It is late in the evening and my phone chimes to notify me that a text has arrived from a close friend. It is unusual for my friend to text late in the evening so I figured it must be important. Picking up the phone, I see: “What is your superpower? Everyone has one! Mine is a recognition of patterns in data – they look obvious to me, and I don’t see why others don’t see them”. I considered how to respond and thought to myself, “Do I really have a superpower?”. My husband Mike can lower his heartbeat to 38 within a few minutes. Go figure. Brett1 said that he can name the artist, song title, and album of music that is playing – as long as it’s not country & western. Wow! Austin2, our client outreach specialist, has a gifted ability to read people’s emotions, allowing people to share their life with him. Kris3, who helps part-time with business-support, was proud to say her superpower was “being able to project my voice – through a face mask – to the back of a classroom over the noise of 30 children”. Well, mine4 felt a bit mundane after learning of the others: A memory of small details that are told to me and the ability to recall them to the person even after a year or more has passed. So, what is your Superpower? Everyone has one and it is what makes us all so special.
If you Google5 “can humans have superpowers?”, an interesting list of websites appear including those with links to science, business, health, and futurism. I also found that a business or an organization can have a superpower. I believe White Raven Financials’ superpower is that it is cloaked in nature, creating peacefulness in those immersed in its surroundings. Currently, we can look outside our office window and see the hummingbirds as they stop at the feeder. Pretty cool place to have a business that deals with the sometimes-high stress and emotions that can revolve around finance.
There was no end to information about the economy for the month of November. Toward the end of the month, there was an endless stream of information6 regarding the Omicron variant of Covid and alas we do not think any superpower can solve the problem of transmission with the virus. We are all aware of inflation hitting our pocketbooks; confirmation was recently posted by Market watch7 with the report that in the U.S. the cost of groceries has exceeded 5% year-over-year. The Federal Reserve also noted inflation. Chair Jerome Powell8 indicated that they are still in ‘wait and see’ mode in regard to raising interest rates to counter the economic puzzles of inflation and labor-market issues. With the previous news, the market has been a bit jittery as of late. In a recent Charles Schwab Insight9, Liz Ann Sonders & Kevin Gordon discussed current economics and the 2022 U.S Market outlook. They made comments to the reader that due to the instability of the global supply chains and the difficultness in judging the virus’s latest significance, that more companies may be switching from just-in-time inventory management to just-in-case. Further commentary included the U.S. economy strength and improvement in the labor market. It appears that manufacturing activity is running at a good clip despite supply chain, transportation, and labor constraints. This was reiterated by the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) latest report10 noting that national factory activity increased to a reading of 61.1 (readings over 50 indicates an expansion).
The uncertainty and understandable concern of the Omicron variant has also affected those overseas. Alliance Bernstein, in their mid-November Capital Market Outlook11, reminded their readers that the long-trend is up for the major economies and markets. Jeff Klingelhofer, Co-Head of Investments and Managing Director for Thornburg Investments, recently spoke on his thoughts12 in regards to the current economic trajectory. He thought about how the world will have to find a way to live with Covid and how the consumers of the world represent exactly that. Keith Wade, chief economist at Schroders recent view13 on the global economy for 2022 expected growth as the global economy continues its recovery. Although he also expected it to cool after a very strong 2021.
Speaking of new ways – we recently learned, through reading the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Solar Futures Study14, that to achieve a zero-carbon grid by 2050, it will require U.S. utilities and solar developers to quadruple yearly solar capacity installation to achieve 1,000 GW of installed capacity by 2035 and as much as 3,000 GW by 2050. As we mentioned last month, we are pleased here at White Raven Financial15 that we have always been in the ESG investing space for investors but sadly, at this time, while we focus on using ernegy conservatively, we have no wind or solar power at the Stump Farm where our place of business resides.
Now on to the markets: In November, some of the major indices stumbled. Part of the decline happened in the last several days of the month and was brought about by the new Omicron virus fears in addition to a statement16 by Fed Chair Powell. For November, the blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* stumbled hard and posted red with a -3.73% drop. The S&P 500 (SPY)* slipped from the prior month with a -0.83% fall. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* jumped over the crack staying green with a 0.25% gain for the month. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, November 30th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller18 report. The report showed that for the reporting month that home prices continue to increase. The September 20-city composite Home Price Index18 reported a 19.1% year-over-year gain; down 0.5% from the previous month year-over-year posting. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of September showing a 0.8% increase over the prior month of August 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 November 30 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)