Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September 2017 Market Update: Risk Spike Ahead

The S&P 500 was up 0.05% in August. When we examine global securities via the Morgan Stanley Capital International All Country World Index (MSCI ACWI, iShares ETF ACWI), which represents 85% of the global investable equity market, it has been up 10 months in a row. The question on most investors' minds is whether or not the strength of stocks can continue. With that background, let's review price, sentiment and valuation as we start September.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Retirement Data: Fidelity Plan Balances Q2 2017

Source: Fidelity Press Release Aug 3, 2017

From the Fidelity release: "The average 401(k) account balance triples for long-term savers. People in their 401(k) for 10 years straight saw their balance increase to a record average of $266,100, up from $78,800 in Q2 2007.

Friday, August 4, 2017

August 2017 Market Update - Bull Trade Hits New Highs

The S&P 500 July index added 1.93% (2.06% with dividends) in July, and posted a double-digit gain of 10.34% YTD (11.59% with dividends). The S&P 500 returned 13.65% gain for the one-year period (with a 16.04% total return with dividends). From the U.S. election on Nov. 8, 2016, the index was up 15.46% and up 17.15% with dividends. It was a month of new closing highs, the S&P 500 posted five new closing highs in July. All 11 sectors gained for the month, up from five last month and seven in May. Large cap stocks continued to outperform mid and small cap stocks in 2017. Let's review price, sentiment, and valuation as we start the month of August.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July 2017 Market Update - Valuation?

The S&P 500 returned 0.48% in June and continues to inch higher. At the midpoint of the year the S&P 500 is up roughly 9%. I'm not sure this market has gotten the memo that it's expensive and overdue for a correction. In fact, the market survived a challenging period that started in August of 2015 and ended in March of 2016. This was a period that included a hurricane warning for the market (when the monthly 5-month simple moving average was below the 12-month simple moving average). This US stock market is so hated the bond market has started flattening; shouting, as only the bond market can, that the economy may not be as solid as the US stock market is believing. This "economy slowing interpretation" may prove to be errant analysis or at least early. The bond market flattening may indicate more about inflation cooling and less about an eminent US GDP or S&P 500 earnings decrease. Let's review price, sentiment, and valuation as we enter July.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Vanguard: How America Saves 2017 (based on 2016 DC plan data)

Please read Vanguard's How America Saves 2017: Vanguard 2016 defined contribution plan data published June 1, 2017. Here are a few quotes from the report:

"Defined contribution (DC) retirement plans are the centerpiece of the private-sector retirement system in the United States. More than 94 million Americans are covered by DC plan accounts, with assets now in excess of $7 trillion. Vanguard is among the leaders in the DC marketplace with more than $1 trillion in DC assets under management as of March 31, 2017."

"Participant contributions to equities were unchanged in 2016 at 74%. In 2016, nearly half (49%) of all new contributions to these plans were directed to target-date funds."

Friday, June 2, 2017

June 2017 Market Update - Will Seasonality Tip this Market?

Is this market feeling euphoric yet? The S&P 500 was up 1.16% in May. I'm not feeling a collective sense of euphoria, are you? This makes me inclined to think the top of this cycle may happen in the next few years. This market is certainly more expensive than a few years ago and leaves the market vulnerable to any shocks to the global economy. Let's examine price, sentiment, and valuation as we start the month of June.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Federal Reserve Board's 4th Annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking

Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016, this survey and report were prepared by the Consumer and Community Development Research Section of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (DCCA).

In order to monitor the economic status of American consumers, the Federal Reserve Board conducted the fourth annual Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking in October 2016. This survey provides insights into the well-being of U.S. households and consumers, and provides important information about how individuals and their families are faring in the economy. Topics examined in the survey include individuals’ overall financial well- being, employment experiences, income and savings behaviors, economic preparedness, access to banking and credit, housing and living arrangement deci- sions, education and human capital, student loans, and retirement planning.