Monthly Archives: August 2018

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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