January 22nd Market Commentary

The Markets

We’re off to a good start.

Investors who remained steady during December’s wild ride are probably pleased with their decision as stocks have gotten off to a strong start in 2019. Unfortunately, those who reduced their exposure to the asset class may be feeling the sting of missed opportunity.

Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 3 percent. The Index is up 5.9 percent year-to-date, which is its best start in more than a decade, according to Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) and NASDAQ Composite also moved higher last week.

Barron’s reported investors were encouraged by positive news about trade talks between the United States and China, as well as stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings. Eleven percent of S&P 500 companies have reported so far and, altogether, their earnings have beaten expectations by 3.2 percent, according to FactSet. (Quarterly earnings indicate how profitable a company was during the period being reported.)

The FTSE All-World Index also moved higher last week. It is up almost 8.5 percent for the year.
Richard Henderson, Emma Dunkley, and Robin Wigglesworth of Financial Times offered the opinion investors could have been overly pessimistic during December, and their change in attitude might be attributed to a more dovish tone at the U.S. Federal Reserve, as well as evidence the U.S. economy remains strong.

While investor confidence appears to be strengthening, consumer confidence wavered. The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers showed consumer confidence was lower in January 2019 than it was in January 2018. The Survey’s Chief Economist Richard Curtin wrote, “The loss was due to a host of issues including the partial government shutdown, the impact of tariffs, instabilities in financial markets, the global slowdown, and the lack of clarity about monetary policies.”

 

HOW MUCH WOULD THOSE BURGERS COST IN BRITAIN? Purchasing power parity, or PPP, is a straightforward idea with a tongue twister of a name. When two countries have PPP, people pay the same amount for the same goods, after adjusting for the exchange rate. For example, if one British pound is worth 50 U.S. cents, then an item that costs one British pound in the United Kingdom should cost 50 cents in the United States.

The Economist developed ‘The Big Mac Index’ to measure burger parity. It’s an engaging way to look at local prices and exchange rates. The index measures the price of the seven-ingredient, double-decker burger in different countries and offers a rough estimate of whether a country’s currency is overvalued or undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar.

In January 2019, the index served up the news that almost every currency, in developed and emerging economies, is undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar. The only countries with currencies that appear to be overvalued are Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden.

So, how undervalued are other countries’ currencies?

• The Canadian dollar is 8.9 percent undervalued
• The European Union’s euro is 16.8 percent undervalued
• The British pound is 27 percent undervalued
• The Chinese yuan is 45.3 percent undervalued
• The Russian ruble is 70.4 percent undervalued

The Economist explained, “It is not unusual for emerging-market currencies to look weak in our index. But, today the dollar towers over rich and poor alike. The pound, for example, looked reasonably priced five years ago. Today, Americans visiting Britain will find that [burgers] are 27 percent cheaper than at home.”

The U.S. dollar is stronger than usual because higher interest rates and tax cuts made American assets more attractive to investors than other assets in 2018, reported The Economist.

A strong dollar is a boon to travelers, who get more for their money in other countries. It also can make imports from other countries more attractive price-wise. There are disadvantages to a strong dollar, too. For example, it makes the United States a more expensive destination for travelers from other countries, which could discourage tourism. In addition, a strong dollar makes exports more expensive and that could make U.S. goods less competitive in overseas markets.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Wealth begins in a tight roof that keeps the rain and wind out; in a good pump that yields you plenty of sweet water; in two suits of clothes, so to change your dress when you are wet; in dry sticks to burn; in a good double-wick lamp; and three meals; in a horse, or a locomotive, to cross the land; in a boat to cross the sea; in tools to work with; in books to read; and so, in giving, on all sides, by tools and auxiliaries, the greatest possible extension to our powers, as if it added feet, and hands, and eyes, and blood, length to the day, and knowledge, and good-will.”
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer

 

* These views are those of Carson Group 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 Group Coaching. Carson Group 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 DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* 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-gains-3-for-its-best-start-since-1997-51547857364?mod=hp_DAY_10 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-22-19_Barrons-Dow_Gains_3_Percent_for_Its_Best_Start_Since_1997-Footnote_1.pdf)
https://insight.factset.com/earnings-season-update-january-18-2019
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/earnings.asp
https://www.ft.com/content/e5e72cbc-157b-11e9-a581-4ff78404524e (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-22-19_FinancialTimes-Markets_Get_their_Groove_Back_after_Chaotic_End_to_the_Year-Footnote_4.pdf)
http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-22-19_SurveysOfConsumers-January_2019_Consumer_Confidence-Footnote_5.pdf)
https://www.economist.com/news/2019/01/10/the-big-mac-index (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-22-19_TheEconomist-The_Big_Mac_Index-Footnote_6.pdf)
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/01/12/the-big-mac-index-shows-currencies-are-very-cheap-against-the-dollar (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-22-19_TheEconomist-The_Big_Mac_Index_Shows_Currencies_are_Very_Cheap_Against_the_Dollar-Footnote_7.pdf)
https://www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/051415/pros-cons-strong-dollar.asp
https://emersoncentral.com/texts/the-conduct-of-life/wealth/ (Click on Show More)

 

January 14th Market Commentary

The Markets

People love rules of thumb.

Sometimes, mental shortcuts are helpful. Other times they are not. When it comes to investing, seasonal shortcuts are not uncommon. In fact, January boasts two:

The January Effect explains why U.S. smaller company stocks tend to outperform the market in January. The original theory held that tax-loss harvesting pushed stock prices lower in December, making shares more attractive to investors in January. An article published in International Journal of Financial Research explained the effect could also owe something to the optimism that accompanies a new year, as well as year-end cash windfalls.

In his book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Burton Malkiel described the January Effect this way, “…the effect is not dependable in each year. In other words, the January ‘loose change’ costs too much to pick up, and in some years it turns out to be a mirage.”

The January Barometer suggests the performance of stocks during the first month of the year offers insight to the direction of stocks for the year as a whole.

Last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) was up 2.5 percent. If the Index finishes this month higher, then the January Barometer suggests it should finish the year in positive territory.

Of course, you need look no further than 2018 to see the January Barometer is not completely accurate. In January 2018, the S&P 500 gained 5.6 percent, and it finished the year in negative territory.

According to Fidelity, the theory is flawed because, while stocks move higher for the year a significant percentage of the time after gaining value in January, they also move higher for the year a significant percentage of the time after losing value in January.

This is why mental shortcuts are often poor investment guides.

There is one rule of thumb investors may want to consider adopting: A well-allocated and diversified portfolio that aligns with long-term financial aspirations to help meet goals along with periodic reviews with their financial professional.

 

OH, WHAT A YEAR! Every year brings unexpected events. Here are a few remarkable stories you may have missed in 2018:

Abuzz in NYC
“…a menacing horde of honeybees descended on a hot dog vendor’s umbrella, bringing Times Square to a standstill and drawing swarms of gawking tourists. After a brief flurry of excitement, the buzzing interlopers were apprehended by a police officer armed with a vacuum cleaner-like device that sucked them up. The bees were then whisked away to safety.”
--Reuters, December 17, 2018

Mostly indivisible
“There's a new behemoth in the ongoing search for ever-larger prime numbers – and it's nearly 25 million digits long. A prime is a number that can be divided only by two whole numbers: itself and 1… We would write the number out for you, but it would fill up thousands of pages, give or take…”
--NPR, December 21, 2018

Hoop dreams
“Basketball is apparently being embraced by North Korea as a fundamental part of its ideology…‘Promoting basketball is not only a sports-related matter, but an important project that upholds the objectives of the [Workers] Party,’ the North Korean paper reportedly stated. ‘We must rush to elevate the sport to global levels.’”
--NPR, December 21, 2018

None for you
“A California court ruled…in a case involving a Celebes crested macaque who took a selfie using a nature photographer’s camera…the court rejected a lawsuit filed on the monkey’s behalf by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which argued the primate was the legal owner of all photos he took. In a decision that likely left the plaintiffs crestfallen, the court ruled that monkeys cannot sue for copyright protection.”
--Reuters, December 17, 2018

We hope 2019 brings you good health, good humor, and great happiness.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“As we navigate our lives, we normally allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs and preferences is usually justified. But not always. We are often confident even when we are wrong, and an objective observer is more likely to detect our errors than we are.”
--Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and author

 

 * These views are those of Carson Group 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 Group Coaching. Carson Group 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 DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* 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 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 that 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.* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321495311_Does_the_January_Effect_Still_Exists Page 51
Burton Malkiel, ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street,’ W.W. Norton & Company, Page 271, January 1, 2019 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-14-19_BookExcerpt-A_Random_Walk_Down_Wall_Street-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/j/januarybarometer.asp
https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/active-investor/january-barometer
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/31/stock-market-wall-street-stocks-eye-us-china-trade-talks.html
https://www.fidelity.co.uk/markets-insights/daily-insight/what-the-january-effect-really-tells-us
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-oddly/bees-brothels-and-monkey-selfies-oh-my-2018-abuzz-with-odd-u-s-stories-idUSKBN1OG213
https://www.npr.org/2018/12/21/679207604/the-world-has-a-new-largest-known-prime-number
https://www.npr.org/2018/12/21/679291823/north-korea-promotes-basketball-as-an-important-project
Daniel Kahneman, ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow,’ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Page 4, April 2, 2013 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/01-14-19_BookExcerpt-Thinking_Fast_and_Slow-Footnote_10.pdf)

 

January 1st Market Commentary

The Markets

Investing during the month of December was like traversing an icy mountain stream. It delivered a staggering shock to the senses that triggered the instinct to, “Get Out!”

When it comes to investing, that instinct is called loss aversion. For many people avoiding a loss is more important than realizing a gain. Simply put, not losing $100 is more important than gaining $100.

Erica Goode of The New York Times talked with psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky about a series of experiments they had conducted to measure loss aversion. The pair found relatively few people would bet money on a flip of a coin unless they stood to win at least twice as much as they might lose.

The desire to avoid losses is the reason many people sell stocks when the value of the stock market is declining. Unfortunately, it may be a poor choice for a variety of reasons. For example,

• Downturns are temporary. The Schwab Center for Financial Research evaluated the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 1966 and found, “the average bull ran for more than four years, delivering an average return of nearly 140 percent. The average bear market lasted a little longer than a year, delivering an average loss of 34.7 percent.”

While past performance is no guarantee of future results, understanding the history of gains and losses in bull and bear markets is critical because it can help investors avoid potentially costly mistakes.

Markets rebound. Consider December 26. It was the best day for stocks in nearly a decade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1,000 points, posting its biggest daily gain in history.
Investors who were not invested in stocks missed an opportunity to participate in a market rebound. Despite significant gains late in the month, there is a chance this will be the worst December performance since 1931, reported MarketWatch.

• Your long-term life and financial goals haven’t changed. Sometimes, investors have to traverse an icy stream, or muck across a muddy patch, as they move toward their goals. Your portfolio should be built to help you pursue specific life and financial goals. It may be well diversified to help moderate losses when you encounter challenging market conditions. Consequently, if your long-term goals have not changed, selling during a downturn could make it more difficult to reach your goals.

However, if you’re experiencing a high level of discomfort as the stock market fluctuates, it may be important for you to re-evaluate your risk tolerance and make any changes necessary to your asset allocation.

One of the most important aspects of our work as financial advisors has little to do with asset management or investment selection. It has everything to do with helping our clients make better financial decisions. We try to provide information and advice – coaching, if you will – that may help our clients avoid mistakes that may make it more difficult to achieve their goals. We also encourage clients to embrace choices which are likely to help them work toward their goals.

If you find yourself debating whether to hold your investments or sell them, please give us a call before you do anything. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about what’s happening and offer some context which may help set your mind at ease.

If changes are necessary, we can help you identify options and weigh the pros and cons of each. Our goal is to help you work toward your goals.

 

SYNAPTIC PRUNING AND HABIT STACKING…If you have some New Year’s resolutions you would really like to keep then you may want to try habit stacking. It’s an idea that harnesses brainpower to help you achieve your goals.

Brains are powerful tools. They help us form connections and, when those connections are no longer used, our brains conduct synaptic pruning to get rid of the connections, according to James Clear author of Atomic Habits.

As a result, our brains are full of strong connections that support certain skills. That’s the good news. The bad news is, by a certain age, we’ve trimmed a lot of neurons, which can make it challenging to form new habits. Clear wrote,

“When it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectedness of behavior to your advantage. One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking… For example:

• After I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I will meditate for one minute.
• After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes.
• After I sit down to dinner, I will say one thing I’m grateful for that happened today…”

Once you’ve mastered habit stacking, you can begin to form chains of habits. Imagine where that could take you!

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly...”
–Will Durant, American philosopher

P.S. Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this email with their email address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

Securities offered through “Your B/D Name Here”, Member FINRA/SIPC.
* These views are those of Carson Group 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 Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
* There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* 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 95percent of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* 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 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.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the “Enter the name of your commentary” please click here or write us at “Your Address Here”.
* To unsubscribe from the “Enter the name of your commentary” please reply to this email with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line or write us at “Your Address Here”.

Sources:

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/05/health/a-conversation-with-daniel-kahneman-on-profit-loss-and-the-mysteries-of-the-mind.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm&module=inline
[2] https://www.schwab.com/active-trader/insights/content/7-tips-weathering-bear-market
[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/26/us-futures-following-christmas-eve-plunge.html
[4] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/stock-market-ends-wild-week-in-negative-territory-as-dow-sp-500-set-for-worst-december-since-1931-2018-12-28
[5] https://jamesclear.com/habit-stacking
[6] http://blogs.umb.edu/quoteunquote/2012/05/08/its-a-much-more-effective-quotation-to-attribute-it-to-aristotle-rather-than-to-will-durant/