk and cot combined; and there are always for sale patent knives, forks, and spoons all in one…Let them all alone: carry your pocket-knife…”

He might have been willing to make an exception for some of the gear available today!

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.”
–Dave Barry, Humorist

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* 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.
* 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.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44979607
https://www.ft.com/content/fe50168c-9197-11e8-b639-7680cedcc421 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-30-18_FinancialTimes-Trump_Hails_Fastest_US_Growth_Rate_Since_2014-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/businesscycle.asp
https://www.ft.com/content/a3d6a03a-91a2-11e8-b639-7680cedcc421 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-30-18_FinancialTimes-Sugar_Rush_from_Trumps_Tax_Cuts_Aids_Fast_Growth-Footnote_4.pdf)
http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html (Click on “U.S. & Intl Recaps”, then on “Geopolitical nerves”)
http://time.com/5343675/history-of-camping/
https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2014/03/babe-woods-kate-field-adirondack-preservation.html
https://archive.org/stream/howtocampout17575gut/17575.txt
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/dave_barry_128131?src=t_camping

 

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Trade Tensions

July 16, 2018

The Markets

Investors are becoming more discriminating.

Trade tensions escalated as the U.S. administration expanded tariffs on Chinese goods last week. You wouldn’t have known by watching the performance of benchmark indices, though. Just four of the 25 national stock market indices tracked by Barron’s – Australia, Italy, Spain, and Mexico – moved lower.

However, if you look a little deeper into the performance of various market sectors, you discover an important fact: The market tide wasn’t lifting all stocks.

It has been said a rising tide lifts all boats. When translated into stock-market speak, the saying becomes, ‘A rising market tide lifts all stocks.’ In other words, when the market moves higher, stocks tend to move higher, too. That wasn’t the case last week.

Barron’s reported investors have become more selective:

“We went from a market where everything moved largely together to one where sector fundamentals began to matter more than where the S&P 500 was going…At the sector level, it’s apparent that no one has been ignoring tariffs. While the S&P 500 has gained 1.7 percent over the past month of trading, industrials and materials have dropped 2.5 percent, while financials have slumped 2.9 percent, hit by a double whammy of trade fears and a flattening yield curve. Utilities and consumer staples have outperformed, gaining 8.1 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.”

Utilities and Consumer Staples are considered to be non-cyclical or defensive sectors of the market because they are not highly correlated with the business cycle.

Defensive companies tend to perform consistently whether a country’s economy is expanding or in recession. For example, a household’s need for power, soap, and food doesn’t disappear during a recession. As a result, the revenues, earnings, and cash flows of defensive companies remain relatively stable in various economic conditions.

In addition, the share prices of these companies tend to be less susceptible to changing economic conditions. Defensive stocks tend to outperform the broader market during periods of recession and underperform it during periods of expansion.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST RISKS FOR RETIREMENT INVESTORS? If market risk, inflation risk, and interest rate risk were on the tip of your tongue, you need to update your list.

Recently, T. Rowe Price surveyed employers that make defined contribution plans, like 401(k) plans, available to their employees. The company asked plan sponsors to rank the risks they were most concerned about for the people who saved in the plan. The top concerns were:

42 percent = Longevity Risk. No one knows exactly how long they will live, which makes it difficult for plan participants (and anyone else planning for retirement) to be certain future retirees won’t outlive their savings. Longevity risk was among the top three risks listed by 95 percent of plan sponsors.

25 percent = Participant Behavioral Risk. “Left on their own, participants tend to take on either too much or too little risk by: failing to properly allocate and diversify their savings; overinvesting in company stock (or stable value/money market funds); neglecting to rebalance in response to market or life changes; and attempting to time the market,” explained T. Rowe Price.

14 percent = Downside Risk. This is the likelihood an investment will fall in price. For instance, stocks have higher return potential than Treasury bonds, and higher potential for loss. When planning for retirement, it’s important to balance the need for growth against the need to preserve assets.

If you would like to learn more about these risks and strategies that may help overcome them, give us a call.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
–Sun Tzu, Chinese general and military strategist

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* 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.
* 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.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/11/news/economy/china-us-tariffs-list/index.html
http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html (Click on U.S. & Intl Recaps, then “Trade jitters cont’d”) (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-16-18_Barrons-Global_Stock_Market_Recap-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/nasdaq-hits-record-high-defying-tariffs-1531526401 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-16-18_Barrons-NASDAQ_Hits_Record_High_Defying_Tariffs-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://www.investors.com/how-to-invest/investors-corner/follow-the-best-stocks-in-the-market/
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/defensivestock.asp
https://www4.troweprice.com/gis/content/dam/ide/articles/pdfs/2018/Q2/advancing-the-way-we-think-about-perceptions-of-risk.pdf
https://www.naic.org/cipr_topics/topic_longevity_risk.htm
https://www2.troweprice.com/rms/rps/Marketing/Assets/pdf/Portfolio%20Perf%20Analysis%20Paper%20022908%2005169-963.pdf
http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/investing/downside-risk-2510
https://www.khorus.com/blog/14-inspirational-quotes-strategy-execution

 

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The Markets

July 2, 2018

The Markets

There’s a bear in China – and it’s not a panda.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Composite Index, which reflects the performance of all shares that trade on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, dropped into bear market territory last week, reported CNBC. The Index has fallen more than 20 percent from its previous high. It appears some investors saw an opportunity and bought the dip since the SSE Index bounced higher last Friday, gaining more than 2 percent.

Slower economic growth and rising trade tensions were responsible for much of the red ink in China, reported Barron’s, but the Chinese government may be playing a role, too:

“What’s got global market watchers worried is that China’s stocks are sliding in tandem with its currency, the renminbi or yuan…That suggests China is using the exchange rate as a weapon. ‘The most effective way for China to retaliate [against] rising U.S. tariffs is to weaken the yuan,’ according to the July Bank Credit Analyst. That could roil financial markets, however. The dual declines in China’s equity market and currency are raising concerns of a repeat of 2015. Treasury strategists at NatWest Markets recall that the drop in the yuan that summer sparked severe equity market losses, including a 10.5 percent correction in the S&P 500.”

That may explain, in part, why U.S. Treasury bills were so popular last week, although it probably didn’t hurt the yield on short-term Treasuries was roughly equivalent to the dividends paid by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The coming weeks may deliver more excitement than Fourth of July fireworks.

 

FROM ASIA WITH LOVE. Sometimes the hottest trends in other regions of the world are similar to those in the United States and sometimes they’re very different. Here are three recent chapters in the book of Asian cultural trends.

Improving your future wife’s ROI. Single men in the Land of the Rising Sun are trying to increase their value on the marriage market by taking parenting classes. The lessons include developing empathy for future spouses by wearing pregnancy suits. The Atlantic reported, “The man in the traditional kimono is having difficulty…The weight of the belly strains his back. Simply walking around the room – a party room in a Tokyo condo building – is more like lumbering. Lying down and getting up again is a struggle. The rest of the men in the Ikumen class laugh as he tries to adjust to the new reality.”

Shopaholics rejoice. ‘Shopstreaming’ is a little bit e-commerce and a little bit live streaming, reports Trendwatching Quarterly. “Asians are social shoppers – they rely on social media recommendations for their purchase decisions. For many, the ability to talk to sellers and buyers can build trust and allay fears about counterfeit goods. In Southeast Asia, 30 percent of e-commerce sales are started on social media and completed in messaging apps…”

It’s not just puppy love. Newly minted middle classes in developing nations are turning to pets for comfort and companionship. In emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region, Spire Research reports, “Changes in consumer lifestyles and rising disposable income are driving acceptance for pets and boosting the entire pet-related industry along the way.”

Trends are entertaining. As in any industry, they also can help business owners unearth expansion opportunities and help asset managers discover companies with potential.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for contradictions.”
–Maxine Hong Kingston, Chinese American author

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* 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.
* 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.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/29/shanghai-stocks-on-pace-for-worst-year-since-2011.html
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sse-composite.asp
https://www.barrons.com/articles/why-stocks-are-losing-out-to-cash-1530316991 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-02-18_Barrons-Why_Stocks_are_Losing_Out_to_Cash-Footnote_3.pdf
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/07/dad-classes-for-the-single-guy/561704/
https://trendwatching.com/quarterly/2017-11/5-asian-trends-2018/
https://www.spireresearch.com/spire-journal/yr2014/q1/the-pet-economy-boom-in-asia/
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/maxine_hong_kingston_389654

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Pocket watch of economic indicators

June 25, 2018

The Markets

What time is it?

The yield curve may be the pocket watch of economic indicators. It’s been around for a long time and it’s often right, but not always.

The yield curve is the difference between the interest paid on two-year government bonds and 10-year government bonds. In normal circumstances, an investor would expect to earn a higher rate of interest when lending money to a government for 10 years than when lending money for two years because there is more risk associated with lending for a longer period of time.

When the yield curve flattens or inverts, it suggests a shift in investors’ expectations. Financial Times explained:

“The slope made up of bond yields of various maturities has a record of predicting recessions that would make even the savviest econometrician turn pea-green with envy. It is not perfect, but the curve has become flat and inverted – when short-term bond yields are actually higher than long-term ones – ahead of most economic downturns in most major countries since the second world war.”

In the United States last week, the difference between yields on 2-year Treasuries (2.56) and 10-year Treasuries (2.90) flattened. The gap narrowed to 34 basis points (a basis point is one-hundredth of one percent). The change reflects higher short-term rates, courtesy of the Federal Reserve. It also suggests tariffs and trade issues have made bond investors more pessimistic about prospects for U.S. growth, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Globally, the yield curve is inverted. “The average yield of bonds in JPMorgan’s broadest Government Bond Index that mature in seven to 10 years last week slipped below the average yields of bonds maturing in one to three years for the first time since 2007…that indicates that investors have a pretty grim view of where the world economy and equity markets are heading,” reported Financial Times.

We’re keeping an eye on developments in the financial markets and will keep you informed.

 

YOU KNEW CARROTS WERE GOOD FOR YOUR EYES, and a newly discovered use for the orange veggie may help farmers and/or food processing companies find a new source of revenue. That’s because carrots can make concrete stronger – and so do sugar beets.

Engineers at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom are infusing nano platelets from discarded carrots and root vegetable peels into concrete. This strengthens the material in an environmentally friendly way. Durability + Design reported:

“These vegetable-composite concretes were also found to out-perform all commercially available cement additives, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes and at a much lower cost…The root vegetable nano platelets work both to increase the amount of calcium silicate hydrate – the main substance that controls the performance of concrete – and stop any cracks that appear in the concrete.”

The Economist reported adding 500 grams of platelets reduced the amount of cement required to make a cubic foot of concrete by 10 percent. In addition to reducing the amount of building material needed for a project, carrot concrete also reduces CO2 emissions.

Another natural material is getting a makeover, too. Researchers at the University of Maryland are refining processes that make wood stronger than steel, reported Scientific American. It may compete with titanium alloys and have applications beyond building:

“A five-layer, plywood-like sandwich of densified wood stopped simulated bullets fired into the material – a result Hu and his colleagues suggest could lead to low-cost armor. The material does not protect quite as well as a Kevlar sheet of the same thickness, but it only costs about 5 percent as much, he notes.”

If demand for carrots (and sugar beets and wood) increases and supply remains constant then we may see prices for those goods increase.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
Mark Twain, American author and humorist

* These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* 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.
* 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.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://www.ft.com/content/49d0229e-73c7-11e8-aa31-31da4279a601 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/06-25-18_FinancialTimes-Flat_Yield_Curve_Sends_a_Grim_Message_for_Investors_in_2019-Footnote_1.pdf
https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-us-economy-is-roaring-but-the-yield-curve-is-flattening-what-gives-2018-06-14
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trade-tensions-pinch-u-s-yield-curve-1529432210 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/06-25-18_WSJ-Trade_Tensions_Pinch_US_Yield_Curve-Footnote_4.pdf
https://www.durabilityanddesign.com/news/?fuseaction=view&id=19235
https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/06/14/making-buildings-cars-and-planes-from-materials-based-on-plant-fibres (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/06-25-18_TheEconomist-Making_Buildings_Cars_and_Planes_from_Materials_Based_on_Plant_Fibres-Footnote_6.pdf
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stronger-than-steel-able-to-stop-a-speeding-bullet-mdash-it-rsquo-s-super-wood/
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/mark_twain_121629

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