Jeff’s Weekly Stock Market Commentary: Looking Back
Happy New Year!
Most investors will be happy to have 2015 in the rear-view mirror. The S&P 500 eked out a 1.4% return including dividends. Excluding dividends it was down -0.73%. A total return of 1.40% for the S&P 500 is the worst annual return since 2008. Overall, that sounds rather tame, but both the stock and bond markets gyrated more in 2015 than they have since 2009.
Jeff’s Weekly Stock Market Commentary: Secret To Buying Low and Selling High
Everyone wants to sell high and buy low.
The old adage about investing is that you should buy low and sell high. And that is sage advice. The question is how do you put that into practice? This may sound simplistic, but in order to buy low you first have to sell high!
The S&P 500 set all-time highs last July. ALL-TIME. So, does that mean that you should sell now and move to cash and/or US Treasury bonds and wait for the market to correct?
In 2000, the market hit an all-time high and declined soon after 46%. In hindsight, any time between March and September of 2000 would have been a great time to sell all of your equities and move to cash. Those that did would have maintained their account balance while those that didn’t sell likely saw losses of 46% or more. Those that didn’t sell their stocks and instead held through that crash missed their chance to sell high.
I came across an article the other day that reminded me of the vulnerability of the Internet. Apparently, “vandals” in Arizona (and possibly other areas) cut underground cables and brought modern communications to a halt, blacking out everything from radio programming to 911 calls to ATMs.
I don’t anticipate that this type of activity will become widespread and I don’t think there should be unnecessary panic, but it should give us all pause as we consider what could happen in the case of an Internet interruption for perhaps an extended period of time. Of course, I also don’t want to delve into the many hacking episodes of recent days, when even ISIS was able to get into Department of Defense websites. That’s a different issue altogether!
No, cutting cables and cutting the Net could bring much more immediate, negative consequences that could impact the general population where the wires have been chopped. And, as you know, seniors will often be most radically affected by such disruptions.
Whether by an accident or malicious intent, the Net could go down for an hour, a day or a week. If it is stopping bank operations and 911 calls, consider these preparatory steps to make sure that you will not be in unnecessary danger:
- Keep some cash on hand in case of bank shutdowns due to Internet loss. Such communications burps will also result in cash registers being compromised. Cash will be accepted no matter what type of catastrophe falls.
- Keep food, fuel and water on hand in case of a Net stoppage. Perhaps you already do this if you live in an area with frequent power outages due to serious weather events.
- One step you might not have considered is to print out your various account statements every 2-3 months so that you have a fairly accurate record of what belongs to you, in case of inaccessibility to brokerage/banking records.
Again, no one is predicting that there will be a spree of cable cutters coming to a neighborhood near you, but the possibility of the Net being down for hours or days exists no matter where you live. Plan accordingly, and most importantly, be vigilant about your ability to prove that your hard-earned retirement savings did exist even if there is no online proof at a given time.
Protect your physical and financial well-being by following the steps above to ensure that you don’t miss a beat—or a dollar—if the Net disappears for a time..
US Stock Market Trending Down*
Canadian Stk Mkt Trending Down
US Bond Yields Yield’s Trending Down
Jeff’s Weekly Stock Market Commentary: Global Market Risk Is Increasing
There have been several events that have occurred in the last days and weeks that, in my opinion, signify that the inherent market risk around the globe is increasing. When a risk manager uses the term ‘risk’, what he or she is really talking about is uncertainty.
National Security Investment Consultant Institute (NSIC) Founder’s Class attendee. Attention Retired Investors: Your bank and brokerage accounts are under assault. Here’s how you can protect yourself.
A week doesn’t go by that we don’t hear about a bank or big corporation being the target of a cyber-attack. Here is how to better protect your online bank and brokerage accounts from thieves.
In October of 2014, several major banks were successfully hacked, including JP Morgan. According to this article hackers accessed information about 76 million JP Morgan Chase customers and 7 million small businesses. It has been reported that these attacks could be the work of Russian and/or Iranian hackers, possibly working for the governments. View the article here.