Hey, we have good news, here at White Raven Financial, we can finally text!! Yes, we know texting has been around forever, but you see we had this impediment called a landline. We also had another obstacle called compliance. A few months ago, we discovered this subscription service that allowed us to send/receive texts through our landline. For an additional small fee, we could fulfill our compliance regulation to archive all transmitted messages. (Sorry, no trade requests allowed, they will not be executed). We are excited about this new/old feature especially after we received our first text “accidently” an hour after setup; someone assumed that our office always had the ability to text. Ah, White Raven Financial has finally entered the 21st century of phone technology; our landline has been upcycled!
When the office was first put together, the members of White Raven Financial were not aware of the word “upcycled”. They found some neat old chairs (one came from a barn and another came from cast-off office); Mike, the on-site, all-around handyman, refinished them, and thought what he was doing was “recycling”. Then Diane’s brother came across some old driftwood and made an end-table for the office to allow for some additional sophistication. He also thought he was “recycling” a product. Looking around the outside, we find other items tied to the White Raven Financial office that everyone thought were re-use of a product. There is the boardwalk made from recycled, laminated, wooden light poles. The lights lining the boardwalk are made from former high voltage insulators and recycled globes from Bellevue Community College walkway lights (the handyman was a journeyman electrician prior to retiring). Lastly, the driveway was surfaced with the grindings of asphalt that had been torn up when a county road was resurfaced. We have been informed, by a very knowledgeable individual, that we are not actually recycling… we are upcycling.
Hopefully, the economy can also stay upcycled in respect to jobs (that is probably not the correct term, but it works for us). For the next couple of months, many eyes will be on the labor markets and the policy response to the economic situation brought about by COVID-19. Our reading this past month included many 2021 global outlooks. There were various opinions on the tactical stance that may or may not occur with the ongoing fiscal and monetary policy. A Bloomberg Opinion on 2021 Market Predictions, written by Jared Dillian, noted that an upside to the government’s policy response is with former Fed Chair Janet Yellen possibly becoming the next Treasury Secretary and the potential for coordination between the government and the central bank. Andrew Pease, Global Head of Investment Strategy for Russell Investments, in their 2021 Outlook, felt that the U.S. is in the early post-recession recovery phase. This phase is an extended period of low-inflation with low-interest rate growth which is very dependent on the economy and policy. To provide a nice contrast we find Charles Schwab Insights noting the possibility of potential for a gain in gold due to the weaker U.S. dollar and eventual inflation.
The United Kingdom’s (UK) divorce with the European Union is complete with the finalized trade deal. The UK had been a member state for 47 years prior to its historic break; we are not sure what type of cycle this would fall under. How this end-result affects trade to the U.S. and the economies of the member states will reflect more in the years to come. Lord Abbett, in their 2021 Outlook, addressed how the global pandemic affected nations and regions at different speeds. They felt that those countries that controlled the spread of the virus will be able to resume normal operating levels at a quicker pace. They further felt that the effect of the COVID-19 vaccine will definitely help revive economies.
And for a new cycle: On December 30th, the Wall Street Journal noted that 10 million brokerage accounts were opened in 2020 by individuals. Many are wondering if this is what drove the stock market to new highs. Just remember to stay diversified within your risk tolerance and if you received a stimulus check – enjoy!
A very volatile market came to an end with December capping it off positively for an extraordinary year for the major market indices. The markets appeared upbeat with the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccinations and the government stimulus developments. The blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* provided some nice fireworks with a 3.27% monthly increase. The S&P 500 (SPY)* complemented the colors and gained 3.71% for the month of December. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* decided it would outshine its brothers with many hues and sparkles and rose 5.65% for the month. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab.) On Tuesday, December 29th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report. The report showed that for the reporting month, home prices had chosen to continue their increases. The October 20-city composite Home Price Index reported a 7.9% annual gain; up 1.3% (again) from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of October showing a 1.6% increase over the prior month of September for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and thank you (as always) for reading,
The Team at White Raven Financial
Advisory services offered through White Raven Financial Services, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Washington.
*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Returns for the DOW, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are the total return (price only) provided by Morningstar as of December 31, 2020. Diversification and asset allocation do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
*The Standard and Poor’s 500 is an unmanaged, capitalization weighted benchmark that tracks broad-based changes in the U.S. stock market. This index of 500 common stocks is comprised of 400 industrial, 20 transportation, 40 utility, and 40 financial companies representing major U.S. industry sectors. The index is calculated on a total return basis with dividends reinvested and is not available for direct investment.
*The Dow Jones Industrial Average covers 30 blue chip U.S. companies selected by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The Dow represents about 25% of the NYSE market capitalization and less than 2% of NYSE issues. *The NASDAQ is a market-value weighted index that measures all NASDAQ domestic and foreign common stocks.