Amidst the towering Douglas Firs in our front yard, a chanterelle had popped its head above the ground in mid-September. We were excited! We have spent the last several years trying to cultivate chanterelle mushrooms in the forest surrounding our home and White Raven Financial office. Every fall, we go mushroom picking in the mountains. We make sure that we pick them sustainably, cutting the stems just above the ground and collecting them in open netted bags to allow the spores to spread. After cleaning the chanterelles at home, we take our discards and spread them amongst the Stump Farm trees hoping that some spores will take. Now it appears that our labor has finally born fruit; more than a few chanterelles have shown their heads after that first sighting. They’re probably keeping the first mushroom company, no one wants a lonely mushroom.
“It takes mushrooms to make mushrooms” could be the new “it takes money to make money”? One of the main ways we, at White Raven Financial, suggest saving or building for a goal is to set aside a portion of a raise at the time it is received. If done immediately, it does not appear as if you are denying yourself a portion of your income – you have not gotten used to the higher wage. Slowly, each month you will then see your fund increase and your goal nearing fruition. There is the added benefit that savings earns interest; albeit not much but something is better than nothing. Every little thing counts.
Just as small savings lead to large, so can small discretionary spending lead to large deficits. A recent full page spread in a major magazine was dedicated to the “War on Waste”. My thoughts immediately went to commercial and retail waste but on closer examination it turned out to be an advertisement by OPENTHEBOOKS about fiscal waste. Their aim is to make spending at every level of government – federal, state, and local – transparent. It makes for interesting reading to see where taxpayer money is spent. The long-awaited announcement by Federal Open Market Committee showed the directive raising the federal funds target range by 25 basis points to 2.00%-2.25% with a possibility of one more rate increase this year. As of October 2nd, 2018, the current prime rate is at 5.25%. Alliance Bernstein thinks that we should expect more rate hikes in 2019. And then there is the other coin, inflation, sometimes called the silent thief, continually creeping up with the current year-over-year rate at 2.70% putting it above its 10-year moving average (now at 1.57%) according to the Consumer Price Index.
Most of us have heard of the nine-year bull market and many are concerned whether it will continue to run. Alliance Bernstein’s September 4th Insight, provided the following three reasons they think US stocks are still attractive: Fundamentals: Economic Growth and Strong Earnings; Technical Support: The Buyback Boost; and Valuations: Concerns Have Eased. As always there are the Bulls vs Bears with as many articles supporting continued growth as there are suggesting a possible market downturn.
The Blackrock Quarter 4 Investment Outlook points to global growth still being favourable and sustaining at above-trend levels, despite the variety of outcomes widening as the year ends. Even though some foreign trade agreements have been signed, there still remains the U.S.-China trade tensions and the ongoing Brexit negotiations; both of these provide a wide array of unpredictable events which may cause volatility for certain overseas markets.
The month of September brought in a bit of volatile weather for some of the market’s major indices. The blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* shined with a positive 1.9% for September. The S&P 500 (SPY)* was a bit dimmer but still positive at a 0.43% gain for the month. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMP)* showed the colder side of the month by shedding 0.78%. On Tuesday, September 25th, 2018, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report showing that the national core home price index gains are beginning to slow. The 20-city composite May Home Price Index reported a 5.9% year-over-year gain; down from the 6.4% posted the previous month. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of July posting a .03% gain over the prior month of June 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, S&P500 and the NASDAQ is the total return (price only) provided by Morning star Inc. as of 2018September30. 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.
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