It’s Maple Syrup season in Wisconsin. Last week, I asked my brother how their production was going this this year. His reply was “only cooked 20 gallons out so far – the nights have been super cold down to 6-10 degrees. It takes three-quarters of the day before it even gets warmed up enough for the syrup to run – then it’s afternoon where it is cooling off. Haven’t had a 50-degree day yet which is what I need.” In the past, my brother and his wife have had record years for syrup. This year may not be one of them but then again, the weather could change. If you are interested in learning more about maple syrup harvesting, I found this interesting blog from a New Hampshire farm.
Many of us set goals at the beginning of the year. Have you revisited yours? Sometimes a goal that we set in the past is no longer relevant and we need to replace it with something that is more in tune with what we want to accomplish now. I often feel like goals are like a syrup run, sometimes we get a lot accomplished and other times we are a bit slow and maybe need to set them aside for a run at it another year. It is the ability to adapt and change that may help us the most.
Speaking about weather and goals changing, the possibility of trade wars appears to be easing. Joshua N. Feinman, Chief global economist for Deutsche Asset Management recently wrote why he felt that the U.S. economy continues to perform well. He cited the strong labor market, solid domestic fundamentals, strong global activity and fiscal stimulus as some of the contributing factors to support his case. Frank Homes of U.S. Global Investors has an annual energy outlook worth looking at in which he predicts that the U.S. will again be an exporter in the future. A bit of a contrarian thought was given by Ronald J. Kruszewski, Chairman and CEO of Stifel Financial Corp., during an interview with TheStreet. Mr. Kruszewski felt that the market is going to be a lot more volatile; that we are seeing a shift in the market with higher growth and higher interest rates.
In their Global Market Outlook Report, Russell Investments notes that while tail winds are still prevailing, they believe investors should look forward to increasingly complicated market conditions in the months ahead. The cause for their thoughts are the probability of interest rates rising, inflation risks and profit margins under pressure due to rising labor costs. In the Schwab Market Perspective from March 30th, the team of Sonders, Sorensen and Kleintop felt that even though the global market’s wall of worry has a few more bricks in it, positive news should help markets continue to climb the wall, although they did also cite the threat of trade protectionism. TD Ameritrade recently sent out an email with this thought: “Volatility can come, and volatility can go but there is always opportunity to increase your knowledge”.
March was not a good month for the big three. “Beware the ides of March” seems to be a fitting theme to describe the month. Two of the big three are set for their worst monthly loss since January 2016. The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* racked up a monthly loss of -3.34% putting it in the red for the year. The S&P 500 (SPYTR)* gave back -2.54% for the month joining its peer in the color theme for the year. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* shed -2.9% in the month but holds the hue of green for the year. On Tuesday, March 27, 2018, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller report showing that the national core home price index is still gaining. The 20-city composite January Home Price Index reported a 6.4% year-over-year gain; up from the previous month’s gain of 6.3%. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data had the month of January posting a 0.8% gain over the prior month of December 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. Returns for the DOW, S&P500 and the NASDAQ is the total return (price only) provided by Morning star Inc. as of 2018March31. Diversification and asset allocation does not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
Advisory services are offered through White Raven Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor in the state of Washington.