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Weekly Market Commentary, September 3, 2021

The Markets
 
“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder,” advised the Persian poet Rumi.
 
Last week, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell’s words helped grow the week’s equity market returns. In his speech at the Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell confirmed that the United States economy had made substantial progress toward the Fed’s maximum employment and price stability goals. Consequently, the Fed is likely to slow and eventually stop the bond purchases that have been ensuring smooth market functioning during the pandemic.
 
Powell also offered assurance that the target range for Federal funds rate, which is one of the Fed’s tools for influencing short-term interest rates, will remain unchanged until “…the economy reaches conditions consistent with maximum employment, and inflation has reached 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time.
 
Investors were delighted by the Fed’s stance, as well as positive data on second quarter’s economic growth and corporate earnings. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced in the United States, increased 6.6 percent from April through June. That was an improvement on the January to March quarter when the economy grew by 6.3 percent.
 
Corporate earnings, which reflect companies’ profits, were also strong during the second quarter. Companies had relatively easy year-over-year comparisons to 2020’s dismal second quarter and, with almost 98 percent of companies in the S&P 500 reporting in, earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are expected to be 95.4 percent higher, year-over-year, and 79.9 percent higher when the energy sector is excluded, reported Tajinder Dhillon and Thomas Alonso of Refinitiv.
 
Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at a record high for the 52nd time in 2021, reported Lewis Krauskopf and Saqib Ahmed of Reuters. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite also finished the week higher, as did the yield on 10-year Treasuries.
 
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT STOCK MARKETS? When people are financially literate, they have the knowledge and information necessary to make sound financial decisions. The 2020 TIAA Institute-Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center Personal Finance Index reported that more than half of U.S. adults understood borrowing, saving, earning and consuming, while less than half had a clear understanding of investing and risk.
 
One common type of investment is stock. The stock market is where stock is issued, purchased and sold. Stockholders have an ownership interest in a company. Test your knowledge of stocks by taking this brief quiz.
 
1.   What is a characteristic of a bull market?
a.   Stock prices rise
b.   Stock prices fall
c.    Investors are pessimistic
d.   None of the above
 
2.   A stockholder is ______ who/that owns at least one share of a corporation’s stock.
a.   A person
b.   A company
c.    An institution
d.   All of the above
 
3.   A person may be able to invest in a company by purchasing:
a.   Common stock
b.   Preferred stock
c.    Corporate bonds
d.   All of the above
 
4.   What term is used to describe a stock market decline of 10 percent?
a.   A dip
b.   A correction
c.    A haircut
d.   A bath
 
5.   List the following from highest risk to lowest risk:
a.   Emerging market stock
b.   10-year Treasury bond
c.    30-year investment-grade bond
d.   Savings account
e.   U.S. blue chip stock
 
6.   Which of the following is a reason that a company might issue stock?
a.   Raise capital
b.   Transfer ownership
c.    Reduce debt
d.   All of the above
 
If you have any questions about the answers, let us know.
 
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.”
— Walt Whitman, poet
 
Answers: (1) A; (2) D; (3) D; (4) B; (5) A, E, C, B, D; (6) D
 
Best regards,
 
Lee Barczak
President
 
* 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. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary, August 25, 2021

 The Markets
 
Markets were shaken last week by a potent cocktail of central bank tapering and economic growth concerns mixed with coronavirus and a splash of the new Chinese privacy law.
 
On Wednesday, the minutes of the United States Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee Meeting were released. They confirmed the Fed could begin tapering – buying fewer Treasury and U.S. government agency bonds – sooner rather than later, reported Jack Denton and Jacob Sonenshine of Barron’s. While that wasn’t new information, investors startled like cats surprised by cucumbers, triggering a broad sell-off.
 
In the United States, economic data was mixed. The U.S. Census reported that retail sales declined in July, suggesting weakening consumer demand. Normally, that’s not great news because consumer demand drives U.S. economic growth. However, with inflation at the highest level in more than a decade, lower demand could help relieve upward price pressure.
 
Lower consumer demand was accompanied by improving supply. Lisa Beilfuss of Barron’s reported, “…business inventories rose in June at the fastest clip since October as wholesalers and manufacturers posted solid increases and retailers saw inventories rise for the first time in three months. From a year earlier, inventories across American businesses rose 6.6%, compared with a 4.6% pace a month earlier.”
 
Of course, we could see supply bottlenecks again if a COVID-19 surge results in new lockdowns and continued worker shortages.
 
Finally, on Friday, Chinese stocks dropped sharply after Beijing announced that a new strict data-privacy law will take effect on November 1, 2021. Investors remain concerned that China’s regulatory tightening will affect other market sectors, including fintech, gaming and education, reported Hudson Lockett of the Financial Times.
 
“American investors’ shock at an ongoing regulatory crackdown in China points to a fundamental difference between the two countries,” reported Evelyn Cheng of CNBC. “…whereas the U.S. system is designed to let corporations influence the government, China’s system is designed to bring corporations in line with government goals.”
 
Major U.S. stock indices finished the week lower. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries finished the week where it started.
 
Picking the right place to live…The COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to reconsider how and where they want to live. People relocate for a variety of reasons. They may want to be closer to family and friends, live in a more affordable place with lower taxes or have better employment opportunities.
 
Another reason people relocate is climate. While many people move to regions with better climates, today they also are avoiding areas with high climate risk, reported a 2021 survey from RedFin.
 
“About half of respondents who plan to move in the next year said extreme temperatures and/or the increasing frequency or intensity of natural disasters played a role in their decision to relocate. More than a third (36%) said rising sea levels were a factor.”
 
Those who planned to move and lived in the northeastern and southern U.S. were most concerned about the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, while those in the West were most concerned about extreme temperatures. The two factors tied for most serious concern in the Midwest.
 
The importance of climate change to relocation decisions varied by age. People age 55 and older were less likely to factor climate risk into relocation decisions, while younger respondents, especially 35- to 44-year-olds, prioritized climate risk issues.
 
When all respondents, regardless of whether they intended to move, were asked whether natural disasters, extreme temperatures or rising sea levels would affect their decision to buy a home, the majority said they would hesitate to buy homes in areas with these issues (79%, 75% and 76% respectively).
 
Home buyers aren’t the only ones thinking about climate risks. A real estate developer told Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy of USA Today, “…real estate investors such as banks and insurance companies used climate risk data to inform their investing decisions.”
 
It seems that climate risk is becoming a factor in personal and business investment decisions.
 
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance... . Will cities, for example, be able to afford their infrastructure needs as climate risk reshapes the market for municipal bonds... . How can we model economic growth if emerging markets see their productivity decline due to extreme heat and other climate impacts? Investors are increasingly reckoning with these questions and recognizing that climate risk is investment risk.”
 
— Larry Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock
 
Best regards,
 
Lee Barczak
President
 
* 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. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary, August 12, 2021

The Markets
 
Are we there yet?
 
For months, investors have wondered when the Federal Reserve (Fed) might begin to “normalize” its policies, a process that will eventually lead to higher interest rates. Last week, a better-than-expected unemployment report – showing a gain of almost a million jobs – sparked speculation about whether we’ve arrived at that point. It’s difficult to know.
 
When the pandemic arrived, the Fed adopted policies that stimulated growth. It cut short-term interest rates to zero and began buying Treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities to keep long-term rates low, too. Low rates make borrowing less expensive for businesses and individuals, reported the Brookings Institute. That’s important in economically challenging times.
 
In late July, the Fed said it would continue to keep rates low and buy bonds until it saw “substantial further progress toward maximum employment and price stability [inflation] goals.”
 
The Fed may have already achieved its inflation goal. Its favorite inflation gauge is called Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), excluding food and energy. It’s a statistic that reflects changes in how much Americans are paying for goods and services. In June, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that PCE was up 3.5 percent year over year. That’s well above the Fed’s two percent inflation target; however, the Fed’s new policy is to overshoot its target before raising rates.
 
If July’s employment numbers satisfy the Fed’s expectations for progress on jobs, the Fed may begin the process of normalizing monetary policy. The first step would be purchasing fewer bonds, a practice known as tapering. “Many market watchers are looking for [Fed Chair] Powell to discuss tapering at the central bank’s big policy meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyo., this month,” reported Randall Forsyth of Barron’s.
 
Major U.S. stock indices finished the week higher, reported Barron’s, and so did the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries.
 
 
WHAT’S MAKING US MORE PRODUCTIVE? While the United States has not yet recovered all of the jobs lost during the pandemic – 22 million were lost and 16.6 million have returned – productivity is higher than it was when more people were employed.8 The Economist reported:
 
“Though output reached a new high in the second quarter, employment remained more than 4 percent below its pre-pandemic level… . At present, America is producing more output than it managed just a year and a half ago, with roughly 6 [million] fewer workers.”
 
Higher productivity undoubtedly reflects the ingenuity of American businesses. The pandemic forced companies to find ways to remain productive. In response, many adopted new technologies, implemented new patterns for working, and changed their business models.
 
However, not all companies have experienced gains in productivity, reported Eric Garton and Michael Mankins in the Harvard Business Review. Those that proved to be the best at managing time, talent and energy – the top 25 percent of companies – were 40 percent more productive than other companies. (The productivity of companies in the lower quartiles was averaged to make the comparison.)
 
Not all sectors of the economy are equally productive, either. “The surge in output per worker also reflects the changing mix of the workforce. Employment in the leisure and hospitality industries, where productivity tends to be low, remains about 10 percent below the pre-pandemic level, compared to a 3 percent shortfall in the higher-productivity manufacturing sector,” reported The Economist. As less productive sectors recover, productivity may return to previous levels.
 
In the meantime, some employees have been wondering whether it’s necessary to return to the workplace when productivity has been high while they’ve been working remotely. In an early July survey conducted by The Conference Board, a majority (56 percent) of employees asked whether returning to the workplace was wise, but just 18 percent of chief executive officers shared the concern.
 
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
—Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States
 
Best regards,
 
Lee Barczak
President
 
* 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. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary, August 3, 2021

 The Markets
 
The Chinese dragon cast a shadow over free trade and foreign investment last week.
 
For decades, investors have recognized the investment potential of China. Since the country opened to foreign trade and investment in 1979, its economy has grown rapidly. Through 2018, its gross domestic product (GDP), which is a measure of economic growth, increased by 9.5% a year, on average, according to the United States Congressional Research Service.
 
The country’s gradual economic development lifted millions out of poverty. In 2020, about 20 percent of the world’s middle class lived in China. China’s middle class has an appetite for goods and services that rivals that of America’s middle class, creating demand for a wealth of goods and services, reported the Brookings Institute.
 
In recent months, investors have been unsettled as Chinese authorities aggressively implemented new regulations for its online education industry and its technology companies. Austin Carr and Coco Liu of Bloomberg reported:
 
“President Xi’s government has outlined sectors it wants to prioritize, including semiconductors and artificial intelligence. Xi has called the data its tech industry collects ‘an essential and strategic resource’ and has been pushing to tap into it for years.”
 
In early July, the Cyberspace Administration of China launched an investigation of the nation’s largest ride-hailing service company for monopolistic behavior. A month before, the company had raised $4.4 billion when it listed shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Jing Yang of The Wall Street Journal recently reported the company is considering delisting in an effort to placate Chinese authorities and compensate investors for losses.
 
Last week, “The selloff in Chinese stocks went from an orderly pullback to a full-blown panic…after China told its for-profit education companies that they would have to become nonprofits,” reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s.
 
The Securities and Exchange Commission responded by announcing that it would stop processing registrations of U.S. IPOs and other sales of securities by Chinese companies until specific requirements were met.
 
The Shanghai Composite Index finished the week lower, as did major U.S. stock indices, reported Barron’s. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries closed lower, too.
 
 
READY TO COMPETE? Watching the Olympics sparks the competitive spirit in many people. If you’re looking for a way to compete, try taking this financial literacy quiz. If you like, you can create your own event by having family and friends test their knowledge, too.
 
1.   Which of the following does Experian say is the most important to your credit score?
a.   Payment history
b.   Amount owed
c.    Credit history length
d.   New credit applications
 
2.   Which has the most risk, according to Investopedia?
a.   Owning a diversified portfolio of small, large and mid-sized company stocks
b.   Owning the stock of a large company
c.    Owning a portfolio of technology company stocks
d.   Owning a portfolio of small company stocks
 
3.   If you put $100 in an account that earned 5 percent interest each year, how much would the account be worth after 10 years?
a.   About $105
b.   About $150
c.    About $160
d.   About $180
 
4.   When shopping for chicken noodle soup, which of the following is the best value?
a.   The store’s brand
b.   The can with the highest discount
c.    The can with the lowest price per ounce
d.   The can with the lowest price in the size you need
 
You’ll find the answers below. When you have any financial or money questions, please get in touch.
 
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
 —Benjamin Franklin, American statesman
 
(1) A; (2) B; (3) C; (4) C
 
 
Best regards,
 
Lee Barczak
President
 
* 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. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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Weekly Market Commentary, July 14, 2021

The Markets
 
There was a gapers’ block in financial markets last week as equity investors slowed to see what the United States Treasury bond market was up to. 
 
U.S. Treasury bonds rallied last week. Yields on 10-year Treasuries dropped from 1.43 percent at the start of the week to 1.27 percent on Thursday. The rally was quite a surprise, reported Randall W. Forsyth of Barron’s. “After all, the economy has been booming, accompanied by rising inflation – exactly the opposite of what would be conducive to lower [bond] yields and higher [bond] prices.”
 
As 10-year Treasury yields reached the lowest level since February, stock investors took time to consider what might have caused yields to retreat. Lower yields often suggest slower growth ahead. There may be potential for global growth to slow if:
 
A new wave of COVID-19 swamps the global recovery. Twenty-four U.S. states saw the number of COVID-19 cases move higher by 10 percent or more last week, reported Aya Elamroussi of CNN. The Delta variant of the virus accounts for more than one-half of all new cases. Last week, the global death toll reached 4 million and Japan, host of the 2020 Olympic games, declared a state of emergency.
 
China’s banking system is in trouble. There was another surprise last week. “…China’s central bank announced a half a percentage point cut to banks’ reserve ratio requirements, potentially increasing the profitability of their loans but also stirring concerns about the health of their balance sheets following a debt-fueled property boom,” reported Naomi Rovnick, Thomas Hale, and Francesca Friday of Financial Times.
 
U.S. economic growth falters as monetary and fiscal stimulus recede. “…the bond market is now adjusting to the prospect of more moderate growth in the second half, with reduced fiscal largess and no $1,400 or $600 stimulus checks. And it’s looking ahead to the eventual prospect of the Federal Reserve throttling back its securities purchases, which currently pump $120 billion a month into the financial system,” reported Barron’s.
 
Investors shook off the bond market’s signal and took advantage of buying opportunities created by the dip, reported Financial Times. Major U.S. stock indices finished the week at record highs. On Friday, 10-year Treasury yields finished at 1.36 percent.
 
 When was the Euro 2020 tournament played? If you’re a soccer fan, you know the answer is last month. The tournament took place in 2021, although the name was not changed because the tournament was intended to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Football Championship, which occurred in 2020, reported Joe Sommerlad of The Independent. Also, the merchandise had already been produced with a 2020 logo.
 
The tournament final (England vs. Italy) had yet to be played when this was written, but it’s never too early for tournament trivia. See what you know about Euro 2020 by taking this brief quiz.
 
1.   There were more ‘own goals’ in Euro 2020 than in all other European championships combined. How many were there before the final match?
a.   5
b.   6
c.    9
d.   11
 
2.   What is the nickname of the Italian national team?
a.   Il Nerazzurri (The Black and Blues)
b.   Gli Azzurri (The Blues)
c.    Le Rondinelle (The Little Swallows)
d.   Il Toro (The Bull)
 
3.   How many major tournaments had the English national team, nicknamed The Three Lions, won before the Euro 2020 final?
a.   1
b.   2
c.    3
d.   4
 
4.   Euro 2020 prize money was about 10 percent higher than Euro 2016 prize money. Every team that participated in the tournament earned about £8 million (about $11 million). How much did the team that lifted the winning trophy earn?
a.   About £12 million (about $17 million)
b.   About £17 million (about $24 million)
c.    About £24 million (about $33 million)
d.   About £33 million (about $46 million)
 
The Economist explained the importance of European football like this, “On a continent where the facets of nationhood are disappearing, be they banal (customs arrangements), the everyday (currency) or the emotive (borders), football is a way of clinging on.”
 
Answers: (1) d; (2) b; (3) a; (4) c
 
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“A champion is someone who does not settle for that day's practice, that day's competition, that day's performance. They are always striving to be better. They don't live in the past.”
– Briana Scurry, Former goalkeeper, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team
 
Best regards,
 
Lee Barczak
President
 
* 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. * The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
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