Money Management 101 for Single Parents Going it Alone

1. Determine What You Owe

As the head of the household, it’s up to you to make sure that your entire family’s needs are being met. In order to do that, you need to be extremely diligent when it comes to money management basics. This is not something that will happen by accident. Instead, you must plan for it and work toward it.

The first step is to set up your “office.” Gather all of your bills, a calculator, a pencil, and your checkbook.

I would also recommend that you grab an old binder that you can use to keep track of your financial data and a shoebox for storing paid bills.

Now you’re ready to begin:

  • Go through all of your bills, and pay anything that is due within the next week.
  • If you have bills coming due that you cannot pay, notify the company and ask them to set up a payment plan with you.
  • Print a copy of the chart “Paying Down My Debts” or make your own.
  • On the chart, list all of your debts, including any car loans, student loans, and credit card debt.
  • In addition, list the total balance left to be paid on all of these debts, and the percentage rate you are paying.
  • For now, leave the fourth column of the chart blank, and store it in your “Financial Data” binder.

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2. Eliminate Joint Debt

Before we create a plan for paying down your debt, it’s important to consider some special circumstances that may apply to you as a single parent. I asked LaToya Irby, Credit/Debt Management Expert, to share her expertise on handling joint debt:

Wolf: Let’s say a single mom still shares a credit card with her ex. What should she do?

Irby: Ideally, she would want her ex to transfer his portion of any joint balances onto his own credit card. That way, everyone is paying for their own debt.

Wolf: What about leaving both names on the account, and agreeing to pay part of the amount due? Is that ever advisable?

Irby: No. If you’ve made an agreement with your ex to split the debt payments on accounts that include your name, and your ex-misses a payment, it’s going to hurt your credit. If the ex-fails to pay altogether, the creditors and collectors will come after you. Not even a divorce decree can change the terms of a joint credit card agreement. In the credit card issuer’s eyes, you’re just as much responsible for post-divorce accounts as before.

Wolf: What about situations when a couple’s divorce decree mandates that one individual must pay off the joint credit card debt, but that person fails to do it?

Irby: You can always file contempt of court papers against him/her, but in the meantime, your credit score suffers. So I suggest paying off the debt to save your credit. If you can’t afford to pay the debt, at least make minimum payments to keep a positive payment history on your credit report.

Wolf: What about other accounts, such as utilities and cell phones?

Irby: The safest thing to do, if you have a service in your ex’s name, is to turn off the account and reestablish service in your name.

 

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3. Find Money to Pay Down Debt

Another thing we have to do before creating a plan to pay down your existing debt is to find money in your budget each month. To assist in this step, I contacted Erin Huffstetler, Frugal Living Expert.

Wolf: How much money do you think the average person can uncover just by being more intentional about spending and budgeting?

Huffstetler: The average person could easily uncover an extra $250 a month—and probably much more.

Wolf: What are the top 5 areas that you think people should look to first when they’re trying to cut their expenses?

Huffstetler:

  • Food spending (both groceries and eating out)
  • TV-related expenses (cable/satellite services, certainly; but also movie subscriptions and rentals)
  • Phone services (particularly extras like call waiting, caller id, long distance, and cell phones)
  • Insurance premiums
  • Miscellaneous spending (all those small amounts spent on coffee, vending machine snacks, and other indulgences)

Wolf: How can single parents, specifically, stretch their child support dollars and reduce child-related expenses?

Huffstetler: For single parents looking to stretch their child support dollars, creativity is the key. Look to children’s consignment shops and thrift stores to buy your kids’ clothes instead of department stores; sign them up for Parks and Rec-run activities instead of privately-run activities (which will always cost more); and don’t feel like you have to make up for being a single parent by buying them extra things—it’s you they need, not stuff.

 

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4. Pay Off Your Debt

The next step is creating a schedule for paying down your debt:

  1. Pay off the debts that charge you the highest interest first.Bob Hammond, author of Life Without Debt, recommends that you pay off the debts that are charging you the highest interest first since borrowing from those creditors is costing you the most money. “Concentrate on paying off the high-cost debts as soon as possible,” Hammond advises. LaToya Irby, Credit/Debt Management Expert, agrees. “Highest interest rate debts cost the most money, especially when those debts have high balances. So you’ll save money on interest charges when you pay off those high-interest rate debts first.”However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Irby notes, “If you’re likely to get discouraged because it’s taking a long time to pay off that high-interest rate debt, you can start with the lowest balance debt. Getting some small debts paid off will motivate you to keep going.”
  2. Pay more than the minimum payment. Aim for paying more than the suggested minimum payment, in order to pay off your debts as quickly as possible.Miriam Caldwell, Money in Your 20’s Expert, shares this advice:
    • Choose one debt to focus on.
    • Increase your payment on that debt by as much as you can.
    • Once you have paid off that debt, move all that you are paying on it to the next debt you want to pay off.
    • You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get out of debt with this plan!
  3. Meanwhile, continue to pay the minimum balance due on all of your other debts.Record what you intend to pay toward each debt on the debt chart you made in Step 1.

 

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5. Budget Your Monthly Expenses

Now that you know where you stand financially, and you’ve created a plan for paying down your debts, it’s time to make sure that you’re making any other necessary adjustments so that you can keep up with your plan. And this means creating a budget.

I know this can be intimidating, but I’m going to make a suggestion for you: Sign up for Mint.com. It’s a free financial software program available on the Internet, and it will basically do your budgeting for you. It will create a visual pie chart showing how much you’re spending each month on housing, gas, food, entertainment, and more. This way, if it turns out that you’re spending a lot more on food than you really should, you can begin to make the necessary adjustments to get your spending under control.

If you would prefer to create your budget the traditional way, allotting a certain amount of money to each spending category, I’ve created an online budget calculator you can use, which includes categories for child support and other details specific to your life as a single parent.

Finally, in taking a look at where your money really goes each month, it’s important to know approximately how much money you “should” be spending in each category. Generally speaking, your net spendable income (after taxes) should be allocated as follows*:

  • Housing: 30%
  • Food: 12%
  • Auto: 14%
  • Insurance: 5%
  • Debt: 5%
  • Entertainment: 7%
  • Clothing: 6%
  • Savings: 5%
  • Medical/Dental: 4%
  • Miscellaneous: 7%
  • Child Care: 5%
  • Investments: 5%

 

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6. Set Financial Goals

Now that you’ve worked out a plan to pay down your debt, and you’ve created a budget, it’s time to determine your needs moving forward.

Specifically, as a single parent, you need to ask yourself some questions, such as:

  • Do you need to file for child support?
  • Do you need to get a higher-paying job?
  • Is it time to think about going back to school?
  • Do you need to consider moving into a home/rental that would reduce your overall monthly payments?
  • Are there alternatives, such as taking on another job or splitting expenses with another single parent family, that you need to consider at this point?

One of the things that I want you to know is that the ball is in your court. You determine where this goes from here on out. But unfortunately, you can’t do that if you’re ignoring your financial health, right?

So the fact that you’ve come this far in the process of getting a handle on your finances tells me that you’re determined to make the changes you need to make in order to provide for your family’s future.

So go ahead and ask yourself these questions. So much of single parenting is learning to roll with the punches and be creative in the face of adversity. If, indeed, you need to make some pretty major changes, now is the time to do it. Don’t incur any more debt where you are. Be resourceful, follow through, and do what you need to do to turn your financial situation around.

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7. Increase Your Net Worth

The next step is to determine your net worth and begin adding to it.

Determine Your Net Worth:

Your net worth is what you own minus what you owe. Programs such as Mint.com, Quicken, and Microsoft Money will calculate your net worth for you, automatically.

You can also determine your net worth simply by adding up all that you own, including all of your investments, the equity you may have paid into your home, the value of your car, and any other assets you possess; and subtracting what you owe in remaining debts.

Set Up a Savings Account:

Once you know where you stand, you’ll be ready to set up a savings account. You can do this through your regular bank, or begin investing in a mutual fund that pays interest.

Even if you can only afford to set aside $25 or $50 per month, it will begin to add up.

Before you know it, you’ll have an emergency savings plan in place, to protect you in the event that your car breaks down, or your home needs a major repair.

In addition, this regular savings will help you increase your net worth over time.

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8. Become Even More Frugal

Unfortunately, all of the work you’ve already done in steps 1-7 will have little lasting value if you don’t change your attitude toward money. Now is the time to become even more frugal and learn to live within your means.

Practice Discipline:

Stop imagining that more money is going to pour in tomorrow—through finally collecting on unpaid child support, winning the lottery, or getting a promotion. If those things happen, great! You’ll be even better off. But living as if they’re going to happen is causing you to spend money you don’t have.

Instead, force yourself to make purchases with cash only. Do not continue to pay outrageous interest payments toward credit cards for purchases you don’t absolutely need. You can get by without that new furniture, right? What else could you skip, in the interest of spending only what you have right now in the bank?

Try These Ideas:

  • Check Freecycle before you make another major purchase. Someone else may be giving away the very thing you’d like to buy!
  • When you’re getting ready to buy something specific, look for it on eBay first. I buy a lot of my clothes, new-with-tags, through online auctions!
  • Forget trying to keep up with “The Jones’s.” You already know your value; don’t get caught up trying to “prove” your worth to others by having “just the right” house, car, or appearance.
  • Do not use shopping, ever, to appease your emotions.
  • Finally, when you do go to make a big purchase, step back and give yourself a few days–or even a week–to think about it. There’s no reason to suffer through buyer’s remorse and try to justify to yourself purchases that you really can’t afford. Think it over carefully and make those purchases, when necessary, with cash.

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9. Schedule Your Own Weekly Financial Check-In

Grab your calendar and schedule a weekly financial update meeting with yourself. This is an extremely important step in managing your personal finances, and it’s one that you need to continue each and every week. During your “meeting” time:

  • Pay any bills that are due.
  • If your bank statement has arrived, take the time to balance your checkbook.
  • Check the balances of your checking and savings accounts.
  • Update your debt list to incorporate any recent payments.
  • This is also a good time to write out your grocery shopping list and check what’s on sale at your local grocery store this week (either using the store’s Web site or the sales circular that comes in the newspaper).
  • Finally, also make note of any upcoming expenses you need to anticipate and plan for.

An attitude of gratitude and finances.

 

 

References:
Irby, LaToya. Email interview. 24 Oct. 2008, 
Huffstetler, Erin. Email interview. 24 Oct. 2008. 
Sources:
Caldwell, Miriam. Email interview. 27 Oct. 2008, Hammond, Bob. “Debt Free Key: 10 Steps for Coping With Credit Problems.” Life Without Debt. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 1995. 31-32, Irby, LaToya. Email interview. 24 Oct. 2008. 
“Spending Plan Online Calculator.” Crown Financial Ministries. 11 Oct. 2008.

Written By: Jennifer Wolf

Source: thebalance

 

 

 

Your Money: Sharing Family Getaways Without Any Cottage Conflicts

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Picture it: 40 picturesque acres nestled in Wisconsin lake country.

That is the ideal getaway the grandfather of Chicago financial planner Tim Obendorf’s wife built around 50 years ago. Then the property passed to the next generation, with ownership shared by four people.

Now they are thinking about the next generation: 11 potential owners.

Without the right planning, that paradise could turn into hell.

As brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents gather this summer at family homes to go hiking, canoeing or swimming, there will also be arguments over schedules, property taxes or mortgage costs, and upkeep duties, along with the thousand other matters that come with shared homeownership.

“Whenever a number of families are under the same roof, conflicts are going to arise,” said Jill Shipley, managing director of family dynamics for Abbot Downing, a division of Wells Fargo that handles high-net-worth families and foundations.

That is why Obendorf’s family has already logged a couple of family meetings. “It’s never going to be perfect, but you have to decide you value the place, more than the hassles of working through family issues,” said Obendorf.

It is not surprising that vacation homes have become a point of contention. Many vacation homeowners are baby boomers: They possess the bulk of the nation’s assets and are projected to hold over 50 percent by 2020, according to a study by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services. They are now beginning to retire as they hit their 60s and 70s.

The potential problems are plentiful: Is the place big enough for everybody? Who gets it on July 4th weekend? Do they split costs equally? Who cleans up, handles repairs, or stocks the fridge?

And the big one: When the owners eventually pass on – who gets the place?

How can families get the most out of shared vacation properties this summer, without either going broke or killing each other? Some tips from the experts:

Draw Up a Calendar

Just like season tickets for a sports team, some dates will be in high demand. So if the property is not big enough to handle multiple families at once – or, let’s face it, you just do not get along – pick your spots. “Establish a rotating lottery each year, and allow each family member to pick their respective dates,” suggests Kevin Reardon, a financial planner in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

Write Down a Policy

Everyone has different opinions of what a getaway should be, so hash it out and put it all down on paper. One key item: Whether ongoing costs like property taxes, homeowner’s association dues and repairs are split equally, or allocated based on usage.

Create an Opt-out

A sure way to guarantee family resentment: One member being forced into an arrangement they do not want. If a family cottage is being passed to the next generation, allow an escape hatch that permits one member’s share to be bought out by their siblings. After all, not everyone might be able to use the property to the same extent, especially if they have moved far away.

Bring in a Pro

Siblings, of course, do not always get along. In fact, 15 percent of adult siblings report arguing over money, according to a new survey from Ameriprise Financial. To make sure everyone is heard, bringing in a trained facilitator is probably your best bet, advises Shipley.

Have the Discussion Now

“I have been in many family meetings where the kids ask, ‘I wonder what mom and dad would have wanted?'” says Shipley. So if you are fortunate enough that the family matriarch and patriarch are still around, arrange a family meeting and find out what they envision for the property in the decades to come.

Maybe they want it to stay in the family, as a legacy for the grandkids. Or maybe, because of family circumstances like far-flung siblings, it would be wiser to just sell the property and split the proceeds.

Set up a Trust

One way to take future financial squabbles out of the equation altogether: If families have the resources, they should create a trust to “fund the maintenance and ongoing use of the property in perpetuity,” says Shipley. “That is one solution to reduce conflict, and keep the property in the family for generations.”

 

 

 

Written By: Chris Taylor
Source: Reuters

Nine Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Have you ever thought about striking out on your own? After all, being your own boss can be an exciting prospect. However, owning a business isn’t for everyone. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must have — or develop — certain personality traits. Here are nine characteristics you should ideally possess to start and run your own business:

1. Motivation

Entrepreneurs are enthusiastic, optimistic and future-oriented. They believe they’ll be successful and are willing to risk their resources in pursuit of profit. They have high energy levels and are sometimes impatient. They are always thinking about their business and how to increase their market share. Are you self-motivated enough to do this, and can you stay motivated for extended periods of time? Can you bounce back in the face of challenges?

2. Creativity and Persuasiveness

Successful entrepreneurs have the creative capacity to recognize and pursue opportunities. They possess strong selling skills and are both persuasive and persistent. Are you willing to promote your business tirelessly and look for new ways to get the word out about your product or service?

3. Versatility 

Company workers can usually rely on a staff or colleagues to provide service or support. As an entrepreneur, you’ll typically start out as a “solopreneur,” meaning you will be on your own for a while. You may not have the luxury of hiring a support staff initially. Therefore, you will end up wearing several different hats, including secretary, bookkeeper and so on. You need to be mentally prepared to take on all these tasks at the beginning. Can you do that?

4. Superb Business Skills 

Entrepreneurs are naturally capable of setting up the internal systems, procedures and processes necessary to operate a business. They are focused on cash flow, sales and revenue at all times. Successful entrepreneurs rely on their business skills, know-how and contacts. Evaluate your current talents and professional network. Will your skills, contacts and experience readily transfer to the business idea you want to pursue?

5. Risk Tolerance

Launching any entrepreneurial venture is risky. Are you willing to assume that risk? You can reduce your risk by thoroughly researching your business concept, industry and market. You can also test your concept on a small scale. Can you get a letter of intent from prospective customers to purchase? If so, do you think customers would actually go through with their transaction?

6. Drive 

As an entrepreneur, you are in the driver’s seat, so you must be proactive in your approaches to everything. Are you a doer — someone willing to take the reins — or would you rather someone else do things for you?

7. Vision

One of your responsibilities as founder and head of your company is deciding where your business should go. That requires vision. Without it, your boat will be lost at sea. Are you the type of person who looks ahead and can see the big picture?

8. Flexibility and Open-Mindedness

While entrepreneurs need a steadfast vision and direction, they will face a lot of unknowns. You will need to be ready to tweak any initial plans and strategies. New and better ways of doing things may come along as well. Can you be open-minded and flexible in the face of change?

9. Decisiveness

As an entrepreneur, you won’t have room for procrastination or indecision. Not only will these traits stall progress, but they can also cause you to miss crucial opportunities that could move you toward success. Can you make decisions quickly and seize the moment?

 

 

 

Written By: Ruchira Agrawal
Source: Monster

Raising Kids to Be Smart About Money

Young minds are programmed to absorb and copy the behaviors around them, which means the sooner you instill proper money management skills, the more prone your kids are to become mature and responsible stewards of their own cash-flow in the future.
“Becoming financially literate early in life is fundamentally important to your financial well-being as an adult,” says Micah Fraim, award-winning CPA and best-selling author.

“I was pinching pennies at five years old, calculating the cost of grocery items per ounce, refusing to buy expensive clothes unless they were on-sale and foregoing scoops of ice cream from the ice cream shop, so I could buy multiple gallons at the grocery store,” Fraim says. “Now as an adult, I still have that same mindset and live well below my means.”

The following kid-approved strategies help you teach the core tenets of being financially savvy; in terms they’ll understand and appreciate. Consider how you can use them to teach your little ones to be smart about money.

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Find Opportunities for Lessons

At some point, your child will inevitably deplete their allowance on impulse purchases, rather than holding out for the more expensive item they’ve been asking for. Instead of giving them more money, or buying it for them, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate that money is a finite resource, which must be allocated over an extended period. Once you spend, it’s gone until you can make more.

Have a conversation about what else they could have done with that money, or how much longer they would have needed to save to get the big-ticket item they wanted. Perhaps give an example of when you spent foolishly, or better yet, saved enough money to buy something important, like your house or car.

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Demonstrate that Income Is Earned

Chores are an easy way to teach children that money must be earned. This tangible incentive for contributing to your household shows them that have to work for what they want, and even do things they may not want to do—i.e. vacuuming and doing the dishes.

The concept of having to earn your money is a positive outcome of rewarding children financially for completing chores. However, some parents find that this method doesn’t necessarily teach money management, making it a bad way to teach children how to be smart about money. The key to avoiding the latter is the set-up.

Susan Borowski, mother and author for Money Crashers, shares how she set this up with her teenage son:

“As a contributing member of the family, my 13-year-old son is expected to do certain chores around the house for free. He can earn money for tackling larger tasks, many of which he can choose, some of which he cannot; the amount he earns depends on the difficulty of the task or how long it takes. This forces us to discuss money each time he takes on a larger task.”

This shows them that they have control over how much they earn, rather than it being a given.

Secondly, keep chores focused on money management with an app like Chore Monster so children can track what they’ve done and earned. This is an easy way to establish a record-keeping system, for both chores and allowance, seeing increases or decreases in money earned over time.

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Establish a Record-Keeping System

When your child is consistently earning allowance or money for chores, it’s important that they’re able to account for what happens with that money. The more emphasis you put on this piece of the earning, the more they’ll see the value of managing their funds. They’ll start to notice wasteful spending habits and identify which pitfalls to avoid during their next allowance payout.

Designate a folder where they can stockpile receipts and a notebook where they can track all purchases. This simple method of financial reporting is an ideal precursor to balancing a checkbook, analyzing bank statements, or creating a monthly budget.

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Use Visual Aids to Your Advantage

Although the “piggy bank” is a time-honored childhood favorite, this approach to money management doesn’t allow your child to see the positive outcome of their coin stashing. For a more functional alternative, use a transparent mason jar or clear plastic Tupperware container, both of which gives them an unobstructed view of the progressive financial increase that comes from diligent and habitual saving. This tool makes the abstract concept of saving easy to see and understand.

You can also open a bank account for older children. This gives them a chance to become familiar with bank statements, which act as a visual aid. Each time a new statement comes in, they can sit down and look at how much money was put into the bank account and how that’s changed month-over-month. Many banks now offer online portals, as well, where your children can see progress represented in bar and pie graphs; these may be easier to understand and digest.

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Encourage Them to Set a Savings Goal

There’s a sense of accomplishment and empowerment in reaching a goal with no shortcuts taken or assistance received. Channel this mindset when encouraging your child to practice economical behaviors. Next time they express interest in the latest gadget, suggest they purchase it themselves and develop a step-by-step plan together, so they feel equipped for the undertaking. This process of setting aside money with a specific goal in mind reinforces the gratification gained from being smart about money and purchasing the item without any help.

It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about how to be financially savvy. Too many people don’t learn about personal finance until it’s too late — like when they’re buried in student loans — so teaching these skills early on is important for setting your children up for success later in life.

 

 

 

Written By: Jessica Thiefels
Source: PBS

Market Update: July 3, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

7 Personal Finance Tips From Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is generally considered to be the best long-term investor of all time, so it’s no wonder many people like to listen closely to Buffett’s words of wisdom, in order to apply them to their own lives. With that in mind, here are seven of the best personal finance lessons I’ve learned from Warren Buffett over the years.

sitting-in-the-shade_large

1. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

The lesson here is to be a forward thinker when it comes to personal finance, whether you’re talking about investing, saving, or spending. When you’re deciding whether to put some more money aside for emergencies, think of a financial emergency actually happening and how much easier your life will be if you have enough money set aside.

Similarly, few people get rich quick by investing, and most people who try end up going broke. The most certain path to wealth (and the one Buffett took) is to build your portfolio one step at a time, and keep your focus on the long run.

money-growing_large

2. “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years”

In addition to this, one of my all-time favorite Warren Buffett quotes is “our favorite holding period is forever,” which is also one of the most misunderstood things he says. The point isn’t that Buffett only invests in stocks he’s going to buy and forget about — after all, Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway sells stocks regularly, and for a variety of reasons. Rather, what Buffett is saying is to invest in stable, established businesses that have durable competitive advantages. That is, approach your investments with the long term in mind, but keep an eye on them to make sure your original reasons for buying still apply.

paying-cash_large

3. “Price is what you pay; value is what you get”

When you’re buying an investment (or anything else for that matter), the price you pay and the value you receive are often two very different things. In other words, you should buy a stock if you believe its share price is less than the intrinsic value of the business — not simply because you think the price is low.

For example, if a market correction hit tomorrow and a certain stock were to fall by 10% along with the overall market, would the business inherently be worth 10% less than it is today? Probably not. Similarly, if a stock rose rapidly, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that the value of the underlying business had risen as well. Be sure you consider value and price separately when making investing decisions.

money-in-a-bag_large

4. “Cash … is to a business as oxygen is to an individual: never thought about when it is present, the only thing in mind when it is absent”

One of the reasons Berkshire Hathaway not only survives recessions and crashes, but tends to come out of them even better than it went in, is that Warren Buffett understands the value of keeping an “emergency fund.” In fact, when the market was crashing in 2008, Berkshire had enough cash on hand to make several lucrative investments, such as its purchase of Goldman Sachs warrants.

Granted, Berkshire Hathaway’s rainy-day fund is probably a bit bigger than yours; Buffett insists on keeping a minimum of $20 billion in cash at all times, and the current total is around $85 billion. However, the same applies to your own financial health. If you have a decent stockpile of cash on the sidelines, you’ll be much better equipped to deal with whatever financial challenges and opportunities life throws at you.

couple-planning-investments_large

5. “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing”

In Buffett’s mind, one of the best investments you can make is in yourself and the knowledge you have. This is why Buffett spends hours of every day reading, and has done so for most of his life. The better educated you are on a topic, whether it’s investing or anything else, the better equipped you’ll be to make wise decisions and avoid unnecessary risks. As Buffett’s partner Charlie Munger has advised: “Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.”

stock-traders-looking-at-screens_large

6. Most people should avoid individual stocks

This may seem like strange advice coming from Warren Buffett, since he’s widely regarded as one of the best stock-pickers of all time.

However, Buffett has said on several occasions that the best investment for most people is a basic, low-cost S&P 500 index fund, like the one he is using in a bet to outperform a basket of hedge funds. The idea is that investing in the S&P 500 is simply a bet on American business as a whole, which is almost certain to be a winner over time.

To be clear, Buffett isn’t against buying individual stocks if you have the time, knowledge, and desire to do it right. He’s said that if you have six to eight hours per week to dedicate to investing, individual stocks can be a smart idea. If not, you should probably stick with low-cost index funds.

giving-to-charity_large

7. Remember to give back

Warren Buffett is a co-founder of and participant in The Giving Pledge, which encourages billionaires to give their fortunes away. Buffett plans to give virtually all of his money to charity, and since he signed the pledge, he has given away billions of dollars’ worth of his Berkshire shares to benefit various charitable organizations.

Buffett once said, “If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.” And even if you’re not a member of the 1%, it’s still important to find ways to give back.

 

 

 

Written By: Matthew Frankel
Source: The Motley Fool

Market Update: May 8, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks in Asia were mostly higher with Nikkei & South Korea’s KOSPI surging +2.0% on positive vibes carrying over from U.S. jobs growth and Emmanuel Macron victory. South Korea’s election tomorrow looks to end a nine-year run for the ruling conservative party, which has been caught up in scandal. Hang Seng +0.4% while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.8% to the lowest levels in more than six months amid Beijing’s efforts to rein in financial leverage.
  • European stocks are holding steady after opening down slightly and two strong weekly gains that essentially priced in the Macron victory. The broader Euro Stoxx 600 is up ~+9.0% YTD. The euro slipped -0.5% to 1.09, but note that the common currency has climbed in five of the past six days and has been trading near its highest levels of the past six months.
  • U.S. markets are slightly lower after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed Friday at record levels. The dollar is up +0.3% after four consecutive weekly declines. The 10-year yield is higher at 2.37%. Oil is holding on to $46/barrel and COMEX gold is up 0.3% after dropping more than 3% last week.

MacroView_header

French Elections

  • Macron victory essentially eliminates fears of worst-case scenarios: wave of populist victories threatening viability of currency and European Union (EU).
  • First election without either of two leading parties in Fifth Republic.
  • Still plenty of challenges–Macron must form alliances with Socialists, the party he left, to offset alt-right anger, potential lack of cooperation heading into parliamentary elections in June.
  • Euro-Stoxx 600 +2.0% last week and flat/down today.
  • Euro (~1.09) down 50 basis points today but stronger vs. dollar and other currencies past month.
  • Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) and inflation both approaching +2.0% annual growth and this vote suggests trajectory can be maintained, accelerated with economic reforms in France.
  • European Central Bank (ECB) must remain accommodative near term, though, because Italy is the next challenge.

 Oil Prices

  • WTI fell -0.6% last week to $46/barrel as increased shale production in U.S. offsets Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cuts. To be sure, the announcement in November helped drive oil to ~$55, yet the increased profitability for higher cost producers in North America was evidently too good to pass up.
  • We expect OPEC to extend their production cuts at the next meeting in Vienna on May 25. Wall Street consensus is still bullish, projecting a range of $50-55/barrel over the next twelve months.
  • Recent sell-off largely technical in nature over supply concerns. WTI broke through 200-day moving average and failed to hold the new low for the year ($45) and a key Fibonacci retracement level. Frenzied trading in Asian markets ensued on Thursday, yet oil volatility was at its highest level in six months and relative strength (RSI) indicates oversold position.
  • “It’s different this time” – the U.S., not Saudi Arabia, is now the world’s swing producer and although OPEC has largely held on production cuts, U.S. rig counts are up.
  • We remain neutral on the energy sector as supply-demand adjustments still point toward a range of $50-$55 for WTI as OPEC cuts likely persist.

Earnings

  • Strong earnings season got even better last week. S&P 500 earnings for the first quarter rose more than 1% over the past week and are now tracking to a 14.7% year-over-year increase, compared with the 10.2% increase reflected in consensus estimates on April 1 (Thomson Reuters data). Both the earnings growth and beat rates (75%) are the best in more than five years. Excluding the rebounding energy sector, earnings are still on pace to grow a solid 10.5% year over year. About 40 S&P 500 companies will report results this week as earnings season winds down.

 

050817_earningsdashboard-01

  • Companies have delivered mostly upbeat guidance. Forward estimates inched fractionally higher last week and are down just 0.2% since earnings season began. Although the timetable for policy, particularly corporate tax reform, has been pushed out, we still see potential policy upside in 2018. The relatively bright outlook is helping support elevated valuations at an S&P 500 price-to-earnings ratio of 17.5 times.

Sell in May

  • Time to go away? The well-known “Sell in May and go away” period is upon us. Although this is one of the most widely known investment clichés out there, since 1950[1], historically the next six months are indeed the worst six months of the year for the S&P 500. So should you sell and wait to buy in November? We take a closer look at this cliché and show why it doesn’t always work and might not work this year.

Winning Streak

  • Up three weeks in a row. On Friday, the S&P 500 closed at its first all-time high since March 1 and in the process rose for the third consecutive week. It was also the first green Friday for the S&P 500 in nearly two months (March 10). This was the second three-week win streak of the year, with the earlier streak making it all the way to six weeks in a row (ending in early March). There hasn’t been a year with two separate six-week win streaks since 2013.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Eurozone: Sentix Investor Confidence (May)
  • China: Foreign Direct Investment (Apr)
  • China: Trade Balance (Apr)

Tuesday

  • NFIB Small Business Optimism (Apr)
  • Germany: Industrial Production (Mar)
  • BOJ: Summary of Opinions at Apr 26-27 Meeting
  • China: New Loan Growth & Money Supply
  • China: Consumer Price Index (CPI) & Producer Price Index (PPI) (Apr)

Wednesday

  • Monthly Budget Statement (Apr)
  • ECB: Draghi Speaks

Thursday

  • Initial Jobless Claims (May 6)
  • PPI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: European Commission Economic Forecasts
  • UK: Bank of England Rate & Inflation Report
  • ECB: Publishes Economic Bulletin

Friday

  • CPI (Apr)
  • Retail Sales (Apr)
  • Germany: GDP (Q1 Prelim.)
  • Germany: CPI & PPI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: Industrial Production (Mar)

 

 

 

[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.  

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.

How To Avoid A 401(k) Meltdown If The Trump Rally Fizzles

Millions of Americans are asking the wrong questions when it comes to their retirement plans. It’s not “how much should I invest now?” or “is the market safe?” You should invest as much as you can in every kind of market.

So forget about the question of whether the “Trump rally” is over, or taking a pause. If that’s your concern, you’re focused on the wrong thing.

Despite this reality, far too many investors are trying to find the right fund manager who can somehow predict and navigate the rocky seas the market will toss up. In rare cases, some managers get lucky and get in and out at the right time. But most don’t have this ability.

Most of us want to believe that professional money managers know just when to get in and out of stocks. We put a lot of faith in them — and mis-spend some $2 trillion in fees hoping that they’ll be right and protect our money.

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The numbers don’t lie, however. Most managers can’t do better than passive market averages and rarely outperform after you subtract their fees. So if you’re placing your trust in active management, you’re headed for a meltdown sooner or later.

A recent study by Jeff Ptak at Morningstar shows the folly of active management for most investors.

Ptak looked a the relationship between what actively managed funds return to the fees they charge for management. In most cases, expenses will cancel out most significant gains.

“Fees haven’t fallen that steeply, and, as a result more than two-thirds of U.S. stock funds levy annual expenses that would wipe out their estimated future pre-fee excess returns.”

What this means is that active managers who time the market aren’t likely to outperform passive baskets of stocks. When you subtract their fees, you’re not coming out ahead.

Fees take an even bigger bite when overall market returns are lower. If stocks return less than double digits, you’re going to feel the pain even more.

Ptak is blunt in his conclusion: “Many active stock funds are too expensive to succeed. The exceptions are small-cap funds, where it appears fees are still below estimated pre-fee excess returns.”

What can you do to avoid the meltdown of overpriced, actively managed funds? It’s a pretty simple process.

1) Find the lowest-cost index funds to cover U.S. and global stocks and bonds. Expense ratios shouldn’t be more than 0.20% annually (as opposed to 1% or more for active funds).

2) If you still want active funds in your portfolio, they should be highly-rated managers who invest in smaller companies.

3) Make sure that the “active” part of your portfolio is no more than 30% of your total holdings. While this is an arbitrary percentage, it will provide some buffer against market timing decisions.

You should also avoid the error of picking funds based on their past performance, which can never be guaranteed. So, instead of asking how they performed, you should ask “how many securities can they hold for the lowest-possible cost.”