Stuck for what to give someone for Christmas this year? It seems we always have someone who’s hard to buy for. Working in the financial industry, of course our ideas occasionally lean in that direction. So what about giving stock as a gift? It seems like a fairly large undertaking though, both monetarily and logistically; they really don’t give out ‘stock certificates’ any more like they used to. Enter a new option: stock gift cards. It appears that other people also want to give stock as gifts without having to consult their financial advisor or spend a small fortune. Reading through the previously linked article, it appears that it is also much cheaper to purchase the gift card online rather than at a retail store. Whether it’s a good investment or not, we can’t know, but we do think gift card stock is a unique idea, not to mention stock in your stocking sounds pretty cool.
The third quarter earnings season is almost at an end. Company earnings did not come through strong enough to say “hey, we think stocks should be higher”. Headlining the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet Yellen, expressed confidence that the U.S. economy is likely to register continued modest growth, falling unemployment and a small pickup inflation. For the fourth quarter many eyes appear to be on retail sales as this year’s holiday season continues. There are those that feel strong retail sales are a health barometer of the overall economy. In turn, a strong holiday shopping season could provide a possible tailwind for stocks to finish the year higher (think Santa Claus rally). A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found that more people planned to shop online than in stores on Black Friday weekend this year. Adobe Systems. Inc., which tracks online purchases across 4,500 U.S. sites reported that Black Friday sales rose 14% from a year ago.
And while Americans are buying more SUVs than ever, Europe’s refugee crisis has put the region in flux. There are countless challenges involved in connecting the stream of immigrants with jobs but the large numbers of people is helping to fill the need some countries have with labor shortages. Also in Europe, there were recent elections in Portugal with no visible winner and elections in Spain. And a piece of very good news comes from the U.K. which declared an end to years of financial reforms; apparently their banks have decided they’ve done enough to broadly strengthen their balance sheets.
The major indexes left November with mixed gains. The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* paddled forward by 0.7 percent. The S&P 500 Index (SPXTR)* showed a very slim gain of 0.3 percent. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* again strutted pass it peers with a 1.28 percent addition. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-city composite Home Price Index showed that home prices rose within expectations. The month of September reported a 5.83% increase on a year-over-year basis. Month-over-month data increased slightly with the month of September reporting 0.21% over the month of August for the 20-city composite index.
Regards and Thank you,
The Team at White Raven Financial
*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 and the S&P500 are total returns from Pershing Netx360. Return for the NASDAQ is the NAV total return provided by Morning Star as of 2015November30