Contributed by Doug Walters
Markets took investors for a roller coaster ride this week as U.S. stocks first fell on continued contagion concerns out of Turkey only to pop on suggestions that U.S.-China trade talks would resume. We take this as an opportunity to remind investors they should not get caught up in this short-term noise.
Rising Above the Fray
Nearly four years ago, not too long after I left Wall Street to join Strategic, the S&P 500 had notably traded up to a valuation not seen since 2005. Despite the seemingly high price tag for stocks, the S&P 500 has earned investors nearly 50% since then. Anyone who had opted to exit equities back in 2015 would be kicking themselves today! Such are the dangers of market timing…
It is a common misconception that an investment manager’s job is to try to navigate in and out of the market on behalf of their clients. While no doubt some managers play this game, it is a losing proposition for all but the luckiest. But if we investment managers are not actively getting our clients out of “expensive” markets, what are we doing? Our job is to give our clients the right level of exposure, given their ability to take on risk, and then continuously monitor the market and available securities for the best ways to achieve that exposure. This is prudent, intelligent investment management, as opposed to risky market timing.
Of course, a well-considered investment process is only one part of comprehensive wealth management. True financial wellbeing also requires meticulous attention to retirement, education, estate, tax and business planning.
STRATEGIC ASSET ALLOCATION
U.S. equity markets felt some heat this week from worries over trade policy and risk that Turkey might have to take a bath on its foreign denominated debt. But the S&P 500 ultimately finished on a positive note after U.S. and China agreed to meet and hopefully reconcile their trade dispute. The proposed meeting between the two countries was not enough to salvage the week for emerging markets and gold though; speaking of which…
- The escalation of Turkey’s debt concerns took a toll on emerging markets. Investors worry that trouble in Turkey could be contagious. Argentina is already in the crosshairs with a similar current account balance as Turkey and an eye-popping inflation rate.
- The problem is the combination of foreign denominated debt with a steep depreciation of emerging market currencies. For example, the Turkish Lira has declined nearly 40% against the U.S. dollar since the start of the year. Debt denominated in U.S. dollars that could have been paid off with 100 Lira at the start of the year would now take about 160 Lira.
- Investors have been unloading gold as the U.S. Dollar continues to strengthen against a basket of major currencies. Generally, investing in gold is viewed as betting against the greenback.
The Consumer Staples sector was the leader this week. The Technology sector was the laggard, thanks to the semiconductor space, which was tripped up by soft guidance from two companies we do not own. Speaking of Technology…
- Alphabet Inc. (GOOG, GOOGL) parent company of Google and YouTube may be onto a new scheme to gain access to the Chinese market, which it exited in 2010. The company is reportedly working on an app that complies with Chinese censorship demands codenamed “Dragonfly.” This product has stirred discontent at the company as about 1,000 employees signed a letter demanding transparency around the moral and ethical issue of a censored search product. The CEO Sundar Pichai claims they are “not close to launch.” Alphabet has been launching other products in China like a file-management app to gain exposure to this important market.
STRATEGIC EQUITY INCOME
Clicking on all Cylinders
The Energy sector was the undisputed biggest laggard this week, thanks to plummeting crude prices. High dividend paying sectors had a good week as interest rates remain range bound. But it was the Staples sector that was the star thanks to an earnings print from…
- Walmart Inc. (WMT) topped expectations on both sales and earnings, but it was a 40% pop in online sales for the quarter and a bump in full-year guidance that stoked investor euphoria. Also of note, the company’s comparable sales grew 4.5% for the quarter, more than double consensus expectations and Sam’s store’s comparable sales were 5% higher this quarter thanks to a 6.7% increase in-store traffic.
Indices & Price Returns Week (%) Year (%)
S&P 500 0.6 6.6
S&P 400 (Mid Cap) 0.7 5.8
Russell 2000 (Small Cap) 0.3 10.2
MSCI EAFE (Developed International) -1.4 -6.3
MSCI Emerging Markets -3.8 -11.8
S&P GSCI (Commodities) -1.9 1.6
Gold -2.3 -9.4
MSCI U.S. REIT Index 3.0 2.3
Barclays Int Govt Credit 0.1 -1.7
Barclays US TIPS 0.0 -1.9
The Week Ahead
Contributed by Aleksey Marchenko
Central Banks Should Not Be Taken in JEST
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, will host the annual global central bank conference where Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak on monetary policy.
- Any comments regarding foreign dominated debt in emerging markets have the potential to move markets.
European Central Bank (ECB) and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes will shed light on any monetary policy concerns.
- In the last meeting, the ECB stated that they are planning to unwind their monetary easing program but will keep the rates on hold for now.
- The U.S. Federal Reserve has previously warned investors that an overnight lending rate increase is on the table for September.
State Fair in beautiful Syracuse, New York will begin on Wednesday, August 22nd and will last for 13 days until September 3rd.
- Strategic has a sentimental attachment to this annual event. In the early days of founder Alan Leist, Jr.’s foray into financial planning, he rented a booth at the fair to sell mutual funds. From those humble roots, Alan has steered this company to one of the nation’s Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors, ranked by the Financial Times.
- To this day, Alan makes an annual pilgrimage to the Fair to commemorate those humble roots.
TJX Companies (TJX), Williams-Sonoma (WSM), and Medtronic (MDT) in our Equity Income strategy will report their earnings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Founded in 1979, Strategic is a leading investment and wealth management firm managing and advising on client assets over $1.2 billion.Overview
Strategic Financial Services, Inc. is a SEC-registered investment advisor. The term “registered” does not imply a certain level of skill or training. “Registered” means the company has filed the necessary documentation to maintain registration as an investment advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Every client situation is different. Strategic manages customized portfolios that seek to properly reflect the particular risk and return objectives of each individual client. The discussion of any investments is for illustrative purposes only and there is no assurance that the adviser will make any investments with the same or similar characteristics as any investments presented. The investments identified and described do not represent all of the investments purchased or sold for client accounts. Any representative investments discussed were selected based on a number of factors including recent company news or earnings release. The reader should not assume that an investment identified was or will be profitable. All investments contain risk and may lose value. There is no assurance that any investments identified will remain in client accounts at the time you receive this document.
Some of the material presented is based upon forward-looking statements, information and opinions, including descriptions of anticipated market changes and expectations of future activity. Strategic Financial Services believes that such statements, information, and opinions are based upon reasonable estimates and assumptions. However, forward-looking statements, information and opinions are inherently uncertain and actual events or results may differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, undue reliance should not be placed on such forward-looking statements, information and opinions.
No content on this website is intended to provide tax or legal advice. You are advised to seek advice on these matters from separately retained professionals.
All index returns, unless otherwise noted, are presented as price returns and have been obtained from Bloomberg. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be purchased directly by investors.
Advisory Services offered through Strategic Financial Services, Inc. Strategic Financial Services, Inc. and Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. are not affiliated.