Market Update: July 3, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

Last Week’s Market Activity

  • Stocks end first half with down week. Nasdaq lost ~2% on tech weakness, Dow -0.2%, S&P 500 Index -0.6%; Russell 2000 ended flat. Market weakness partly attributed to hawkish global central bank comments, which pushed yield on 10-year Treasuries up 15 basis points (0.15% to 2.30%), pressured the dollar. Favorable bank stress test results boosted financials, renewed focus on reflation trade into banks, energy.
  • Oil bounce continued, WTI crude oil +7%, bringing session winning streak to seven and price back above $46/bbl. Friday brought first weekly drop in rig count since January.
  • Strong first half despite recent choppiness. Nasdaq rallied 14%, its best first half since 2009, S&P 500 (+8%) produced its best first half since 2013 (Dow matched S&P’s first half gain).

Overnight & This Morning

  • S&P 500 higher by ~0.3%, following gains in Europe. Quiet session likely with early holiday close (1 p.m. ET).
  • Solid gains in Europe overnight– Euro Stoxx 50 +0.9%, German DAX 0.6%, France CAC 40 +1.0%. Solid purchasing managers’ survey data (June Markit PMI 57.4).
  • Asian markets closed mostly higher, but with minimal gains.
  • Crude oil up 0.4%, poised for eighth straight gain.
  • Treasuries little changed. 10-year yield at 2.29%. Early bond market close at 2 p.m. ET.
  • Japanese Tankan survey of business conditions suggested Japanese economy may have increased in the second quarter, manufacturing activity is at multi-year highs.
  • China’s Caixin manufacturing PMI, generally considered more reliable than official Chinese PMI, exceeded expectations with a 50.4 reading in June, up from 49.6 in May.
  • Today’s economic calendar includes key ISM manufacturing index, construction spending.

MacroView_header

Key Insights

  • Several key data points this week, despite the holiday-shortened week. Today brings the important Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), followed by minutes from the June 13-14 Federal Reserve (Fed) policy meeting on Wednesday and Friday’s employment report. Key overseas data includes services PMI surveys in Europe, China’s manufacturing PMI, and the Japanese Tankan sentiment survey (see below). Market participants will scrutinize this week’s data for clues as to the path of the Fed’s rate hike and balance sheet normalization timetables. Views are diverging again, though not as dramatically as in late 2015/early 2016.

Macro Notes

  • The first six months in the books. It was a solid start to the year, with the S&P 500 up 8.2%, the best start to a year since 2013. Yet, this year is going down in history as one of the least volatile starts to a year ever. For instance, the largest pullback has been only 2.8%–which is the second smallest first-half of the year pullback ever. Also, only four days have closed up or down 1% or more–the last time that happened was in 1972. Today, we will take a closer look at the first half of the year and what it could mean for the second half of the year.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Markit Mfg. PMI (Jun)
  • ISM Mfg. (Jun)
  • Construction Spending (May)
  • Italy: Markit Italy Mfg. PMI (Jun)
  • France: Markit France Mfg. PMI (Jun)
  • Germany: Markit Germany Mfg. PMI (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Markit Eurozone Mfg. PMI (Jun)
  • UK: Markit UK Mfg. PMI (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Unemployment Rate (May)
  • Russia: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: Vehicle Sales (Jun)

Tuesday

  • Happy July 4th Holiday!
  • Japan: Nikkei Japan Services PMI (Jun)
  • China: Caixin China Services PMI (Jun)

Wednesday

  • Factory Orders (May)
  • Durable Goods Orders (May)
  • Capital Goods Shipments and Orders (May)
  • FOMC Meeting Minutes for Jun 14
  • Italy: Markit Italy Services PMI (Jun)
  • France: Markit France Services PMI (Jun)
  • Germany: Markit Germany Services PMI (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Markit Eurozone Services PMI (Jun)
  • UK: Markit UK Services PMI (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Retail Sales (May)

Thursday

  • ADP Employment (Jun)
  • Initial Jobless Claims (Jul 1)
  • Trade Balance (May)
  • Germany: Factory Orders (May)
  • ECB: Account of the Monetary Policy Meeting
  • Mexico: Central Bank Monetary Policy Minutes
  • Japan: Labor Cash Earnings (May)

Friday

  • Change in Nonfarm, Private & Mfg. Payrolls (Jun)
  • Unemployment Rate (Jun)
  • Average Hourly Earnings (Jun)
  • Average Weekly Hours (Jun)
  • Labor Force Participation & Underemployment Rates(Jun)
  • Germany: Industrial Production (May)
  • France: Industrial Production (May)
  • Italy: Retail Sales (May)
  • UK: Industrial Production (May)
  • UK: Trade Balance (May)

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. 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. Investing in foreign and emerging markets 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. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: June 26, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

Last Week’s Market Activity

  • After closing once again at record levels last Monday, the Dow and the S&P 500 Index battled a wave of sector rotation for the balance of the week, finishing higher by the slightest of margins.
  • It was the 2nd consecutive weekly gain for the S&P 500, as increases in healthcare (+3.7%) and technology (+2.3%) offset weakness in the energy (-2.9%), financials (-1.8%), and utilities (-1.8%) sectors.  Positive news on drug development and potential changes to the Affordable Care Act drove healthcare higher, while continued weakness in WTI crude oil ($43.00; -4.0% for the week) pressured the energy sector.
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.14%, its second lowest close of 2017, pressuring the U.S. dollar, which edged down -0.2% on Friday.

Overnight & This Morning

  • Asian stocks rose for a third day, led by technology companies.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose +2.0% and equity markets in China and Hong Kong had gains approaching 1.0%. In Japan, The Nikkei managed to climb despite a report from the Bank of International Settlements warning of dollar denominated risk on bank balance sheets.
  • European stocks rebounded from three weeks of losses. German business confidence hit a record in June, but Italy had to bail out two banks totaling $19 billion.
  • Commodities – WTI crude oil rose, trimming its biggest monthly decline in one year. Gold extended its decline to the lowest level in almost six weeks.
  • U.S. stock futures are up slightly as the dollar climbed and Treasury yields jumped after several Federal Reserve officials suggested further rate increases.

MacroView_header

Key Insights

  • Mixed signals. The financial markets are sending mixed signals, trading within a tight range in an extended expansion. The debate now centers on if the U.S. economy can continue to exhibit growth in output and profits (signal from stocks) or it may slip into a recession (signal from Treasuries). Our view is that though the growth rate in manufacturing may have peaked, we expect Purchasing Manager Indexes (PMI) to remain in expansion territory. While auto sales may be down ~5.0% from last year, the rise in household formation suggests pent up demand remains in the housing market. Finally, with solid employment levels and improving wages, consumption is well-positioned to support growth and any clarity on regulation, infrastructure, and tax plans could provide an additional boost.
  • Brexit. Friday marked the 1st anniversary of the controversial Brexit vote, which called for the U.K. to leave the European Union (EU).  To mark the occasion, the pound sterling rose +0.2% to $1.27, paring its weekly decline, and the FTSE 100 Index fell -0.2% on Friday. While the U.K. is the largest importer of the EU countries, the FTSE 100 is largely comprised of exporters, with 2/3rds of its revenue generated overseas.  This helps explain why the approximately 15.0% drop in the pound sterling was accompanied by a rise of a similar magnitude (+17.0%) in the FTSE 100 over the past year.

Macro Notes

  • Technicals continue to look strong. One of the strongest aspects of this equity bull market has been that the technicals have and continue to support higher prices. This week we take a closer look at the global bull market and why broad participation suggests it still has legs.
  • 41 weeks and counting. The S&P 500 has now gone 41 straight weeks without closing lower by 2% or more, but that’s not even the most surprising point.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Durable Goods Orders (May)
  • Chicago Fed National Activity Report (May)
  • Cap Goods Shipments and Orders (May)
  • Dallas Fed Mfg. Report (Jun)
  • ECB: Draghi
  • BOE: Carney
  • BOJ: Kuroda

Tuesday

  • Conference Board Consumer Confidence (Jun)
  • Richmond Fed Mfg. Report (Jun)
  • Italy: Mfg. & Consumer Confidence

Wednesday

  • Advance Report on Goods Trade Balance (May)
  • Wholesale Inventories (May)
  • Pending Home Sales (May)
  • France: Consumer Confidence (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Money Supply (May)
  • Itally: PPI & CPI (Jun)
  • Bank of Canada: Poloz
  • Japan: Retail Sales (May)

Thursday

  • GDP (Q1)
  • Germany: CPI (Jun)
  • Eurozone: Consumer Confidence (Jun)
  • BOJ: Harada
  • Japan: National CPI (May)
  • Japan: Industrial Production (May)
  • China: Mfg. & Non-Mfg. PMI (Jun)

Friday

  • Personal Income (May)
  • Consumer Spending (May)
  • Chicago PMI (May)
  • Core Inflation (May)
  • UK: GDP (Q1)
  • France: CPI (Jun)
  • Germany: Unemployment Change (Jun)
  • Eurozone: CPI (Jun)
  • Canada: GDP (Apr)
  • Japan: Vehicle Production (May)
  • Japan: Housing Starts (May)
  • Japan: Construction Orders (May)

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. 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. Investing in foreign and emerging markets 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. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: May 1, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks head higher to begin week. U.S. stocks are modestly higher in early trading, following news that Congress reached an agreement late Sunday to fund the government through September 30; pending approval by Friday, the deal will avoid a government shutdown. The major averages all closed lower on Friday, though the S&P 500 still managed a 1.5% gain for the week. Earnings dominated last week’s headlines, as the S&P’s advance was led by more than 2% weekly gains in the technology, healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors. Overnight, nearly all major markets in Asia and Europe were closed for holidays; Japan’s Nikkei was the exception, closing up 0.6% after Purchasing Mangers’ Index (PMI) data came in near expectations. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year Treasury is up slightly to 2.30%, COMEX gold ($12669/oz.) is flat, and WTI crude oil is dropping more than 1% to below $49/barrel.

MacroView_header

  • Another busy week of earnings on tap. A very strong earnings season continues this week with 127 more S&P 500 companies slated to report results. With about two-thirds of companies having reported, S&P 500 earnings for the first quarter of 2017 are now tracking to a 13.6% year-over-year increase, well above the 10.2% increase reflected in consensus estimates as of April 1. The upside surprise has been about more than just easy comparisons in energy, with broad-based strength across several key sectors, including financials, healthcare, industrials, and technology. The 77% earnings beat rate thus far, should it hold, would be the best since 2010.

earnings-dashboard-5-1-17.jpg

  • Company guidance has been more upbeat than usual. Forward estimates for the S&P 500 have only fallen 0.2% since earnings season begin, reflecting generally optimistic guidance from corporate America (average earnings season declines are 2-3%). We see little potential for policy upside in calendar 2017 (though there is a fair amount in 2018), suggesting most of the resilience in earnings estimates reflects recent firming in the business environment.
  • Employment report highlights a busy week. The first week of the month always includes some key economic data, highlighted by Friday’s Employment Situation report. Usually, any Federal Reserve (Fed) policy meeting would be the week’s highlight, but this week’s meeting, concluding Wednesday, will not receive as much attention, with expectations near zero for a rate hike and no new projections accompanying the release of the policy statement. We’ll also get a read on U.S. business activity, with April manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI from the Institute for Supply Management released on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Internationally, we’ll get March Eurozone unemployment on Tuesday, Eurozone first quarter 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) on Wednesday, and preliminary Eurozone PMI data on Thursday.
  • Congress reaches deal to fund the government. As expected, after an initial one-week extension, House and Senate negotiators reached a deal to fund the government through September. A vote is expected later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday. Although few saw material risk of a shutdown, clearing this hurdle does help pave the way for other initiatives. Tax reform is the top priority but Republican policymakers continue to try to craft an agreement to repeal and replace ObamaCare, where the path to compromise remains extremely difficult.
  • Almost all markets in Europe and Asia are closed today for the May 1 holiday. Japan is the major exception to the general state. One data point was released, Chinese manufacturing PMI was 51.2, lower than the March figure of 51.8 and also lower than expectations. Lower prices for commodities is largely the culprit, not a drop in demand. Still, it does highlight the sensitivity of the Chinese economy to “Old Industrial China.” After generally good economic reports in Q1 2017, the Chinese government has announced a series of crackdowns on excessive leverage in the real estate and financial markets.
  • Reflecting on Nasdaq 6000. The Nasdaq Composite hit 6000 last week, more than 17 years (or 6250-plus days) after first reaching 5000 back in March of 2000. During the dotcom boom in the late 1990s, moves from 3000 to 4000 and 4000 to 5000 were quick at 56 and 71 days, before the long and winding road to 6000 over the course of nearly two decades. Although this milestone has sparked more bubble talk in the media, we believe stocks are far from bubble territory, and the Nasdaq stands on a much stronger foundation today than it did in the days leading up to the dotcom crash.
  • Welcome to May. May is a busy month with multiple events that could move global markets. From the Fed meeting, to Presidential election in France, to the kickoff of what has historically been the worst six months of the year for equities; this is a big month.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Personal Consumption Expediture Core & Deflator (Mar)
  • ISM Mfg. PMI (Apr)
  • BOJ: Minutes of March 15-16 Meeting
  • China: Caixin Mfg. PMI (Apr)

Tuesday

  • Eurozone: Unemployment Rate (Mar)

Wednesday

  • ISM Non-Mfg. PMI (Apr)
  • FOMC Rate Decision (May 3)
  • Eurozone: GDP (Q1)

Thursday

  • Eurozone: Markit PMI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: Retail Sales (Mar)

Friday

  • Change in Nonfarm, Private & Mfg. Payrolls (Apr)
  • Unemployment Rate (Apr)
  • Labor Force Participation & Underemployment Rates (Apr)

 

 

 

 

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. 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. Investing in foreign and emerging markets 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. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Mark Cuban Says This Will Be the No.1 Job Skill in 10 Years

Study after study has shown that millions of jobs are at risk of becoming automated in the coming years.

And the U.S. is not prepared, says Mark Cuban, the billionaire software developer and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

In a recent interview on Bloomberg TV, Cuban warned that even people with in-demand skills like computer coding could soon be displaced.

“That might have been a great job a few years ago, but you might be out of work in five years,” he said, citing what he called “the automation of automation,” where computers learn how to write software better than humans can.

“We’re going to have a lot of displaced workers — the nature of work is changing,” he said.

So a new skill will become more in-demand than it ever has been: creative thinking.

“I personally think there’s going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there were for programming majors and maybe even engineering,” he said. “When the data is all being spit out for you for you, options are being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data.”

In particular, experts in philosophy or foreign languages will ultimately command the most interest from employers in the next decade, Cuban said.

Cuban went on to say that America should be investing in programs like Americorps, which leverages community-building and creative thinking to create social impact. But that type work isn’t always seen as valuable, Cuban said.

“Making it a real job…that’s what we’re going to need,” he said.

Written By: Rob Wile
Source: Money

Monthly Market Insights | January 2017

U.S. Markets

The post-election rally in the stock market gathered fresh momentum in December, but lost steam following a Fed rate hike and the onset of holiday trading.

For December, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 3.3 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 1.8 percent and the NASDAQ Composite rose 1.1 percent.1

quote

After slipping in the first days of the new month, stocks renewed their climb higher, setting new records on major indices. The market maintained its optimistic view of the anticipated economic direction that a Trump presidency may take, focusing on the potential positive impact expected tax cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation might have on economic growth and corporate profits.

Fed’s Influence

The climb in stock prices stalled in advance of the Fed decision to raise the federal funds rate by a quarter-percentage point. The Fed also suggested that it might increase rates further in 2017 by three-quarters of a percentage point. This took some of the wind out the equity market’s sails and led to a higher U.S. dollar and tumbling bond prices. (Bond prices move inversely to yields, so as yields rise, bond prices decline.)

Amid thin holiday trading the market moved lower, shaving off some of its December gains.

For the Year

For 2016, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 13.4 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 9.5 percent. The NASDAQ Composite picked up 7.5 percent.2

Sector Performance

Most industry sectors ended higher in December, led by Energy (+6.65 percent) and Financials (+4.46 percent). Other sectors posting gains included Consumer Staples (+1.11 percent), Industrials (+0.18 percent), Materials (+1.25 percent), Real Estate (+0.26 percent), Technology (+1.39 percent) and Utilities (+1.18 percent). Consumer Discretionary (-0.55 percent) and Health Care (-0.32 percent) sustained minor losses.3

charts-table-1

World Markets

Global markets ended the year on an encouraging note, with the MSCI-EAFE Index rising 2.8 percent for the month.4

European stocks staged a broad rally to end 2016. Major markets posted strong gains, including Germany, France and the U.K.5

Pacific Rim markets were mixed, as Australia benefited from higher commodity prices, Hong Kong fell on a weaker Yuan and capital outflows from China and Japan settled higher.6

charts-table-2

Indicators

Gross Domestic Product: An earlier estimate of third quarter GNP growth was revised higher to 3.5 percent, up from 3.2 percent. While the increase represented an exceptional growth rate for the economy, the overall economic growth rate through September 2016 remained consistent with the tepid growth that has marked this long economic expansion.7

Employment: The unemployment rate declined to its lowest level in nine years, dropping to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent a month earlier. Workers’ wages also gained, rising 2.5 percent over November 2015, as employers competed for workers in a tightening labor pool.8

Retail Sales: Sales at retailers ticked 0.1 percent higher in November, a disappointing slowdown that some attributed to uncertainty about the U.S. election. Nevertheless, retail sales were higher over the same month last year by 3.8 percent, suggesting a better start to the holiday shopping season.9

Industrial Production: Industrial output by factories, mines and utilities fell 0.4 percent as a consequence of unseasonably warm weather in November. Capacity utilization also slipped 0.4 percent to 75 percent.10

Housing: Housing starts fell 18.7 percent from a robust result in October. However, over the last three months, housing starts have been at their highest level since the end of 2007.11

Sales of existing homes rose 0.7 percent, the third consecutive month of higher sales. Thirty-two percent of November sales were from first-time buyers, while over 20 percent of sales were all-cash transactions.12

New home purchases climbed 5.2 percent, the largest one-month gain since July. Through November, sales are 12.7 percent higher over the same period last year.13

CPI: For the fourth straight month, consumer prices moved higher, rising 0.2 percent in November. Prices were also higher when compared to November of last year, up by 1.7 percent—the biggest increase since October 2014.14

Durable Goods Orders: Orders for civilian aircraft dropped sharply in November, leading to a 4.6 percent decline in durable goods orders. Excluding transportation orders, orders for long-lasting goods increased 0.5 percent.15

The Fed

The Federal Reserve announced on December 14 that it would hike the federal funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point, with Fed officials signaling their expectation to raise rates by another 0.75 percent in 2017, which may come in three separate quarter-point moves. The decision to hike rates at a faster pace than previously anticipated reflected the Fed’s escalating conviction in the economy’s strength and stability.16

What Investors May Be Talking About

Markets are expected to watch carefully to see what President Trump attempts to accomplish in the early days of his presidency with a Republican Congress. Many of the initiatives that have been discussed by the President-elect have the potential to further impact stock valuations. Among them are:

  • The rollback of environmental, energy and climate policies enacted by the Obama Administration.
  • Corporate income tax reform to reduce taxes, eliminate deductions and repatriate overseas profits with a one-time reduced tax assessment.
  • The withdrawal from trade agreement talks (Trans Pacific Partnership) or the renegotiation or withdrawal from existing trade agreements (NAFTA) may benefit some companies, but could harm others with substantial exports or overseas manufacturing.
  • The reduction of corporate regulations may influence profits. For example, revamping Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act may prove beneficial to financial companies’ profits.
  • The Affordable Care Act may be up for a significant rewrite or even repeal, though without knowing what replaces it, it is difficult to estimate the impact any health care law changes may have in the market.

Of course, disappointment in achieving some of the anticipated changes that have driven markets higher since the election may be cause for a broad price retreat.

In any event, experience teaches investors that overreacting to current events can be counterproductive to long-term investment strategies, but ignoring them entirely runs its own set of risks.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2016
  2. The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2016
  3. Interactive Data Managed Solutions, December 31, 2016
  4. MSCI.com, December 31, 2016
  5. MSCI.com, December 31, 2016
  6. MSCI.com, December 31, 2016
  7. The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2016
  8. The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2016
  9. The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2016
  10. The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2016
  11. The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2016
  12. The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2016
  13. The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2016
  14. The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2016
  15. The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2016
  16. The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2016

 

Source: Lake Avenue Financial

10 Founders Share What Their Worst Boss Taught Them

We’ve all had bosses that make us crazy — whether it was a supervisor with a big temper, one that watched your every move or the one that never knew what he wanted. But even if at the time it was frustrating or demoralizing, there is an upside: You’ll never catch yourself being that kind of manager.

We caught up with 10 successful entrepreneurs who shared with us the lessons they learned from the worst bosses they’ve ever had.

 

20170110214430-daniellayakobvsky

1. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY

Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
Company: BaubleBar
Lesson: One of the things I have learned is to communicate openly and honestly with the folks you work with. Try to understand where their requests and feedback are coming from and be open to feedback. When you’re first starting and you’re a small company, it’s definitely easier to do. As you grow and have more people, it is a harder thing to scale but that doesn’t take away it’s importance.

 

20170110214505-gavinarmstrong

2. FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE

Name: Gavin Armstrong
Company: Lucky Iron Fish
Lesson: People who are bullies act that way because they are insecure about something else. They are very demeaning and not appreciative.

You want to be very respectful of people working with you. Remember they work with you, not for you. Be complimentary of their work, because they are putting a lot of time and effort into it.

 

20170110214542-merrillstubbs

3. HAVE STRONG CONVICTIONS

Name: Merrill Stubbs
Company: Food52
Lesson: Being indirect about what you want or what you expect is a really terrible tactic for managing people. It makes them feel like the ground is shifting beneath them — that’s an impediment and distraction from people doing their best work.

 

20170110214609-melissabenishay-1

4. BE A MENTOR

Name: Melissa Ben-Ishay
Company: Baked By Melissa
Lesson: The importance of open communication. When I think of the worst boss I ever hard, I don’t think of just one person.

I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have someone who wanted me to succeed. I didn’t have someone who took the time to sit down, have a conversation with me and help me be better at my job. So now, I really make the effort to be clear and honest with my employees and sit down with them and communicate.

 

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5. FOLLOW THROUGH

Name: Oliver Kharraz
Company: Zocdoc
Lesson: I learned to only make promises that I can keep. I remember how upset I was when promises were made to me that were not kept, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that.

 

20170110214718-jennieripps

6. CONNECT WITH EVERY EMPLOYEE

Name: Jennie Ripps
Company: Owl’s Brew
Lesson: I learned how important it is to engage with my own team and also to ensure that there is buy-in across the board at an individual level.

 

20170110214755-timchen

7. LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR

Name: Tim Chen
Company: Nerdwallet
Lesson: Ego gets in the way of success. I worked at a hedge fund that had a real “Lord of the Flies” feeling. It was pretty crazy. The problem with ego is the best ideas don’t win, because you have trouble facing the truth.

 

20170110214823-kylehill

8. TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT

Name: Kyle Hill
Company: HomeHero
Lesson: The worst boss I had was actually a soccer coach I had in high school. I wouldn’t say he was a bad coach, but he yelled at me a lot. I realized that was something I could not handle. So my dad ended up pulling me from the team. I didn’t understand it at the time. I thought it wasn’t a big deal, and I had a tough skin.

But my dad was adamant about this, he said, “I don’t want people talking down to you because it hurts your self confidence. I need you to have the highest self confidence going into in everything you do in life; otherwise you’re not going to want to do it.”

I think it lends itself to being treated with respect and dignity. My dad said, “You can be stern, you can bench my son, you can take him aside and tell him what he needs to improve on. But don’t publicly reprimand him.”

Even to this day, I tell people, “If you’re upset with me, whether it’s my co-founder or an employee, talk to me like an adult.”

 

20170110214856-bastianlehmann

9. DON’T STAND IN THE WAY OF INNOVATION

Name: Bastian Lehmann
Company: Postmates
Lesson: One thing I try to do is help the people that want to do more. I want to help them realize that when they are at Postmates.

The worst boss I ever had told me that I couldn’t do that. He was weak and afraid someone was more hungry than him. When I saw someone trying hard, and they gave it everything they had, that someone would not give them guidance and help them succeed.

 

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10. HAVE A CLEAR VISION

Name: Heidi Zak
Company: Thirdlove
Lesson: The one thing I’ve noticed from having different types of bosses is that the best ones have a clearly articulated vision of what the team is working toward. You have to communicate it effectively and do it often. That’s what I try to do; you can’t say it too often.

 

 

 

Written by: Nina Zipkin

Source: Entrepreneur

Monthly Market Insights | December 2016

U.S. Markets

A surprise election outcome ignited an unexpected rally that pushed stocks into record territory, as investors anticipated faster economic growth, lower corporate taxes and increased infrastructure spending under the newly elected president.

For the month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 5.4 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 3.4 percent, and the NASDAQ Composite rose 2.6 percent.1

Head Fake

The wave of investor selling overseas in response to the U.S. election results threatened to extend to domestic stocks, with U.S. stock futures down sharply prior to the first day of post-election trading. However, instead of dropping, stock prices jumped as investors appeared to focus more on the potential positives of a Trump presidency than its uncertainties.

quote

Along with the rally in prices came a weakening in the strong correlations among industry sectors that have existed for some time now. For example, since the election, the correlation between financial stocks and the S&P 500 Index fell to 0.59, down from 0.89 on November 7.2 (A correlation of 1.0 indicates the two are moving in perfect harmony.)

Correlation Watch

When examined more broadly, a benchmark measuring the anticipated average correlation among stocks dipped to its lowest level since 2008.3  Whether lower correlations become a more permanent feature of the markets remains a question mark.

Long-Term Trend?

Should the larger dispersion of returns among industry sectors persist, the ability of investors to separate leaders from laggards may be met with greater reward than it has been met with in the recent past. In short, a weakening in correlations potentially could mean more opportunities for active managers to outperform popular indexes.3

After posting gains for three straight weeks in November, market momentum stalled in the closing days of trading, despite news that OPEC nations reached an agreement to cut oil production.

Sector Performance

The majority of industry sectors posted strong gains, led by Financials (+12.34 percent) and Industrials (+9.16 percent). Also advancing were Consumer Discretionary (+5.77 percent), Energy (+2.10 percent), Health Care (+2.40 percent), Materials (+5.74 percent) and Technology (+1.33 percent). Meanwhile, Consumer Staples (-2.41 percent), Real Estate (-0.49 percent) and Utilities (-0.39 percent) ended lower.4

us-market-11-2016

World Markets

World markets did not participate in the stock market rally experienced in the U.S., with the MSCI-EAFE Index sliding 2.05 percent for the month.5

Some European markets struggled in November, weighed down by persistent economic weakness and growing concerns about spreading populism in the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. U.K. and Germany closed lower while France posted a slight gain.6

Markets in the Pacific Rim grappled with their own challenges, while Australia managed a slight gain on stronger commodity prices.7

World Markets 11-2016.png

Indicators

Gross Domestic Product: The economy expanded at a rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter, up from the initial estimate of 2.9 percent. This represents the strongest growth in two years.8

Employment: The unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent as employers added 161,000 new nonfarm jobs, while the prior two months saw upward revisions from original estimates. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers jumped 2.8 percent, year-over-year, the largest such increase since June 2009.9

Retail Sales: On the eve of holiday shopping season, retail sales jumped 0.8 percent, while September sales were revised upward to 1.0 percent, from the originally reported 0.6 percent increase. These back-to-back increases represent the best two months in at least two years.10

Industrial Production: Industrial output was unchanged in October as unseasonably warm weather kept home and office heating demands low.11

Housing: Housing starts increased 25.5 percent, the fastest pace since August 2007. Through October-end, starts were higher by 5.9 percent.12

Sales of existing homes increased 2.0 percent, touching a sales level not seen since February 2007.13

New home sales, however, declined 1.9 percent in October, though they are 12.7 percent higher year-to-date over the same 10-month period last year.14

CPI: Consumer prices jumped 0.4 percent from a month earlier. When compared to a year earlier, the increase represents the fastest rate in two years, signaling firming inflationary pressures.15

Durable Goods Orders: Posting the biggest increase in a year, orders of durable goods jumped 4.8 percent in October, propelled by a nearly 100 percent increase in civilian aircraft orders. September’s durable goods orders were revised higher, from an initial decline to a 0.4 percent gain.16

The Fed

In testimony to Congress, Janet Yellen on November 17 reiterated her belief that the U.S. economy is stable enough to absorb an interest rate hike, telling lawmakers that such an increase might come “relatively soon.” Her comments confirmed market expectations of a Fed hike in the federal funds rate at its next meeting on December 13-14.17

What Investors May Be Talking About

December is one of the best performing months on an historical basis. Since 1926, it has experienced the highest number of positive monthly returns of any month, the fewest number of negative returns, the least performance volatility and the second highest average return.18

Since past performance is not indicative of future results, this December’s market performance may turn on how investors respond to the wealth of news that unfolds over the course of the month.

Secrets of the Temple

Perhaps the most critical news might be what the Fed does about the federal funds rate. The Fed has signaled that a hike may be likely in December, though they may reconsider taking action in light of the unexpected election result.

If they move ahead with a rate hike, how the markets will respond may depend on whether this anticipated action has been fully priced in the markets. In the alternative scenario where the Fed delays a rate hike, the market’s response may be even greater, though no one can be sure in which direction such a development would drive stock prices.

Cabinet Positions

There is a Washington D.C adage, “personnel is policy.” This may never be truer when it comes to the incoming Trump presidency. Markets may be watching very closely any news about potential Cabinet appointments as a sign of the policy direction that the new administration may be taking once it assumes office in January.

Markets also are expected to keep an eye on consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of GDP.19 No month is more critical than December for retail sales.

Retail Spending

For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of annual sales, with jewelry stores reporting the highest percentage (27.4 percent) during the 2015 holiday season. Overall, last year’s holiday sales represented nearly 20 percent of total retail industry sales.20

As December marks the close of 2016 and represents the gateway to a new year, the uncertainty that reigns over the economic and foreign policies that will be pursued by President-elect Trump may lead to bouts of market skittishness in the weeks and months ahead.

By the Numbers

Beginnings and Endings

Year the first “greenbacks” were issued in the U.S.: 186121
Birth of the mail-order catalog: 174422

The first self-made multimillionaire in America: John Jacob Astor (1763-1848)23Famous hotel co-founded by Astor’s grandson and namesake: The Waldorf-Astoria24
How Astor’s grandson died in 1912: Aboard the Titanic24

First year Social Security taxes were collected: 193725
Size of the first lump-sum Social Security check: 17 cents25

Approximate number of kindergarteners in the U.S.: 3.7 million26
Approximate number of students who graduate from high school each year: 3.5 million26
Percent of graduating seniors who enroll in college the following fall: 68.4%26

Approximate number of new businesses started in the U.S. last year: 680,00027
Share of new businesses that survive 20 years or more: About 1 in 527

Success rate of businesses whose founder has previously started a successful business: 30%28
Success rate for businesses whose founder has previously failed with a start-up: 20%28
Success rate for first-time entrepreneurs: 18%28

Average retirement age: 6329
Share of Americans who plan to “keep working as long as possible:” 27%30

Number of AirBnB users over age 60: 1 million31
Percent of AirBnB hosts over age 60: 10%31

Percentage of retirees who say going on an RV trip is very appealing: 24%31
Most popular bucket list item, according to bucketlist.net: See the Northern Lights32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2016
  2. The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2016
  3. The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2016
  4. Interactive Data Managed Solutions, November 30, 2016
  5. MSCI.com, November 30, 2016
  6. MSCI.com, November 30, 2016
  7. MSCI.com, November 30, 2016
  8. The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2016
  9. The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2016
  10. The Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2016
  11. The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2016
  12. The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2016
  13. The Wall Street Journal, November 22, 2016
  14. The Wall Street Journal, November 23 18, 2016
  15. The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2016
  16. The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2016
  17. The Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2016
  18. Yardeni Research, “Stock Market Indicators: Historical Monthly and Annual Returns,” Yardeni Research,” October 2, 2016
  19. The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2016
  20. National Retail Federation, 2016
  21. UScurrency.gov, 2016
  22. Wikipedia, October 20, 2016
  23. Britannica.com, 2016
  24. Encyclopedia-Titanica.org, 2016
  25. Social Security Administration, 2016
  26. NCES.ED.gov, 2016
  27. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 28, 2016
  28. Inc.com, October 21, 2015
  29. SmartAsset.com, October 28, 2016
  30. Bloomberg, May 13, 2016
  31. Forbes, June 3, 2016
  32. BucketList.net, 2016

Source: Lake Avenue Financial

Market Update: November 28, 2016

MarketUpdate_header

  • Markets inch lower to begin data-heavy week. U.S. equities are pulling back modestly this morning as investors pause following a record-setting week for major indexes and ahead of a swath of economic data due out this week, including Friday’s non farm payrolls report. Volatility in WTI crude oil prices is also adding to caution amid doubts a deal will be reached at Wednesday’s OPEC meeting. As expected, Friday’s shortened session saw low volume, and the major averages all moved modestly higher (S&P 500 +0.5%); utilities (+1.4%) and telecom (+1.1%) outperformed, while only the energy sector (-0.4%) lost ground on the day, trading lower alongside a 3% drop in oil. Asian markets finished mostly positive overnight Monday, with the exception of the Nikkei (-0.1%) due to a strengthening yen. Italy’s MIB (-0.9%) is leading the retreat in European stocks ahead of Sunday’s constitutional referendum. Finally, oil is back in positive territory by over 2% ($47.15/barrel) after seeing sharp declines overnight, COMEX gold ($1186/oz.) has advanced 0.6% after touching nine-month lows on Friday, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury is down 2 basis points to 2.33%.

MacroView_header

  • Corporate Beige Book shows improved sentiment among corporate executives, based on the use of more strong words relative to weak ones in earnings conference calls during Q3 2016 earnings season. Talk of recession was virtually non-existent, election comments were minimal, and fewer mentions of currency suggested limited Brexit disruption and reflected a smaller currency drag on earnings. Meanwhile, oil and China continued to garner a lot attention. We believe Q3 results were strong enough to justify the improved tone from corporate executives and support our expectation for mid- to high-single-digit earnings growth in 2017.
  • Soft Black Friday shopping weekend reflects shifting retailer behavior, not consumer weakness. The National Retail Federation (NRF) said shoppers spent 3.5% less over the four-day Black Friday weekend than they did in 2015. The NRF said the decline in spending was a function of earlier promotions and longer-lived discounts. The trade group maintained its 3.6% growth forecast for holiday spending. Within these sales totals, online sales were very strong, rising 18% year over year on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to Adobe, and more people shopped online than in stores over the weekend.
  • OPEC deal in doubt? Headlines are all over the place regarding the likelihood of a deal. Comments out of Saudi Arabia suggesting the oil market would balance itself in 2017 even without a deal, coupled with Iran’s continued push for an exemption, suggested a deal was unlikely. On the flip side, Saudi Arabia’s comments are likely intended to increase negotiating leverage, while Iraq has stated its desire to cooperate with other OPEC members to reach an agreement. This one is tough to call, but our bias would be to buy on weakness in the absence of a deal should oil prices return to $40 a barrel or lower.
  • S&P 500 scores more new highs. The week of Thanksgiving tends to have a bullish bias and that played out this year, as the S&P 500 gained all four days of the week to close higher by 1.4%, the third straight higher weekly close. Interestingly, this was the third consecutive election year that the week of Thanksgiving was higher all four days. In the process, the S&P 500 closed at a new all-time high four consecutive days for the second time this year (it did it in July as well), but the index hasn’t closed at new highs five straight days since November 2014. Speaking of November, the S&P 500 is now up 4.1% for the month, the second best November return going back 14 years. As another way to show how strong the market has been, the S&P 500 hasn’t violated the previous day’s low for an amazing 14 consecutive days, which is the longest streak since 15 in a row in November 2004.
  • Small caps continue to soar. The Russell 2000 (RUT), a proxy for small caps, is up an incredible 15 days in a row. This now ties the streak of 15 in a row from February 1996 for the second-longest win streak ever. The record is 21 straight green days in 1988. Lastly, the RUT has made a new high nine straight days for the first time since September 1997 and the last time it made it to 10 in a row was May 1996.
  • Here comes December. The upcoming month is full of potential market-moving events. Historically, December is a strong month for the S&P 500; since 1950[1], no month sports a better average gain or is positive more often. Still, with the first Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) rate hike of the year likely coming in the middle of the month, the potential for a volatile month is much higher. Factoring in a highly anticipated OPEC meeting, the November employment report, elections in Austria and constitutional referendum in Italy, and a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting – you have all the ingredients for some big market moves in December. We will take a closer look at all of these events, along with the Santa Claus rally.

[1] Please note: The modern design of the S&P 500 stock index was first launched in 1957. Performance back to 1950 incorporates the performance of predecessor index, the S&P 90.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • ECB’s Draghi Speaks in Brussels
  • OECD releases 2017 Economic Outlook

Tuesday

  • GDP (Q3 – Revised)
  • Dudley (Dove)
  • Germany: CPI (Nov)

Wednesday

  • Personal Income and Spending (Oct)
  • Chicago Area PMI (Nov)
  • Beige Book
  • Mester (Hawk)
  • OPEC Meeting in Vienna
  • China: Official Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • China: Official Non-Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • China: Caixin Mfg. PMI (Nov)

Thursday

  • ISM Mfg. (Nov)
  • Vehicle Sales (Nov)
  • Mester (Hawk)

Friday

  • Employment Report (Nov)

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. A money market investment is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money markets have traditionally sought to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in such a fund. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. 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. Investing in foreign and emerging markets 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. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. Technical Analysis is a methodology for evaluating securities based on statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices, volume and momentum, and is not intended to be used as the sole mechanism for trading decisions. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure a security’s intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns and trends. Technical analysis carries inherent risk, chief amongst which is that past performance is not indicative of future results. Technical Analysis should be used in conjunction with Fundamental Analysis within the decision making process and shall include but not be limited to the following considerations: investment thesis, suitability, expected time horizon, and operational factors, such as trading costs are examples. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC. 

Self-Employed? Here’s How to Save for Retirement

  
Zigy Kaluzny/Getty Images

Working for yourself comes with lots of perks: setting your own hours, your own dress code and your own workload. That’s probably part of the reason nearly a quarter of workers freelance, either full- or part-time. They make good money, too. Almost half earn six figures.

The downside is making up for all the benefits that employers typically provide. That means figuring out health care coverage (which at least is now easier — if not cheaper — than it was before Obamacare) and setting up retirement accounts.

“When you have a workplace 401(k), a lot of the heavy lifting for retirement planning is already done for you,” says Christine Benz, director of personal finance at Morningstar. “That makes it easier to overcome some of the barriers around getting started with retirement planning.”

That’s not the case for self-employed workers. More than three out of 10 freelancers said they were anxious about saving money for retirement, and more than half reported being behind, according to a November study by TD Ameritrade. By contrast, Americans with access to a workplace retirement plan were more than twice as likely to be very confident about having enough money to retire, according to a separate study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The good news is that saving for retirement is not impossible when you’re working on your own, though it may require more effort. Here’s what you need to know:

You’ll need to put away even more. Financialadvisers recommend that savers stash away at least 15 percent of their income for retirement, including their own money as well as any employer match. Freelancers have to sock away even more income to make up for not getting an employer match. That’s on top of building an emergency fund with at least six months’ worth of expenses that can help weather a dry spell.

It’s important for freelancers to factor the cost of those savings into their business budget, says Randi Merel, a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch. “You have to make sure that you’re earning enough money to cover your benefits,” she says.

You’ve got several options.
There are several ways freelancers can save money for retirement. Here are three to consider:

1) A traditional or Roth IRA: If you already have one of these accounts and aren’t making a ton of money, you can just continue putting aside retirement income there. With a traditional IRA, any withdrawals will be taxed, but you can deduct your contributions.

With a Roth (you’re eligible if your income is less than $120,000), you pay taxes now on your contributions, but the money grows tax-free. You also can make tax-free withdrawals on the principal, so it can double as an emergency fund for new freelancers, although you’ll want to keep the investments fairly conservative. “Then when you start taking on more projects and making more money, you can have a dedicated retirement fund,” says Randall Greene, CEO of Greene Financial Management in Altadena, Calif.

Annual contribution limits for both accounts are $5,500 for younger savers and $6,500 for those over 65.

2) SEP IRA: The most common plan for freelancers and sole proprietors, SEP IRAs allow contributions up to about 20 percent of your compensation, or $53,000, that grow tax-free.  There’s a complex formula to determine your contribution based on your compensation as a self-employed person.

A nice benefit of SEP IRAs is that the deadline for contributions is either Tax Day or when you file your taxes. So, you could put away just 5 percent of your income all year, but decide in February to put another 20 percent in because you find that you have the extra income. That can help you make up for any leaner years when you couldn’t contribute as much. (The same benefit applies to IRAs and Roths, but at much lower limits.)

You can set up a SEP IRA with almost any bank or brokerage, and fees tend to be minimal. “It’s a very cost-effective option,” says Douglas Boneparth, a financial advisor and partner with Longwave Financial.

3) Solo 401(k): Also known as an individual 401(k), these accounts let you put away $18,000 as an employee. Additionally you can contribute about 20 percent of your compensation (again, use the above calculator to determine the exact amount) or $53,000, whichever is less, as your own boss. Those over age 50 can put in an extra $6,000, and spouses who work together can both put in $53,000.

A Solo 401(k) may cost more to set up and require additional paperwork at tax time, but its assets are protected from creditors under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Contributions must be made before the end of the calendar year.

Many Solo 401(k)s also offer the option to borrow against your retirement savings, although experts say that doing so is rarely the best financial move.

Skip automation. Most retirement accounts offer an auto-fund option allowing you to set aside a predetermined amount of money each month. That can be more difficult for freelancers, since your income fluctuates. Instead, consider making contributions a few times a year, recommends Gage DeYoung, a certified financial planner and founder of Prudent Wealthcare in Aurora, Colorado. “Plan on doing it at the same time that you pay your estimated quarterly taxes,” he says.

Plan to work longer. Since freelancers control their schedules and how much work they take on, they’re ideally situated to ease into retirement. If you plan to continue working (even if you’ve scaled back) to delay drawing down your retirement funds, then you can retire more securely on a relatively smaller nest egg.

Written by Beth Braverman of Fiscal Times

(Source: Fiscal Times)

Airbnb in Talks to Urge Hosts to Use $15/Hr Unionized Cleaners

Provided by USA Today

SAN FRANCISCO — Airbnb is in final talks with the Services Employees International Union over an agreement to encourage the short-term rental company’s hosts to use unionized cleaners who are paid at least $15 an hour, the company said.

Under the agreement, Airbnb would endorse the SEIU’s national campaign for a $15 minimum wage. Airbnb would also urge its hosts to use union-backed cleaning services and would point hosts to such services on its website.

The agreement would allow the San Francisco-based company to “leverage the Airbnb platform to help create quality union jobs that pay a livable wage,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty.

The agreement could give Airbnb much needed political goodwill as it faces efforts aimed against it in cities across the country. Opponents say it turns neighborhoods into hotel strips, takes much needed housing off the market and harms workers in the hotel industry.

UNITE HERE, a union that represents hotel workers among others, was “appalled” by news of the pending agreement and called upon the SEIU to reject any partnership with Airbnb, a company it says has “destroyed communities by driving up housing costs and killing good hotel jobs,” in the words of spokeswoman Annemarie Strassel.

She accused Airbnb of showing blatant disregard for city and state laws and refusing to cooperate with government agencies.

“A partnership with SEIU does little more than give political cover to Airbnb. It doesn’t strengthen workers, and in fact undercuts the standards we’ve fought so hard to build for housekeepers in the hospitality industry,” she said.

The Airbnb negotiations come as unions nationally are fighting for a $15 minimum wage, a campaign that has gained steam this spring under the banner of Fight for $15.

California became the largest state to enact a $15 minimum wage law, in January. The base earnings law will go into effect in six years, in 2022.

A SEIU spokesperson said no formal relationship or agreement between the Union and Airbnb currently exists, but that it was always looking for new ways to support working people and regularly talked with companies that were committed to doing right by their workers.

Written by Elizabeth Weise of USA Today

(Source: MSN)

 

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