It is a vast understatement to say that technology has changed our world. Every facet of our lives is impacted and embedded in it in so many ways that most of us never could have imagined. From the personal to the professional, there is only one constant and that is change. Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers talked about the rapid pace of change in IT, it’s impact on business and the response that businesses need to make to those changes. His basic premise: Learn to change, learn to embrace the internet-of-everything. His words struck a chord. For White Raven Financial, in the investment advisory and financial planning business, internet-based tools now abound. We can, and do, use a number of powerful online applications to help us do our work. The proliferation of options means we are able to do our due diligence, finding and using the tools that suit us and our clients best. It’s an exciting time to be alive (and running a business!).
Many of the articles we read about the U.S. Economy over the last month talked about expectations for the ‘second-half of 2017’. Lord Abbett’s Fixed Income Market View mentioned the potential for increased corporate leverage, an outlook for lower default rates and a general improvement in credit quality. The economy continues to appear strong: on the last Tuesday of June, the Consumer Confidence Index showed a rise to 118.9 in June, despite expectations for a drop. The same day the Case-Shiller report showed that U.S. home prices have continued to rise although more slowly. The Fed’s mandate of 2% inflation appears to be directed toward system-wide stability. Taking a look at the 2017 Mid-Year US Equity Outlook by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab – more than eight years of remarkable performance for the U.S. (equity market) points to the likelihood of a more mature phase, which Sonders characterizes as a market that could involve periods of volatility and/or pullbacks.
Outside US markets, in Blackrock’s Featured Funds commentary the case was made for investing in European equities. The authors highlighted how the leading indicators of the Eurozone are now at multi-year highs along with increased economic activity due to improving sentiment. They further emphasized European equities in June citing the lessening of political risk, corporate earnings and valuations in contrast to historical levels. Matthias Paul Kuhlmey in Lessons in Physics gives us that gentle reminder of how we enjoy the highs but not the lows and thus to stay diverse.
The major U.S. stock market indices did a mix of returns in June. The blue-chip barometer (the DowTR)* raised its bar by gaining 1.74%. The S&P 500 Index (SPXTR)* followed the Dow a tune lower by adding 0.62%. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* ended the month on a low note and declined -0.98; ending its seventh month streak of gains. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller recent report showed that prices continue to trend higher across the country. On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national index reported that home prices have continued to rise over the past year. The 20-city composite April Home Price Index reported a 5.7% year-over-year gain; down from the 5.9% gain posted in March. Before seasonal adjustments, month-over-month data also showed a gain with the month of April posting a 0.9% increase over the month of March 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 as of 2017June30. Diversification and asset allocation does not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.