Our discussion this week covers a lot of ground. Larry starts off with an overview of the economy and moves around the globe from the U.S. to the Eurozone to China and Japan. Coming back to the U.S., Larry discusses California’s drought concerns and how it will play or not play into their economy as well as shares his thoughts on employment, oil and household liabilities. Full of interesting information, this week’s discussion is a must-listen.
Position: Client Service
SH&J Team member since: March 2011
All of us at SH&J know how much you love to bake, and we have been lucky enough to try some of your delicious desserts. Is there anything in particular that you’ve made that you are most proud of?
I do enjoy baking; however I also enjoy decorating what I bake. I made a beach themed cake last year for my daughter’s Luau birthday party and a princess castle for my niece. As with everything else practice is key, however I don’t particularly need to eat all of those baked good so I offer to bake for others so they can have the calories!
Your four year old daughter, Payton, is such a character. We love hearing about the cute things she says and does. Anything we’ve missed recently that you could share?
It is hard to say the office has missed anything because my favorite thing to do is talk about all the funny things she does. She loves singing, dancing and of course, like most little girls, mimicking mommy. So the funny stories tend to revolve around her trying to act a little old for her age.
Describe what an ideal Saturday looks like for you and Payton?
Typically we are getting together with family and friends. She enjoys her cousins and my friend’s children and I enjoy watching them play. We also frequent the Denver Zoo. My husband and I enjoy taking Payton to experience new things, so we should have a fun filled summer since she is now at the age she can do things like hike without being carried.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
I just want to travel. There are so many beautiful places in this world that I would love to see! I have not yet had the opportunity to do much traveling so it is hard for me to pick just one place.
What is the best thing you have ever purchased?
My husband and I purchased our first home together this past year. It was an interesting experience trying to sell my townhome and purchase a home at the same time. There was quite a bit of stress, but we were able to find what we hope to be our forever home. We are looking forward to putting our own personal stamp on it over the next 30 years!
This week Larry gives us an overview of a flat Q1, provides commentary on the drop in the trade deficit, gives us good news about the strengthening U.S. dollar, and revisits the Eurozone and Greece dilemma. We also enjoy a flashback to The Economist’s 1999 thoughts on Germany and hear some of Larry’s predictions on global growth. Listen in and share your comments and questions with us now.
“March Madness isn’t just for basketball anymore”
We experienced lots of thrilling and unnerving action both up and down the court in the markets. At year-end 2014, the S&P 500 was the All-star and International positions were the under achievers. The opposite proved true in the first quarter of 2015. The chart below captures the S&P 500’s volatility during various periods as it rotated between winning and losing for an overall quarterly return that was just under 1%. Lots of action – not much traction!
Uncertainty around the interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve has contributed much to the volatility. Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s last statement announced, unhelpfully, that the Fed is “data dependent” and the pace of interest rate increases could “speed up, slow down, pause, or reverse.” The main driver of the stock market is always corporate earnings, rather than political or media pronouncements. The strengthening U.S. dollar hurt U.S. companies’ foreign earnings, which were down 5.3% in the 4th quarter 2014. A strong dollar makes U.S. purchases abroad cheaper and foreign purchases of U.S. products more expensive. Most of the companies in the S&P 500 receive at least 50% of their earnings from abroad.
The current volatility brings back memories of how terrified Americans were in 2008 when the S&P dropped 37%. It is a test of resolve to follow Warren Buffet’s advice to “buy when others are fearful” – a methodology that works! Yes, such opportunities are fearfully predicted and always unpleasant, but in retrospect every market correction stabilizes over time.
It begs the question: if downturns produce great buying opportunities, why are we afraid of the next one? Having well balanced portfolios and enough cash for current needs, allows us to stay the course during market corrections knowing that the investments will support your spending needs for many years beyond today’s headlines.
Our technical indicators are showing weakness in the emerging markets asset class, so we will immediately reduce those respective allocations by up to 25%.
The chart shows that even in a poor quarter for the S&P 500 other categories mostly did well – a March “win” for asset allocation and proper diversification.
On our website (shwj.com) every other Thursday we post our most recent economic discussion from our Investment Committee meeting. Just click on “Blog” in the upper right hand corner to listen in.
Our offices will be CLOSED Monday, May 25th for Memorial Day and Friday, July 3rd for the July 4th holiday.
We will continue our tradition of closing our office at 1pm each Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day so our hardworking staff can take advantage of the lovely Colorado summer! Of course we will be available if you need us, yet we would appreciate your calls on Friday mornings if possible.
The SH&J Team
Karlton does an excellent job of summarizing our investment process in the video above. The investment process with us is more than a onetime event, it is an ongoing process.
The process looks like this:
- Define Goals and Objectives
- Set Portfolio Expectations
- Determine Asset Allocations
- Monitor Investments
- Review Regularly
We never consider our investment process to be ‘finished.’ Your circumstances change over the years and we will make sure we keep the process going to keep your portfolio on track. We’d love to set up a complimentary consultation for you to come in and learn more about our investment process and SH&J philosophy. Give us a call today at 303.639.5100.
We’re back from our brief hiatus and have some interesting topics in this week’s discussion. Listen in to hear some insights into Japan’s economy, the good news for Americans and their savings as well as an update on the Eurozone and Greece. We look forward to hearing your comments and questions in the comments section below!