Weekly Commentary, August 1st

The Markets

“Within our mandate, the ECB is willing to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro and, believe me, it will be enough.”

–Mario Draghi, European Central Bank (ECB) President

It’s quite amazing how one sentence from one man can help spark a major rally in stocks, bonds, and the euro currency. Draghi’s comments last Thursday in London represent a significant ramping up of the ECB’s willingness to use its resources to hold the euro together and investors responded enthusiastically. On the day of Draghi’s comments:

  • ·         The euro and the British pound each gained more than 1 percent against the U.S. dollar.
  • ·         Stocks were positive in nearly all European markets.
  • ·         Italian and Spanish indexes each jumped more than 5 percent.
  • ·         The Spanish 10-year bond yield dropped nearly half a percentage point from the day before and the 10-year Italian bond yield was down a similar amount.
  • ·         The S&P 500 index rallied 1.6 percent.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal; CNBC

Between Draghi in Europe and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in the U.S., central bankers seem to be exerting an outsized influence on the markets. Normally, you expect markets to roughly trend with corporate earnings.

Speaking of earnings, several high-profile companies including Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks, fell short on their second quarter earnings numbers released last week, according to CNBC. Overall, earnings for the companies reporting so far this quarter have been a bit on the light side, according to CNBC.

While earnings ultimately matter in the long run, today’s markets seem focused on the support provided by central banks. And, yes, an up market is an up market regardless of what’s propelling it. However, for long-term sustainability, we need the markets to go up based on their earnings growth – not artificial stimulus.

Data as of 7/27/12

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)

1.7%

10.2%

7.3%

12.2%

-1.0%

4.4%

DJ Global ex US (Foreign Stocks)

0.9

1.4

-16.9

2.3

-6.6

5.8

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.6

N/A

3.0

3.7

4.8

4.5

Gold (per ounce)

2.7

2.8

-0.4

19.2

19.6

18.2

DJ-UBS Commodity Index

-1.9

2.0

-13.1

5.1

-3.4

4.0

DJ Equity All REIT TR Index

1.0

17.2

13.6

29.4

4.9

11.3

Notes: S&P 500, DJ Global ex US, Gold, DJ-UBS 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 TR 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.

 

THE BEST AND THE WORST DAYS IN THE STOCK MARKET tend to occur rather close to each other and that has major implications for how to be a successful investor.

While it’s tempting to try to aggressively “time” the stock market and be in on the best days and sitting in cash on the worst days, that’s not a viable strategy. The chart below shows how just a few days each decade made a profound impact on the performance of the market over that decade.

 

 

Decade

Annualized Return by Decade

Return Excluding 10 Best Days

Return Excluding 20 Best Days

Return Excluding 30 Best Days

Return Excluding 40 Best Days

1970s

1.6%

-2.3%

-5.0%

-7.2%

-9.1%

1980s

12.6

7.6

4.6

2.0

-0.4

1990s

15.3

11.0

8.0

6.0

3.0

2000s

-2.7

-9.2

-13.2

-16.9

-19.5

Source: BMO Capital Markets

For example, during the 1980s, the S&P 500 had an average annualized return of 12.6 percent. However, if you excluded the return of the 40 best days during that decade, then the return would have fallen to a negative 0.4 percent. In other words, just 40 days out of that 10-year period accounted for all of the return for the decade. Wow!

Now, you also have to know that missing the 40 worst days during the decade would have a profound positive impact on your performance. But, here’s the rub – it would take perfect foresight to know in advance when these 40 best and worst days would occur. And, of course, none of us have that.

What makes aggressive timing even more difficult is that these best and worst days often happen pretty close to each other. BMO Capital Markets discovered that since 1970, more than 50 percent of the 40 best days occurred within two weeks of one of the 40 worst days! So, imagine this… the stock market has one of its worst 40 days for the decade and you are lucky enough to be sitting 100 percent in cash that day. Now, realistically, after a big drop like that, are you going to have the nerve to jump 100 percent right back in? If you didn’t, you’d miss more than half of the 40 biggest up days since those big up days often occur within two weeks of a big down day.

The lesson here is simple. Markets are volatile and the price of long-term return is enduring the pain of periodic declines.

 

Weekly Focus – Think About It…

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering, but fighting well.”

                                             –Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games

Best regards,

John Raudat

Canoga Wealth Management LLC

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The DJ Global ex US is an unmanaged group of non-U.S. securities designed to reflect the performance of the global equity securities that have readily available prices.

* 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 London afternoon gold price fix as reported by the London Bullion Market Association.

* The DJ 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 TR 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.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index.

* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443477104577550710566458228.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48335105/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48335982

http://research-ca.bmocapitalmarkets.com/documents/F0D72405-29FD-46E1-A800-3AC70C262AE0.PDF

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201207/27-quotes-the-olympics

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