May 15, 2017

The Markets

Does performance tell the whole story?

American stock markets have delivered some exceptional performance in recent years. Just look at the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index. Barron’s reported the S&P 500, including reinvested dividends, has returned 215 percent since April 30, 2009. The index is currently trading 50 percent above its 2007 high.

The rest of the world’s stocks, as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index, which includes stocks from developed countries in Europe, Australia, and the Far East, returned 97 percent in U.S. dollars during the same period. At the end of April, the MSCI EAFE Index was 20 percent below its 2007 high.

If you subscribe to the ‘buy low, sell high’ philosophy of investing then these performance numbers may have you thinking about portfolio reallocation. However, performance doesn’t tell the full story.

For example, there’s a significant difference between the types of companies included in the two indices. At the end of April, Information Technology stocks comprised 22.5 percent of the S&P 500 Index and just 5.7 percent of the MSCI EAFE Index. Financial stocks accounted for 14.1 percent of the S&P 500 and 21.4 percent of MSCI EAFE.

It’s important to dig beneath the surface and understand the drivers behind performance before making assumptions or changing portfolio allocations.

Even so, European stocks have the potential to deliver decent performance this year, according to Barron’s. “The case for a revival in European stocks, particularly the Continent’s many multinationals, rests in large part on expectations for improving global growth…This year Europe’s GDP is expected to increase by about 2 percent, after growing 1.7 percent in 2016 – better than the U.S.’s 1.6 percent.”

Last week, the S&P 500 Index moved slightly lower.

 
THE HERD OF UNICORNS IS GROWING. Since 1996, the value of companies listed on American stock exchanges has increased from 105 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 136 percent of GDP, according to The Economist. (GDP is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States.)

During the same period, the number of companies listed on American exchanges has fallen from 7,322 to 3,671.

This fact might lead you to surmise that a few businesses have become dominant in their industries, but that’s not the case. Many companies are choosing to remain private rather than issue shares through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and then trade on an exchange. Financial Times explained:

“Over the past 10 years the number of initial public offerings in the United States, and the total amount of equity raised by them, are way down on historical averages. If these had held there would have been more than 3,000 new public companies in the past decade. Instead, we have had fewer than half the number of IPOs.”

Why don’t the leaders of vibrant young companies want to issue shares? There may be several reasons:

• Technology-intensive businesses may need less capital.
• It’s relatively easy to raise money in private equity markets.
• Regulatory requirements for public companies increase litigation risk from securities class actions.
• Private markets are better at allowing companies to take a long-term perspective.

The reluctance to take companies public has fattened the world’s herd of unicorns – private firms worth over $1 billion that are not subject to public-company standards for accounting and disclosure. There are currently about 100 of them.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?”
Mahatma Gandhi, Leader, Indian independence movement

* 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.
* 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 indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
http://www.barrons.com/articles/europe-on-sale-time-to-buy-foreign-stocks-1494648930?mod=BOL_hp_highlight_1 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-15-17_Barrons-Europe_on_Sale-Time_to_Buy_Foreign_Stocks-Footnote_1.pdf)
http://us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500 (Click on Sector Breakdown to view pie chart) (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-15-17-S%26P_Dow_Jones_Indices-Sector_Breakdown-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.msci.com/documents/10199/4753a237-7f5a-4ef6-9f2b-9f46245402e6
http://www.economist.com/news/business/21721153-company-founders-are-reluctant-go-public-and-takeovers-are-soaring-why-decline (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-15-17_TheEconomist-Why_the_Decline_in_the_Number_of_Listed_American_Firms_Matters-Footnote_4.pdf)
https://www.ft.com/content/9fcfb668-3409-11e7-99bd-13beb0903fa3 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-15-17_FinancialTimes-Relax_the_Rules_to_Kickstart_the_Stalled_IPO_Market-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mahatmagan629304.html?src=t_mother

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May 8, 2017

The Markets

Is it complacency? Exuberance? Uncertainty? Exhaustion? Insight? Intuition?

Last week, all three major U.S. stock markets gained value and two reached new record highs. On the face of it, that’s great news for stock investors. However, if you look below the surface, the markets’ upward trend may have you scratching your head.

Barron’s reported:

“That the S&P would hit a new high was all the more surprising given the lack of reaction to major headlines throughout the week. On the plus side of the ledger, Congress managed to avoid a shutdown, while on the downside, President Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. ‘needs a good shutdown,’ and the Federal Reserve appeared more hawkish than prognosticators had been prognosticating. Nothing. Then there’s the prospect of a shocker in the French election over the weekend, though the pro-Europe candidate Emmanuel Macron is widely expected to beat the more-radical Marine Le Pen. Yet here we are. ‘It’s like the market took Novocain and is numb to everything,’ says Thomas Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors.”

It may be investors give more weight to company performance during the first quarter than to other factors. So far, 83 percent of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index have reported first quarter earnings (earnings measure a company’s profitability). Three-fourths of the companies reported earnings were higher than had been estimated, reported FactSet.

Strong earnings show companies have performed well. Price-Earning (P/E) ratios help investors gauge whether a company’s stock, or a stock index, is a good value. The P/E ratio indicates the dollar amount an investor may pay to receive one dollar of a company’s or an index’s earnings, according to Investopedia.

Last Friday, the trailing 12-month P/E ratio for the S&P 500 Index was 21.9. That’s quite a lot higher than the five-year average of 17.4 or the 10-year average of 16.7.

At the same time, the forward 12-month P/E ratio for the S&P 500 Index was 17.5. That’s also a lot higher than the five-year average of 15.2 or the 10-year average of 14.0.

So, why are highly valued markets moving higher? It’s a puzzle.

 
IS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WELL RUN? Stop rolling your eyes. The Economist reported Steve Ballmer, former head of a large tech company, has been working on a new project – completing Form 10-K for the United States of America. The project is called USA Facts: Our nation, in numbers.

If you’re not familiar with Form 10-K, it is the global gold standard of corporate disclosure. United States regulators require public companies to provide comprehensive overviews of their businesses and financial condition each year, including audited financial statements. The information is provided on Form 10-K.

USA Facts aggregates publicly available data from federal, state, and local governments. It then groups the data into four operating divisions based on the ‘missions’ described in the U.S. Constitution:

• Establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility
• Provide for the common defense
• Promote the general welfare
• Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

After reviewing USA Facts, The Economist wrote:

“Governance is poor. The country is not managed using a coherent taxonomy. So, for example, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House each split the job of running America into roughly 20 operating divisions. But their categories are different, meaning crossed wires and insufficient accountability…”

The findings aren’t much of a surprise. The government does not compare favorably to corporations. It has a profit margin of negative 3 percent. (The S&P 500 average is 8 percent.) It invests more in the future than most companies. Research and development and capital expenditures are 12 percent of revenue. (The S&P 500 average is 8 percent.) Debt is 289 percent of tax revenues, which are a proxy for sales. (The S&P 500 average is 77 percent.)

If you’d like to review the numbers, visit USAFacts.org.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Ignorance and fear are but matters of the mind – and the mind is adaptable.”
Daniel Kish, President of World Access for the Blind

* 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.
* 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 indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
http://www.barrons.com/articles/stocks-ignore-the-headlines-and-hit-highs-1494046842?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-08-17_Barrons-Stocks_Ignore_the_Headlines_and_Hit_Highs-Footnote_1.pdf)
https://insight.factset.com/hubfs/Resources/Research%20Desk/Earnings%20Insight/EarningsInsight_050517.pdf
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/price-earningsratio.asp
http://www.economist.com/news/business/21721428-new-website-treats-state-if-it-were-company-form-10-k-americas-government (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-08-17_TheEconomist-A_Form_10-K_for_Americas_Government-Footnote_4.pdf)
http://usafacts.org
https://www.sec.gov/fast-answers/answers-form10khtm.html
https://www.inc.com/john-brandon/25-quotes-from-the-most-inspiring-ted-talks.html

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May 1, 2017

The Markets

It was a good week to own stocks.

Not all financial news was good news last week, but that didn’t prevent U.S. stock markets from moving higher. Barron’s reported on the good news:

“This past week, welcome political news from Europe, a batch of stellar corporate-earnings reports, and a concrete tax proposal to cut corporate and some personal rates sharply gave the bull even more reasons to rally. By Friday’s close, the Dow Jones industrials and other market measures were standing near all-time highs.”

Overall, corporate earnings were quite strong during the first quarter of 2017, according to FactSet. With 58 percent of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reporting in, earnings are showing double-digit growth for the first time since 2011.

That’s exhilarating news for investors.

Economists had less to celebrate. The Commerce Department’s first estimate indicated the U.S. economy got off to a slow start during 2017. Gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the value of all goods and services produced, came in below expectations and grew at the slowest rate in three years. Bloomberg reported:

“The GDP slowdown owes partly to transitory forces such as warm weather and volatility in inventories, which supports forecasts for a rebound as high confidence among companies and consumers and a solid job market underpin growth. Even so, the weakness at car dealers could weigh on expansion, and further gains in business investment could depend on the extent of policy support such as tax cuts.”

Keep an eye on Congress and the Federal Reserve. Changing fiscal and monetary policies are expected to have a significant influence on markets and the economy.

 
WHAT DID YOU SAY? If you find yourself tuning-out in loud restaurants, asking people to repeat themselves frequently, or cupping an ear in an effort to better understand what a friend or colleague is saying, then you may be interested to learn that hearing loss is one of the most prevalent health issues for older Americans. It ranks third, right behind arthritis and heart disease, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).

Hearing loss isn’t just an issue for older Americans, though. Twenty percent of American teenagers experience hearing loss, and it’s a significant issue for combat soldiers and veterans. The Washington Post reported:

“A study by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, which covered over 90,000 veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq seeking VA care from fiscal 2006-2007, may serve as a general guide. Among male veterans seeking VA care, 16.4 percent to 26.6 percent suffer from serious hearing loss and tinnitus, and 7.3 percent to 13.4 percent of female veterans are affected. How much of this is combat-related or due to environmental factors such as background noise, training, and even medication is unknown.”

Remarkably, many people ignore their hearing loss. Just 16 percent of Americans (age 69 or younger) with hearing issues use hearing devices. It’s a decision that can have serious consequences since studies have linked hearing loss and cognitive decline, reported NPR.

A new generation of hearing devices, called personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), may help reduce the stigma attached to wearing hearing aids. They’re designed to look like stylish fashion accessories or ear buds, and they’re controlled with smartphone apps.

The real selling point may prove to be that PSAPs are far less expensive than traditional hearing aids.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”
-Bernard Baruch, American financier and statesman

* 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.
* 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 indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
http://www.barrons.com/articles/poll-top-money-managers-favor-tech-finance-1493438722 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/05-01-17_Barrons-Poll-Top_Money_Managers_Favor_Tech_Finance-Footnote_1.pdf)
https://insight.factset.com/hubfs/Resources/Research%20Desk/Earnings%20Insight/EarningsInsight_042817.pdf (Pages 1-2)
https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-28/u-s-economy-expands-at-slowest-pace-in-three-years
http://www.hearingloss.org/sites/default/files/docs/HearingLoss_Facts_Statistics.pdf
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/04/12/we-treat-hearing-loss-as-an-inevitable-cost-of-war-it-shouldnt-be/?utm_term=.2e6442644b83
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/24/524946910/is-it-time-for-hearing-aids-to-be-sold-over-the-counter
https://www.inc.com/dave-kerpen/15-quotes-to-inspire-you-to-become-a-better-listener.html

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April 24, 2017

The Markets

Last week, investors multi-tasked, pushing both U.S. bond and stock markets higher.

In March, the Federal Reserve raised the Fed funds rates for the second time in three months. Typically, we would expect interest rates to rise and bond prices to fall, but interest rates have been falling and bond prices have been moving higher. Barron’s reported yields on 10-year Treasuries hit their lowest levels since the election last week.

Reuters explained there has been a shift in expectations:

“Bonds prices have been boosted in recent weeks by reduced expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates two more times this year, following disappointing economic data releases. Still, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said on Friday that two more U.S. rate increases this year remain an appropriate plan for the Federal Reserve despite some weak recent economic data.”

Geopolitical anxiety continued to play a role in market performance, too, causing investors to flee to safe havens, which contributed to bond market strength.

Geopolitics didn’t cause U.S. stock markets to swoon, though. Barron’s reported:

“Stocks’ on-again, off-again rally was on again last week, and it took the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to within sniffing distance of its March 1 record. Climbing in the face of geopolitical anxiety from Paris to Pyongyang is bullish, as is preserving the upward slope of the index’s 200-day average. But there are signs of wavering conviction…”

That wavering conviction is found in investors’ preference for a small group of tech stocks, as well as more defensive sectors of the market. Through mid-April, just 10 stocks accounted for one-half of the S&P 500’s gain during 2017.

A possible motto for 2017: Expect the unexpected.

 

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY: THE NEXT GENERATION. Faster and more efficient mobile phones are on the horizon. That’s right, 5G is almost here, according to Network World.

If you were never quite sure what distinguished 1G from 2G, or 3G from 4G, much less 4G from 5G, the answer depends on whom you ask (or in this case, what you read). PC Magazine explained the technology:

“1G was analog cellular. 2G technologies, such as CDMA, GSM, and TDMA, were the first generation of digital cellular technologies. 3G technologies, such as EVDO, HSPA, and UMTS, brought speeds from 200kbps to a few megabits per second. 4G technologies, such as WiMAX and LTE, were the next incompatible leap forward, and they are now scaling up to hundreds of megabits and even gigabit-level speeds.”

The Economist, on the other hand, explained the benefits to users: speed of communication. 5G is different from earlier generations of wireless broadband because it can:

“…send and receive signals almost instantaneously. The “latency” (i.e., the lag between initiating an action and getting a response) that has hobbled mobile phones will be a thing of the past. When 3G phones were the bee’s knees, the time taken for two wireless devices to communicate with one another was around 500 milliseconds. That half-second lag could make conversation frustrating. A decade later, 4G had cut the latency to 60 milliseconds or so – not bad, but still an age when waiting for crucial, time-sensitive data, especially from the cloud.”

5G mobile networks may be up and running by the time the South Korean Winter Olympics roll around in 2018, according to The Economist.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Try putting your iPhones down every once in a while, and look at people’s faces.”
Amy Poehler, Comedian

* 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.
* 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 indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/15/fed-raises-rates-at-march-meeting.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/usa-bonds-idUSL1N1HT14Z
http://www.barrons.com/articles/the-burt-reynolds-stock-market-1492836727?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-24-17_Barrons-The_Burt_Reynolds_Stock_Market-Footnote_3.pdf)
http://www.networkworld.com/article/3191264/mobile-wireless/what-5g-means-for-your-business.html
http://www.pcmag.com/article/345387/what-is-5g
https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21720916-ready-or-not-5g-wireless-preparing-its-big-day-makeover-mobile-phones (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-24-17_TheEconomist-Makeover_for_Mobile_Phones-Footnote_6.pdf)
http://apps.npr.org/commencement/speech/amy-poehler-harvard-university-2011/

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April 10, 2017

The Markets

U.S. stock markets are sending mixed signals.

If you look at the performance of the CBOE Volatility Index (a.k.a. the VIX or fear gauge), which is a measure of market expectations for volatility in the near future, it appears all is well and investors expect no unexpected events. Barron’s explained:

“…which brings us back to a central fact: the absence of volatility. The first quarter was historic for the CBOE Volatility Index…It ranged from 10.6 to 13.1, and its average level was 11.69, the lowest in an initial quarter since the VIX was born in 1990 and the second-lowest quarterly average since the 11.3 of 2006’s final three months…”

The VIX remained stubbornly low last week, too, despite weaker than expected employment news, wage news, and generally flat economic data.

If you turn your eyes to the number of companies whose shares have reached new highs, you might form a different opinion about the steadiness of stock markets. Barron’s wrote:

“…the squadron of stocks pushing 52-week highs at the New York Stock Exchange has shrunk from 338 on March 1 to 72 late last week…But, if the planet really is enjoying a synchronized economic recovery, why are we lunging at these stocks as if they were the only game in town?”

It’s difficult to know how to factor in last week’s air strikes against Syria, which registered as a tiny blip on the U.S. stock market radar. Some analysts say that’s as it should be. The real drivers of market performance in 2017 will be tax reform and global monetary policy. Others are concerned involvement in Syria could lead to a reshuffling of political priorities and delay progress on domestic legislation.

In times like these, diversification is critical.

 

PULLING INK OUT OF THE AIR. Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental and human health threats in the world, according to a 2016 World Health Organization report:

“To date, air pollution – both ambient (outdoor) and household (indoor) – is the biggest environmental risk to health, carrying responsibility for about one in every nine deaths annually. Ambient (outdoor) air pollution alone kills around 3 million people each year…Air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate and affects economies and people’s quality of life; it is a public health emergency.”

Engineer Anirudh Sharma was familiar with the problem. The MIT Media Lab student was walking down a street in Mumbai, reported , when he noticed that diesel exhaust from passing buses and cars was staining his clothes black.

The experience sparked an idea: Was it possible to recycle air pollution and use it to make something useful? Like ink?

During the past few years, Sharma has developed technology to create the world’s first line of art supplies derived from air pollution. He and his team have built an exhaust filter that captures carbon soot as it is emitted from cars, generators, and ferries. Once pollution has been gathered, impurities are removed. The remaining soot is ground into pigment and mixed with vegetable oil to create inks, markers, and paints.

One artist commented, “I don’t know if it’s the pollution, but the quality of the ink is really special…It’s pitch black, really thick and dries incredibly quickly.”

Last month, the first Clean Air Gallery opened in London. It features work by artists from London, Glasgow, Leeds, Southampton, and Nottingham – some of the most polluted cities in the United Kingdom – using Sharma’s ink. Other exhibitions are expected to open in Berlin, Singapore, and New York.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“A mind which really lays hold of a subject is not easily detached from it.”
–Ida Tarbell, Investigative journalism pioneer

* 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.
* 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 indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
http://www.cboe.com/micro/vix/pdf/cboe30c7-volindex_qrg.pdf
http://www.barrons.com/articles/low-vix-may-mask-stock-risks-1491625249?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-10-17_Barrons-Low_VIX_may_Mask_Stock_Risks-Footnote_2.pdf)
http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html
(click on U.S. & Intl Recaps and select “The job madness of March”) (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-10-17_Barrons-The_Job_Madness_of_March-Footnote_3.pdf)
http://www.barrons.com/articles/are-stocks-finally-topping-out-1491627050?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-10-17_Barrons-Are_Stocks_Finally_Topping_Out-Footnote_4.pdf)
http://www.barrons.com/articles/do-airstrikes-signal-new-priorities-for-trump-1491627084?mod=BOL_hp_we_columns (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-10-17_Barrons-Do_Airstrikes_Signal_New_Priorities_for_Trump-Footnote_5.pdf)
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/250141/1/9789241511353-eng.pdf?ua=1 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-10-17_WorldHealthOrganization-Report-Ambient_Air_Pollution-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/offbeat/magic-black-air-ink-the-art-supplies-made-from-vehicle-pollution/ar-BBzuyky
https://press.economist.com/stories/10701-the-worlds-first-clean-air-gallery-opens-in-london
http://www.famousquotesandauthors.com/authors/ida_tarbell_quotes.html

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April 3, 2017

The Markets

Happy birthday!

Toward the end of the first quarter, the bull market celebrated its eighth birthday. David Kelly, Chief Global Strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management wrote:

“Eight years ago, on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 closed at 677, down 57 percent from where it had been just 18 months earlier. 10-year Treasury yields had fallen from 3.6 percent to 2.9 percent over the previous year…Investors were depressed and scared. However, good long-term returns from stocks were almost inevitable at that point since economic and market fundamentals were at unsustainably low levels…Eight years later, the financial landscape has changed completely…it still makes sense to be in long-term investments including both domestic stocks and bonds. However, it is time to adopt a more diversified and thoughtful approach that recognizes the importance of valuations…”

Valuations were heady during first quarter
Stock valuations reflect how much a share of a company’s stock, or shares of companies in an index, may be worth. Valuations can help investors understand whether shares are expensive, reasonable, or inexpensive. One way to measure valuation is to look at trailing 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E). This gauge reflects how much an investor must pay to receive one dollar of the company’s earnings.

For instance, on March 31, FactSet reported the trailing 12-month P/E of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was 21.8. That’s well above the 10-year average of 16.6 and the five-year average of 17.1. This suggests shares of the overall index are expensive. Keep in mind, even when the index appears to be expensive, the valuations of specific companies or sectors within the index may still be attractive.

Animal spirits abounded
The CEO of JPMorgan attributed investors’ enthusiasm for stocks during the first quarter to ‘animal spirits,’ reported CNN Money. Animal spirits is a term coined by John Maynard Keynes. It describes “…a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.” Investors were inspired by the new administration’s growth agenda, including promises of lower taxes and less regulation.

The U.S. economy grew (but we’re not sure how much)
People and businesses may have been more enthusiastic than data suggests they should be. Financial Times cited research from Morgan Stanley that shows a growing gap between ‘hard’ economic data (like slowing corporate spending and lower retail sales) and ‘soft’ economic data (like consumer and business optimism). The disparity has created uncertainty about the pace of economic growth during the first quarter of 2017. “The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s model, which…focuses on hard data, projects an annualized rate of just 1 percent. However, the New York Fed’s model, which ‘incorporates soft data into its tracking,’ forecasts 3 percent growth.”

The Federal Reserve acted
With employment and inflation data approaching Fed targets, the Federal Open Market Committee raised rates in March, pushing the Fed funds target rate into the 0.75 percent to 1 percent range, reported Financial Times. More rate hikes are expected during 2017.

Brexit was launched
The end of the first quarter of 2017 marked a new beginning for Britain. On March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May officially launched Britain’s exit from the European Union. The United Kingdom now has two years to negotiate terms with the European Union (unless all members of the EU unanimously approve an extension).

When you consider how long trade agreement negotiations normally take, it appears the task ahead for Britain and the EU is akin to running a marathon in 30 minutes. For example, Canada and the EU began discussing a trade agreement in 2007. It has yet to be finalized.

United States and European national stock market indices finished the quarter higher.

  

THE TOOTH FAIRY IS AWFULLY GENEROUS THESE DAYS. Since 1998, an insurance firm has conducted a poll to determine how much swag the tooth fairy or, depending on your country, the magical mouse, elf, brownie, or tooth rat has been leaving behind for children who’ve lost their teeth.

When the poll began, the going rate for a tooth was about $1.50. The most recent survey found that, in the United States, a tooth was pulling in about $4.66! The going rate in other nations was similar:

• C$6.11 in Canada ($4.59 U.S.)
• ¥525.82 in Japan ($4.72 U.S.)
• €4.38 in Ireland and Spain ($4.67 U.S.)
• £3.75 in England ($4.70 U.S.)
• R$14.47 in Brazil ($4.63 U.S.)
• ₡2613.42 in Costa Rica ($4.66 U.S.)

NPR’s Planet Money examined whether the value of lost teeth has kept pace with inflation. They posited a tooth was worth about $0.50 in the 1970s. If the value of a tooth had risen with inflation, it would be worth less than $3.00 today. So, the value of a lost tooth has increased faster than the rate of inflation – similar to college tuition!

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“But the real magic and the secret source behind collaborative consumption marketplaces…isn’t the inventory or the money. It’s using the power of technology to build trust between strangers…Because, at its core, it’s about empowerment. It’s about empowering people to make meaningful connections, connections that are enabling us to rediscover a humanness that we’ve lost somewhere along the way…”
–Rachel Botsman, Business consultant

* 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.
* 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 indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
https://am.jpmorgan.com/blob-gim/1383428725614/83456/MI-Monthly_March2017.pdf?segment=AMERICAS_US_ADV&locale=en_US
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/price-earningsratio.asp
https://insight.factset.com/hubfs/Resources/Research%20Desk/Earnings%20Insight/EarningsInsight_033117.pdf
http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/glossary/animal-spirits/
http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/10/investing/trump-animal-spirits/
https://www.ft.com/content/24843018-c6fc-36cf-aa0c-87a1bf6a61f5 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-03-17_FinancialTimes-Morgan_Stanley_Flags_Record_Gap_Between_Hard_and_Soft_US_Economic_Data-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.ft.com/content/6723f69c-09a4-11e7-ac5a-903b21361b43 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-03-17_FinancialTimes-Fed_Increases_Interest_Rates_as_Inflation_Pressures_Loom-Footnote_7.pdf)
http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21719758-it-leaves-britain-little-time-get-through-bulging-contentious-agenda-two-year-countdown (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-03-17_TheEconomist-The_Two-Year_Countdown_to_Brexit_has_Begun-Footnote_8.pdf)
http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html (Click on U.S. & Intl Recaps, “The clock is ticking,” and scroll down to Global Stock Market Recap) (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/04-03-17_Barrons-Global_Stock_Market_Recap-Footnote_9.pdf)
http://www.theoriginaltoothfairypoll.com/fairy-tales/
http://www.theoriginaltoothfairypoll.com/the-original-poll/
http://currencyconverter.io/525.82-usd-cad
http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=520586228
https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/01/how-university-costs-keep-rising-despite-tuition-freezes/512036/
https://www.ted.com/talks/rachel_botsman_the_currency_of_the_new_economy_is_trust/transcript?language=en

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March 27, 2017

The Markets

You’ve read it before – and it’s true. Markets hate uncertainty.

Failure to pass the American Healthcare Act, which was supported by Republican leaders in Congress and President Trump, may have spooked U.S. stock markets last week.

In an article titled, “How To Make Investing Decisions Based On Politics: Don’t,” Nasdaq.com reported controversy over the bill was “raising questions about [Republicans’] ability to focus on and pass policies that the market has been eagerly anticipating, such as tax reform and infrastructure spending.” Financial Times concurred:

“The post-election stock market rally has been largely powered by hopes Donald Trump’s administration would swiftly launch a bevy of aggressive economic stimulus measures, including tax cuts, deregulation, and infrastructure spending. However, Mr. Trump’s difficulty in Congress over the government’s healthcare plan has prompted some reappraisal by investors of the prospect of significant stimulus arriving later this year.”

Financial Times pointed out it’s likely other factors played a role in investors’ decision-making, as well. Some professionals have become concerned about market valuations. About 34 percent of fund managers believe global equity markets are overvalued and 81 percent say U.S. equities are the most expensive in the world, reported Fortune Magazine citing Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s survey of fund managers.

In addition, estimates for corporate earnings have been revised lower for the first quarter of 2017. Take that with a grain of salt, though. FactSet wrote, “In terms of estimate revisions for companies in the S&P 500, analysts have made smaller cuts than average to earnings estimates for Q1 2017 to date…”

Politics is one factor affecting markets, and partisanship may be affecting consumer sentiment. Richard Curtin, chief economist of University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, said consumers’ expectations about future economic growth were split along party lines in March. “…among Democrats, the Expectations Index at 55.3 signaled that a deep recession was imminent, while among Republicans the Index at 122.4 indicated a new era of robust economic growth was ahead.”

We live in interesting times!

 

 “IT AIN’T WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW THAT GETS YOU INTO TROUBLE. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so,” wrote Mark Twain.

In 2016, NerdWallet commissioned a survey* to get a better handle on Americans’ thoughts about lying when money is involved. It’s interesting to note which money-saving lies participants found acceptable. The list included:

• Logging on to someone else’s retail or media account to avoid subscription fees (33 percent)
• Not reporting under-the-table income to avoid taxes due (24 percent)
• Lying about your age or your child’s age to receive a discount at a restaurant or retailer (21 percent)
• Lying about annual mileage to lower auto insurance rates (20 percent)
• Lying about income on a loan or credit card application (12 percent)
• Lying about smoking tobacco to lower life insurance rates (11 percent)

(The number in the parentheses reflects the percent of those surveyed who said the lie was okay.)

The survey found far more men than women believe it is acceptable to tell lies to save money. For instance, 30 percent of men said it was okay not to report under-the-table income to the IRS. Only 18 percent of women agreed. One-fourth of male survey participants thought it was okay to fudge annual mileage to receive lower auto insurance rates, while just 16 percent of female respondents agreed.

Age also makes a difference. Americans who are age 65 or older were far less likely to find financial dishonesty acceptable:

“The survey found that 11 percent of seniors say it is acceptable to use someone else’s paid account for online movies, music, or articles to save on subscription costs, compared with 39 percent of Americans ages 18-64. Just 7 percent of Americans ages 65 and older think it’s acceptable to lie about annual mileage for lower auto insurance rates compared with 23 percent of Americans ages 18-64. Among all of the lies in the survey, the one that gets the most support from those 65 and older is not disclosing under-the-table income to the IRS in order to pay less in taxes – 14 percent say that’s acceptable.”

When it came down to it, “For all questions, retirees had the lowest rates of acceptance of lies compared with students, employees, and the unemployed.”

*The survey included 2,115 Americans, ages 18 and older, and was conducted February 18-22, 2016, by Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet. This survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”
–Henry David Thoreau, American author

 * 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.
* 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 indices referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
[1] http://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-to-make-investing-decisions-based-on-politics-dont-cm764637
[2] https://www.ft.com/content/aa4efa32-0f37-11e7-b030-768954394623 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/03-27-17_FinancialTimes-Why_are_Investors_On_Edge_Over_Trumps_Healthcare_Vote-Footnote_2.pdf)
[3] http://fortune.com/2017/03/21/stock-market-value-bank-of-america-merrill-lynch/
[4] https://insight.factset.com/hubfs/Resources/Research%20Desk/Earnings%20Insight/EarningsInsight_032417.pdf
[5] http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/03-27-17_Univ_of_Michigan-Survey_of_Consumers-Footnote_5.pdf)
[6] https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain109624.html
[7] https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/men-students-parents-money-lies/
[8] http://www.nemoequipment.com/25-inspiring-nature-quotes-to-make-you-want-to-go-outside-and-explore-nature/

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