You might remember that a few of us rode a portion of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in 2015. For those riders among us who couldn’t be there for the whole thing, apparently there was beauty in the not-to-be-missed-again southwest portion of Montana. Three years on (and not a minute younger) those high elevation canyons and deeply forested valleys still sounded idyllic until we thought about carrying an extra 20-30 pounds of gear on our bikes up and down those valleys! So, it was with great relief when my dog Tu and his master volunteered as our support crew, hauling our gear and lightening our load. As we get older, there are times it is a blessing when someone offers help – especially on a multi-day bike ride.
It is not only our bodies that can slow us down in age. Recently, a security compliance examiner from WA State visited White Raven Financial and asked about the procedures we have in place if an elderly clients’ competence comes into question. One thing we do is request clients provide us with a “trusted contact” on the slim chance we become concerned their competence down the line. The compliance examiner’s initial question lead to further discussion about various programs the State has in place for elderly needing assistance such as meals on wheels for those that find cooking for themselves difficult. There are also local agencies that provide assistance such as Snohomish Counties’ discount on property taxes (dependent on circumstances). But often we don’t need formalised assistance – it’s just nice when we can lend each other a hand and lighten a load.
Lightening the load indeed – the U.S. economy appears to be performing well. Consumer spending is strong, Q3 corporate earnings remain healthy, the unemployment rate remains low and the Federal Reserve (Fed) has been taking tightening steps since December 2016. There is an expectation of two more interest rate increases this year per Mr Powell. Lord Abbett noted in their Mid-year Midyear Outlook: Our Experts Give Their Macro Views that the investment climate in the second half of 2018, when viewing the possible developments in trade policy, could weigh on global growth. Geopolitical events could produce a “September to remember,” in the words of one Lord Abbett investment expert. Throughout our reading these past couple of months, we have gradually been seeing articles on the possibility of the U.S. entering the correction phase of its business cycle. A detailed write-up of one such view can be read at Research Affiliates, in their Where is the Global Economy Going.
The impression of global growth is favourable. USAA noted in their USAA Midyear Update that it is not only the U.S. economy that is doing well but also global-developed and emerging market economies. Their update includes graph forecasts for both the global GDP growth within the 3% to 4% range in 2018 and 2019 and the predicted faster pace expected in the emerging world. USAA also expressed the concern of a disruption that could be caused by a global trade war. Blackrock’s July 30th Global Weekly commentary commented that even though the strong U.S. dollar had affected emerging markets, they felt that Emerging Markets earnings momentum is solid and increasingly broad-based. As we all need to remember, momentum is one thing but aligning your values with your investments and within your risk tolerance remains the key.
The month of July brought a bit of sunshine with the markets’ major indices ending the month in the positive. The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* did a sun-dance and added 4.83% for July. The S&P 500 (SPYTR)* sashayed into second place by adding 3.72% for the month. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* slow stepped into last place by adding 2.19% for the month. On Tuesday, July 31, 2018, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report showing that the national core home price index rise continues to remain steady. The 20-city composite May Home Price Index reported a 6.4% year-over-year gain; down from the 6.6% posted the previous month. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of May posting a .07% gain over the prior month of April for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and Thank you,
The Team at White Raven Financial
*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.
*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&P500 and the NASDAQ is the total return (price only) provided by Morning star Inc. as of 2018July31. Diversification and asset allocation does not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
Advisory services are offered through White Raven Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor in the state of Washington.
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