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October 14, 2014

posted Oct 14, 2014, 2:58 PM by Katie Shook   [ updated Oct 20, 2014, 1:53 PM ]
On a Personal Note
 
It seems fall is officially here.  It's raining.  There's football.  The evening temperatures are cooling.  And Pumpkin Chai Latte is back on the menu.  
 
While it pains me to officially say goodbye to summer, I appreciate the seasonal change.  In many ways it's how I mark time.  Days turn into weeks; weeks turn into months.  But seasons seem to somehow be their own.    
 
Of course it's not entirely romantic.  With the fall season here, we'll soon have Daylight Savings Time.  It's that magical time of year when you wake up in the dark drive home in the dark.  Were I king for a day, DST may find its way into history.  Personally, I'd rather wake up in the dark OR drive home in the dark.  Why both?  
 
As I understand it, DST is a remnant of more agrarian days.  It was originally proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 but widely adopted in the early 1900's as economic tool to reduce spending on non-natural light sources.  So there you have it folks:  Daylight Savings Time is all about the Bengamins.  
 
Now, as always, gratuitous photos:
   
  

The Markets

 

Keep Calm and Carry On.
 
The slogan comes from a United Kingdom Ministry of Information propaganda poster designed to boost morale if the United Kingdom was invaded during World War II. Despite its current popularity, the poster was never distributed.
 
The slogan offers some sound advice for anyone who was unnerved by last week’s stock market volatility. Investor optimism caught fire when Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes indicated economic growth might not proceed quickly:
 
“Most viewed the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as broadly balanced. However, a number of participants noted that economic growth over the medium term might be slower than they expected if foreign economic growth came in weaker than anticipated, structural productivity continued to increase only slowly, or the recovery in residential construction continued to lag.”
 
Slower economic growth could translate into delayed monetary policy tightening (lower interest rates for a longer period of time), and that notion sparked the biggest rally of the year on Wednesday with U.S. stock markets making significant gains.
 
What goes up must come down. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Okay, the laws of physics generally don’t apply to stock markets. That said, a lot of folks saw Wednesday’s market highs as an opportunity to take gains off the table, according to Barron’s. Consequently, we saw steep stock market declines on Thursday with major U.S. markets losing 2 percent or more.
 
Yields on longer-term Treasuries also fell last week. Reuters reported weak economic data in Germany, which raised concerns about growth in the Eurozone, and revised forecasts from the International Monetary Fund indicating global growth may be lower than expected, caused investors to seek the safety of U.S. Treasuries.
 


Data as of 10/10/14
1-WeekY-T-D1-Year3-Year5-Year10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 (Domestic Stocks)-3.1%3.1%12.6%16.8%12.1%5.4%
10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)2.3NA2.72.13.44.1
Gold (per ounce)2.01.5-6.1-9.82.911.2
Bloomberg Commodity Index0.2-6.0-7.8-6.4-2.2-2.8
DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index1.415.613.816.516.48.5
 
S&P 500, 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.
 
Collaborative consumption is causing creative destruction! Back in 1942, economist Joseph Schumpeter said creative destruction is the way of the free market. It’s messy but as an entry in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics explained:
 
“Lost jobs, ruined companies, and vanishing industries are inherent parts of the growth system. The saving grace comes from recognizing the good that comes from the turmoil. Over time, societies that allow creative destruction to operate grow more productive and richer; their citizens see the benefits of new and better products, shorter work weeks, better jobs, and higher living standards. Herein lies the paradox of progress. A society cannot reap the rewards of creative destruction without accepting that some individuals might be worse off, not just in the short term, but perhaps forever.”
 
At first, the collaborative or sharing economy was thought to be a response to the Great Recession. Some people needed to reduce costs and others needed to make money, so they found ways to use resources more efficiently by making the most of available time and assets. This is affecting companies in a variety of industries:
 
  • Transportation: Ride-sharing apps connect people who want rides with people who are willing to use their personal cars to provide rides. (If you’ve wondered about autos sporting big pink mustaches, they belong to a particular app’s drivers.) These apps are taking money out of the pockets of cab companies.
  • Hotels: You can reduce travel costs by renting someone’s spare bedroom, castle, or villa through an online community marketplace. The downside, according to one study in Texas, is traditional hotels have lost revenue as these communities have gained popularity.
  • Finance: When banks and traditional lenders made borrowing a challenge, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding platforms provided individuals and entrepreneurs with a new way to source capital. A report from the Cleveland Fed found, “Since the second quarter of 2007, the total amount of money lent through bank-originated consumer-finance loans has been declining on average 2 percent per quarter... Meanwhile peer-to-peer lending has been growing rapidly at an average pace of 84 percent a quarter.”

 
Whether you want to provide or consume goods or services – cooking meals or eating them, running errands or having them run, hosting a pet or leaving one behind while you vacation – there is probably someone out there who is willing to share their resources.
 

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”   --Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist

All the Best!,
 

 
P.S.  Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added.

This newsletter was prepared by Littlejohn Financial Services and Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with Littlejohn Financial Services.

* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
*Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
* 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.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* You cannot invest directly in an index.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Sources:
http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/guide-to-keep-calm/
http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomcminutes20140917.htm
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-08/u-s-index-futures-are-little-changed-after-s-p-500-drop.html
http://blogs.barrons.com/stockstowatchtoday/2014/10/09/sell-mortimer-sell-dow-drops-240-points-again/?mod=BOL_hp_blog_stw (or go to http://peakclassic.peakadvisoralliance.com/app/webroot/custom/editor/10-13-14_Barrons-From_First_to_Worst-Dow_Drops_335_Points-Footnote_4.pdf)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/10/markets-usa-bonds-idUSL2N0S50ZI20141010
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/CreativeDestruction.html
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/uber-unfair-ride-sharing-firms-exploiting-deregulation/
http://people.bu.edu/zg/publications/airbnb.pdf
http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/trends/2014/0814/01houcon.cfm
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/margaretme141040.html
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