August 26th Market Commentary

August 26, 2019

The Markets

Have you ever watched a lake in a thunderstorm?

Heavy rain pummels the surface. Dark clouds drop the sky closer to the water. Gusty winds crash waves ashore. Up top, on land, damage may occur. Underneath, in the deeper water, things often remain pretty much the same.

Last week’s stock market volatility was like a thunderstorm on a lake. Markets were doing well until the squall brewed up on Friday. Ben Levisohn of Barron’s described it like this:

“The fun started on Friday morning, when China announced new tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. goods and a resumption of penalties on U.S. cars. Surprisingly, the market handled it pretty well. U.S. futures markets dipped into the red, but only a bit, and the market appeared ready to shrug off the news, particularly after [Federal Reserve Chair] Powell stuck to his message: The Fed will ‘act as appropriate to sustain the expansion’…That wasn’t enough for the president…he turned his wrath on China and ‘ordered’ U.S. companies to ‘immediately start looking for an alternative to China.’ Now that’s escalation – even if it’s unclear whether the president can legally do that.”

Unsettled, stock markets seethed and stormed. By the end of the day, major U.S. stock indices were lower, and that’s how they finished the week.

The U.S. economy, which is the deep water under the U.S. stock market, continued along as usual. On Friday, The Economist reported, “…economic data do not suggest that America is sliding into recession. Although inflation remains low and manufacturing activity is weakening, consumers keep spending and there is little sign that unemployment is about to rise.”

The economy isn’t moving fast, but it’s moving steady. Stock markets, on the other hand, are suffering the storms of investor sentiment and anxiety.

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! You’ve probably been hearing and reading a lot about Woodstock, the iconic 1969 music festival. Americans have been celebrating the event’s 50th anniversary. In August 1969, Woodstock staged 32 acts, attracted 400,000 attendees (without social media), and featured intermittent downpours.

Rain-soaked performers, including The Who, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Joe Cocker, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, braved “…the danger of electrical shocks and general backstage anarchy,” wrote Rolling Stone Magazine.

Woodstock made Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of 50 Moments That Changed Rock and Roll, along with the evolution of Chess Records, the death of John Lennon, and the invention of the iPod.

Since 1969, music festivals have become a staple of summertime entertainment. Planet Money reported about 100 events will have been scheduled in the United States this year. Most will have production standards far superior to those at Woodstock.

They also cost a lot more.

If festival ticket prices increased with inflation, they would cost about five times what they did in the late 70s, reported The Economist. Instead, tickets cost about 50 times more.

Attendees are getting a lot more for their money. A festival organizer in Britain said arranging a music festival is akin to setting up a small town with scaffolding and a crew to build it. Festival goers need water, food, drinks, Wi-Fi, security, and bathrooms.

Oh! And music.

The economics of the music industry have changed dramatically. At one time, performers made most of their money selling records and would tour to promote newly released songs. Today, artists make most of their money going on tour and new releases are a way to attract fans to a show.

Today, succeeding in the music industry is all about making the fan experience worth the price.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“We feared that the music which had given us sustenance was in danger of spiritual starvation. We feared it losing its sense of purpose, we feared it falling into fattened hands, we feared it floundering in a mire of spectacle, finance, and vapid technical complexity. We would call forth in our minds the image of Paul Revere, riding through the American night, petitioning the people to wake up, to take up arms. We, too, would take up arms, the arms of our generation, the electric guitar and the microphone.”
--Patti Smith, Singer and songwriter

* These views are those of Carson Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Coaching. Carson Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://www.barrons.com/articles/dow-jones-industrial-average-drops-as-donald-trump-tweets-spook-market-51566607558?mod=hp_DAY_3 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-26-19_Barrons-The_Dows_Week_Turned_Ugly_After_Trump_Sparred_with_China_and_Powell-Footnote_1.pdf)
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2019/08/23/now-donald-trump-calls-the-feds-chairman-an-enemy (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-26-19_TheEconomist-Now_Donald_Trump_Calls_the_Feds_Chairman_an_Enemy-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/08/22/this-month-people-are-remembering-woodstock-long-forgotten-music-festival-had-more-impact/?noredirect=on
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock
https://web.archive.org/web/20070209163601/http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/6085488/woodstock_in_1969
https://www.today.com/news/greatest-moments-rock-n-roll-history-wbna5156694
https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=753506457
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMfkO3Pv4VQ (Timestamp 0:35 through 2:18 minutes)
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/rock-and-roll

August 19th Market Commentary

August 19, 2019

The Markets

Don’t let volatility get you down.

Last week was the 40th anniversary of BusinessWeek’s infamous cover headline: ‘The Death of Equities: How inflation is destroying the stock market.’ The publication’s current iteration, Bloomberg Businessweek, reported it is still getting grief over the headline and subsequent bull market. In its defense, stocks trended lower for about three years after the magazine hit newsstands.

Since its 1982 low point, “The total return on the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index…with dividends reinvested has been nearly 7,000 percent. Not bad for a corpse.”

Investors worried back in 1979, just as they do today.

At that time, the Federal Reserve was waging a war against inflation. Late in the summer of 1979, the annual average inflation rate in the United States was 10 percent. Homebuyers were locking in mortgage rates of 11.1 percent on 30-year fixed mortgages and feeling good about it as mortgage rates rose to 18.5 percent by October 1981.

Today, investors aren’t worried about inflation. They are concerned about the U.S.- China trade war, the pace of global economic growth, the influence of monetary policy, negative interest rates…the list goes on.

Recent stock market volatility reflects those concerns.

It’s possible we’re nearing the end of the longest bull market for U.S. stocks. Further inversion of the yield curve last week suggested recession could be ahead. However, it’s unlikely to arrive immediately.

If a recession does arrive, remember economic downturns are temporary and are relatively short. The Great Recession lasted 18 months and it was the longest since WWII. Typically, a recession averages six to 16 months, according to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve.

Right now, there is reason to believe the U.S. economy still has some oomph. Barron’s reported, “The economy is obviously slowing, but not necessarily heading for recession. That means it is time for caution, not panic.”

 

UPCYCLING IS MODERN DAY ALCHEMY. When people take items that have been discarded and turn them into something of greater value, it’s known as upcycling. Repurposing objects is appealing to people who want to live sustainably, people who embrace creativity, and/or people who like to make things…it’s got a lot of appeal for a lot of people.

Here are a few interesting upcycling projects you may encounter as you travel:

Bird Calls Phone. A Maryland city wanted an interactive public art exhibit. The artist took a mint-condition payphone and wired it to play calls of local birds when dialed. (Takoma Park, MD)

People’s Bike Library of Portland. It’s an iconic sculpture that is a tribute to the popularity of cycling, as well as a bike rack and a bike ‘lending library.’ (Portland, OR)

Carhenge. It’s built to resemble Stonehenge, but there is no mystery surrounding Carhenge in western Nebraska. The arrangement of repurposed vintage autos was built in the memory of the designer’s father. (Alliance, NE)

The Heidelberg Project. This project isn’t a single piece of art; it’s an open air urban art environment. The artist and children from the neighborhood decorate vacant houses. Heidelberg Houses have included: Doors of Opportunity, The Taxi House, The Clock House, Obstruction of Justice, and others. (Detroit, MI)

City Museum. A 10-story, 100-year-old shoe factory in St. Louis was transformed into an urban playground using salvaged materials. It features, “a sky-high jungle gym making use of two repurposed airplanes, two towering 10-story slides…a rooftop Ferris wheel,” and more. (St. Louis, MO)

It has been said that art is in the eye of the beholder. It’s also in the portfolios of some investors. The 2018 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey found, “…financially driven collectors are increasingly incorporating art into their long-term wealth plans.”

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.”
--Anni Albers, Textile artist

* These views are those of Carson Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Coaching. Carson Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

 Sources:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-13/it-s-been-40-years-since-our-cover-story-declared-the-death-of-equities
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Personal consumption expenditures excluding food and energy [DPCCRC1M027SBEA], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, August 18, 2019: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DPCCRC1M027SBEA (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-19-19_FRED-Personal_Consumption_Expenditures_Excluding_Food_and_Energy-Footnote_2.pdf)
Freddie Mac, 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States [MORTGAGE30US], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, August 17, 2019: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-19-19_FRED-30-Year_Fixed_Rate_Mortgage_Average_in_the_United_States-Footnote_3.pdf)
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-economy-centralbanks-analysis/going-negative-as-trade-war-rages-central-banks-ponder-radical-steps-idUSKCN1V328N
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stocks-swing-wildly-as-yield-curve-flips-51566002682?mod=hp_DAY_3 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/08-19-19_Barrons-Stocks_Swing_Wildly_as_Yield_Curve_Flips-Is_There_a_Recession_Out_There-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/08/cause-of-recession.asp
https://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications/special-studies/recession-in-perspective
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upcycle
https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2019/08/16/Maryland-phone-makes-bird-calls-not-phone-calls/6231565970936/
https://thedyrt.com/magazine/lifestyle/5-recycled-art-installations-and-where-to-camp-nearby/
https://thesavvyage.com/heidelberg-project-perseveres/
https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/06/city-museum/
https://www.privatebank.bankofamerica.com/articles/insights-on-wealth-and-worth-art-collectors-2018.html
https://www.healing-power-of-art.org/art-and-quotes-by-famous-artists/

July 29th Market Commentary

July 29, 2019

The Markets

It has been said there are two sides to every story. Just look at world financial markets. Stock markets and bond markets are telling very different stories.

In the United States, stock markets were blue ribbon winners last week.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounded to a record high. The Nasdaq Composite also set a new record. Barron’s reported U.S. stock markets were supported by abundant optimism inspired by expectations for solid earnings growth and a Federal Reserve rate cut in July.

Optimism pushed stocks higher in Europe last week, too. CNBC reported investors were receptive to news suggesting the European Central Bank would ease monetary policy to support the European economy. A significant number of national stock indices in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia finished last week higher, according to Barron’s.

Bond markets have been telling a less optimistic story.

In many regions of the world, bond yields have sunk below zero, and bond buyers have been locking in losses by investing in bonds with negative yields.

In the United States, the 10-year Treasury yield remains positive, but it has dropped from 3.2 percent in November 2018 to 2.1 percent at the end of last week.

So, what are bond markets saying? Barron’s suggested some possibilities:

“…bond buyers locking in subzero yields aren’t doing it, of course, for love of losses. They might think that the certainty of small losses will prove a better deal in the years ahead than whatever stocks provide…There’s something else that negative yields could be telling us. Investors need bonds for things like diversification and setting aside money at known rates to offset known liabilities. For an investor who must buy bonds, a purchase here with negative yields isn’t necessarily a bet against stocks. It could just be a wager that bond yields won’t get much better – that slow growth and meager inflation will loom for many years.”

Time will tell.

MUSIC, EARWORMS, AND DATA STORAGE. Anyone who has ever suffered an earworm (known in scientific circles as Involuntary Musical Imagery) understands the power of music. Some tunes that repeatedly pop into people’s heads may include:

• It’s a Small World (Disney)
• Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)
• Who Let the Dogs Out? (Baha Men)
• Silver Bells (Bing Crosby)
• We are the Champions (Queen)

Let’s face it. Music can be potent. In The Power of Music, Elena Mannes writes, “…science today is showing that music is in fact encoded in our bodies and brains.” She discusses research suggesting music may be able to help people heal, change behavior, and treat neurological disorders.

It may be used in other ways, too. Soon, you may experience a new music phenomenon called Imperceptible Audio Communication. That’s when data is secretly coded into music. You won’t be able to hear it, but your smartphone and other devices will.

At the 44th IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, a pair of doctoral students shared their work, which focuses on storing data in music.

Imagine, someday you may be:

• Walking through an airport, not really listening to the piped-in sounds, when your phone picks up a data feed from the music and lets you know your flight is delayed.
• Pushing your cart down a grocery aisle and Muzak® advises your smartphone cauliflower is on sale.
• Checking into a hotel and having the lobby music send the Wi-Fi password and other check-in data directly to your smartphone.
• Dancing in a club and having your smartphone flash a drink special.

The times – they are changing.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
--Arthur C. Clarke, British writer and inventor

* These views are those of Carson Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Coaching. Carson Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://www.barrons.com/articles/why-some-investors-are-buying-bonds-that-lose-money-51564179385?mod=hp_DAY_2 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/07-29-19_Barrons-Why_Some_Investors_are_Buying_Bonds_that_Lose_Money-Footnote_1.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-s-p-500-hit-a-new-high-because-the-market-still-expects-the-federal-reserve-to-cut-interest-rates-51564195482?mod=hp_DAY_3 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/07-29-19_Barrons_The_S_and_P_Hit_a_New_High_Because_the_Market_Still_Expects_the_Federal_Reserve_to_Cut_Interest_Rates-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/26/europe-stock-markets-ecb-holds-interest-rates-and-earnings-in-focus.html
https://www.barrons.com/market-data/stocks/emea?mod=md_usstk_view_emea (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/07-29-19_Barrons-UK_FTSE_100_Stock_Index-Footnote_4.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/market-data/stocks/asia?mod=md_emeastk_view_asia (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/07-29-19_Barrons-Hong_Kong_Hang_Seng_Stock_Index-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/%5ETNX/history?p=%5ETNX
https://www.amazon.com/Poamazon%20Power%20of%20Musicwer-Music-Pioneering-Discoveries-Science/dp/0802719961/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Elena+Mannes+POwer+of&qid=1564244240&s=dmusic&sr=8-1 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/07-29-19_Book_Excerpt-The_Power_of_Music-Footnote_7.pdf)
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190709122014.htm
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/technology