In late July, my faithful weed eater would start sputtering after working for several minutes and then quit. The weed eater was sorely needed to clear a piece of our property. This eventually required me/Diane1 and my husband to travel to the local repair shop with my sick helper in tow. Upon arrival at the ‘fix it bench’, the older man turns to my husband and asked him “what’s wrong with it?”. My husband replies “don’t ask me”, then points to me and said, “she’s the owner”. I was astonished when the repair person turns to me and directed the question again. I humbly describe my weed eater’s problem while noticing with dismay the many weed eaters stacked up needing repairs. The repairman listens intently; then asks me what type of gas I use. I explained along with how I use the weed eater and the care I give it. Never once looking at my husband again, he then went through the mechanics of my machine with me. Maybe it was my intense listening, or me trying hard to describe the problem, but he proceeded to repair the machine (air intake value and a dried rubber ring) while explaining to me what he was doing. He then showed me how I could complete the repair myself in the event of a repeat failure. Paying the labor charge, I was allowed to take my beloved weed-eater home within the hour. The respect I received was new for me when it comes to ‘broken mechanical things’, and I left the shop smiling.
Not everyone is a teacher such as the repair man in the above story. While he was teaching me, he assumed that even if I didn’t know that much about mechanics, I might wish to learn. The appreciation for his respect and treating me as an equal was new to me for mechanical repairs at a shop. In those type of situations, I am often ignored or treated as a know nothing. That is why White Raven Financial’s2 goal is: To always be a fiduciary; to always treat people with respect and dignity and to perform tasks in their best interests. Our wish here at White Raven Financial: When you walk out of our office or sign off on the zoom call or put down the phone, you will experience what I felt when I left the repair shop on that hot July afternoon – flying high and having learned a little more!
Our past month’s reading showed continuing questions regarding the U.S. Economy: Is the economy sputtering, or it will keep on humming? Are we in a recession or not? On Tuesday, the 2nd of August, Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester stated3 that more evidence is needed to indicate that inflation has peaked before the central bank can roll back interest rate hikes. It appears that we have additional support for interest rates as U.S. continues to have robust jobs with the number of unemployed individuals at all-time lows4. Also, promising economic data was posted on August the 3rd with the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 56.7 in July5 marking a surprise rebound. Countering those thoughts is the current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which has dropped two quarters6 in a row. A drop in the GDP is an indicator that consumer spending as slowed; a sign that often brings fears of a recession. Additionally, the yield curve7 is flashing signals (shorter term notes have a higher yield than longer term notes) that a recession may be looming or is already here. Although, to hopefully control some fear, US Treasury Secretary Janel Yellen, on July 28th, noted8 that U.S. is not experiencing a broad economic slowdown and feels that the economy is not in a recession.
Overseas, we find that European Central Bank (ECB) did its first rate hike9 in more than a decade as the area also struggles with inflation. On July 26th, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) again cuts its growth forecast10 for the world economy from 3.6% to 3.2%. In their report, they cited global inflation, the Ukraine – Russia conflict and China’s slowdown. Note, there was no mention of a recession in their report!
The past several market volatilities is a gentle reminder to always be prepare for different possibilities, not just one scenario and to invest within one’s risk tolerance in a diversified well-balanced portfolio.
The markets toward the end-of-July heated up but did not match the Seattle all-time record11 for consecutive 90-degree highs. Of the three major indices, the blue-chip barometer (the DOW)* warmed up by posting a gain of 6.8% for the month. The S&P 500 (SPY)* notched higher (more sun) and gained 9.21%. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* added on evening rays to display a 12.35% gain. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, July 26th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller13 report. The report showed that for the reporting month, home prices across the U.S. appeared to continue to increase. The May 20-city composite Home Price Index13 reported a 20.5% year-over-year gain; down 0.7% from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of May showing a 1.5% increase over the prior month of April 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 July 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)