They were tired and they were hungry, but they took the time to shower and change into clean clothes prior to visiting the restaurant. The couple were a bit older but cutting, splitting, then hauling and stacking the wood was still a job they could accomplish to get a job site ready. They must have looked a bit spent and worn as the waiter asked them, “Hard day, huh?”. They nodded and immediately ordered quite sizable meals and managed to almost polish off their plates. Asking for the bill, the couple were told, “Sorry, it has already been paid for”. They were a bit speechless and when asking who they could thank; they were told it was anonymous. This story just so happened to Diane1, who works at White Raven Financial2, and her husband, Mike.
They were stunned by such an act of kindness, although a bit bewildered as they were more than capable of paying for the meal. Telling the story to friends, they learned of people driving through coffee lines and the bistro saying, “Oh, you don’t need to pay; the person in the auto that just left said to put it on their bill”. There were other examples of lawns being mowed, a bit of weeding in a garden, etc. and no one knowing the benefactor. The common theme in all these stories: Smiles on the storyteller’s face and how it made that particular day so much brighter. In return, the older couple proceeded to “pay it back” to brighten someone else’s day. Do you have a story? Here at White Raven Financial3, we would love to hear it!
The intenseness of economic and financial news continued through the month of May – as if April had never ended. Maybe a dose of kindness would help it! In our reading and webinar watching we found a lot of yin and yang regarding the economy. Rising interest rates, inflation, and the continued conflict in Ukraine appeared to be the factors that prompted Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to issue the following warning4: ‘Brace Yourself’ for an ‘Economic Hurricane’4. Speculation might indicate that we are all adjusting to a new paradigm of rising prices. In contrast to Dimon’s warning, FS Investments in their Q2 2022 Economic outlook5 showed a projection for economic growth of 3.0% in 2022 stating that the economy still had strong fundamentals. In a recent Edge article6 by Wealth Manager, famed economist Nouriel Roubini, noted that he and other economist foresee the economy having a hard landing. In the article they reference the low unemployment rate and high inflation with similar percentages in U.S. history. What we do know for sure is: consumer’s sentiment7 is down partly due to rising interest rates and the increased price of food.
One can only feel compassion for the people of Ukraine. The continued conflict has affected not only their world but also many economies. Ukraine’s annual planting season has been deeply impacted due to the fighting. This has created a high demand for their supply of grains8, adding to inflation everywhere. Jeffrey Herzog, portfolio manager for Lord Abbett, in a recent Insight9 wrote on Europe’s high inflation and war-damaged growth. In the article, he felt that there was some encouraging news: The real gross domestic product (GDP) was up 0.3% on a quarterly basis. He noted that it was positive considering the commodity shock that has occurred in the Eurozone. Ireland Business News Economic section10 had an extensive article by famed economist Lars Christensen. In the article, he felt there could be a potential for an exceptional restoration bringing some hope to all those who read the article.
The market volatility is also feeling a bit worn and spent for many. One wonders if it will ever end. For those that enjoy statistics and probability, you may find the article by Richard Shaw on the market volatility11 enjoyable. For those that wish for a quick summary: Of the 60+years analyzed, there were more ‘up’ than ‘down’ days!
A tumultuous month of May for the markets finally came to an end with a few positive outcomes. Of the three major indices, the blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* squeaked into first place posting a positive 0.04% for the month. The S&P 500 (SPY)* tried to match it’s bigger brother but, alas, came second and notched the month-end with a positive 0.01% gain. Sadly, the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* stride was slower than its brethren and thus it fell behind posting a -2.05% decline. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, May 31st, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller13 report. The report showed that for the reporting month, home prices, again, did a “same-ol’ same ol’’’ and continued to increase. The March 20-city composite Home Price Index13 reported a 21.2% year-over-year gain; up 0.9% from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of March showing a 3.1% increase over the prior month of February 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 May 31, 2022. 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.
- * https://Morningstar.com (index)