Special Update

Special Update

All,

You undoubtedly have heard reports that the world’s supply of wheat and corn are in jeopardy due to Ukraine and Russia both missing this season’s planting window for obvious reasons (click the link above to read more details). 
Did you know that Russia and Ukraine together supply

  • 30% of world’s supply of wheat
  • 17% of corn
  • 32% of barley
  • 75% of sunflower seed oil

You may not have heard; fertilizer, which is needed worldwide including the USA, is also in very short supply due to the war. 
The falling domino fallout of the Russia/Ukraine war is eye opening to say the least.
Falling domino #1, just in the past four weeks, prices have skyrocketed sending

  • wheat up 21%
  • barley up 33%
  • fertilizer up 40%

Falling domino #2, Brazil and Texas are cutting back on their use of fertilizers.  As you can imagine, that action will impact this season’s crop size at harvest time.

Falling domino #3, with smaller crop yields, there will be less feed for livestock and poultry resulting in lower animal weight and thus less chicken, eggs, turkey, pork, and beef in stores.  You’ve already seen rising prices this year on gasoline, would it surprise you to see the same with your groceries?

Falling domino #4, speaking of gasoline and energy.  Since January 1st of this year

  • Oil is up 39%
  • Natural Gas is up 56%

 Falling domino #5, cars, computers, TVs, phones, etc. require precious metals.  Since January 1st of this year

  • Nickel is up 65%
  • Aluminum is up 56%
  • Steel is up 27%

As the dominos rain down, prices and inflation will continue to rise.  Is it the worst idea to tighten your budget, set aside more money, and ready yourselves for a rough time ahead?

You may be worried about your investments and how they will fair amongst all of this chaos.  We too are taking precautions.  You’ll think we’re a bit mercenary or even morbid; however, we have positioned your accounts to benefit from this very sad and desperate situation. 

You’ll find your accounts invested in commodities, metals, and energy.  As inflation rises and the war rages, these positions could be buoyed by rising prices and falling dominos.  We may be wrong about the war’s impact and we hope we are; however, until we see otherwise, we’ll continue to position your assets in what we think offers the most opportunity for success while safeguarding against catastrophic losses.

If you wish to discuss this or any specific symbol in your portfolio, please do not hesitate to call.

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

March 7, 2022

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

The world is adapting to a changing reality.

As the war in Ukraine intensified last week, financial markets grappled with uncertainty.

“After watching financial markets gyrate from hour to hour as Russia attacked Ukraine, I was getting dizzy myself,” reported Jeff Sommer of The New York Times. “People in Ukraine were dying. The Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, put his nuclear forces on alert, and Western sanctions were beginning to bite. One moment stocks were up, the next they were falling. Then they were up again.”

Sanctions have economists revising expectations for global growth and inflation, reported Randall Forsyth of Barron’s. The chief economist at a leading financial institution anticipates that rising commodity prices (oil, gas, grains and palladium) are likely to push inflation higher than it might have been otherwise in 2022, and slow global economic growth. The Russian economy is expected to sink deep into recession, contracting by 35 percent in the second quarter of 2022, reported Karin Strohecker of Reuters.

War in Europe wasn’t the only concern for investors last week, though.

China’s deflating property bubble also created uneasiness. The property sector accounts for about 25 percent of China’s economy. Since last July, when Beijing limited Chinese property developers’ access to credit, a dozen developers have defaulted on bonds, reported The Economist. A bond default occurs when the bond issuer fails to make an interest or principal payment.

“The implications go far beyond the offshore bond market. Construction has stalled in places. Some developers are now selling assets to patch up their cash flows. Many have stopped buying land, causing the value of parcels sold by local governments to crater by 72% in January year on year. Home prices are falling in many cities…”

In the United States, economic data confirmed the resilience of the American economy as it recovers from the pandemic. February’s employment report, which was released last Friday, showed jobs growth accelerated as the number of new COVID-19 cases slowed. Unemployment fell to 3.8 percent with 678,000 new jobs created. It was notable that about two-thirds of the jobs created were in service sectors (leisure and hospitality, retail, and professional and business services).

Major U.S. stock indices finished the week lower, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. Bond yields bounced around a bit last week as investors tried to make sense of war, sanctions and pending Federal Reserve rate hikes. The Treasury yield curve ended the week flatter, reported Karen Brettell of Reuters.

What gives life meaning? Last spring, Pew Research asked people in several countries: What aspects of your life do you currently find meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying?

The No. 1 answer (out of the 17 options) in most countries was “family and children.” The exceptions were Spain (health), South Korea (material well-being), and Taiwan (society).

  • In the United States friends ranked second in the hierarchy of things that give life meaning, followed by material well-being.
  • In the United Kingdom, friends ranked second, followed by hobbies.
  • In Australia, New Zealand and Sweden occupation ranked second, followed by friends.
  • In Greece, France and Germany occupation ranked second, followed by health.
  • In Italy, Netherlands and Japan, material well-being ranked second, followed by health.
  • In Canada, occupation ranked second, followed by material well-being.
  • In Belgium and Spain, material well-being ranked second, followed by occupation.
  • In Singapore, occupation ranked second, followed by society.
  • In Taiwan, material well-being ranked second, followed by family and children.
  • In South Korea, health ranked second, followed by family and children.

It’s interesting to note that freedom appears to be widely taken for granted. It was most highly valued in Netherlands where it was mentioned by 20 percent of survey participants. Belgium and New Zealand also ranked it more highly than other nations (15 percent each). Freedom was mentioned least often in the U.K. (5 percent), Singapore (5 percent), and Japan (6 percent).

In the United States, just 9 percent of Americans – fewer than one in 10 – said freedom gives their lives meaning.

 Weekly Focus – Think About It`
“Even with all of the things that are so awful, if you walk into your yard and stay there looking at almost anything for five minutes, you will be stunned by how marvelous life is and how incredibly lucky we are to have it.”
—Alice Walker, novelist and poet

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Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
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Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

 

Sources:
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/03/business/ukraine-putin-markets.html (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2022/03-07-22_New%20York%20Times_Talking%20War%20and%20Market%20Volatility%20With%20a%20Giant%20of%20Economics_1.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/putin-russia-ukraine-global-economy-51646443355?refsec=up-and-down-wall-street (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2022/03-07-22_Barrons_Putins%20War%20Puts%20Russias%20Economy%20in%20Its%20Crosshairs_2.pdf)
https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/jpmorgan-shock-russian-gdp-will-be-akin-1998-crisis-2022-03-03/
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/china-scrambles-to-prevent-property-pandemonium/21807940 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2022/03-07-22_The%20Economist_China%20Scrambles%20to%20Prevent%20Property%20Pandemonium_4.pdf)
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/default2.asp
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.b.htm
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stock-market-dow-nasdaq-sp-500-russia-ukraine-51646438347?refsec=the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2022/03-07-22_Barrons_The%20Worst%20is%20Yet%20to%20Come%20for%20the%20Stock%20Market_8.pdf)
https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-bonds-idUSL2N2V62K5
https://www.pewresearch.org/global/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/11/PG_11.18.21_meaning-of-life_Topline.pdf
https://www.pewresearch.org/global/interactives/meaning-in-life/data/family_children
https://www.pewresearch.org/global/interactives/meaning-in-life/data/freedom
https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/alice-walker-quotes

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