It was time! Spring was here and the Christmas wreath was hanging outside the office door. The pine needles were turning brown, the birds had finished feasting on the red holly berries and the bow was drooping. As I started to remove the wreath, a small little bird started chirping insistently and began hovering near my head. I then viewed the beginnings of a nest in the wreath and gently hung it back. I observed the small bird bringing twigs, dried grass, colored twine and what-not at the end of March and early April. Suddenly last week the bird was quiet unless someone happened to open the office door. You guessed it; the bird has been busy again with two small chicks.
Watching the bird reminded me how the financial planning profession helps people ‘build’ for their retirement or a goal. How we need to keep adding to a fund until we feel we have built enough of a nest egg to bring to fruition the goal or the retired life style that we choose upon our retirement. And while the bird built the nest, it also reminded me that as we humans build our nest egg, it should be about diversity[i]. That in addition to saving dollars, we should (if possible) have other types of assets to make a solid nest. The diversity could consist of one or more types of possible income. The income could include a pension, an annuity, rental income or even a forested acreage amongst others.
Now here at White Raven Financial, we don’t spend all our time looking out the windows. We do read, watch the markets and view varying news sources. With interest, we watched Bloomberg’s latest Federal Open Market release and learned of the committee’s decision to hold firm the target range for the federal funds rate at 2.25% to 2.50%. During the release, Chair Powell remarked that he doesn’t see a strong case for a rate cut or hike. Interest rates may be stable, and in their report the Fed stated overall inflation had declined, but our pocket books are saying it is a bit different when it comes to personal travel. The latest information from Gas Buddy shows that it is costing us more to fuel our auto. In contrast to the interest rates, news on latest trade negotiations had been quite subdued when you compare it to previous months. Kate Moore, a Chief Equity Strategist for Blackrock, wrote in her latest weekly commentary on the encouraging corporate earnings, U.S. economy’s first quarter faster than expected growth and how future trade tensions could be a risk and possibly cause market risk.
Andrew Pease, Global Head of Investment Strategy for Russell Investments, commented on trade overseas and how a China Trade Deal for the EuroZone is looking likely. In his commentary, he provided factors why Europe should rebound and how they would be the beneficiary if there was a thaw in the trade war. Interest rates are also a concern world-wide – the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) held their interest rates steady at .75% although they did raise their forecast for GDP growth to 1.5%. When markets are up, it is easy to become complacent and hard to remember that the winds could change quickly; stay diversifiedi in your portfolio and within your risk tolerance is our recommendation.
The continuance of Spring new growth seemed to appear as the mood of the market indices for the month of April. The blue-chip barometer (the Dow)* hopped forward with a monthly gain of 2.56%. The S&P 500 (SPY)* bounced past the Dow with a 3.93% gain. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* sprung up and posted a 4.74% monthly gain. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab.) On Tuesday, April 30th, 2019, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report; the report showed that the national core home price rate has continued to slow. The 20-city composite February Home Price Index reported a 3.0% annual gain; down .5% from the unrevised 3.5% posted the previous month. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of February posting 0.2% over the prior month of January 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. Return for the DOW, S&P500 and the NASDAQ is the total return (price only) provided by Morning star Inc. as of 2019April30. 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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[i] Diversification and asset allocation does not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.