Weekly Market Commentary – September 24, 2018

Did you hear the news?
A tech company introduced a microwave you can turn on using Wi-Fi – as long as you have one of the company’s voice assistants at home, reported Kaitlyn Tiffany of Vox. Soon, the voice assistants will be built with neural networks that will formulate hunches about whether their owners might like to be reminded to lock the door or turn off a device. Some people love the idea. Others don’t.

Internet-enabled appliances weren’t the only show in town last week. The strong performance of the U.S. economy earned a standing ovation from investors who pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Index and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to new highs. Many global stock markets moved higher, too. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s reported: “One need only look overseas for a sign that investors are feeling better about the state of the world – or at least better enough to do some bargain-hunting. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 4.3 percent this past week, though it is still down 21 percent from its January high…”

The news in a FactSet Insight written by John Butters may dampen some investors’ enthusiasm.

With the third quarter earnings season ahead, Butters reported 98 of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index have issued guidance. The majority (76 percent) issued negative guidance, meaning they anticipate earnings will be lower than analysts’ mean earnings per share estimates. It’s important to remember that, historically, the U.S. economy has moved in cycles. We may be in the latter stages of this expansion. The next stage is contraction and no one can predict exactly when it may occur.

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg 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 Total Return 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.

Millennials don’t exist! Gen Xers and the Silent Generation get a lot less press than Millennials, but all three generations have one thing in common. According to comedian Adam Conover, “Generations in general don’t exist. They’re not real things that exist in nature. We made them up…Here’s what really exists: People who are alive at the same time.”  He may have a point.

The only generation that has been recognized officially by the U.S. government is the Baby Boom generation. At least, that’s what a U.S. Census Bureau spokesperson told Philip Bump of The Atlantic. The Baby Boom generation was recognized because its members were part of a demographic event. Encyclopedia Britannica explained the baby boom as:  “…the U.S. increase in the birth rate between 1946 and 1964; also, the generation born in the U.S. during that period. The hardships and uncertainties of the Great Depression and World War II led many unmarried couples to delay marriage and many married couples to delay having children. The war’s end, followed by a sustained period of economic prosperity (the 1950s and early 1960s), was accompanied by a surge in population. The sheer size of the baby-boom generation (some 75 million) magnified its impact on society…”

So, where did other generations originate?
Sarah Laskow of The Atlantic reported, until the 19th century, generations were thought of as biological relationships within families. For example, grandparents would be one generation, their children the next, and their grandchildren the next, and so on.

The idea of societal generations – people who live at the same time and experience the same things – came from European intellectuals in the 1800s and early 1900s who advised, “people do not react to their particular historical conundrums as a monolithic group.”
Every person is unique and individual.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“The power of youth is the common wealth for the entire world. The faces of young people are the faces of our past, our present, and our future. No segment in the society can match with the power, idealism, enthusiasm, and courage of the young people.”
–Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Prize winner and activist

Best regards,
John F. Reutemann, Jr., CLU, CFP®

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* 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.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
* 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.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

Sources:
https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/9/21/17886682/amazon-new-smart-home-microwave-speakers-internet-of-things
https://www.barrons.com/articles/dow-hits-record-amid-global-stock-rally-1537577592 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-24-18_Barrons-Dow_Hits_Record_Amid_Global_Stock_Rally-Footnote_2.pdf
https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-dow-hits-a-record-high-as-tech-sits-it-out-1537580378 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-24-18_Barrons-The_Dow_Hits_a_Record_High_as_Tech_Sits_It_Out-Footnote_3.pdf
https://insight.factset.com/highest-percentage-of-negative-eps-preannouncements-for-sp-500-since-q1-2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HFwok9SlQQ (4:28 minute-mark)
https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/
https://www.britannica.com/science/baby-boom
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/09/the-generation-of-generations/379989/
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/kailash_satyarthi_751646?src=t_youth

The Longest Bull Market In History

Human beings are obsessed with setting records.
The fastest. The strongest. The first. The longest. It’s exciting whenever a new record gets set. It makes us feel like we’re witnesses to something important, something historic. Something we can tell our grandchildren about. And now, we can add a new record to the list:

The Longest Bull Market in History

You’ve probably have recently seen the news. On Wednesday, August 22, many media outlets reported the U.S. stock market had set a new bull market record of 3,453 days.1 This incredible stretch, which by most estimates began on March 9, 2009, surpassed the previous record set in the 1990s. But here’s the thing about records. Sometimes they matter. Sometimes they don’t. And the stories they tell can be very subjective. So, in this letter, let’s break down what this bull market really means – and what it doesn’t.

Is it really the longest bull market ever?

It depends on who you ask. For every article sounding the trumpets, you can find another pumping the brakes. Fact is, the definition of a “bull market” is rather nebulous – and whether or not this one is truly a record depends on which data you’re using. The Wall Street Journal provided a good example in a recent article. “The widely accepted definition of a bear market is a drop of 20% from the last peak in this cycle, while bull markets are usually measured from the lowest point reached until the peak before the next bear market.”2
But if this is the definition you’re using, our current bull market may only have started in October of 2011. That was the month the S&P 500 fell 21.6% from its previous high. Any growth from that point would be part of a new bull market, not the old one. To which other pundits might respond, “Not so fast! That number is only accurate if you’re using intraday prices instead of closing prices. If you use closing prices, the S&P 500 only fell 19.4%2 , which is less than the 20% needed for it to be a true bear market.”
Confused yet? Don’t worry – most people would be. And anyway, if you really wanted to get technical about the definition of a bull market, you’d have to debate about whether to only use price returns (the price of a stock) or total returns (to which dividends are added). And then there’s the question of which market indices to use. The S&P 500? The Wilshire 500? The Dow? Do we use intraday prices or closing prices?
I could go on, but I won’t – I don’t want this letter to give you a headache. The point is, the deeper you dig into the numbers, the less certain a record like this becomes. Which means the real question we should ask ourselves isn’t, “Is this the longest bull market ever?”

The real question is whether it even matters in the first place

To which the answer is, “No!”
Here’s what we know: The stock market has been going up for a long time now. Sometimes slightly, sometimes sharply, but always up. Let’s say all the experts got together and decided we aren’t in the longest bull market in history. Would that change the fact that stocks have been going up for years? Would it change the performance of your own portfolio?
No, it wouldn’t.
So what matters is not whether this is the longest bull market ever. What matters is how we react to a long bull market like this one.

What goes up must come down

On March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 hit a low of 666.1 (Yes, 666.) Since then, the S&P has soared. That’s over nine years of growth. Nine years of an improving economy. Nine years of soaring corporate profits. Nine years of mostly happy times for investors.
It will end eventually.
Read that last line aloud: IT WILL END EVENTUALLY.
When that will happen, I can’t say. Indeed, many economists foresee the current bull market continuing for some time, albeit at a slower rate. Taxes are low, unemployment is low, and the economy is humming along nicely.
I can’t tell you this bull market will end next month or next year. All I can tell you is that it will end. The reason I emphasize this so much is because now is the time to prepare for that inevitable day. Now is the time to accept that however well your portfolio has done, nothing can escape gravity’s pull. At some point, you will see stock tickers showing a big, fat minus sign next to each of the major indices.
When a bull makes way for a bear, it’s not uncommon for investors to be taken by surprise. Suddenly, it’s raining – and they’ve been caught outside without an umbrella. When that happens, it’s easy to panic. To think the sky is falling. Too many investors did that when the dot com bubble popped in the early 2000s. Too many investors did that during the worst of the Great Recession. And the reason they did is because they hadn’t prepared themselves when times were good. Maybe they thought the good times would last forever.

On the other hand…

Just as it’s easy for investors to get complacent, it’s also easy for investors to get skittish. That’s why an equally bad mistake would be to think, “Oh, this bull market has gone on for too long. It’s probably going to crash any week now – time to get out!”
Nope. The markets don’t work that way. Here’s what will happen. The longer the bull lives, the more you’ll see the media speculate about what will kill it. One week it might be the threat of rising interest rates. The next, it might be corporate profits, or whatever’s happening in far-off lands across the sea. And sure, any of those things could well impact the markets. But even if the markets were to drop, that doesn’t mean a crash is imminent.
No one should abandon ship the moment they get a little wet.

The point is to not overreact

Some records matter. Some don’t. And the stories they tell can be very subjective. That’s why we don’t overreact to them. Here’s what we do instead:
1. We prepare ourselves, mentally and emotionally, for when the other shoe drops. That way, when it does drop, it will be much easier to handle.
2. We don’t allow ourselves to flinch at every market wobble.
3. We remember that we have an investment strategy, and it’s not based off headlines, storylines, records, or milestones. In the meantime, if you’re worried about what will happen when this bull market ends, that’s okay. Just focus on what you can control. Focus on paying off your house, setting up an emergency fund, or helping your children or grandchildren pay for college. Take care of the things that matter now.
Or maybe your goals have changed, and you want to take advantage of this bull market while it lasts. That’s a discussion we can have, too. Just remember that our first responsibility should always be to prioritize the long term over the short.

Human beings tend to be obsessed with setting records. But here at Research Financial Strategies, our job is to help you set goals – and then work toward achieving them. Whether we’re in the longest bull market or not, that’s what we intend to do. As always, if you have any questions about the markets, or about your portfolio, please let us know! We love to hear from you. Have a wonderful rest of the summer!

1 Michael Wursthorn & Akane Otani, “U.S. Stocks Poised to Enter Longest-Ever Bull Market,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2018. https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-stocks-poised-to-enter-longest-ever-bull-market-1534843800?mod=article_inline
2 James Mackintosh, “Calling Bull on the Longest Bull Market,” Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2018. https://www.wsj.com/articles/calling-bull-on-the-longest-bull-market-1534940689

Weekly Market Commentary – September 17, 2018

All investors are consumers, but not all consumers are investors.
The September installment of University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey reported Americans are feeling pretty optimistic. Consumer sentiment rose to the second highest level since 2004, and consumer expectations reached the highest level since 2004. Surveys of Consumers chief economist, Richard Curtin, wrote: “Consumers anticipated continued growth in the economy that would produce more jobs and an even lower unemployment rate during the year ahead…The largest problem cited on the economic horizon involved the anticipated negative impact from tariffs. Concerns about the negative impact of tariffs on the domestic economy were spontaneously mentioned by nearly one-third of all consumers in the past three months, up from one-in-five in the prior four months.”

Investors weren’t as optimistic, according to the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). Last week, the AAII Investor Sentiment Survey reported bullish sentiment dropped more than 10 percentage points. The results were:

  • Bullish             32.1 percent of respondents (historic average: 38.5 percent)
  • Neutral                        35.1 percent of respondents (historic average: 31.0 percent)
  • Bearish            32.8 percent of respondents (historic average: 30.5 percent)

Despite the apparent shift in investor attitudes, stock markets moved higher last week. Vito J. Racanelli of Barron’s wrote:  “The stock market radiated confidence this past week, finishing about 1 percent higher despite choppy action. There was a plethora of good economic news – from lower-than-expected inflation to sky-high business and consumer confidence numbers – that drove shares up. Not even a ratcheting up of tough tariff talk Friday on the part of the U.S. could dampen investor enthusiasm for long.”

Some believe the AAII Sentiment Survey is a contrarian indicator. Last week, that may have been the case.

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg 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 Total Return 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.

Wordies unite! The Merriam Webster Dictionary added some new words during 2018. A favorite among fans of dictionaries is ‘wordie,’ which means ‘word lover’ and should not be confused with ‘wordy,’ which describes something with too many words. Dictionary newcomer ‘TL;DR’ (the new word that means ‘too long; didn’t read’) could be used to describe a reader’s response to something that’s wordy.

A few of the new additions are descriptions of dog breeds, including:

  • Chiweenie: a cross between a Chihuahua and a dachshund
  • Schnoodle: a cross between a schnauzer and a poodle
  • Yorkie-poo: a cross between a Yorkshire terrier and a poodle

A number of ‘wanderworts’ – words that have wandered from one language into another – also made the list. These include:

  • Harissa: spicy North African chili paste
  • Kabocha: a type of Japanese pumpkin
  • Kombucha: a fermented, bubbly tea drink

Many of the new entries are abbreviated versions of longer words that have been part of our vocabulary for a long time. This may be the inevitable outcome in a society that adapts to the communication shorthand demanded by text, photo, and social media apps. See if you can guess the longer version of these new words:

  • Adorbs
  • Avo
  • Bougie
  • Fave
  • Guac
  • Marg
  • Ribbie
  • Zuke

If you get stumped, give us a call.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.”
–Rita Mae Brown, American author

Best regards,
John F. Reutemann, Jr., CLU, CFP®

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* 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.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

Sources:
http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu
https://www.aaii.com/sentimentsurvey
https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-dow-gains-238-points-tariffs-be-damned-1536973652?mod=hp_highlight_6 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-17-18_Barrons-The_Dow_Gains_238_Points-Tariffs_be_Damned-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://www.aaii.com/journal/article3/is-the-aaii-sentiment-survey-a-contrarian-indicator
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/new-words-in-the-dictionary-march-2018
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wordy
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/TL%3BDR
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chiweenie
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schnoodle
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Yorkie-poo
https://www.redlinels.com/text-message-language/
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/new-words-in-the-dictionary-september-2018
https://www.ef.edu/blog/language/17-language-quotes-to-turbocharge-your-learning/

Weekly Market Commentary – September 10, 2018

Remember: Volatility is normal.
Major U.S. stock market indices climbed into record territory during August. They gave back some gains last week. Peter Wells of Financial Times explained:  “Speculation about a fresh round of tariffs on Chinese imports from the Trump administration weighed on U.S. stocks, handing the S&P 500 its first four-day losing streak in a month. A strong jobs report only hardened expectations that the Federal Reserve views the U.S. economy as healthy enough to withstand a probable interest rate rise later this month.”

Strong economic growth and rising wages have the potential to push inflation – increases in prices of everyday goods – higher than the Fed’s 2 percent target. The Fed battles inflation and promotes financial stability by raising the Fed funds rate. Usually, higher rates make borrowing more expensive and slow economic growth, reported Katherine Reynolds Lewis at Bankrate.com.

Rising rates in the United States have an effect on emerging markets, too. Colin Dwyer of National Public Radio reported higher interest rates in the United States have enticed investors and they have moved money out of riskier emerging markets investments.

Last week The Wall Street Journal reported, “Emerging markets tipped into bear territory…The MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s 0.3 percent decline Thursday, led by selloffs in Russia and the Philippines, pushed that gauge of stocks in poorer countries 20 percent below its recent peak, the common definition of a bear market.”

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg 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 Total Return 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.

Why are Nordic countries at the top of the world happiness report?
It’s a question Freakonomics Radio explored in August. They asked Jeff Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, who is also a special adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Goals.
The World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries by the happiness of their citizens. The countries that top the list tend to have high scores in all six of the variables considered to measure well-being. These include income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity.

Currently, the happiest countries in the world are:

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Denmark
  4. Iceland
  5. Switzerland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Canada
  8. New Zealand
  9. Sweden
  10. Australia

The United States is ranked number 18. That has something to do with our priorities, according to the interview with Sachs. “We have the paradox that income per person rises in the United States, but happiness does not…the United States is falling behind other countries, because we are not pursuing dimensions of happiness that are extremely important: our physical health, the mental health in our community, the social support, the honesty in government.”

Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly, also participated in the interview. She offered this example to illustrate a key difference between the United States and Denmark:  “…there was a story, in New York a few years ago, of a Danish woman who was there, who left her child sleeping outside in a pram, which is what you do in Denmark, and was arrested for child neglect. And lots of people in Denmark didn’t understand why it was such a fuss, because in Denmark people trust most people. And this plays into everything. You are not anxious if you trust the people around you, you’re not scared they’re going to rob you to put food on their table.”

What makes you happy?

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“If I were to ask all of you to try and come up with a brand of coffee – a type of coffee, a brew – that made all of you happy, and then I asked you to rate that coffee, the average score in this room for coffee would be about 60 on a scale of 0 to 100. If, however, you allowed me to break you into coffee clusters, maybe three or four coffee clusters, and I could make coffee just for each of those individual clusters, your scores would go from 60 to 75 or 78. The difference between coffee at 60 and coffee at 78 is a difference between coffee that makes you wince and coffee that makes you deliriously happy. That is the final, and I think most beautiful lesson…that in embracing the diversity of human beings, we will find a surer way to true happiness.”
–Malcolm Gladwell, Journalist and author

Best regards,
John F. Reutemann, Jr., CLU, CFP®

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* 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.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

Sources:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-divergence-between-us-stock-performanceup-19-trillion-in-2018and-foreign-markets-may-make-investors-uneasy-2018-08-25

https://www.ft.com/content/7628f254-b2d7-11e8-8d14-6f049d06439c (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-10-18_FinancialTimes-Wall_St_Sinks_on_Tariff_Talk-Tech_Stocks_the_Weeks_Big_Losers-Footnote_2.pdf)

https://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/money_12848.htm

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/fed-affects-banks-rates-prices-and-jobs-1.aspx

https://www.npr.org/2018/09/05/644973465/turbulence-roils-emerging-markets-in-the-shadow-of-a-strengthened-u-s-dollar

https://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-weed-out-weakest-links-in-emerging-market-tumult-1536233901 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-10-18_WSJ-Emerging-Market_Stocks_Enter_Bear_Territory-Footnote_6.pdf)

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/happiness/

http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2018/

https://s3.amazonaws.com/happiness-report/2018/WHR_web.pdf (Pages 20-21)

https://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_on_spaghetti_sauce/transcript?referrer=playlist-what_makes_you_happy

Weekly Market Commentary – September 4, 2018

Where is our country’s biggest export market?
Markets were fired up last week after the United States and Mexico agreed on new trade rules. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index reached an all-time high and finished the month of August up about 3 percent, reported Michael Sheetz, Thomas Franck, and Alexandra Gibbs of CNBC.
During the latter half of last week, though, the S&P 500 gave back some gains. A hitch in the giddy-up of trade talks between the United States and Canada caused the index to stumble. Damian Paletta, Jeff Stein, and Heather Long of The Washington Post explained: “High-stakes trade negotiations between the White House and Canadian leaders unraveled Friday, a major setback in President Trump’s effort to redraw the North American Free Trade Agreement…the United States and Canada have interwoven economies, with integrated supply chains and vast amounts of trade. The value of goods and services sold between the two countries last year reached $673.1 billion, making Canada the United States’ largest export market for goods.”

The United States exported about $341 billion of goods and services to Canada in 2017, according to The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative website. Our top exports to Canada during 2017 included:

  • Services ($58 billion)
  • Vehicles ($52 billion)
  • Machinery ($43 billion)
  • Electrical machinery ($25 billion)
  • Agricultural products ($24 billion)
  • Mineral fuels ($20 billion)
  • Plastics ($13 billion)

Trade talks are expected to resume next week.

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg 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 Total Return 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.

Prepare for a shake up! From Reuters to Marketplace, economic and financial news shows like to ‘do the numbers.’ They often review economic indicators, Federal Reserve rate changes, or benchmark index performance.

In general, these statistics are intended to help people gauge how economies and markets are performing. For instance, when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the value of all goods and services produced by a nation during a certain period of time – moves higher, it means the economy grew during the period. When GDP moves lower, the economy contracted during the period.

Asset managers and investors rely on benchmark indices, like the S&P 500 Index, to measure the relative performance of investment portfolios. The S&P 500 is a benchmark for large U.S. company stocks. It includes companies from diverse sectors including:

  • Information technology
  • Healthcare
  • Financials
  • Consumer discretionary
  • Industrials
  • Consumer staples
  • Energy
  • Utilities
  • Real estate
  • Materials
  • Telecommunications services

 

But, wait, change is coming!  Soon, benchmark indices will have a new sector. At the end of September 2018, Telecommunications Services will become Communication Services. The name is changing and so are the companies that will be included in the sector. Ben Levisohn at Barron’s reported:

“The biggest changes will be around some prominent companies that will migrate out of the information-technology and consumer-discretionary sectors and into a new communication-services sector…[The changes] certainly don’t herald any fundamental changes for the companies involved. But they do have the potential to create short-term noise…”

If you’d like to learn about the ways sector changes may affect benchmark indices, give us a call.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
–George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright

Best regards,
John F. Reutemann, Jr., CLU, CFP®

P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.

* 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.

* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in

the subject.

 

Sources:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/31/us-markets-global-trade-tensions-ramp-up.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/nafta-talks-appear-to-sour-after-report-that-trump-disparaged-canada/2018/08/31/56ba2868-ad30-11e8-8a0c-70b618c98d3c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.15357d0708e8

https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/canada

https://www.reuters.com/finance/markets

https://www.marketplace.org/shows/marketplace/07092018

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/contraction.asp

https://us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500

https://www.barrons.com/articles/tech-stocks-could-be-winners-in-big-sector-shift-1535759312 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-04-18_Barrons-Tech_Stocks_Could_be_Winners_in_Big_Section_Shift-Footnote_8.pdf)

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/george_bernard_shaw_386923?src=t_change