Market Commentary – April 29, 2019

It wasn’t an ‘Avengers End Game’ spoiler, but there was big news last week.

Economic growth in the United States was strong during the first quarter. The Bureau Of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, increased by 3.2 percent.

The estimate came as a surprise. It was well above the consensus forecast of 2.3 percent, according to Randall Forsyth of Barron’s. In addition, as The Economist pointed out,

“This year America’s economy did not get the freshest of starts. A government shutdown, a wobbly stock market and concerns that the Federal Reserve would tighten monetary policy too quickly made for a dim outlook for 2019. With the effects of fiscal stimulus fading, and momentum in the global economy ebbing, most expected America’s economic growth to decelerate.”

Both Barron’s and The Economist cautioned investors to look under the hood, though. The top contributors to accelerating growth were imports and exports, which could be volatile. In addition, consumer spending, which usually accounts for about of two-thirds of GDP growth, rose far more slowly than it did in the previous quarter.

Investors were appreciative of quarter-to-quarter GDP growth. They also were encouraged by first quarter earnings reports. Earnings reflect the health and profitability of public companies. With 46 percent of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies reporting, FactSet wrote, “In aggregate, companies are reporting earnings that are 5.3 percent above the estimates, which is also above the five-year average.”

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Indices ended the week at record highs, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week lower.

Why do countries stockpile goods? Some countries stockpile goods they have deemed essential for human survival. For instance, Switzerland has been stockpiling coffee, sugar, rice, edible oils, and animal feed since World War II. Earlier this month, the country changed its mind about coffee. The Swiss decided to stop maintaining an emergency supply of java because it is not essential to human survival. Reuters reported that opposition is brewing.

The Canadian province of Quebec has a strategic reserve of maple syrup. The stockpile has little to do with human survival, though. Real maple syrup is a valuable commodity. Ounce for ounce, it is worth more than oil. National Public Radio (NPR) reported, “…the global strategic reserve is actually a way to guarantee that high, high price for maple syrup by removing – totally removing the natural boom-and-bust cycle that would otherwise happen for an agricultural commodity.”

China has been stockpiling grain. Reuters reported the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects 65 percent of the world’s corn and 50 percent of the world’s wheat will be in China this year. In 2020, the government will require all gasoline supplies to be blended with ethanol, which is renewable fuel made from corn.

In the United States, we have been stockpiling cheese. In part, that’s due to an excess of milk production. We use extra milk to make cheese, and Americans eat a lot of cheese – about 37 pounds per capita in 2017, according to NPR. Regardless, our cheese surplus has grown to 1.4 billion pounds or 900,000 cubic centimeters. That’s enough cheese to wrap around the U.S. Capital. The abundance of cheese is driving prices lower.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”
–Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States

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.

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.

Most Popular Financial Stories

Six Steps To Financial Independence For Women

Financial independence: Whether you enjoy it or dream about it, it’s a common term that you’ve probably seen in magazine ads, TV commercials and billboards. But what really does financial independence mean, exactly?Read more>>

read more

Active Portfolio Management – How We Do It!

Research Financial Strategies specializes in providing financial advice using a proprietary investment methodology that leverages technical analysis to identify and protect our clients against stock market risk. Research Financial Strategies provides our...

read more

Don’t Be Deceived By Mutual Funds

Best Mutual Funds? Since the bull market run started 10 years ago, how many mutual funds would you guess outperformed the stock market? If you are thinking 500, 200 or even 20, you are very wrong.  In fact, not one single mutual fund has beaten the market...

read more

* 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.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* 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.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* 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.bea.gov/news/2019/gross-domestic-product-1st-quarter-2019-advance-estimate
https://www.barrons.com/articles/intel-and-3m-are-among-the-losers-in-this-record-setting-market-51556325767?refsec=up-and-down-wall-street
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2019/04/26/americas-strong-growth-this-year-surprises-economists
https://insight.factset.com/earnings-season-update-april-26-2019
https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2019-04-25/asian-shares-mixed-after-us-stocks-retreat-from-record-highs
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-coffee/swiss-government-says-coffee-not-essential-stockpiling-to-end-idUSKCN1RM226
https://www.npr.org/2019/04/17/714413348/how-quebecs-maple-syrup-stockpile-can-impact-an-entire-global-industry
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-china-grains-braun/column-chinas-huge-grain-stockpiles-set-to-linger-through-next-year-idUKKCN1S20UV
https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ethanol.html
https://www.npr.org/2019/01/09/683339929/nobody-is-moving-our-cheese-american-surplus-reaches-record-high
https://blog.machinefinder.com/19688/10-memorable-farming-quotes-famous-figures

Letter from Reagan

It was this month, 35 years ago, that a thirteen-year-old boy named Andy sent the following letter to President Reagan:

Dear Mr. President,
My name is Andy.
I am a seventh-grade student in South Carolina.
Today my mother declared my bedroom a disaster area. I would like to request federal funds to hire a crew to clean up my room. I am prepared to provide the initial funds if you will provide matching funds for this project.

I know you will be fair when you consider my request. I will be awaiting your reply.

Less than a month later, young Andy’s patience was rewarded when Reagan actually wrote back. Here is what he said:

Dear Andy:

I’m sorry to be so late in answering your letter but, as you know, I’ve been in China and found your letter here upon my return.

Your application for disaster relief has been duly noted but I must point out one technical problem: the authority declaring the disaster is supposed to make the request. In this case, your mother.

May I make a suggestion? This Administration has sponsored a Private Sector Initiative Program, calling upon people to practice voluntarism in the solving of a number of local problems. Your situation appears to be a natural. I’m sure your mother was fully justified in proclaiming your room a disaster. Therefore, you are in an excellent position to launch another volunteer program to go along with the more than 3000 already underway in our nation. Congratulations.

Give my best regards to your mother.

Sincerely,
Ronald Reagan

While his letter was amusing, President Reagan made a point we could all do to remember. We all face challenges in life. Some are small, like a messy room. (Although, we all were once thirteen and most likely remember how insurmountable the task of cleaning our room seemed to be.) Some are large.

But in truth, most of the challenges we face are also opportunities. Opportunities to try, to volunteer, to organize, to lead, to change, to grow. And like Andy, we are in an excellent position to tackle these challenges. To launch our own initiatives.

To seize our opportunities.  Whenever we find ourselves in such a position, we remember President Reagan’s letter and say to ourselves, “Congratulations!”

Have a great month!

Source: “My mother declared my bedroom a disaster area,” Letters of Note, June 19, 2012. http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/06/mymother-declared-my-bedroom-disaster.html

Most Popular Financial Stories

Six Steps To Financial Independence For Women

Financial independence: Whether you enjoy it or dream about it, it’s a common term that you’ve probably seen in magazine ads, TV commercials and billboards. But what really does financial independence mean, exactly?Read more>>

read more

Active Portfolio Management – How We Do It!

Research Financial Strategies specializes in providing financial advice using a proprietary investment methodology that leverages technical analysis to identify and protect our clients against stock market risk. Research Financial Strategies provides our...

read more

Don’t Be Deceived By Mutual Funds

Best Mutual Funds? Since the bull market run started 10 years ago, how many mutual funds would you guess outperformed the stock market? If you are thinking 500, 200 or even 20, you are very wrong.  In fact, not one single mutual fund has beaten the market...

read more

Market Commentary – April 22, 2019

And the answer is…
A Jeopardy! contestant captured the nation’s attention last week by setting multiple records for the most money earned in a single episode. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has been setting some records, too.

Michael Mackenzie of Financial Times explained: “Less than four months through the year, the S&P 500 including the reinvestment of dividends has returned to record territory, along with the technology sector…Around the world, many benchmarks enjoy double-digit gains, led by China’s CSI 300 index, having risen more than a third already during 2019.”

Pessimism about economic growth prospects has kept institutional investors – including professional money managers whose performance is typically evaluated quarterly – on the sidelines. As a result, despite a “market-friendly shift by central banks and an expansion in China’s credit growth that laid the ground for a rebound in activity,” they have missed out on some significant gains.

Financial Times suggested when institutional investors begin moving money into stock markets, we could see the market ‘melt up.’ A melt up occurs when valuations surge for reasons that have little to do with improving fundamentals and a lot to do with investors rushing into a market because they fear missing out on gains.

Investors seeking safe havens could temper any gains from institutional investors entering the market. Jack Hough of Barron’s suggested investors ignore safe havens, even though stock valuations remain high. He wrote, “…elevated prices don’t rule out more gains. The S&P 500 was this expensive at the end of 2016. It has returned 36 percent since.”

Some will take those words as encouragement, others as a warning. No matter which camp you are in, it may be a good time to have a carefully diversified portfolio.

What do you think? A special item went up for sale on a popular online market, last week. It’s a 15-foot, 68 million-year-old skeleton of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex, according to The Washington Post. The ‘buy it now’ price is $2,950,000, which puts it beyond the budgets of most people, as well as many museums and universities.

The listing sparked lively debate. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology responded to the sale with a letter stating:  “The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology is concerned because the fossil, which represents a unique part of life’s past, may be lost from the public trust, and because its owner used the specimen’s scientific importance, including its exhibition status at [Kansas University], as part of his advertising strategy. These events undermine the scientific process for studying past life as well as the prospect for future generations to share the natural heritage of our planet.”

It’s a bit of a conundrum since many museums and universities rely on fossil hunters for specimens.  A paper in The Journal of Paleontological Sciences explained:  “The commercial fossil business has led to an abundance of paleontological discoveries and has resulted in that industry becoming a leader in museum fossil preparation, restoration, and mounts. This, in turn, has motivated many museum directors and trustees to turn to the fossil industry to acquire noteworthy and exciting specimens. This is often frugal and necessary especially when many museums do not have the staff or ability to mount collecting expeditions, create and house a preparation facility, or hire a fully trained and educated staff.”

The Washington Post interviewed the fossil hunter, who indicated, “…he has given scientists and the public ample access to the T. rex these past two years. Now, he contends, he deserves to be compensated. [The owner of the T-rex skeleton] has yet to receive an offer but says that he’s heard from prospects all over the world and that some people have even asked about shipping costs.”

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”
–Joseph Joubert, French philosopher and essayist

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.

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.

Most Popular Financial Stories

Six Steps To Financial Independence For Women

Financial independence: Whether you enjoy it or dream about it, it’s a common term that you’ve probably seen in magazine ads, TV commercials and billboards. But what really does financial independence mean, exactly?Read more>>

read more

Active Portfolio Management – How We Do It!

Research Financial Strategies specializes in providing financial advice using a proprietary investment methodology that leverages technical analysis to identify and protect our clients against stock market risk. Research Financial Strategies provides our...

read more

Don’t Be Deceived By Mutual Funds

Best Mutual Funds? Since the bull market run started 10 years ago, how many mutual funds would you guess outperformed the stock market? If you are thinking 500, 200 or even 20, you are very wrong.  In fact, not one single mutual fund has beaten the market...

read more

* 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.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* 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.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* 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  he subject.

 

Sources:
https://www.npr.org/2019/04/19/715266647/james-holzhauer-is-shattering-records-in-the-world-of-jeopardy
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-500-records-seventh-straight-gain-longest-winning-streak-in-18-months-2019-04-05
https://www.ft.com/content/6670a2b8-6113-11e9-b285-3acd5d43599e
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/melt-up.asp
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stocks-near-highs-defensive-havens-risk-missing-out-51555706775?mod=hp_DAY_2
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/04/19/you-can-buy-baby-t-rex-skeleton-ebay-million-scientists-would-rather-you-didnt/?utm_term=.6be279736124
http://vertpaleo.org/GlobalPDFS/SVP_response_juvenile_Tyrannosaurus.aspx
https://www.aaps-journal.org/Fossil-Dealer-Contributions.html
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/joseph_joubert_377081?src=t_debate

How Will Rising Healthcare Costs Affect Your Retirement?

How financial advisors provide value to those saving for retirement

Important information for people with retirement plans
Let's Talk!

We all know it is inevitable. It’s no secret healthcare costs will be going up. For years, medical expenses have been steadily increasing.  In 2007, medical expenses rose almost 12 percent. However, the rate of increase slowed to 6 percent during the past five years and that trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, according to a June 2018 report from PwC. While single-digit increases can be considered an improvement, ever-rising costs are a concern for those who have to foot the bill, today and in the future.1

Medical expenses are often the “elephant in the room” in a retirement plan. It’s the expense people prefer not to consider because, if they do, they’ll need to save significantly more money.

How much should you save for healthcare in retirement?

According to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, the average 65-year-old couple that retired in 2018 should have had about $280,000 set aside for medical expenses in retirement, excluding long-term care. The estimate assumes the couple does not have employer-provided retiree healthcare coverage, and does qualify for Medicare.2

Fidelity anticipates retirees’ healthcare savings may be spent like this:2, 3

  • 20 percent for prescription drugs (generic, branded, and specialty)
  • 35 percent for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare Part D (prescription insurance) premiums
  • 45 percent for additional medical expenses such as deductibles, copayments, and supplemental insurance for doctor and hospital visits

Strategies for managing retirement healthcare costs
Whether you plan to retire in five, 10, or 20 years, there are a few things you can do to better prepare for healthcare in retirement:

1. Do the math. Fidelity’s estimate is an average. Your healthcare situation is unique, so it is a good idea to create a more personalized estimate, one that includes the cost of various premiums and insurance costs, as well as prescription medicines.4     

2. Get the skinny on discounts. No matter how old you are, your doctor and your pharmacist can provide valuable suggestions about how to reduce prescription drug costs. Don’t hesitate to ask about coupons or discounts that could lower your costs. Pharmaceutical companies may have coupons available through their websites. Also, investigate other options such as substituting a generic drug, using a mail-order prescription service, or filling a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day option. Even small savings can add up over time.5, 6     

3. Open a Health Savings Account (HSA). Your employer’s high-deductible health plan (HDHP) comes with a useful option – a health savings account (HSA). You can save for current and future medical expenses in an HSA, and they confer a triple tax advantage

  • HSAs are tax-deductible
  • Any interest or earnings grow tax-free
  • Distributions are tax-free when taken for qualifying medical costs

If you don’t spend the money in your HSA, you can roll it over to the next year. Also, the account is yours, even if you change employers. As a result, HSAs are a great way to save for healthcare costs in retirement.7

  1. Take Social Security at 70. Since 2011, on average, people in the United States retire at age 61, according to a Gallup Poll. That’s a year before they can start collecting Social Security. If retirees choose to begin receiving Social Security benefits at age 62, they will receive 70 percent of the benefit they would have received at ‘full’ retirement age. On the other hand, if they postpone taking benefits until age 70, they’ll receive a higher monthly payment. The amount of the payment will be determined by an individual’s age and year of birth, as well as the number of months benefits were delayed.8, 9, 10
  2. Make healthy choices. While it’s impossible to predict what the future will hold, forming healthy habits today could support a healthier life ahead. You know the drill: eat well, sleep well, exercise, socialize, and so on. Being more health conscious today could mean fewer doctor visits, hospital stays, health specialists, and prescriptions in the future.11
  • Save, save, save. The most obvious way to prepare for future healthcare costs is to save as much as you can today. If you can, maximize contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan, HSA, and Traditional and Roth IRA accounts. For many people, saving more is not a hardship. It’s a choice. The decisions you make today will affect how you live in the future.

Healthcare costs are likely to be a significant part of your retirement budget. If you haven’t already factored these costs into your retirement plan, you may want to consider it. The sooner you prepare, the better off you will be.

Please contact us if you want to discuss your options. We’re happy to help.

Facebook
LinkedIn
Follow by Email
RSS