Archive for the 'finance' Category

News That Matters

At 401 Advisor, LLC our Broker/Dealer is Ceros Financial Services, whose main office is located in Germany. I received their monthly newsletter in today’s mail and thought I’d pass a part of it along. With all the political in-fighting dominating our US news, I thought it was interesting what Europeans are concerned about.

How many of these events were you even aware of?

CEROS NEWSLETTER
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC NEWS WITH REGARDS TO IMPACT ON ASSETS

Selection of global news events 2018

31 August 2018 –  Islamist motivated knife attack in Amsterdam, 2 seriously injured,
the Afghan perpetrator arrived via Germany
2 September 2018 –  British Prime Minister May prepares England for a hard Brexit,
there will be no second Brexit vote.
4 September 2018 – Typhoon ‘Jebi’ with wind speeds of over 200 km/h meets Japan
6 September 2018 – 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the Pacific Ocean
Assassination (knife attack) on the conservative Brazilian presidential candidate
Jair Bolsonaro
7 September 2018 – «Syria Summit» in Iran with Turkey and Russia
9 September 2018 – Stalemate following parliamentary elections in Sweden
Knife attack in Paris, perpetrator is Afghan
12 September 2018 – EU Parliament launches sanctions proceedings against Hungary

22 September 2018 – Islamist attack on a military parade in Iran with many dead
25 September 2018 – Merkel’s most important supporter, Volker Kauder, is voted out of office by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group as leader of the parliamentary group.
28 September 2018 – Tsunami in Indonesia, triggered by a severe earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale off the Sulawesi coast
30 September 2018 – USA and Canada agree on new free trade agreement
6 October 2018 – Donald Trump’s conservative candidate for Supreme Court,
Brett Kavanaugh, is confirmed by the US Senate
5.9 magnitude earthquake in Haiti
7 October 2018 – Conservative candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins the first round
of presidential elections in Brazil
14 October 2018 – Bavarian state elections, Christian Social Union (CSU) were handed their worst result since 1954

Why does it matter? Many market observers feel that one of the more likely scenarios that could cause a major market sell-off in the US would be a financial crisis emanating from Europe. If all your news is US-centric, you may want to broaden your reading list!

And a final thought from the legendary investor, Benjamin Graham:

What’s needed first is a definite rule for purchasing which indicates a priori that you’re acquiring stocks for less than they’re worth. Second… you need a very definite guideline for selling.

What are your rules and guidelines?

Happy investing.

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Time to Worry?

The market selloff over the past week has left many pundits scratching their heads. While reasons abound; trade, tariffs, rising interest rates, soft global economy, Italy… none of them are new. They have all been on the horizon for months if not all year. The question that is more appropriate is not “Why?” but “Why now?”.

Every time the idea that this bull market is over comes to the forefront, I have been quick to remind that the bull market is based on one thing, and one thing only. The ability of this economy to continue to generate growing earnings for the majority of companies that have publicly listed stock. Period. Things like interest rates and tariffs do matter, but not in and of themselves. They only matter to the extent that they can impact and reduce corporate earnings. But the economy is affected by hundreds, if not thousands, of events on a daily basis. Adding millions of workers to the labor force has been a powerful stimulant that has offset much of the headwinds. The trick then is to determine the net affect that they all have in sum on corporate profitability. No easy task.

So why now? My guess is that with third quarter earnings season really kicking off today, investors just got nervous that a small hiccup could wipe out the years gains in many of their holdings. No one ever went broke taking a profit. No reason to turn paper gains into paper losses.

With solid earnings today, led by a solid beat by J P Morgan, a bit of rationality has returned. This economy is strong. A recession is not in the cards.

Does that mean more double digit returns for the market? Not necessarily. Zack’s estimates that this years earnings growth will be in the 17% range, dropping to under 10% for 2019. If the Fed keeps raising rates, Europe, Japan, the emerging markets can’t get their economies going, a trade war, maybe throw in a European financial crisis, and the result is that the U S market will be in far more jeopardy if growing at a 9% earnings clip than a 17% rate.

Bottom line: What we have seen so far in October might be the “new normal” for the market in 2019. Are you ready for that kind of ride?

Good luck.

bill@FundTraderPro.com

Outlook

As an investment advisor I make my living by investing on behalf of my clients. The better the economy, (more often than not) the better the stock market performs. The better the stock market the better off all of us investors are. From a social aspect, the bigger the economy the more money for the Federal budget – whatever your preferences may be; military spending, infrastructure, health care, trade… The more revenue generated through economic growth, the more we as a nation can accomplish.

Currently there is just no denying that economic growth is stronger than it has been in decades, and despite warnings to the contrary, it is showing signs of further acceleration. Bull markets can end for a number of reasons, but a recession is not one that we face in the near future.

Which brings me to the point(s) of this post.

Negative investment news persists regardless of economic reality. The market is going to crash because:  N. Korea, Iran, trade wars, tax cuts, rising interest rates, or just simply because it’s been going up for too long.

Where ever your politics lie, as an investor, I hope you have come to realize that following the media and their “bold” predictions is a sure way to prevent wealth creation.

Bull markets end because the outlook for earnings growth deteriorates. Period. Earnings can decelerate for a number of reasons. A cyclical economic slowdown (old fashioned recession), a financial crisis (worries are brewing), or an exogenous event (9/11, major natural disaster, war…). While an exogenous event is unpredictable, there are warning signs to watch for, for the first two. Let me address a couple of the theories that abound that we are heading for an economic slowdown.

Trade Wars.

We import more than we export. The US not buying goods from other countries will hurt them much more than other countries not buying goods from us. Virtually everything we import we can make ourselves, it might cost more, but also creates jobs. President Trump is counting on this very simple reality to reverse a trade policy that was created to address global reconstruction after WWII. By negotiating one on one with our trade partners, he feels we can “normalize” policy to one that puts us on a more equal footing with our partners. Do we really still need to be protecting German manufacturing by allowing tariff’s on our goods?

Bottom line is that agreements will be renegotiated because it is in everyone’s best interest to do so. China will come along slowly. If they want to play with the big boys (membership in the WTO) then they need to act like a grown up, not a 5 year old begging for a candy bar handout at the grocery store. Stealing intellectual capital is not a grown up world activity.

Mexico, as one of our most important allies has been at the forefront of negotiations. And the market rightly celebrated a new agreement with a 200+ point DOW day.

Yes there will be some disruptions, some winners and some losers but the overall economic effect will be nil. If you don’t want to read company reports and financial statements to determine the cost of higher tariffs, then just avoid individual stocks for now. There are plenty of ETF’s to offer enough diversification to circumnavigate the Harley Davidson’s (HOG -13.04% YTD, 8/28/2018). Try IYT, the iShares Transportation Average ETF, +7.33% YTD.

The bull market will end because this is one of the longest bull markets in history.

So what? Last I checked the stock market doesn’t understand the concept of a calendar.

Remember, the market comes to an end when earnings falter. So a better “time” gauge might be GDP. (“Nominal” GDP used)

  • Annual GDP bottomed in 1933 during the Great Depression, 10 years later it had grown by 356%
  • 10 years after the 1948 recession GDP had increased by 186%
  • In 1962 GDP was up 164% from the 1953 recession
  • In 1969 GDP had increased by 187%
  • Up 266% 10 years following the 1970 recession
  • Up 208% in 1990 after the 1980 recession
  • Up 171% from 1990 – 1991 recession

From 2009 to through 2017 GDP has risen by 134%

So how is it that this recovery is on its last legs? Yes, we could be getting close based on the 1962 recovery, but we could also only be ½ way there based on the 1970 recovery. Are you really willing to sit in cash knowing that historically GDP could still double from here?

  • Consider the Atlanta Fed raised their estimates for Q3 GDP to 4.6%. If that number were to hold up for 12 months; that would add $890 billion to GDP and approximately $179 billion in tax revenue. Now if we can only control spending…
  • Consumer confidence just blew away expectations coming in at 133.4
  • Richmond Fed manufacturing index beat expectations by 26%!
  • Unemployment well under 5%
  • ISM manufacturing index hit 14 year high

And the list goes on…..

What’s an investor to do?

Invest, because that is what investors do!

With one caveat…what’s your exit strategy?

I mentioned above that signs of a new financial crisis are starting to show….I’ll address those cracks in a future blog…I also said that an exogenous shock is unpredictable. I’ve also written about how a likely lack of liquidity could turn a relatively minor hiccup into a major sell off…

Understand the need for an exit strategy now? If you don’t have one be very certain that the day I say “I told you so” will come! Better idea – send us a message and we can help work some strategic planning into your retirement portfolio.

Good Luck,

Bill

wdeshurko@fundtraderpro.com

Outlook

While I try and avoid politics in my posts, let me just say this, about that. As an investment advisor I make my living by investing on behalf of my clients. The better the economy, (more often than not) the better the stock market performs. The better the stock market the better off all of us investors are. From a social aspect, the bigger the economy the more money for the Federal budget – whatever your preferences may be, (and this is what politicians should be debating) military spending, infrastructure, health care, trade, or maybe even paying down the deficit… The more revenue generated through economic growth, the more we as a nation can accomplish.

There is just no denying that economic growth is stronger now than it has been in decades, and despite warnings to the contrary, it is showing signs of further acceleration. Bull markets can end for a number of reasons, but a recession is not one that we face in the near future.

Which brings me to the point(s) of this post.

The stock market negative news hasn’t stopped since the day of the election. The market was going to crash and never recover, pick your reason: the election, N. Korea, Iran, trade wars, tax cuts, rising interest rates, or just simply because it’s been going up for too long.

Where ever your politics lie, as an investor, I hope you have come to realize that following the media and their “bold” predictions is a sure way to prevent wealth creation.

Bull markets end because the outlook for earnings growth deteriorates. Period. Earnings can decelerate for a number of reasons. A cyclical economic slowdown (old fashioned recession), a financial crisis (worries are brewing), or an exogenous event (9/11, major natural disaster, war…). While an exogenous event is unpredictable, there are warning signs to watch for, for the first two. Let me address the theories that abound that we are heading for an economic slowdown.

Trade Wars.

We import more than we export. The US not buying goods from other countries will hurt them much more than other countries not buying goods from us will hurt us. Virtually everything we import we can make ourselves, it might cost more, but it would also create jobs. President Trump is counting on this very simple reality to reverse a trade policy that was created to address global reconstruction after WWII. By negotiating one on one with our trade partners, he feels we can “normalize” policy to one that puts us on a more equal footing with our partners. Do we really still need to be protecting German manufacturing by allowing tariff’s on our goods?

Bottom line is that agreements will be renegotiated because it is in everyone’s best interest to do so. China will come along slowly. If they want to play with the big boys (membership in the WTO) then they need to act like a grown up, not a 5 year old begging for a candy bar handout at the grocery store. Stealing intellectual property is not a grown up world activity.

Mexico, as one of our most important allies has been at the forefront of negotiations. And the market rightly celebrated a new agreement with a 200+ point DOW day.

Yes there will be some disruptions, some winners and some losers but the overall economic effect will be nil. If you don’t want to read company reports and financial statements to determine the effects of higher tariffs, then just avoid individual stocks for now. There are plenty of ETF’s to offer enough diversification to circumnavigate the Harley Davidson’s (HOG -13.04% YTD, 8/28/2018). Try IYT, the iShares Transportation Average ETF, +7.33% YTD.

The bull market will end because this is one of the longest bull markets in history.

So what? Last I checked the stock market doesn’t understand the concept of a calendar.

Remember, the market comes to an end when earnings falter. So a better “time” gauge might be GDP. (“Nominal” GDP used)

  • Annual GDP bottomed in 1933 during the Great Depression, 10 years later it had grown by 356%
  • 10 years after the 1948 recession GDP had increased by 186%
  • In 1962 GDP was up 164% from the 1953 recession
  • In 1969 GDP had increased by 187%
  • Up 266% 10 years following the 1970 recession
  • Up 208% in 1990 after the 1980 recession
  • Up 171% from 1990 – 1991 recession

From 2009 to through 2017 GDP has risen by 134%

So how is it that this recovery is on its last legs? Yes, we could be getting close based on the 1962 recovery, but we could also only be ½ way there based on the 1970 recovery. Are you really willing to sit out knowing that historically GDP could still double from here?

  • Consider the Atlanta Fed raised their estimates for Q3 GDP to 4.6%. If that number were to hold up for 12 months; that would add $890 billion to GDP and approximately $179 billion in tax revenue. Now if we can only control spending…
  • Consumer confidence just blew away expectations coming in at 133.4
  • Richmond Fed manufacturing index beat expectations by 26%!
  • Unemployment well under 5%

And the list goes on…..

What’s an investor to do?

Invest, because that is what investors do.

With one caveat…what’s your exit strategy?

I mentioned above that signs of a new financial crisis are starting to show….I’ll address those cracks in a future blog…I also said that an exogenous shock is unpredictable. I’ve also written about how a likely lack of liquidity could turn a relatively minor hiccup into a major sell off…

Understand the need for an exit strategy now? If you don’t have one be very certain that the day I say “I told you so” will come! Better idea – give us a call and we can help work some strategic planning into your portfolio.

Good Luck,

Bill

bill@401advisor.com

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Mr. DeShurko is a registered representative of Ceros Financial Services, Inc, (Member FINRA/SIPC). Ceros is not affiliated with 401 Advisor, LLC or Fund Trader Pro. The views expressed are those of Mr. DeShurko and do not necessarily reflect those of Ceros Financial Services, Inc., its employees or affiliates

Happenings at 401 Advisor, LLC

While we are in the midst of the summer doldrums for the market, I thought the timing was good for an update on some changes at 401 Advisor, LLC.
First I’d like to introduce and welcome Jim Kilgore to the team. Jim served on active duty in the United States Air Force for 20 years and retired in 2014. His passion for investing has led him into the financial services industry. In a short span Jim has accumulated an array of skills in the financial services industry. He has spent time with an investment advisor that was also involved in the property and casualty insurance industry and will use this experience in working with Greg Fay, owner of Greg Fay Insurance who works here in our building on Franklin St. He will also complete his tax preparation certification that will enable him to work with and provide tax advice while working with the professionals at P&A Tax Services, (also located here at our location) and other tax advisors as well..
With Jim’s addition and skills we will be able to offer clients a values based financial/wealth planning service above what we have offered in the past. A special interest for Jim is a focus on families with a special needs family member. In Jim’s experience special needs financial planning is unlike the traditional “Money Magazine”-style financial planning where you buy a home, raise your children, plan four years of college education and retire. Special Needs Financial Planning is preparing for two generations. Once the planning is in place, 401 Advisor’s fiduciary commitment fits perfectly with the responsibility to properly manage financial assets in meeting both the parent’s goals and providing for the lifelong needs of their child with special needs.
If you are interested in a comprehensive financial evaluation, give either Jim or myself a call and we can discuss how we may be able to serve you best.

Jim currently holds series 6, 7, and 66 securities licenses. Additionally, Jim holds his life, accident & health as well as his property & casualty insurance licenses.
Jim is active in several non-profits and volunteers with his family in many community projects and activities. When Jim is not working, he enjoys fly fishing, hunting, and playing golf. Jim, his wife Laura and six children live in Springboro, Ohio.
Second, at the suggestion of a client, I have added a client only, password protected page to my website, http://www.401Advisor.com. The purpose of the private, client only section will be to offer specific commentary on our strategies, holdings, and rationale behind changes. More generic commentary will continue to be posted here at http://www.deshurkoblog.com. For those of you who have wondered about a holding or a strategy but didn’t want to call and ask or make an appointment, the new addition will hopefully be a welcome way to stay informed.

I’ll also be able to add any office related information that would be of interest to clients of the firm.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact Michelle@401advisor.com, myself at bill@401advisor.com, and now Jim at jim@401advisor.com. Or call us at 937.434.1790.

 

 

Mid Year Market Insight

06/29/2018

The following article was written for subscribers to our 401k advice web site, http://www.FundtraderPro.com.

My marketing friends tell me I need to communicate more. My response is that I hate writing when I really have nothing new to say. And honestly, the last post on April 5th (below) is as true today as it was then. Tariffs are front and center and dominating trading. The market hates uncertainty.

Professional traders can make money when the market is up or down. Sideways markets are difficult for everybody. Eventually, the market will breakout, in one direction or the other. Below is a year to date chart of DIA, a Dow Jones tracking ETF, can’t get much more sideways than this!

 

SP500062018

We started rotating into more conservative investments and even getting out of the market entirely with a portion of some plans as early as February. That was a tough call. My “gut” said we would regain the January high before sliding into the sideways summer doldrums. And that is why it is important to have a rules-based, unemotional strategy as a guide to making investment decisions. Granted, in or out hasn’t made much of a difference in hindsight. But on the risk/return scale, you are always better off in a risk-free investment than a risky one, if the riskier investment isn’t making you any money.

(Note: For 401 Advisor, LLC clients in the more conservative strategies we moved out of high yield bonds, and have stayed focused on our “value” strategies.)

I have not yet run our model for July changes. But I feel pretty secure in predicting the outcome: holdings will be “bar belled” between cash/money market/fixed accounts and the riskier small-cap growth investments. Cash because the large caps are going nowhere, and small caps because they are less affected by tariffs.

What Keeps Me Up at Night

The media will latch on to a topic for a few days, get bored and move on to something new. While “insider” writings; blogs, newsletters, articles…by real money managers will tend to stay focused on topics until they either come to fruition or circumstances truly change. One such topic I read more and more about is “liquidity”. In short, liquidity refers to the ability of the market to absorb a wave of selling with buyers that will step in and stabilize prices. Between Dodd-Frank legislation and program trading (sell first, ask questions later) there is a very big fear that the next market sell-off will be very quick and very severe. Unfortunately, such analysis does not come with a “when”.

The strength of the Fund Trader Pro system (and 401 Advisor strategies)  is its backtested ability to limit portfolio damage in prior market sell-offs. (Past performance is not a guarantee of future results). However, if a big and fast sell-off were to come to fruition, it would certainly test our system.

I say this now, to let our subscribers know, that we are well aware of this possibility. And are vigilant in monitoring the market and market indicators.

Earnings for the second quarter and good results will temper tariff talk, and prepare the market to extend this rally after the fall election. However, anything can happen. Our FTP (and 401 Advisor) strategies use multiple signals to determine when to suggest moving funds to safety. While we can’t guarantee future results, I will stress that you will not be seeing recommendations based on a buy and hold strategy. We will make every effort to ensure that our strategy prudently recommends being fully invested or moving out of the market entirely as appropriate.

If you have any thoughts, questions or comments always feel free to email me directly at wdeshurko@fundtraderpro.com.

Thank you for your support.

Disclosure: 

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock or fund is mentioned in this article. Investing involves risk. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

 

 

 

Market Proves Again that it is Irrational

4/5/2018

Not that we have seen the last of market volatility for the year, but the recent “correction” has shown us three things. When the market has a particularly outsized gain or loss the pundits come out of the woodwork to pitch their explanations. Usually, it’s pretty hard to tell myth from fact. What story is real vs what story just sounds good enough to get TV face time. Not so with this recent hissy fit. There was a consensus that fears of a trade war set the market off on its downward trajectory. The new  Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow came out and explained on Fox Business News, that this was not the start of a trade war with China. It was the start of negotiations with China to end their trade abuses. Including but not limited to theft of our intellectual property, technology and onerous tariff’s on goods imported from the U S. The DOW saw its biggest single-day point turn around ever.

This is good because knowing that the market is focused on a single issue, not an overall fear of the economy misfiring, should clear the way for a solid earnings rally in a few weeks.

The second thing we have seen, not that this is new, is that the market grossly overreacts to any news. Despite the pledges from the algorithm traders that their computer-driven trading is good for the market, we have instead seen an algorithm based sell off that grossly overstates the potential issue. This from http://www.Zacks.com:

“… the size of the market correction dwarfs the size of the tariffs’ impact by nearly an order of magnitude. Indeed, we’re talking $2-$4 trillion (in stock market devaluation) vs a few hundred billion, (economic damage from presumed tariffs).”

And third, this market will shoot first and ask questions later. Regardless of day to day direction, it is no indication of future results! We are currently in a trendless market, looking for a solid reason to go up or down for the smallest of reasons.

Looking for Reassurance

03/23/2018

There’s nothing like a 700 point drop on the DOW to shake things up a bit. Not emotionally immune to this kind of market behavior I had to look for some confirmations that Thursday’s drop was within “normal” volatility range…or if not prepare to take some portfolio management steps.

I often make fun of our industry when we predict the future, and when our predictions come true (it does happen once in awhile)  we act as if we were totally blindsided, with no rational explanations. In this case, I have to laugh at myself a bit. In my beginning of the year “prediction” blog post, I posited that we would see increased volatility this year, with positive breaks during earnings season, as long as earnings managed to meet or exceed expectations. With +/-2% days being more frequent, let’s hope first-quarter earnings reports can pull the market back up. We should know in a few weeks.

I am a believer in using technical analysis for short-term trends. Whenever I want a view of the health of the market, I pull up a chart and apply a few indicators. Today I didn’t have to do much. Below is a chart of SPY, the S&P 500 Index ETF, with trendlines that I had drawn in months ago. Simply, the SPY has hit the bottom trend line and, as of 10:25 AM on March 23rd, appears to be bouncing back up into the trend range (defined by the two parallel straight lines). It is also easy to see the market volatility before and after February’s large drop.

The point? As of now, the market is not doing anything unexpected, but it is very close to crossing down into the danger zone. If the market reverses down today or posts a couple negative days at the beginning of next week, it may be time to start putting the defensive team on the field. Hopefully, with a few up days, the market runs up to the top line, and with positive earnings, crosses through and above.

SPY 03232018

Q & A with Investopedia

Below are a list of questions I recently answered for readers of http://www.Investopedia.com

 

William DeShurko

Centerville, OH

http://www.Fundtraderpro.com

 
 
WILLIAM DESHURKO’S ANSWERS
What assets should I sell- a home valued at $380,000 or $300,000 in fixed rate annuities- to pay for my elderly mother’s end-of-life care?
Sell the annuities. Any gain will be taxed to your mother. Assuming her tax rate is less than yours. Check with your tax advisor on what medical expenses may be deductible… Read More
What are the risks of including closed-end funds in my portfolio as a retiree?
Because it is so easy to buy investments, investors tend to overlook the sell side. Many CEF’s are very thinly traded. If you were to try and sell during a… Read More
Is investing in stocks with quarterly or monthly dividends a good strategy for saving for retirement?
Brilliant! Dilly-Dilly! Yes! Younger investors tend to forego dividend stocks for the sexier hot growth stocks. But dividends compound, growth doesn’t. By reinvesting your dividends, they buy more shares, which… Read More
Can I stop a private company from buying back stock that I inherited from my grandfather before he died?
Lots of unanswered questions here. Was your Grandfather an owner or partner in the firm? If so there could be a “buy/sell” agreement in place. This would state that at your… Read More
I have $850,000 in retirement savings and a remaining mortgage of $380,000; should I stop contributing to my four retirement accounts and pay down my mortgage?
If your mortgage is a fixed rate I would say “No”. If so, going forward your payment is fixed. The rent from your buildings should increase which will give you… Read More

Weathering the Storm

Kiplinger Storm

A good article was published today by Lisa Kiplinger at Kiplinger.com

Advice for Investors Worried About Today’s Tumultuous Stock Markets.  From the article, “The Dow saw its biggest point drop ever on Monday, Feb. 5, plunging 1,175 points. The next day it swung almost 1,700 points to close higher. What are investors to do is such times? Twenty financial advisers weigh in with tips.”

If you don’t have time to read all 20 tips, you can go right to Tip #8 for the best advice!


bill@401advisor.com • 937.434.1790

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Charles H. Dow Award Winner 2008. The papers honored with this award have represented the richness and depth of technical analysis.

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