Avoid the Big Loss

Monthly Outlook: July 2020  In early June, the NBER declared that the U.S. officially began a recession in February. That’s pretty obvious to anyone paying attention. The virus stopped the world economy in its tracks unlike any war or catastrophe ever has. The initial shock drove the stock market down 33% in March. Then, hope and stimulus helped to fuel a stock market rebound of 35% in April, May, and June. Today, stocks (S&P500) are just 9% lower than the peak in February. It’s hard to rationalize that the world is only 9% worse off today when compared to February, but that’s how stocks are priced. Let’s consider the facts: Unemployment has spiked to about 13%, a record high since the Great Recession levels of the 1930s. Corporate earnings of the S&P500 have already sagged from $139/share at 2019 year-end to $116/share by March 2020. Professional analysts expect earnings to [...]

By |June 30th, 2020|News, Outlook|

Health Crisis vs. Economic Crisis

Monthly Outlook: June 2020 Markets continue to yo-yo as the battle between health vs. economy rages on. In March, the coronavirus pandemic was new, unknown, and scary enough to convince the country to essentially shut down. The economy tanked as we stayed home to “flatten the curve” and save lives. Now, three months later, we still have no real treatment or cure and people are still dying. Today, the “economic crisis is killing me” crowd is louder and pushing harder to reopen America, virus and rising death toll be damned. We’ll probably know if the re-opening was prudent in a few weeks as we watch for a possible spike in virus-related deaths. It’s quite the gamble. Our job is not to deliberate the merits and ethics of the health vs. economy debate. We’ll just focus on the effects it’s having on the markets. Stocks tanked 35% in March on virus [...]

By |June 1st, 2020|News, Outlook|

Confused? So is the Market

Monthly Outlook: May 2020 What is one to call a market that crashes 34% over four weeks then rallies 30% over the next four weeks? Crazy maybe, confused for sure. But that is what we see in stocks today. By the way, down 34% and up 30% does not equal down 4%. It equals down 14%, due to compounding. Clearly, the coronavirus pandemic and the related global economic shutdown should influence markets. Most businesses remain closed and employees are out of work (and their paycheck). Is a 15% discount to the pre-virus peak of two months ago an appropriate adjustment? We’ll discuss that more later. Let’s review market performance after the first four months of 2020. Bonds have gained 5.1%. Gold is up 11.2%. Cash is up a scant 0.3%. That is all the good news. On the other hand, U.S. stocks are down 10.4% and international stocks have lost [...]

By |April 30th, 2020|News, Outlook|

iFolios Protection to the Rescue

Monthly Outlook: April 2020 March 2020 was the craziest month of my 30+ year career. Stocks dropped 33% in just four weeks. The daily moves were so volatile, sounding like annual returns instead. Consider the daily sequence in mid-March: -7.6%, +4.8%, -4.9%, -9.5%, +9.3%, -11.9%, +5.9% and so on. It was nauseating. In the fourth week of March, we saw the typical oversold rally begin and stocks gained +18% in the past six days. For 2020 YTD, U.S. stocks are down -20.2%, and international stocks are down -23.3%. Bonds are up +3.1% and Gold is up +5.8%. Putting it together, the 75/25 benchmark (75% stocks / 25% bonds blend) is down -14.8%. Ready for some good news? Our iFolios strategy of growth and protection came to the rescue and our actual iFolios 75 portfolios are only down -4.4%. Really. So, go ahead and look at your March 2020 Portfolio Review; [...]

By |March 31st, 2020|News, Outlook|

Fear is Contagious

Monthly Outlook: March 2020  You’d have to be on an island without services to have missed the fact that stocks crashed in the last week of February. The blame is mostly being placed on the expanding coronavirus pandemic; more on that later. Stock markets were down about 15% in just seven trading days, breaking some records. YTD, the S&P500 is down 7.9%, while international stocks are down 9.8%. On the other hand, bonds are up 3.7% and gold is up 3.9%, YTD. It’s human nature to extrapolate recent experience, so many investors are doing mental math and wondering what happens if the market keeps dropping at this rate. History and evidence suggest that such a straight-line drop is highly unlikely. But trends have now changed, so it’s only prudent to reduce stock market exposure and raise some cash. Coronavirus Impact The coronavirus, by itself, is a huge global concern for [...]

By |March 2nd, 2020|News, Outlook|

7 Things that are True

Monthly Outlook: February 2020  The new year started off strong with a nearly 3% rise for the S&P500 during the first three weeks. But it couldn’t hold it and gave back 3% during the fourth week of January for a net 0% month. International stocks lost 3.4% probably due to concerns about Brexit happening on January 31st and the coronavirus spreading rapidly. Bonds gained 1.9% as interest rates continued to slide. Gold was the star of the month, gaining 4.2%. As we move into 2020 Month Two, U.S. politics are going to heat up. The impeachment is nearly over, the primaries are starting up in earnest, and opinions are going to fly. In this environment, you may appreciate some facts and truths. Below, we present 7 things that are true about markets: #1 How You Get There Matters Consider two portfolios. The first returns +8%, +8%, +8% for three years. [...]

By |February 3rd, 2020|News, Outlook|
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