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Weekly Market Commentary

The Markets
 
About face!
 
2019 was a remarkable year for investors with many asset classes delivering positive performance. Both the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, a gauge of U.S. stock market performance, and the Dow Jones Global (ex U.S.) Index delivered double-digit increases (see the below table). Bonds and gold rallied, too, delivering positive returns for the year.
 
Possibly the most important factor contributing to asset performance in 2019 was an 'about face' by the United States Federal Reserve. Axios reported:
 
"The Fed's 180-degree turn was the story of 2019, asset managers and market analysts say...Chairman Jerome Powell and the U.S. central bank went from raising interest rates for a fourth time at the close of 2018 and giving market watchers the explicit expectation this would continue in 2019, to doing the opposite. The Fed cut rates thrice and even began re-padding its balance sheet in the last quarter of the year, bringing it back above $4 trillion."
 
The Fed's policy decision gave investment markets a boost, however, it did little to quell investors' worries about potential recession and the impact of the U.S.-China trade war, reported The Wall Street Journal. As a result, investors moved money from U.S. stock markets into bonds and other investments they perceived to be safer throughout the year.
 
During the fourth quarter of 2019, U.S. markets delivered positive returns despite uncertainty about the strength of the U.S. economy created by inconsistent economic data. For example, the last jobs report of the year indicated unemployment remained near a 50-year low. Yet, in 2019, workers experienced the highest number of layoffs in a decade.
 
Many layoffs during the year were the result of corporate bankruptcies, especially in the retail sector. Investors who took time to evaluate the juxtaposition of unemployment levels and layoffs may have recognized disruptions in the retail sector has potential to create opportunities for investors.
 
A closely watched indicator during 2019 was manufacturing. In December, Fox News reported, "The ISM Manufacturing Index fell for the fifth month in a row to 47.2 in December, down from November's reading of 48.1. That's the weakest reading since June 2009, when it hit 46.3, and well below the 49 reading that economists surveyed by Reuters expected."
 
One of the reasons for weakness in manufacturing is the U.S.-China trade war. Late in the fourth quarter, concerns about trade subsided after the announcement of a phase one trade deal. The agreement is scheduled to be signed on January 15, 2020.
 
Continued progress in resolving the trade war could help boost economic growth in the United States. At the end of 2019, United States gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the country, was expected to remain slow and steady during 2020. However, forecasters at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia expected the economies of nine states to contract during the first six months of the new year.
 
From a geopolitical perspective, the 2020s are beginning just like the last decade did, with all eyes on Iran.
 
In 2009 and 2010, the Iranian Green Revolution captured the world's attention as social media provided insight to post-election turbulence and unrest in Iran. Last week, the first of the new decade, all eyes were again on the Middle East as tensions between the United States and Iran flared after the death of a top Iranian military leader targeted by the United States.
 
After rallying on the first day of the new decade, some major U.S. stock markets declined on news of heightened tensions in the Middle East and concerns about the potential consequences, such as the disruption of oil supplies.
 

Data as of 1/3/20
1-Week
Y-T-D
1-Year
3-Year
5-Year
10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)
-0.2%
0.1%
32.2%
12.7%
9.9%
11.1%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.
0.2
0.4
19.7
7.4
3.8
2.6
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)
1.8
NA
2.6
2.5
2.0
3.3
Gold (per ounce)
2.5
1.7
20.0
10.4
5.2
3.3
Bloomberg Commodity Index
0.0
0.6
5.1
-1.9
-4.8
-5.4
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; 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, MarketWatch, 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 A DECADE! While some have called the 2010s a 'lost decade' because there was little economic growth, we disagree with the assessment. The decade was filled with remarkable events in politics, sports, science, pop culture, and other areas of interest. Here are a few memorable events from the past decade:
 
  • NASA's Voyager 1 probe left the solar system. Launched in 1977 to explore planets including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, the probe left our solar system in 2013. It will continue to send data until 2025.
 
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The controversial law, which Encyclopedia Britannica reported, "required most individuals to secure health insurance or pay fines, made coverage easier and less costly to obtain, cracked down on abusive insurance practices, and attempted to rein in the rising costs of health care," remains under challenge in American courts.
 
  • eSports became an industry. To the delight of people who would prefer to spend their time gaming, online games became a recognized form of sports competition, complete with news coverage and multimillion-dollar prize money.
 
  • Civil and social movements changed thinking. There were pro-democracy protests in the Middle East (Arab Spring), and social movements in the United States (Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and MeToo, among others). MIT explained, "...a successful movement can change how we think and talk about key social issues."
 
  • The Higgs Boson particle was found. Any fan of the television show, The Big Bang Theory, will know exactly how much this meant to Sheldon Cooper. The television show's popularity was also a phenomenon of the last decade.
 
  • Carli Lloyd scored the fastest hat trick in World Cup soccer.Carli Lloyd scored a hat trick - three goals - in 13 minutes for the U.S. women's national team during the World Cup final against Japan in 2015. She also played on the team that won the 2019 Women's World Cup.
 
  • Hurricanes, earthquakes, and storms wrought destruction. Countries around the world were pummeled by storms during the decade. Hurricanes and tropical storms like Irene, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, Michael, Dorian, and Maria did significant damage in the United States and its territories. One of the most memorable was the Great Japanese earthquake and tsunami that preceded the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
 
  • The Chicago Cubs broke the curse. Advised by their manager to go out there and, "Try not to be bad," the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908.
 
  • Entertainment took a turn toward streamingDeadline Hollywood reported, "It is impossible to find a corner of the industry that has not been reshaped by streaming, from the pay TV ecosystem and movie exhibition to labor negotiations and talent deals."
 
The 2010s provided disruptions and delights. Let's hope the events of the coming decade will make the world a better place.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But, that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But, if you do nothing, there will be no result."
--Mahatma Gandhi, Lawyer, politician, social activist
 
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 (January 2, 2020)

The Markets 
 
Investors may find themselves reluctant to ring out the old and ring in the new this week. During 2019, stock and bond markets delivered exceptional returns.
 
Ben Levisohn of Barron's reported the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 23 percent at the end of last week, the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index had gained 29 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 36 percent. The S&P 500 and Dow both closed at all-time highs.
 
Bond indices showed gains in the United States and around the world. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Total Return Index was up 8.87 percent at the end of last week. Its global counterpart, the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Total Return Index, was up 6.63 percent for the same period.
 
After a year like 2019, when stock indices delivered exceptional returns, investors' perceptions about their appetite for risk can change. Great market performance has a way of persuading people their tolerance for risk is higher than it has been in the past. The phenomenon has something to do with recency bias, which is a tendency to remember and weight recent events more heavily than past events.
 
In other words, during bull markets some people tend to forget about bear markets.
 
Not every year will be like 2019. At the end of last week, the average annual return for the S&P 500 Index over the last 60 years, with dividends reinvested, was about 9.5 percent.
 
Successful financial plans and investment strategies should include well-diversified portfolios that are grounded in the investor's life and financial goals. Every strategy and portfolio should be reviewed periodically and modified when goals have changed, a major life event has occurred, or the investor's risk tolerance has changed.
 
If you would like to talk about your strategy and review your portfolio allocations, give us a call. We'd like to hear from you.
 

Data as of 12/27/19
1-Week
Y-T-D
1-Year
3-Year
5-Year
10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)
0.6%
29.3%
30.2%
12.6%
9.2%
11.1%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.
0.8
18.6
20.6
7.6
3.1
2.8
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)
1.9
NA
2.7
2.6
2.2
3.8
Gold (per ounce)
2.2
17.9
19.2
10.0
5.0
3.2
Bloomberg Commodity Index
1.2
6.0
4.6
-2.4
-5.2
-5.3
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; 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, MarketWatch, 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.
 
THE HOLIDAYS ARE ALMOST OVER. Ahh, the season of good cheer and regifting is coming to an end. Before we head into 2020, the Ohio Department of Transportation deserves a holiday salute for promoting safe driving with holiday humor. About 130 highway message boards across the state offered communications like these:
 
  • Life is fra-gee-lay. Drive safe.
  • Stay to the right. Santa needs the left lane tonight.
  • If your relatives make you drink, don't drive.
  • Can I refill your eggnog, Eddie? -- Clark
  • Deck the halls/ No phone calls/ Fa la la la la
  • Drop the phone. We triple dog dare you.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
 
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and, more importantly, you're doing something.
 
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work, or family, or life.
 
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, do it.
 
Make your mistakes, next year and forever."
--Neil Gaiman, Author
 
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 (November 26, 2019)

The Markets
 
Thanksgiving is in the air!
 
On Thursday, U.S. investors may find themselves giving thanks for the bull market.
Year-to-date, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite have all gained more than 20 percent with dividends reinvested. The MSCI World Index also is up 20 percent year-to-date.
 
Bond markets have rallied, too. U.S. government bond yields have dropped since January, and prices have risen. Not all asset classes have packed an oomph, but investors are feeling optimistic, reported Michael Mackenzie of the Financial Times.
 
Ben Levisohn of Barron's expressed some skepticism about the current level of optimism.
 
"If you believe the current narrative, everything is right with the world. By cutting interest rates three times, the Federal Reserve has averted a recession. And with the U.S. and China slowly making progress on a trade deal, capital spending could revive and boost the economy. And right on time, the S&P 500 index hit a new all-time high, seemingly confirming this rosy narrative. Strangely, market sentiment appears to be getting better even as the economic data appear to be getting worse."
 
He's not wrong. Economic data suggest U.S. and Chinese economies have begun to experience negative effects related to the two-year-old trade war. Reuters reported economic growth in China has slowed to a 30-year low. Growth in the United States has slowed, too.
 
While many remain optimistic about progress in resolving the U.S.-China trade dispute, Barron's Nicholas Jasinski spoke with the chief investment officer of an international wealth management firm, who commented, "Our view of U.S. and China is that it's a competition that's going to go on for a generation economically, diplomatically, militarily."
 
Last week, major U.S. indices finished lower on concerns about trade talk progress.

Happy Thanksgiving! We're thankful for you.
 

WHY DO PRESIDENTS PARDON TURKEYS? A turkey may not be on the Great Seal of the United States, as Ben Franklin would have preferred, but the bird has a surprisingly robust history at the White House.
 
From the 1870s until 1913, turkeys were provided to the White House for holiday meals primarily by Rhode Island poultry producer Horace Vose. After his death, it was a free for all. The White House Historical Association wrote,
 
"By 1914, the opportunity to give a turkey to a President was open to everyone, and poultry gifts were frequently touched with patriotism, partisanship, and glee. In 1921, an American Legion post furnished bunting for the crate of a gobbler en route from Mississippi to Washington, while a Harding Girls Club in Chicago outfitted a turkey as a flying ace, complete with goggles. First Lady Grace Coolidge accepted a turkey from a Vermont Girl Scout in 1925. The turkey gifts had become established as a national symbol of good cheer."
 
The first time a turkey was granted clemency was in 1863. President Abraham Lincoln instructed the White House staff to spare a bird which had become a favorite of his son, reported the Constitution Daily.
 
Some say President Truman pardoned a turkey or two, but the Truman Library does not agree.
 
Records indicate it was 1963 before another President spared a turkey destined for the White House kitchen. While both President Lincoln and President John F. Kennedy showed mercy, neither officially pardoned their birds. President Ronald Reagan joked about a pardon, but the first official Presidential turkey pardon was issued by President George H.W. Bush in 1989.
 
So, why do Presidents pardon turkeys? We're not really sure. We know where pardoned turkeys go, though.
 
For many years, like Super-Bowl-winning quarterbacks, they went to amusement parks in Florida and California. The turkeys helped lead Thanksgiving Day Parades. More recently, "the spared turkeys are sent to an enclosure at Virginia Tech called 'Gobbler's Rest' where they get to frolic with other free turkeys," reported The Independent.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It  
You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There's another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. "The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity." -- Bill Gates, Business magnate and philanthropist
 
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 (November 7, 2019)

The Markets
 
They did it.
 
The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates last week, as expected. There were no enthusiastic fans singing the Baby Shark song, but the Federal Open Market Committee's decision was well received.
 
Reuters reported, "Gaps between market expectations and the Fed's own outlook have been wide at times this year, a source of concern for policymakers who don't want to kowtow to markets, but also don't want to surprise or disrupt them. But, the two are now roughly in line with the idea that the Fed is on hold and the economy continuing to chug along.
 
Last week's unemployment report was full of good news. It reported job gains and moderate pay increases, according to Barron's, but there was a counterintuitive twist. The unemployment rate increased even though the economy added new jobs.
 
The only bad news was found in manufacturing. The October ISM manufacturing index ticked higher, but remains in contraction territory. CNBC reported, "Manufacturing has been at the heart of the economy's sluggishness, with a drop in business investment a big reason for the third quarter's sluggish 1.9 percent [economic] growth pace."
 
Barron's attributed softness in manufacturing to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.
 
 

Data as of 11/1/19
1-Week
Y-T-D
1-Year
3-Year
5-Year
10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)
1.5%
22.3%
11.9%
13.3%
8.7%
11.4%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.
1.2
13.4
8.1
5.6
1.9
2.8
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)
1.7
NA
3.2
1.8
2.4
3.4
Gold (per ounce)
-0.3
17.7
22.3
5.4
5.3
3.6
Bloomberg Commodity Index
1.0
4.6
-4.0
-1.7
-7.4
-4.9
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; 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, MarketWatch, 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 WILL WE DO WITH PARKING GARAGES? As the popularity of ride-sharing services and personal transportation options (like scooters and bicycles) grows, the need for cars in urban areas may diminish.
 
The arrival of autonomous vehicles could reduce demand even further.
 
Pew Research explained, "By 2030, 15 percent of new cars sold will be totally autonomous, according to one estimate. One in 10 will be shared. And, as it becomes easier for people to summon shared or autonomous cars when they need them, fewer people will want to own their own vehicle, meaning fewer cars overall."
 
So, what's going to happen to all of the parking garages?
 
There are a lot of interesting ideas about how parking garages might be repurposed. Some companies plan to reserve the spaces for autonomous vehicles. Others are remodeling garages to accommodate businesses and services.
 
For example, one company is buying properties with the intention of turning them into "commercial kitchens for delivery-only restaurants and other consumer services." Other possibilities include:
 
  • Recreational areas
  • Gyms
  • Movie theaters
  • E-commerce distribution centers
  • Flood protection areas
  • Urban farms
  • Apartment buildings
 
The co-CEO of an architecture and design firm told Axios News, "An obvious and functional challenge we face is that these structures were not originally designed for human habitation. These spaces often require us to raise the floor height, level the floors between ramps and incorporate design techniques that bring natural light into the space."
 
Redeveloping parking garages may be challenging and costly, but it could create opportunities for investors.
 
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, Science fiction writer and futurist
 
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 (October 30, 2019)

Weekly Market Commentary (October 30, 2019)
 
The Markets
 
More money managers are feeling less bullish, but you sure couldn't tell by the performance of U.S. stock markets last week.
 
Through the end of last week, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index had gained more than 20 percent year-to-date, the Dow Jones Industrial Index was up more than 15 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite had risen more than 24 percent.
 
All three indices finished last week in positive territory. Lawrence Strauss of Barron's reported signs that global markets are stabilizing supported investors' optimism. In addition, yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes increased, which suggested "investors are more optimistic about growth and overall economic prospects."
 
Despite strength in U.S. markets year-to-date, Barron's most recent Big Money Poll found fewer money managers are bullish than just one year ago when 56 percent anticipated gains in the months ahead. When 134 money managers across the United States were asked about their outlook for the next 12 months:
 
  • 27 percent were bullish
  • 42 percent were neutral
  • 31 percent were bearish
 
That's the lowest level of bullishness in 20 years and the highest level of bearishness since the mid-1990s. Nobel Laureate in Economics, Dr. Robert Shiller explains it is due to the "bubbles everywhere" including the US stock market, bond market and real estate markets. The Yale University professor sees a severe decline coming followed by ten years of recovery with stocks yielding half of what they produced in the last ten years. He believes one of the few bright spots in the stock markets will be established foreign markets. However, he also points out that our markets remain very fluid and subject to many pressures so exact time lines are impossible to predict.
 

Data as of 10/25/19
1-Week
Y-T-D
1-Year
3-Year
5-Year
10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)
1.2%
20.6%
11.7%
12.1%
9.0%
11.0%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.
1.2
12.1
9.3
4.9
1.9
2.3
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)
1.8
NA
3.1
1.8
2.3
3.6
Gold (per ounce)
1.6
18.1
23.0
6.0
4.3
3.7
Bloomberg Commodity Index
1.1
3.6
-6.1
-2.6
-7.4
-5.2
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; 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, MarketWatch, 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.
 
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? In 1986, Fortune magazine asked Warren Buffett his thoughts on inheritance. He responded children should receive, "...enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing."
 
It's an important question, even though relatively few Americans may need to grapple with it. According to the Federal Reserve:
 
  • 55 percent of inheritances are less than $50,000
  • 85 percent of inheritances are less than $250,000
  • 93 percent of inheritances are less than $500,000
  • 98 percent of inheritances are less than $1 million
  • 2 percent of inheritances are more than $1 million
 
A 2015 survey conducted by Merrill Lynch's Private Banking and Investment Group found, "a majority (91 percent) of people plan to leave the lion's share of their wealth to family members, motivated by a desire to positively influence the lives of loved ones. Yet the results indicate that many see significant risk in passing on wealth without context, conversation, guidance, or accountability."
 
So, how much is too much? Is there an amount of inheritance that will sap your children's motivation and undermine their work ethic? The answer may depend on the source of the wealth, reported The Atlantic:
 
"Perspectives on what constitutes 'too much' seem to vary depending in part on whether parents inherited their wealth or earned the majority of it themselves. When significant wealth gets passed down through multiple generations, inheritors can get the sense that 'they're just the caretakers of it', which means they might be more inclined to keep up the family tradition and will it to their own children...Self-made rich people can have a different relationship to their fortune, because they have firsthand knowledge of what was required to amass it. As such, they might be more interested in bequeathing not just money to their children, but a good work ethic as well."
 
If you would like to discuss your legacy and its potential impact on your heirs, give us a call.
 
Weekly Focus - Think About It
 
"We should not forget that it will be just as important to our descendants to be prosperous in their time as it is to us to be prosperous in our time."
--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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