Weekly Market Commentary 6/21/2021

Weekly Market Commentary 6/21/2021

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Weekly Financial Market Commentary

June 21, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Is that a hawk?​

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) met last week. They get together eight times a year to review current economic and financial conditions, assess risks to price stability and economic growth, and adjust monetary policy accordingly.

When the Federal Reserve raises the fed funds rate to keep inflation and economic growth in check, it is ‘hawkish’. When the Fed lowers the fed funds rate to encourage inflation and economic growth, it is ‘dovish’.

Last week, the FOMC appeared to veer toward a more hawkish policy.

The FOMC did not change current policy. However, the dot plot – a chart that reflects meeting participants’ expectations for the fed funds rate in the years ahead – showed a majority leaning toward two rate hikes in 2023. That was new. The March 2021 dot plot, which showed no rate hikes before 2024, reported Ben Levisohn, Nicholas Jasinski, and Barbara Kollmeyer of Barron’s.

Financial market suspicions that a hawkish turn might be underway were confirmed on Friday when St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, who will become a voting FOMC member next year, told Rebecca Quick of CNBC’s Squawk Box:

“We were expecting a good year, a good reopening. But this is a bigger year than we were expecting, more inflation than we were expecting, and I think it’s natural that we’ve tilted a little bit more hawkish here to contain inflationary pressures.”

Financial markets weren’t thrilled by the news.

“The increasingly hawkish tilt caused stocks that benefit from a stronger economy and hotter inflation – the financials, energy, and materials sectors among them – to get hit hard, and has sparked a resurgence in the tech trade. Growthier tech stocks again beat cyclical and value stocks on Friday…All 11 sectors of the S&P 500 finished in the red on Friday,” reported Barron’s.

Major United States stock indices finished the week lower, and the Treasury yield curve flattened somewhat, suggesting slower economic growth may be ahead.

What’s the difference? Over the next few months, we’ll probably begin to hear more about the deficit, the debt, and the debt limit. Here’s a primer to help you keep them straight.

The U.S. deficit: When the United States has a deficit, it means the government spent more than it took in. When the government spends less than it takes in, it is called a surplus. Deficits might be helpful. For instance, when a pandemic occurs, deficit spending may help stabilize a wobbly economy.

The U.S. government engaged in deficit spending in 2020 and early 2021 to support Americans, businesses, and the economy. It spent $6.6 trillion and took in $3.4 trillion in revenue ($1.3 trillion was payroll taxes that fund Medicare and Social Security). As a result, the budget deficit was $3.1 trillion in 2020.

The national debt: Whenever the U.S. spends more than it takes in, the national debt increases. The debt is the amount the U.S. government owes. Every annual deficit adds to the debt and every annual surplus reduces it. There are a variety of ways to measure the national debt. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, the national debt was:

·         More than $28 trillion

·         127.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)

So, how much debt is too much? Research suggests the answer depends on a country’s economic growth rate, the level of interest rates, and the strength of its institutions and central bank, reported Heather Hennerich of the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Open Vault Blog.

The debt limit: When a government runs a deficit, it borrows money to keep operating. The amount that it can borrow is determined by the debt limit, a.k.a., the debt ceiling. The debt limit is the amount of money the government is authorized to borrow to meet its obligations, such as Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, national debt payments, income tax refunds, and other commitments.

Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit,” reported the U.S. Treasury.

The debt ceiling was suspended in 2019, and the suspension expires on July 31, 2021.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“If you choose to not deal with an issue, then you give up your right of control over the issue and it will select the path of least resistance.”
–Susan Del Gatto, Author

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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.
* 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. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* 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.
* 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.

Weekly Market Commentary 6/21/2021

Weekly Market Commentary 6/14/2021

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Weekly Financial Market Commentary

June 14, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

It’s transitory. It’s not transitory. It’s transitory. It’s not transitory.

Media analysts were plucking the inflation daisy petals last week. On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index Summary, which showed prices were up 5 percent year-to-year.

“Investors are debating whether the surge in prices at both a producer and consumer level will prove transitory, as the U.S. Federal Reserve believes, or become entrenched. Much of the angst over medium term inflation pressure becoming hotter is fueled by the backdrop of aggressive fiscal and monetary policy. This potentially combustible mix has a policy additive from a Fed prepared to tolerate a higher pace of inflation beyond its target of 2 percent for an unspecified period,” reported Michael Mackenzie of Financial Times.

Last week, investors took inflation data in stride. Barron’s reported the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at a new all-time high on Friday. The Nasdaq Composite also finished higher, while the Dow Jones Industrial Index was slightly lower. The yield on longer U.S. Treasuries moved lower, too, which was notable. In theory, rising inflation and rising interest rates should go hand in hand.

Rising inflation remained a top concern for consumers in June, according to Richard Curtin, the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers chief economist:

“Fortunately, in the emergence from the pandemic, consumers are temporarily less sensitive to prices due to pent-up demand and record savings, as well as improved job and income prospects. The acceptance of price increases as due to the pandemic makes inflationary psychology more likely to gain a foothold if the exit is lengthy.”

Inflation psychology occurs when consumers believe prices will continue to rise over time and begin to spend money as soon as they receive it, according to Investopedia. There is a remedy, according to Curtin. “A shift in the Fed’s policy language could douse any incipient inflationary psychology, it would be no surprise to consumers, as two-thirds already expect higher interest rates in the year ahead.”

Necessity is the mother of invention…Businesses have been finding innovative solutions to labor issues forever. For example, dogs were once bred to cook, according to Popular Science’s podcast, The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week.

When people relied on fire to roast meat, the spit was an invaluable tool. However, turning a spit for hours wasn’t a popular job, so dogs were bred and trained to turn spits. “The first mention of the turnspit dog…was in 1576…The long story short here is that people bred terrier-like dogs to…fit easily into these treadmills that powered various kitchen aids, but primarily the roasting spit.”

By some accounts, the poor working conditions of turnspit dogs in New York hotels contributed to the founding of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Today, pandemic labor shortages have sparked innovation. Companies that are having difficulty finding workers are adopting technological solutions. For example:

·         Modern-day food automats. A vast improvement over food vending machines, some restaurants are using technology to replace servers. Patrons order on a screen and the food is delivered in numbered cubby holes. The kitchen staff is in the back preparing the orders.

·         Grab-and-go groceries. People scan an app before they enter a grocery store that has no cashiers. As they shop, cameras and sensors track what they remove from shelves or bins. “…the technology had to be tweaked to account for how people squeeze tomatoes to test for ripeness or rummage through avocados to find just the right one,” reported Joseph Pisani of the Associated Press. (Tip: When shopping in grab-and-go groceries, don’t take items off high shelves for other shoppers – you may be charged if the person you helped leaves the store with the goods.)

 ·         Bricks-and-mortar online shopping. A women’s clothing boutique outfitted its new stores with screens so shoppers may select the clothes they want to try on. Then, the shopper is escorted to a dressing room where the clothes are hanging in a wardrobe. “Another touch screen in the dressing room lets you request even more items and sizes, but instead of awkwardly trying to hail a salesperson in your underwear, you just close the wardrobe, and someone in body-con Narnia adds it through the back,” reported Emilia Petrarca of The Cut.

What’s your favorite pandemic innovation?

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.”
―Arthur C. Clarke, Writer

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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.
* 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. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* 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.
* 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.

Weekly Market Commentary 6/21/2021

Weekly Market Commentary 6/7/2021

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Weekly Financial Market Commentary

June 7, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Pulling the economy out of the shed.

If you’ve ever stored tools or machinery in a shed or garage for an extended period of time, you know they often need some care and repair to function properly. The same appears to be true of the pandemic economy.

Economic growth in the United States is on the rebound. The latest report shows real gross domestic product, which is the value of all goods and services produced in our country, was up 6.4 percent annualized during the first quarter of 2021, an improvement from 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Also, pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Americans have begun to spend more and save less, and there is high demand for goods and services.

The economy appears to be primed for stronger growth, but there are some glitches in the system – namely labor and supply chains.

For the second month in a row, the May U.S. employment report showed fewer jobs gains than anticipated, although the unemployment rate dropped from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent during the month. Then, last week, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported its Manufacturing Business Survey found new orders were up and production was down.

PR Newswire reported, “Record-long lead times, wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices, and difficulties in transporting products are continuing to affect all segments of the manufacturing economy. Worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to part shortages, and difficulties in filling open positions continue to be issues that limit manufacturing-growth potential.”

Concern about these issues may explain, in part, why U.S. stocks have been “trading sideways” for the last few weeks. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s reported, “The S&P 500 has gone almost nowhere since the middle of April. Yes, there have been weekly moves of more than 1 percent, up or down – two of the former, one of the latter – but the index itself has gained just 0.9 percent since then. Even recent daily moves have been relatively muted.”

Yields on 10-year Treasuries retreated last week, which may reflect investors’ concerns about the economy, too. Rates tend to move higher as the economy strengthens. Major U.S. stock indices moved higher.

Come here Rona! Heel, Covi! Prior to the pandemic, The Economist reported Euromonitor anticipated, “…the number of pet cats worldwide to grow by 22 percent between 2018 and 2024, compared with 18 percent for dogs. Cats are better suited to apartment living than dogs, so they are more at home in the densely populated, fast-growing cities of Asia.”

Then, the pandemic spurred a global pet and pet industry boom. In 2020, Americans spent $103.6 billion on their pets, reported the American Pet Products Association:

·         Food and treats:                              $42.0 billion

·         Veterinarian care and products:   $31.4 billion

·         Supplies and medicines:                $22.1 billion

·         Other services:                                $8.1 billion 

 

Spending is expected to rise to $109.6 billion in 2021.

Some tenacious pet owners have become “petfluencers” to offset the costs of pet ownership. They post pictures of their pets on social media. If the pet gains a following, brands will pay for the pet to pose with products. One popular Pomeranian, with more than 10 million followers, earned about $23,900 in 2020, reported Inverse.com.

The pandemic pet boom also triggered a new naming convention: pandemic-inspired (some wags might say uninspired) names. The most popular 2020 pet names were mainstream choices, such as Bella, Luna, Lucy, Max, Charlie, and Cooper. However, Covi (up 1,159 percent, possibly from zero), Rona (up 69 percent), and Corona (up 24 percent) were trending, too, per Rover.com.

Here’s the really important news: Dogs remain more popular than cats in the United States. About 63 percent of American households own dogs, while just about 43 percent have cats.

Weekly Focus – Think About It 
“‘Meow’ means ‘woof’ in cat.”
–George Carlin, Comedian

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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.
* 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. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* 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.
* 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.

 

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

 

Sources:
https://www.bea.gov/news/2021/gross-domestic-product-1st-quarter-2021-second-estimate-corporate-profits-1st-quarter
https://www.bea.gov/data/income-saving/personal-saving-rate
https://www.bea.gov/news/2021/personal-income-and-outlays-april-2021
https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/manufacturing-pmi-at-61-2-may-2021-manufacturing-ism-report-on-business-301301816.html
https://www.barrons.com/articles/what-did-the-stock-market-do-last-week-heres-what-to-know-51622854545?refsec=the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-07-21_Barrons-The_Stock_Markets_Long_Run_of_Nothing_Continued_Last_Week-What_to_Know-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.ft.com/content/00fe4743-60dd-4c84-867f-5c13d6df43d5 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-07-21_FinancialTimes-Investors_Should_Look_to_Europe_When_Making_Their_Next_Move-Footnote_7.pdf)
https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield
https://www.economist.com/international/2019/06/22/pet-ownership-is-booming-across-the-world (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-07-21_TheEconomist-Pet_Ownership_is_Booming_Across_the_World-Footnote_9.pdf)
https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp
https://www.inverse.com/science/how-petfluencers-can-be-a-force-for-good
https://www.rover.com/blog/dog-names/
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/animals

Weekly Market Commentary 6/21/2021

Weekly Market Commentary 6/1/2021

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Weekly Financial Market Commentary

December 9, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Are we at a tipping point?

One side effect of the pandemic was a collapse in demand for oil, which led to “the largest revision to the value of the oil industry’s assets in at least a decade,” reported Collin Eaton and Sarah McFarlane of The Wall Street Journal.

Last week brought another reckoning for big oil as a court ruling and shareholder influence made it clear companies need to revisit their strategies for emissions reductions and clean energy. Here’s what happened:

1.    Do it faster. In the Netherlands, a court ruled an Anglo-Dutch oil producer would need to lower its emissions by 45 percent from 2019 levels by 2030, far more quickly than the company had intended.

 “Analysts said the…ruling could set a precedent for similar cases against the world’s biggest corporate polluters, which may now face related lawsuits and be forced to overhaul their business models,” reported Derek Brower and Anjli Raval of Financial Times.

2.    Change direction. For weeks, a U.S. oil supermajor had done battle with an investment group that holds 0.02 percent of its shares. The investment group wanted the company “to gradually diversify its investments to be ready for a world that will need fewer fossil fuels in coming decades” rather than focus on carbon capture and storage solutions, reported Sarah McFarlane and Christopher Matthews of The Wall Street Journal.

 To that end, the investment group nominated four outside board-of-director candidates stating, “A Board that has underperformed this dramatically and defied shareholder sentiment for this long has not earned the right to choose its own new members or pack itself in the face of calls for change…shareholders deserve a Board that works proactively to create long-term value, not defensively in the face of deteriorating returns and the threat of losing their seats.”

Other shareholders agreed and, in a highly unusual outcome, two of the four candidates were elected to the board, reported Ben Geman of Axios.

3.    Less is more. Two other multinational energy companies experienced shareholder uprisings recently, reported Sergio Chapa and Caroline Hyde of Bloomberg. Shareholder proposals to aggressively reduce emissions and limit pollution by a company’s customers were approved despite the companies’ boards urging shareholders to vote against the changes.

How much is a CEO worth? The COVID-19 pandemic created enormous losses for many companies so it might seem logical some CEO pay packages would decline along with companies’ profits. In fact, a number of CEOs announced high-profile salary cuts last year, reported Axios.

The stinger is salary is often a small part of CEO compensation. While executive compensation packages vary from company to company, they often include:

·         Base salary

·         Short-term incentives such as bonuses

·         Long-term incentives such stock options

·         Benefits such as health and life insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacations

·         Perquisites (perks), such as financial counseling, tax preparation, security, cars and drivers, corporate aircraft, and country club fees

When all aspects of CEO pay are considered, the majority of CEOs received higher pay in 2020.

“Fortunately for those CEOs, many had boards of directors willing to see the pandemic as an extraordinary event beyond [CEOs’] control. Across the country, boards made changes to the intricate formulas that determine their CEOs’ pay – and other moves – which helped make up for losses created by the crisis,” reported Stan Choe of the AP.

As a result, median pay for CEOs at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was $12.7 million, according to data analyzed by Equilar for the AP. That’s a 5 percent pay increase over 2019 levels. In contrast, wages and benefits for non-government workers who were employed went up by 2.6 percent in 2020.

“Companies have to show how much more their CEO makes than their typical worker, and the median in this year’s survey was 172 times. That’s up from 167 times for those same CEOs last year, and it means employees must work lifetimes to make what their CEO does in just a year,” reported AP.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.”
–Adam Smith, Economist and philosopher

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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.
* 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. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* 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.
* 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.

 

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

Sources:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/2020-was-one-of-the-worst-ever-years-for-oil-write-downs-11609077600 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-01-21_WSJ-2020_was_One_of_the_Worst_Ever_Years_for_Oil_Write-Downs-Footnote_1.pdf)
https://www.ft.com/content/fa9946b9-371b-46ff-b127-05849a1de2da (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-01-21_FinancialTimes-Climate_Activists_Hail_Breakthrough_Victories_Over_Exxon_and_Shell-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.wsj.com/articles/oil-giants-are-dealt-devastating-blows-on-climate-change-as-pressures-intensify-11622065455 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-01-21_WSJ-Oil_Giants_are_Dealt_Devastating_Blows_on_Climate_Change_as_Pressures_Intensify-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210202005810/en/Engine-No.-1-Responds-to-ExxonMobil’s-Board-Announcement-and-Financial-Results
https://www.axios.com/exxon-investor-rebuke-on-climate-change-01f75030-85d7-42e4-a9d7-33f6a6b646e8.html
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-26/chevron-investors-back-climate-proposal-in-rebuke-to-management (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-01-21_BloombergGreen-Chevron_Investors_Back_Climate_Proposal_in_Rebuke_to_C-Suite-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stock-market-earnings-news-storm-clouds-51622244159?refsec=the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/06-01-21_Barrons-Its_a_Peak_Good_News_Market-Why_That_Could_be_a_Problem-Footnote_7.pdf)
https://www.axios.com/ceos-raises-pay-covid-3f0bda28-0470-4f34-a216-7fb2c72e20e3.html
https://chiefexecutive.net/components-of-an-executive-compensation-plan/
https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0510/ceo-benefits-you-wish-you-had.aspx
https://apnews.com/article/ceo-pay-rises-again-b1d87eb36ac921a159268a6b830fc308
https://www.adamsmith.org/adam-smith-quotes

Weekly Market Commentary 6/21/2021

Weekly Market Commentary 5/24/2021

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

May 24, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

What do markets hate?

They hate uncertainty, and recently there has been plenty of it. Some of the questions plaguing economists and pundits include:

Why aren’t people returning to work? Americans, like people in other parts of the world, have not been rejoining the workforce at the pace many had anticipated. One of the most frequently cited theories was explained by The Economist:

“In America businesspeople, almost to a pinstripe, are convinced that the $300-a-week boost to unemployment insurance explains the shortages. However, pundits do not agree on whether stimulus handouts really lead people to shirk. The evidence is hazy elsewhere, too…Australia ditched its job-protection scheme in March, and shortages have worsened.”

The unemployment data has inspired many theories about why jobs aren’t filling more quickly. These include fear of contracting COVID-19, low hourly pay, and lack of dependent care, to name a few. Some states recently modified unemployment programs, so there soon may be new data to help clarify the situation.

Is the Federal Reserve thinking about raising rates or slowing bond purchases? In June 2020, Fed Chair Jerome Powell famously said, “We’re not even thinking about thinking about raising rates.” Some are wondering whether that has changed. The minutes from April’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, which were released last Tuesday afternoon, included a statement that raise questions. It said:

“A number of participants suggested that if the economy continued to make rapid progress toward the Committee’s goals, it might be appropriate at some point in upcoming meetings to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases.”

Of course, the economic picture isn’t as robust as it was in April. Since then, we’ve seen a weaker-than-expected employment report and higher-than-expected inflation data. While one month does not establish a trend, investors, economists, and pundits will be watching economic data releases closely for clues about economic recovery.

Will inflation prove to be transitory or will it persist? Investors also are worried the Federal Reserve will keep rates low for too long. James Politi of Financial Times reported:

“The Fed has argued that strong monetary support for the economy is still needed because of the risk of a slowdown in the recovery and the shortfall in employment compared to pre-pandemic levels. Nor does it expect the current spike in consumer prices to last, arguing that it is being fueled by supply chain bottlenecks and the economic reopening.”

Others aren’t so sure the Fed is right. Last Tuesday, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said the Fed’s latest forecasts suggest it is misreading the economy and encouraging complacency, reported Greg Robb of MarketWatch.

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Indices moved slightly lower while the Nasdaq Composite moved slightly higher.

Ahhh, the joys of parenting. With Mother’s Day behind us and Father’s Day ahead, it seemed an appropriate time to share some tweets about the parenting experience. Here are a few entertaining examples shared online by parents and rounded up by Buzzfeed:

“Does anyone have directions to that village everyone says will raise my children? It sounds wonderful.”
–Not Your Trending Mom

“Hi, I’m a parent. You may remember me from such greats as ‘Repeating Myself’ and ‘Arguing over Shoes’ and ‘Stepping on Cereal.’”
–Rodney LaCroix

“Thoughts and prayers for my son who thought it would be funny to tell me ‘I’ll get to it when I get to it, woman.’”
–Mom On The Rocks

“Why aren’t there any horror movies called ‘My 4 year old fell asleep in the car at 5pm.’”
–threetimedaddy

“7 [year old] son: May I have some water?

Me: What are the magic words?

7 [year old] son: I can get it myself.

Me: There you go.”
–Laura Marie

“Blew my nose in front of my daughter and her friends today. Please respect her privacy during this difficult time.”
–Simon Holland

Parenting is never an easy job, and the pandemic made it a lot trickier. Parents have to make important financial planning decisions involving children, too. Often these are related to legacy planning, and sometimes they involve special needs. If you would like to talk about the needs of your family and identify potential solutions, give us a call.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien

 

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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.
* 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. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* 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.
* 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.

Weekly Market Commentary 6/21/2021

Market Commentary 5/17/2021

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

May 17, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Uncle Inflation is here. Will he overstay his welcome?

Ever since the financial crisis, central banks have pursued expansionary monetary policies to encourage reflation and avoid deflation. Well, it’s taken some time, but inflation is finally here.

Last week, major stock indices in the United States moved lower after inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), was four times higher than anticipated, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s.

Higher inflation is the result of a supply and demand imbalance. As the pandemic has calmed in the United States, consumers have emerged eager to spend money – so eager that consumer spending is about 5.5 standard deviations above average. That’s a lot.

The problem is finding stuff to buy. The Economist explained, “…red-hot demand is increasingly met slowly or not at all…Nowhere are shortages more acute than in America, where a boom is under way. Consumer spending is growing by over 10 percent at an annual rate, as people put to work the $2trn-plus of extra savings accumulated in the past year.”

Shortages are the result of two kinks in the supply hose.

The first is the supply chain. There is a shortage “of everything from timber to semiconductors,” which are essential to building other products. In addition, shipping containers have become a scarce resource, causing the cost of shipping goods from China to the United States to triple, reported The Economist.

The second is labor. This week’s higher-than-expected inflation data mirrored last week’s lower-than-expected employment data. No one is certain why the employment numbers were lackluster, although theories abound. Regardless, there are limits on what companies can produce when they have too few employees.

The question is whether supply chains can be straightened so demand for goods and services can be met. If so, higher inflation may prove transitory as the Federal Reserve and some economists anticipate. If not, inflation may stick around. Time will tell.

Confidence is returning. The big news last week was the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that fully vaccinated Americans can resume normal activities without wearing masks or social distancing, except where required by law. Suffice it to say, people are ready to return to normal.

Results from the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus survey, conducted in early May, found Americans were feeling more optimistic. Among those surveyed:

·         59 percent had visited friends or relatives during the previous week.

·         54 percent had gone out to eat during the previous week.

·         31 percent had made plans for the summer.

·         18 percent had a stronger sense of emotional well-being, a six-point jump from the prior survey.

·         60 percent indicated trips to salons, barber shops, and spas were low- or no-risk activities, up six points from the last survey.

If your exuberance about resuming “normal” life has been tempered by a reluctance to change the routines you’ve adopted during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Medical experts at Northwestern University explained:

“The emotional impact of this past year may linger with us for longer than we might expect. The key is not to feel forced to snap back into a routine overnight. Give yourself time and understand that your emotional journey back to freely socializing in vaccinated cohorts may look very different from those around you.”

As some people say, “You do you.”

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“We must have ideals and try to live up to them, even if we never quite succeed. Life would be a sorry business without them. With them it’s grand and great.”
–Lucy Maude Montgomery, Author

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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.
* 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. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* 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.
* 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.

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