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The Ricks Report 

July 10, 2017

Numbers of $ignificance

  • NOT A LONG TIMELINE – As of the end of fiscal year 2017 (i.e., 9/30/17), only 14.2% of the outstanding debt of the US will be greater than 10 years in length based upon “original issuance type” (source: Treasury Department).
  • NOT TAKING TIME TO THINK OF THEIR FUTURE – 31% of American workers surveyed have accumulated no money for their retirement either on a pre-tax basis or a post-tax basis (source: Social Security). 
  • MORE OPPORTUNITIES– In July 2009 there were 6 million unemployed Americans and 2.2 million job openings. In April 2017 there were 7.1 million unemployed Americans and 6.0 million job openings (source: Department of Labor).

Winning at Life with Gregory Ricks

Tune in every weeknight from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and every Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm!  We are now on News Talk 99.5 WRNO and News Talk 104.9 WBUV, as well as Facebook LIVE, Periscope (GregoryRicks) and the iHeart app.  Gregory Ricks and James Parker will be live in studio talking about some great current events and financial solutions. This week’s guest will be Jude Heath, CPA and member of the Total Wealth Authority. Remember, you can listen from any smartphone or computer through iHeartRadio.

 The Markets

Things you may want to know…

Last Friday, Financial Times (FT) published, ‘Five markets charts that matter for investors.’ Among the issues addressed in the charts were:

  • The bond market bear watch. The yield on 10-year German Bunds (Germany’s government bonds) reached an 18-month high of 0.58 percent recently. Yields rose after the European Central Bank’s Mario Draghi indicated its stimulus efforts would end at some point.

 When bond yields rise, bond values fall, and that makes rising interest rates quite a significant event for anyone who holds lower yielding bonds. In the United States, 10-year U.S. Treasuries moved to a seven-week high last week and then dipped lower following the release of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes, reported CNBC.com.

  • Financial companies gaining favor. During the past month, U.S. stock markets have seen a sector rotation. FT reported:

“…S&P financials have gained some 6 percent, with tech sliding almost 4 percent. That still leaves financials lagging behind the S&P 500 for the year and well behind the roughly 17 percent gain for tech. A similar story has unfolded in Europe between banks and tech.”

 Investors’ appetite for financial companies may reflect the belief higher interest rates are ahead. Banks and other financial firms generally benefit when interest rates rise. Investor’s Business Daily reported:

“Several Wall Street giants have warned of weak trading revenue in Q2, continuing the lackluster trend in 2017…Still, bank stocks large and small have been leading in recent weeks, helped by higher bond yields and massive buyback and dividend plans.”

Last week, the unemployment rate in the United States rose from 4.3 to 4.4 percent. It was good news according to an expert cited by Barron’s, “…the rise in labor force participation indicates slack remains in the labor market.” That may be the reason wages showed little improvement.

 

Data as of 7/7/17 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks) 0.1% 8.3% 15.6% 7.0% 12.4% 4.7%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. -0.6 12.0 18.2 -1.4 5.3 -1.4
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only) 2.4 NA 1.4 2.6 1.5 5.2
Gold (per ounce) -2.1 4.9 -10.4 -2.5 -5.2 6.3
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.0 -6.5 -4.4 -14.9 -10.1 -7.2
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index -1.3 3.6 -0.7 8.5 9.4 5.7

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

 

It doesn’t appear to be common knowledge but there may be an affordable car crisis in the United States. The latest Bankrate.com Car Affordability Study found:

“…typical households in most of America’s larger cities don’t earn enough to afford the average new vehicle, under a common budgeting rule for buyers… The ‘20/4/10’ rule says you should aim to put down at least 20 percent of a vehicle’s purchase price, take out a car loan for no longer than four years, and devote no more than 10 percent of your annual income to car payments, interest, and insurance. If you can’t stay within those lines, you can’t afford the car.”

The only major city where a new car remains affordable is Washington, D.C.!

For some, the obvious solution is choosing a less expensive model. For others, the answer is buying a used vehicle. For the latter group, here’s some bad news: even an average-priced used car – nationally, the average price is about $19,200 – is unaffordable for households in eight of the 25 largest cities.

Leasing is also an option; one that may have helped create an oversupply of used cars. In July, Automotive News reported:

“…millions [of] cars that were leased two or three years ago, many of them used compact and midsized cars with low mileage, are heading toward auction lots and used car dealerships. That surge in supply threatens to depress prices for new and used vehicles, raising the risk of losses for automakers and finance companies on lease deals. It also undercuts the value of cars customers want to trade in for a new vehicle.”

The rising popularity of ride-sharing and car-sharing, and the introduction of self-driving vehicles, may also depress prices. In fact, some automakers have introduced their own ride-sharing services.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”

–Henry David Thoreau, American philosopher and naturalist

 

Best regards,

Gregory Ricks

 

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Gregory Ricks & Associates is a Registered Investment Advisor which offers services and charges fees as set forth in Form ADV, a copy of which you should obtain prior to investment. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies.  Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. 

* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.

* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

* Past performance does not guarantee future results.

* You cannot invest directly in an index

Sources:

https://www.ft.com/content/c4de73e2-17a1-11e7-9c35-0dd2cb31823a (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-10-17_FinancialTimes-Five_Markets_Charts_that_Matter_for_Investors-Footnote_1.pdf)

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/06/why-a-surge-in-bond-yields-could-be-around-the-corner.html

https://www.investors.com/news/q2-earnings-season-why-analysts-are-so-bullish/ (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-10-17_InvestorsBusinessDailyNews-Earnings_Season_on_Tap-Here_are_the_3_Top_Sectors-Footnote_3.pdf)

http://www.barrons.com/articles/june-jobs-report-payrolls-climb-but-wages-dont-1499431826?mod=BOL_hp_highlight_1?mod=BOL_hp_highlight_1 (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-10-17_Barrons-June_Jobs_Report-Payrolls_Climb_More_than_Expected_But_Wages_Dont-Footnote_4.pdf)

http://www.bankrate.com/auto/new-car-affordability-survey/

http://www.autonews.com/article/20170707/RETAIL04/170709866/automakers-auctions-align-to-prop-up-used-car-prices

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/technology/automakers-race-to-get-ahead-of-silicon-valley-on-car-sharing.html

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrydavid108303.html