The woman commented to me… “they [new clients] said that they really liked you and when I referred you1, I told them you were a bit quirky”. I consider the woman and her husband, who made the referral, not only just clients, but also as friends as our relationship developed over time. But still, I was unsure how to reply to the comment; I think my response was a bland, “thank you”. When they left, I asked Brett, “is it okay to be called quirky?”. Brett’s2 reply, in his typical drawl, was, “well, it’s certainly better than being called boring!”. I figure that we (Brett & I) are in the same camp; he also must be quirky! After all, we do get along quite well for being in a small office and we both like colorful socks! We both embrace our uniqueness and hope people also find us intriguing and refreshing.
I have been told that even our company’s name, “White Raven Financial”, is a bit different than the norm; making it unique and, I guess, a bit quirky for an investment advisory/financial planning firm. When choosing the name, we had hoped it brought life to our goal of being fiduciaries – always putting a client’s interest ahead of our own. We also wanted it to display our belief in leaving the world a better place by incorporating values of sustainability, accountability of being kind to the environment, and responsible by making a difference on our planet. No, we don’t wear fancy suits, nor do we have a plush office in a downtown building suite – and this may have deterred some folks – but we’re totally OK with our business casual approach along with a beautiful countryside office setting.
What we do take seriously is what is going on in the financial world. The news; whether it be in the paper, television, radio, or the internet, the headlines are broadcasting increased fears3 regarding the Delta Covid-19 variant. So far it appears that our U.S. economy has adjusted to whatever the current norm is of keeping within the guidelines of safety yet moving forward in economic fashion. July brought a bouquet of good news as far as the economy is concerned with the ISM Manufacturing index4 expanding in July. We have read several news briefs on inflation and many appear to agree with Nancy Lazaar, Cornerstone Macros head of economic research & founding partner, when she noted that she felt5 that current inflation is transitory and not ingrained. The notion that recent higher inflation levels will not last was echoed by Lazard Asset Management’s July 2021 Outlook Summary6. Now if only our odd grocery bill would agree, many of us would be a lot happier.
As many of us probably know, the virus has affected all economies across the globe. Franklin Templeton, in their Midyear Outlook7, highlighted how Covid-19 variants has brought about an uneven global recovery. This is due to economic headwinds that have developed in parts of the world while other countries are sharply rebounding due to vaccination rollouts and/or heavy fiscal and monetary support. Lord Abbett, in their 2021 MidYear Investment Outlook8, noted that although there is some unexpected uncertainty in global economic growth, their experts have an optimistic view toward the remainder of 2021.
Back to the local news: I’ll admit that I did look up the definition for ‘quirky’. I decided that I liked some definitions better than others. Naturally, I geared toward those that appeared more admiring or appealing to nature. In the summer, I spend almost all my spare time outdoors helping with the many gardens on The Stump Farm or doing a bit of cleanup on our nature path. Our residential gardener/groundskeeper often gives a bouquet of flowers and/or extras from the vegetable garden to our many visitors. Yes, that in and of itself makes White Raven Financial a little-out-of-the-ordinary.
Now on to the markets: July showed the major market indices having some record highs9 during the month. In the end, all major indices posted to the positive – but not at their record highs. The blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* showed a 1.25% gain. The S&P 500 (SPY)* did a percent better with a 2.27% gain. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* almost matched the Dow with a 1.16% gain. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, July 27th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller10 report. The report showed that for the reporting month, home prices once again (no surprise there!) chose to continue their increases, with Seattle adding ‘again’ another month for being one of the top 3 areas. The May 20-city composite Home Price Index11 reported a 17.0% annual gain; up 2.0% from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of May showing a 2.1% 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, 2021. 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)