July 25, 2016
Like a cool breeze on a hot day, the post-Brexit market rally has soothed investors.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), also known as the fear gauge, fell significantly during the past few weeks, according to CNBC.com. The VIX measures investors’ concerns about future volatility. The lower the Index is; the calmer investors are about the future. In late June, the VIX rose as high as 25.76. Last week, it hovered around 12.
Barron’s reported the latest advisory sentiment readings from Investors Intelligence showed bullishness at 54.4 percent, up two percentage points from last week. That’s the highest reading since April 2015 (just before the S&P 500 hit its previous record).
The relative serenity of investors has been good for markets. By the middle of last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) were at record highs. Not everyone is convinced investor positivity is a good sign, however. Barron’s explained:
“After nearly two years of sideways trading, albeit with some large swings, the indexes finally gave what should be an important buy signal. But is it really? …I am not talking about the simple divergence between price and volume during the June-July rally, although that certainly does not help the bulls. Nor am I considering the seasonal cycle, which teaches us to ‘Sell in May’ and sit out the usually weaker summer months. And I am not talking about any news from politics to Brexit to terrorism…What really bothers me is the lack of dissent in the bullish chorus.”
Contrarians, investors who use popular opinion as a gauge of what not to do, may find themselves leaning toward pessimism.
FAKE CHARITIES ARE ON THE LIST. Groups masquerading as charitable organizations to solicit donations from generous-minded individuals are among the twelve cons named in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) ‘Dirty Dozen,’ a list of common scams targeting taxpayers.
Americans tend to be a generous bunch. During 2015, they gave more than $373 billion to charities, setting a record for the second year in a row, according to GivingUSA.org. People gave to all sorts of organizations including:
- Religion ($119.30 billion)
- Education ($57.48 billion)
- Human Services ($45.21 billion)
- Foundations ($42.26 billion)
- Health ($29.81 billion)
- Public-Society Benefit ($26.95 billion)
- Arts/Culture/Humanities ($17.07 billion)
- International Affairs ($15.75 billion)
- Environment/Animals ($10.68 billion)
Millions more may have gone to groups pretending to be charities. The IRS offered some recommendations for avoiding scams. Before you give, get the exact name of the charity. Many fake charities use names that sound similar to those of legitimate charities.
Also, request the charity’s employer identification number and use the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Select Check search tool to review the organization’s tax status and filings. (While you’re at it, you may want to review how much the charity spends on fundraising versus programs to confirm it is spending donations judiciously.)
Once you’ve done your homework, don’t give cash. Making your donation by check or credit card provides a record for tax purposes and is more secure.
Finally, no matter how kind a charity’s representative seems on the phone or in person, do not give him or her personal financial information or other important identification data, like your Social Security number.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
— C. S. Lewis, British novelist
* These views are those of Peak Advisor Alliance, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
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* 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.
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* 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.
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* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
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* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
 http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/19/no-fear-heres-why-the-vix-has-cratered.html or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_No+fear_+Here%E2%80%99s+why+the+VIX+has+cratered.pdf
 http://www.cboe.com/micro/vix/historical.aspx (For June index readings choose Historical Daily Prices – Spreadsheet with Closing Prices for Several Indexes) or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_VIX_Historical_Price_Data_CBOE.pdf
 https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Fake-Charities-Are-a-Problem-and-on-the-IRS-Dirty-Dozen-List-of-Tax-Scams-for-2016-1 or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_Fake_Charities_Are_a_Problem_and_on_the_IRS_%E2%80%9CDirty_Dozen%E2%80%9D_List_of_Tax_Scams_for_2016.pdf
 http://givingusa.org/giving-usa-2016/ or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_Giving_USA_2015_Was_America%E2%80%99s_Most_Generous_Year_Ever_Giving_USA.pdf
 http://www.consumerreports.org/charitable-donations/best-and-worst-charities-for-your-donations/ or go https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_Best_and_Worst_Charities_for_Your_Donations_Consumer_Reports.pdf
 http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis119176.html?src=t_motivational or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_You_are_never_too_old_to_set_another_goal_or_to_dream_a_new_dream_CS_+Lewis.pdf