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Weekly Market Commentary (July 11, 2016)

When the yield on 10-year Treasuries finished last week at 1.37 percent, a record closing low, Barron’s called it a Kübler-Ross rally.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was a Swiss psychiatrist whose research identified the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. According to Barron’s, institutional money managers have reached the final stage of grief and accepted that bond yields may remain low for some time:

“Far from irrational exuberance, many institutional investors voice resignation (or worse) to the fact that they are forced to put money to work at record low yields – 1.366 percent for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note – since that’s better than nothing, which literally is what they earn on the estimated $11.7 trillion of global debt securities with negative yields.”

The Wall Street Journal attributed record low 10-year Treasury rates to investors’ concerns about the health of the global economy, as well as “expectations that central banks in Japan and Europe will take further steps to bolster their economies, doubling down on ultra-loose monetary policies that have already helped create a record amount of negative-yielding government bonds.”

U.S. stock markets closed near record highs last week after the June employment report showed far more jobs had been created than expected. Once again, this raised questions about whether stocks are pricey in the current environment.

Barron’s explained the equity risk premium, which is the potential return investing in the stock market provides over investing in a low risk option such as a Treasury bond, is 4.6 percentage points. That’s almost the highest it has been in the past 15 years (excluding the financial crisis and the European debt crisis). However, if earnings don’t meet expectations, stocks may prove to be more expensive than they appear.


Data as of 7/8/16

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)

1.3%

4.2%

4.1%

9.1%

9.7%

5.3%

Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.

-1.5

-3.2

-8.4

-0.9

-2.2

-0.5

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.4

NA

2.2

2.7

3.0

5.1

Gold (per ounce)

1.1

27.5

16.9

3.1

-2.6

8.0

Bloomberg Commodity Index

-3.7

10.0

-11.7

-12.0

-11.7

-6.8

DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index

1.1

15.4

22.0

13.8

11.9

7.4

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.  Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

canada, eh? If there were a beauty contest among nations, Canada would probably be crowned Miss Congeniality. The second largest country in the world – known for breathtaking temperatures (-40 degrees Fahrenheit), magnificent scenery, open spaces, and friendly natives – has captured the interest of both Brits and Americans during 2016.

Canada was the top theoretical relocation choice among Brits following the Brexit vote. According to Citylab.com, ‘move to Canada’ was one of the two most popular ‘move to…’ searches in British cities. The second was Scotland, which took first among folks living in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, and Bristol.

It’s interesting to note the top search among residents of Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland was ‘move to Gibraltar.’ CityLab.com opined:

“It seems unlikely that these major cities are genuinely thinking about squeezing onto a tiny rock, but Gibraltar has been on people’s minds, I suspect, because it was first to declare a referendum result (for Remain) early this morning and is now finding itself under high-profile pressure for power-sharing from Spain.”

U.S. Internet searches for the phrase ‘how to move to Canada’ were quite popular this year, too, according to The Economist. The search reached its 2016 crescendo to-date after the Super Tuesday primaries in March. Donald Trump won seven states and Hillary Clinton won seven states and American Samoa.

It wasn’t the first time American presidential election choices inspired such angst among its citizens. ‘Move to Canada’ was a popular search phrase in 2004 after George W. Bush defeated John Kerry.

Regardless of the popularity of the search phrase, the number of American and British people who have migrated to Canada remains quite low. During each of the last 10 years, just 15,000 people from both nations together have sallied forth into the Great White North to become Canadian citizens.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It's a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.

 

--Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!

*International debt securities involves special additional risks.  These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards.  These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets. * 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. * Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

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Weekly Market Commentary (July 5, 2016)

Second quarter ended with a spectacular finale of Brexit-inspired market volatility.

Investors typically welcome sharp market movements with about the same level of enthusiasm that canines show for fireworks. However, recent market agitations highlighted a key tenet of investing: Volatility often creates opportunity. Following an initial Brexit sell-off, global markets rebounded. Last Friday, Financial Times reported:

“Global equity indices continued their stunning post-Brexit vote recovery, “core” government bond yields hovered near record lows, and sterling stayed in sight of a three-decade trough against the dollar as a tumultuous week in the markets drew to a close. The dollar finished the week on a broadly softer note, helping gold stay in sight of the two-year high it struck five days earlier. Oil prices were volatile but Brent regained the $50 a barrel mark in late trade.”

During the first half of 2016, opportunities weren’t always where investors might have expected to find them. Barron’s reported stocks have become income providers and bonds have been delivering capital gains. “With dividends included, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index returned 3.84 percent in the year’s first six months, according to Bianco Research. Meanwhile, the Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note returned roughly twice that, 7.97 percent...”

Some of the strongest stock market performance was found in emerging markets. On July 1, MarketWatch reported the best and worst (in italics) performing indices for the first half of 2016:

·         Argentina (Merval)                    25.77 percent

·         Russia (RTS Index)                   22.95 percent

·         Brazil (Bovespa)                       18.86 percent

·         Pakistan (KSE 100)                   15.14 percent

·         Canada (S&P/TSX)                     8.11 percent

·         China (Shenzhen A Shares)     -14.49 percent

·         China (Shanghai A Shares)     -17.22 percent

·         China (SSE Composite)           -17.22 percent

·         Japan (Nikkei 225)                  -18.17 percent

·         Italy (FTSE MIB)                     -24.37 percent

The three major Chinese indices on the list serve as a reminder that, not too long ago, concerns about the health of the global economy and the world’s financial markets focused on China. Today, the stethoscope is pressed to the heart of the European Union.

Predictions of higher interest rates in the United States have become a perennial that never blooms. Coming into 2016, the Federal Reserve was expected to increase the fed funds rate four times, making bonds appear an unwise investment choice. As mentioned, the 10-year Treasury note did just fine. However, the likelihood of the Fed raising rates fell during the quarter. Barron’s reported, “Based on Eurodollar futures prices, the U.S. central bank is likely to keep its federal-funds target steady well into next year and perhaps until 2018.”

During the last week of June, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index each experienced their best performance since November 2015, according to MarketWatch.


Data as of 7/1/16

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)

3.2%

2.9%

1.2%

9.2%

9.4%

5.1%

Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.

3.4

-1.7

-11.5

-0.7

-1.9

-0.4

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.5

NA

2.4

2.5

3.2

5.2

Gold (per ounce)

1.9

26.2

14.7

2.5

-2.0

8.0

Bloomberg Commodity Index

3.1

14.2

-11.7

-10.6

-10.6

-6.4

DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index

4.8

14.1

22.6

13.6

12.1

7.3

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

where did your wealth come from? The 2016 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth Survey®asked wealthy Americans about their financial success. They found a majority of wealthy Americans did not inherit their wealth:(Page 4)

·         52 percent earned their wealth through work or entrepreneurial efforts

·         32 percent gained affluence through investing

·         10 percent inherited their money

·         6 percent relied on other means of accumulating wealth

The wealthy reported their parents emphasized the importance of academic achievement (76 percent), financial discipline (68 percent), and hard work (63 percent).(Page 4)

In addition, they said it’s important to find ways to have a positive impact on the world around them by volunteering their time (61 percent), giving money (74 percent), serving on boards (47 percent), and working for non-profit organizations (16 percent).(Pages 5 & 16)

In fact, the popularity of impact investing is growing. Wealthy Americans said investing for positive social impact is important because:(Pages 16-17)

·         It’s the right thing to do (54 percent)

·         Corporate America should be accountable for its actions (53 percent)

·         I want to have a positive impact on the world (49 percent)

·         Companies that are good corporate citizens are less susceptible to business risk (40 percent)

·         Companies that are good corporate citizens have better financial performance (38 percent)

The issues that were of greatest concern included: environmental protection and sustainability; healthcare quality and access; disease prevention, treatment, or cure; and education.(Page 15)

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road…”

--Walt Whitman, American poet

 

* 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. *The fast price swings in commodities and currencies will result in significant volatility in an investor’s holdings. * 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. * Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

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Weekly Market Commentary (June 27, 2016)

Surprise! Britain is leaving the European Union (EU) after 40 years of membership.

Last Thursday, almost three-fourths of voters in Britain – about 30 million people, according to the BBC – cast ballots to determine whether the United Kingdom would remain in the EU. By a slim margin, the British people opted out.

Early Friday, Reuters reported on the immediate and potential repercussions of the decision:

“Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow since World War II to the European project of forging greater unity. Global financial markets plunged on Friday...The British pound fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar to levels last seen in 1985…The euro slid 3 percent…World stocks saw more than $2 trillion wiped off their value, with indices across Europe heading for their sharpest one-day drops ever…The United Kingdom itself could now break apart, with the leader of Scotland – where nearly two-thirds of voters wanted to stay in the EU – saying a new referendum on independence from the rest of Britain was ‘highly likely.’ ”

U.S. stock markets dropped sharply, too. Barron’s reported markets’ response to the British exit (Brexit) didn’t indicate the bull market in America was over. Citing a report from Morgan Stanley, the publication noted American companies generate 70 percent of revenues domestically, which means U.S. stocks are less susceptible to the vagaries of international events than those of many other countries. That may make U.S. stock markets attractive to investors.

During the next few weeks, as the immediate and extreme response to the news settles and investors realize little will change immediately, the world should gain a better understanding of the ways in which Brexit will affect Britain and everyone else.


Data as of 6/24/16

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)

-1.6%

-0.3%

-3.4%

9.0%

9.9%

5.0%

Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.

-1.6

-4.9

-16.7

-0.3

-1.7

-0.2

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.6

NA

2.4

2.6

2.9

5.2

Gold (per ounce)

1.9

23.8

12.1

0.7

-2.8

8.5

Bloomberg Commodity Index

-2.0

10.7

-13.5

-11.7

-11.0

-6.4

DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index

0.0

8.9

16.6

13.4

12.1

7.3

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.  Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

what happens now? It seems likely the British government will spend the next few weeks or months developing a strategy for its departure from the EU.

Right off the bat, the British need to put a new leader in place. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned after his side lost Thursday’s vote. Cameron’s comments suggest he does not plan to invoke Article 50. He indicated the new Prime Minister should be responsible for initiating the process.

Article 50 is a clause in the Lisbon Treaty describing the legal process a country must follow to notify the European Union it intends to withdraw. Once notification is delivered, there is a two-year window to complete negotiations. Any extension of negotiations requires the agreement of all EU members, according to The Guardian.

Once they’ve given notice, the U.K. will have to negotiate the terms of its exit from the EU and establish the terms of its future relationship with the group. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the nation also will need to renegotiate trade relationships with 60 or so non-EU countries where its trade is currently guided by EU agreements.

No one can be certain how Britain’s economy will be affected as the nation determines its new position in the world’s pecking order. However, The Economist reported on two possible futures, as set forth by the IMF:

“In the first scenario, Britain quickly agrees on a new trade deal with the EU; in the second, the negotiations are more protracted and Britain eventually settles for basic World Trade Organization rules. In the first scenario, sterling depreciates by 5 percent. GDP growth slips to 1.4 percent in 2017 and unemployment rises slightly…In the second scenario, Britain falls into recession next year. Unemployment hits about 7 percent by 2018, up from around 5 percent now (during the financial crisis it peaked at 8.5 percent). Real wages will stagnate, mainly because of high inflation. Surprisingly, Britain’s trade balance will move into a small surplus, thanks not to the dynamism of exporters but ‘because demand for imported goods plunges due to exchange-rate depreciation and reduced consumption.’ ”

In a victory speech, Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London, Brexit supporter, and a favorite to become the next Prime Minister, said:

“In voting to leave the EU, it is vital to stress there is no need for haste…There is no need to invoke Article 50…We have a glorious opportunity to pass our laws and set our taxes entirely according to the needs of the U.K.; we can control our borders in a way that is not discriminatory but fair and balanced and take the wind out of the sails of the extremists and those who would play politics with immigration.”

EU leaders appear to have a different timetable in mind than recommended by Cameron and Johnson. In a joint statement, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Mark Rutte, Holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said:

“We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may bewe hope to have [the U.K.] as a close partner of the European Union in the future. We expect the United Kingdom to formulate its proposals in this respect. Any agreement, which will be concluded with the United Kingdom as a third country, will have to reflect the interests of both sides and be balanced in terms of rights and obligations.”

Will this be the glorious opportunity promised by the leaders of the ‘leave’ side or a tragic split as predicted by the ‘remain’ leaders? Much depends on when and what Britain negotiates with the EU. In the meantime, there is likely to be considerable economic uncertainty and some market volatility.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

Since the outcome of the referendum was announced, the top questions asked of Google in the U.K. have been:

1.      What does it mean to leave the EU?

2.      What is the EU?

3.      Which countries are in the EU?

4.      What will happen now that we’ve left the E.U?

5.      How many countries are in the EU?

NPR opined that British voters seem to have given serious thought to the implications of their choices after the polls had closed.

 

* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. * 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. * Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

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Weekly Market Commentary (June 20, 2016)

The world’s stock markets took it on the chin last week.

A one-two punch was delivered with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting leading and concerns Britain will leave the European Union following.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve confirmed what many had suspected. There would be no June rate hike. There was unexpected news, too. The Fed lowered its projections for U.S. growth to 2 percent through 2018. Barron’s reported the stance of various committee members had shifted from the previous meeting:

“At this week’s confab, there were seven projections for two increases, to 0.875 percent, and six for a single hike, to 0.625 percent. There also were two outliers expecting more hikes to above 1 percent. Excluding the highest and lowest guesses, the “central tendency” was in a range of 0.6-0.9 percent, according to the Fed’s projections…In March, however, there was a solid consensus of nine members expecting two hikes to 0.875 percent, and seven looking for more hikes to over 1 percent. Back then, the single outlier was calling for just one increase to 0.625 percent.”

In the past, dovish Fed actions have pushed U.S. stock markets higher; however, stocks were lower by the end of the day on Wednesday, according to MarketWatch.

Investor reticence may owe much to concerns about the possibility of a British exit. Experts cited by Barron’s suggested an EU exit may already be priced into markets since European bank stocks “have been crushed…with some down 40 percent and others at lows not seen in years.”

Treasuries and high-quality government bonds rallied through the end of the week as investors opted for ‘safe haven’ investments*. On Friday, investors took profits after eight days of gains and rates pushed slightly higher, reported The Wall Street Journal.

*US treasuries may be considered “safe haven” investments but do carry some degree of risk including interest rate, credit and market risk.  They are guaranteed by the US government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if help to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.


Data as of 6/17/16

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)

-1.2%

1.3%

-1.4%

8.1%

10.3%

5.7%

Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.

-2.5

-3.4

-13.8

-2.0

-1.4

0.0

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.6

NA

2.3

2.2

3.0

5.2

Gold (per ounce)

1.2

21.5

9.6

-2.3

-3.4

8.5

Bloomberg Commodity Index

-0.3

12.9

-11.7

-12.1

-11.0

-6.2

DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index

0.9

8.9

14.8

11.1

12.0

7.3

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.  Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

are you worth your weight in platinum or, maybe, saffron? Gold is not the only substance that commands a hefty price per pound. The Telegraph recently reported on the most valuable materials in the world by weight and some were quite surprising!

·         Saffron is the most valuable spice in the world. Most of the world’s saffron comes from Iran and it can cost as much as $65 a gram, according to The Guardian. There are almost 454 grams in a pound, putting the value of saffron at $29,510 a pound.

·         Beluga caviar is mighty expensive. Guinness World Records puts the price at about $34,500 a kilogram. A kilogram is a little more than two pounds.

·         Platinum is expected to cost about $1,005 an ounce during 2016, according to Kitco. There are 16 ounces in a pound, putting its per pound value at $16,080.

·         Gold may run about $1,250 an ounce, or $20,000 a pound, by the end of 2016, according to CNN Money.

·         White truffles are “the fanciest tubers in the fungi kingdom,” according to Vox.com. A four-plus pounder sold for $60,000 at auction in 2014, but more common varieties sell for about $300 a pound.

·         Venom is pretty tough to harvest, and it commands a premium price. Snake venom runs about $370 per gram, scorpion venom about $596 per gram, and spider venom comes in at about $1,342 per gram. Multiply these amounts by 454 and you get (per pound for each) $167,980 for snake venom, $270,584 for scorpion venom, and $609,268 for spider venom!

Gram for gram, there are some things in the world more valuable than gold!

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

--Jim Valvano, College basketball player, coach, and broadcaster

* The fast price swings in commodities and currencies will result in significant volatility in an investor’s holdings. * 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. * Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

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Weekly Market Commentary (June 13, 2016)

The British may be leaving. The British may be leaving.

Last week, the interest rate on 10-year U.S. Treasuries dropped to levels last seen in 2013. Why, you may ask, would bond yields move lower when Federal Reserve policy is to push interest rates higher? The answer can be found across the pond.

On June 23, the United Kingdom, a.k.a. Britain, will vote on whether the country should remain in the European Union (EU) or leave. The New York Times reported:

“The economic effect of an exit would depend on what settlement is negotiated, especially on whether Britain would retain access to the single market for duty-free trade and financial services...Most economists favor remaining in the bloc and say that an exit would cut growth, weaken the pound, and hurt the City of London, Britain’s financial center. Even economists who favor an exit say that growth would be affected in the short and medium term, though they also say that Britain would be better off by 2030.”

When polling indicated voters were leaning toward leaving the EU, and bookmakers indicated a neck-and-neck race, investors got worried and sought the safety of U.S. Treasuries. That helped push Treasury yields lower.

Rates on government bonds in Europe, and elsewhere, moved lower, as well. In some cases, those rates dropped into negative territory. Barron’s reported more than $10 trillion of government bonds had negative yields last week. Investing in 10-year Swiss government bonds cost investors about 50 basis points, while investing in Japanese 10-year government bonds cost 17 basis points.

That makes earning about 1.6 percent on a 10-year U.S. Treasury look pretty good.


Data as of 6/10/16

1-Week

Y-T-D

1-Year

3-Year

5-Year

10-Year

Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)

-0.2%

2.6%

-0.4%

8.5%

10.5%

5.4%

Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.

-0.9

-1.0

-12.4

-1.2

-1.2

0.3

10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)

1.6

NA

2.5

2.2

3.0

5.0

Gold (per ounce)

2.8

20.1

7.3

-2.7

-3.6

7.7

Bloomberg Commodity Index

2.1

13.2

-13.4

-12.0

-11.7

-6.4

DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index

0.4

8.0

15.6

10.9

12.3

7.2

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

who cooked adam smith’s dinner? It’s the title of a new book and an interesting question. The New York Times offered two answers:

“The first is ‘self-motivated economic actors.’ As Adam Smith himself famously wrote, ‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.’ The second is his mother. Margaret Douglas was just 28 when her husband died and Adam Smith still in utero. At the age of 2, Smith inherited his father’s estate, and his mother saw that he got his dinner for the rest of her days.”

Presumably, Smith’s mother received no wages, so how much was her labor worth? How much is the unpaid work of parents and family caregivers worth? A couple studies have explored the issue.

First, let’s consider parents.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported unpaid work at home would have boosted U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) – the value of all goods and services produced in a country – by 26 percent in 2010.

The U.S. GDP was $14,660 billion in 2010. So, the answer is about $3,812 billion or $3.81 trillion. That’s slightly less than Japan’s 2015 GDP ($4,123 billion) and slightly more than Germany’s ($3,358 billion).

Let’s turn our attention to caregivers.

The AARP Public Policy Institute found about 40 million family caregivers spent 37 billion hours providing care to adult family members during 2013. The value of that care was estimated to be about $470 billion. That’s “as big as the world’s largest company and bigger than Medicaid and out-of-pocket spending on health care.”

We’ve mentioned before some experts don’t believe GDP is an accurate measure of economic well being because it doesn’t really reflect the value of all goods and services in a country. Clearly, it doesn’t account for parenting and caregiving although both are important to society’s well being.

How much do you suppose volunteering is worth?

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

--Woodrow Wilson, 28th United States 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. * International debt securities involves special additional risks.  These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards.  These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets. * 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. * Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

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