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Finding a Way to Boost Economic Growth

By | 2017, Newsletter, Viewpoint | No Comments

When Donald Trump was running for president, he promised Americans a huge increase in economic growth reaching 4, 5, and even 6 percent. However, real economic growth in 2017 is expected to be around 2.1 percent–equaling the average over the last 10 years.2 Boosting growth will require overcoming challenges and capitalizing on opportunities. 1

 

 

 

(1) David Payne, “Goldilocks GDP Growth: Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold,” Kiplinger, July 28, 2017.
(2) Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
(3) Nick Timiraos and Andrew Tangel, “Can Trump Deliver 3% Growth? Stubborn Realities Stand in the Way,” WSJ, May 15, 2017.
(4) Glenn Kessler, “Do 10,000 Baby Boomers Retire Every Day?,” The Washington Post, July 24, 2014.
(5) Amanda Dixon, “The Average Retirement Age in Every State in 2016,” Fox News, December 28, 2016.

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions, and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan. SFS is not affiliated with any companies mentioned in this commentary.

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Gambling – with Your Retirement?

By | 2017, Money Moxie, Viewpoint | No Comments

To encourage better investment behavior, the Nasdaq stock exchange plans to reward investors willing to commit. In 2016, the exchange introduced plans for an “Extended Life Order.” In today’s fast-paced world, how long a commitment does the Nasdaq want for an extended life trade? One second!

Information travels fast in 2017 and the stock market seems to hit highs every week. Nevertheless, I believe it is the patient, long-term investors that should benefit the most.

It’s hard to define long-term perfectly, but it is a lot more than one second–possibly somewhere above 315 million seconds, which is around ten years.

With this in mind, I think it is a good time to consider what kind of investor we want to be and what attributes we need to be successful.

Speculator/Gambler
Investing is different than gambling in many fundamental ways. However, it is still possible for investors to speculate with their savings. A speculator trades often based on short-term events hoping that a price will continue to rise or fall—anticipating a quick exit in a couple months, weeks, days, or less.

Investor
An investor purchases ownership in a company to help it raise money for profitable projects. As an owner, investors may even receive dividends.

Attributes for Success
To help determine what kind of investor you are, ask yourself, “How much would you accept in a year instead of $1,000 right now?”

Let’s hope your answer isn’t too far off one thousand dollars. The greater your number, the less financial patience you have—and patience is crucial to gaining wealth. It impacts spending, savings, and investing.

Combine patience with a little courage and then an investor truly has a chance at participating in the long-term opportunities that the markets have to offer.

Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. He built his fortune by being greedy when others were fearful and fearful when others were greedy. He purchased stocks in some of the most frightening times like during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

Is Buffett a speculator or an investor? He certainly has patience and courage. When asked about his ideal time frame for holding an investment, Warren Buffett replied: “Forever!” Now that is an “extended life” commitment!

 

Sources: “Enhancing Long-Term Liquidity-Nasdaq Introduces the Extended Life Order” Nelson Griggs, Nasdaq.com, August 18, 2016
“Investor or Speculator: Which One Are You?” Jason Zweig, WSJ, December 10, 2016

Research by SFS. The Dow Jones index is often considered to represent the U.S. stock markets. One cannot invest directly in an index. Diversification does not guarantee positive results. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based upon changing conditions. This is not a recommendation to purchase any type of investment.

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The Promise of Prosperity

By | 2016, Money Moxie, Newsletter, Viewpoint | No Comments

Americans want a strong country and growing economy. That much we agree on. Of all the promises we heard this election year, none may be more difficult to keep than the commitment to boost growth up to levels last seen decades ago.

Since 2009, the U.S. economy has increased at a rate of 2 percent. Many countries envy that number, but Americans expect more. Our increases were twice as big 20 years ago.

In all of human history I know of no other time with such miraculous growth as post World War II. We have come to accept boom times as normal.

From 1948 to 1973 the average economic output of an American worker doubled. That productivity trend continued until the early 2000s when it suddenly slowed.

prosperity

Consumers Carried the Economy
The “Great Recession” of 2008-2009 complicated things further by drastically altering Americans’ perception of stability and diminishing their tolerance for government debt.

This led to tighter limits on government spending, which has been a huge drag on economic growth. The federal government has cut spending 4 of the last 5 years. This is good short-term because it reduces debt. The long-term impact is less certain.

How much can our economy grow when the government is cutting spending? Who picks up the slack? Businesses have been hesitant to reinvest large amounts in long-term projects. So the responsibility for economic growth has fallen on the shoulders of the U.S. consumer.

Politicians Turned to Spending
Today, politicians and economists are calling for stimulus. What form this takes is yet to be seen, but the popularity of such an idea is rising. Both presidential candidates announced plans to increase government spending to improve infrastructure and stimulate an atmosphere of growth. Donald Trump plans to increase spending by $500 billion. (Hillary Clinton proposed bumping it up by $275 billion.)

Will Stimulus Work?
The answer for decades following the Great Depression was “yes.” The theory is that for every dollar the government spends it can boost the economy by several dollars—creating more wealth than was spent as the dollars circulate through the country.

It fell out of favor in the 1980s and 1990s. Now it’s back.

If stimulus is going to work then it should be concentrated on “fiscal multipliers.” These are the best places and they are often described as levers that can be pulled to actually create growth in the economy.

For stimulus to work it should be focused on the most effective area: infrastructure. Why?
1. Immediate creation of jobs
2. Jump in demand for construction materials
3. Greater efficiency for the entire economy
4. Investment in the future of America

Our bridges, airports, and freeway systems are in need of repair. Our electric grid is outdated and vulnerable as well. Technological advancements have redefined living. It may be time to apply some innovative American ingenuity to our infrastructure.

If there ever was a time that Americans could benefit from this stimulus it would be following a lack of spending—a situation we now find ourselves in.

 

*Research by SFS. Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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Investing in 2016 The Fed and Election Years

By | 2016, Money Moxie, Viewpoint | No Comments

January MarketPoint_Page_1

(1) Historically, when rates rise they rise sharply, but “this time will be different.” This phrase raises a red flag. However, I see no need for the Federal Reserve to increase rates quickly. Our economy is growing slowly and inflation is near zero.

Oil and food are unlikely to keep dropping in 2016 like they did in 2015. So, inflation may rise. (Without food and energy inflation is currently 2 percent.)

The Fed stated it may raise rates 4 times this year, but I am not convinced it will do that many.

Normally, rate hikes would be negative for bonds, but U.S. bonds are still paying attractive dividends compared to others overseas.

(2) Election years are not recession years. The economy will expand as the recovery in the United States enters its 8th year. The next slowdown is coming and no one knows when. However, I don’t see convincing data for its arrival in 2016.

Election years usually start positive, slow down in the summer, and then rally in autumn–similar to most years. However, the rally in the fall does not typically begin after election day like many investors believe. It usually begins before the uncertainty is over–catching many off guard that are waiting. The average for a presidential election year is 9 percent.

(3) United States grows and the dollar slows. Global diversification should help investors in 2016, but the United States will continue to be a financial leader. Global returns will hinge on the U.S. dollar.

Since July 2014, our dollar has risen in value against every major currency around the globe! It gained 20 percent versus the euro and 54 percent versus the Russian ruble!

Why the big move? In all the world, our economy is one of the best and we are the only ones raising rates. Both of these make our dollar more attractive to global investors.

With so many countries lowering rates to stimulate growth, it is possible their economies will strengthen and the dollar’s rise will slow. Overall, this would be good news. It would likely help those that have diversified globally.

market graph

Does 2015 offer any clues as to what 2016 will bring? In 2015, the S&P 500 finished within 1 percent of where it started. This has only happened in 4 previous years (1947, 1948, 1978, 2011). What happened following those respective years? In 3 out of 4, the market was up more than 10 percent. The outlier was 1947. It was followed by another low return year and then came the double digit. Of course, there are no guarantees.

History does firmly support the value of diversification and investing over the long run.

 

*Research by SFS. Data from Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Investing involves risk, including potential loss of principal. The S&P 500, S&P 600, and Dow Jones Global are indexes considered to represent major areas of stock markets. One cannot invest directly in an index. Diversification does not guarantee positive results. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based upon changing conditions. This is not a recommendation to purchase any type of investment.

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Is the Dollar in Danger?

By | 2015, Money Moxie, Newsletter, Viewpoint | No Comments

The dollar has ruled supreme as the global reserve currency for over seven decades. It is the preferred means of payment, value, and reserve. As the most trusted currency on earth, it rewards Americans with lucrative privileges. While the dollar’s dominance is unlikely to last forever, a change would be difficult.

Dominant Dollar
The dollar’s source of power comes from trust and economics. We have a stable government a deep financial system. Against these benchmarks, other currencies fail. Our economic production represents 23 percent of global GDP.1 It is safer, easier, and less expensive to trade assets here than any other place on earth.

Profitable Privileges
The U.S. dollar is roughly 5 percent stronger than it would be if it were not the global reserve currency because foreign investors, corporations, and governments purchase dollars.2 This raises the value of our assets (real estate, stocks, etc.) as Americans and helps us enjoy a higher standard of living. Imported goods and overseas travel are especially more affordable. The impact of this wealth effect is estimated to be as high as 0.5 percent of GDP,2 which would be an increase of $900 billion for Americans this year.

In addition, almost 90 percent of world trading is done in dollars.3 This saves U.S. corporations money and lowers financial volatility.

The dollar’s status also increases demand for our government debt. According to Wikipedia, 63 percent of all reserves in the world are dollar-denominated debt. This demand lowers borrowing costs and saves our government an estimated half of one percent on interest.2

Greenback Drawback
In order to maintain the greenback’s place at the top, our government must borrow from and pay interest to everyone else. In addition, our strong dollar makes labor more expensive here. That is one of the reasons why jobs have been going overseas for decades.

Approximately 30 percent of S&P 500 companies get half their revenue from outside the United States. The strong dollar makes exports more expensive in foreign markets and may shave 0.4 percent from the U.S. economy this year.4

Challenging Change
Dethroning the dollar would be a process. It is not something that any group of individuals could change with a vote (Russian President Vladimir Putin has tried).

China is the world’s second largest economy. Should its yuan be considered a strong alternative? It is doubtful because the Chinese government wants a weak currency. It decided to lower the yuan’s value by 2 percent in August. This deliberate devaluation destroys trust, and no country has ever established the global currency through devaluation. This helps explain why the yuan is used in less than 3 percent of world trade while the dollar is used in 45 percent.5

Now What?
Extremely positive things are happening for the dollar and many experts are worried that the dollar may be too attractive. Between April 2014 and April 2015 the dollar appreciated 13 percent6 (a massive move for currency). Now, the Federal Reserve is conflicted over whether to raise rates because it may cause the dollar to strengthen even more.

The so called “experts” and conspiracy theorists will continue to beat their drums. No matter how logical their arguments appear, their poor predictions are meant to create fear.

Discussing the dollar’s status into the future and working hard to maintain its credibility is vital. If we do this, I believe it is safe to say that the days of the strong dollar will be with us for many, many years to come.

 

1. Derek Bacon, “Dominant and Dangerous,” The Economist, October 2015.
2. Richard Dobbs, David Skilling, Wayne Hu, Susan Lund, James Manyika, Charles Roxburgh, “An Exorbitant Privilege? Implications of Reserve Currencies for Competitiveness,” McKinsey & Company, December 2009.
3. Milton Ezrati, “Currencies: Yuan Wrong to Rule Them All,” Lord Abbett, November 2015.
4. Chris Matthews, “The Strong Dollar: Your Enemy or Friend?” Fortune, March 2015.
5. Fion Li, “Yuan Overtakes Yen as World’s Fourth Most-Used Payment Currency,” Bloomberg, October 2015.
6. Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis.

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Crisis Overseas Taking Investors on Wild Ride

By | 2015, Money Moxie, Newsletter, Viewpoint | No Comments

This July, the Lagoon amusement park in Farmington, Utah, opened its most thrilling ride ever: Cannibal. This coaster reaches 70 mph. It includes a 208 foot drop and 3 vertically inverted free-falls. The L.A. Times rated it 2015’s 20th best ride in the world!*

Honestly, I haven’t been on the ride, yet. I have found plenty of excitement this summer in the stock market as it has risen and fallen with news from overseas.

The market often feels like a roller coaster and it seems like it has been steeper lately. As our economy has improved, others have faltered, particularly China and Greece.

We know that over long periods of time the U.S. markets have been good at dropping investors off higher than where they started. So, the key for us is to get on the ride correctly and stay seated until it is over.

Diversification Is Our Safety Belt
One of the first things we do on a roller coaster is secure our restraining device and keep it on during the ride.

As investors, we live with uncertainty and we expect to be rewarded for it. Deploying a globally diversified portfolio can help us capture more opportunity.

Greece is a long way from the United States, but it has had a large impact on our daily stock market returns this summer. Greek debt is twice as big as its economy and growing. In the entire world, only Japan has it worse. (U.S. debt is approximately equal to its economy.)

As part of the European Union (E.U.), Greece has received more loans just to service the payments on the existing ones. In return, the Greek government has been forced to cut spending and raise taxes (ingredients not typically found in a recipe for economic success).

What’s next for Greece? Its economy is deteriorating, but I expect the alarm will quiet down for a little while. In the coming years, the Greek crisis may return.

Fortunately, the United States is an economic leader, not a follower. The Greek crisis is unlikely to drag us down. Its economy represents 2 percent of that of Europe and just 0.28 percent of the world’s.

Learn to Love the Dips
The twists and turns of the ride can be unpredictable, but we know where the roller coaster ends. Loving market declines may be asking too much from any of us.

If we truly believe the market will be higher years from now then we should view every short-term drop as an opportunity to buy low. So, stay in your seat and if you really want to prosper in a crisis, try the Warren Buffett way and buy more during the dip.

It also helps to remember that the stock market is not the economy. The market goes up and down daily on all kinds of news that may seem important, but does not fundamentally change the economic future.

Over the last five years, China has had one of the best economies in the world and one of the worst markets. In the last year, its economy has slowed from 7.5 percent growth to just 7 percent. (The U.S. economy is currently growing at 2.8 percent.) In response, the Chinese stock market is down almost 30 percent since June.

The Chinese government often states that “confidence is more valuable than gold.” So, even though it sees this bear market more like an interruption than an economic emergency, it is trying to stop the drop. Will government efforts to control the free market work? It is doubtful. Expect more news of volatility from Asia in the coming months. Over the years, look for the economy to continue to grow and the market to eventually follow.

Investing can be a wild ride. There are days, weeks, and months that can be difficult. So keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times and hold on! Unlike a real roller coaster your long-term, diversified investments should help you end higher than where you started.

 

*Brady MacDonald, “32 Best New Theme Park Additions of 2015,” L.A. Times, December 14, 2014.
Research by SFS. Data from public sources. Investing involves risk, including potential loss of principal. Diversification does not guarantee positive results. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions, and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan.

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5 Predictions for 2015

By | 2015, Money Moxie, Viewpoint | No Comments

Oil

The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 18,000 for the first time in December 2014. No one knows where it will end in 2015, but I thought it would be appropriate to begin the year with 5 predictions I am comfortable with.

(1) Oil prices will remain near their lows until a major supplier cuts production. Oil prices matter as much as any price. When they drop, it is generally considered to have a positive impact on the economy. This time feels different because prices are dropping so fast. Since June 20, 2014, the price of oil has dropped over 55 percent.

Gas prices at the pump are at levels last seen in the spring of 2009 and stockpiles of oil are at record levels. Demand is down and there is no shortage anywhere.

So far, members of OPEC, Russia, and other major suppliers have been unwilling to slow the flow. Many are just too desperate for money to be the first to cut production.

As the abrupt drop in prices slows it will become clear that low energy prices are good for the U.S. economy. Americans are already reaping the benefits as sales for new cars rose by 6 percent (16.5 million cars sold) in 2014.

If you are thinking about a new car please remember that prices will eventually rise.

(2) The trend in job growth and moderate wage growth will continue. Over 5.2 million unemployed Americans were hired in 2014—the most since 1999. With unemployment at 5.6 percent, employers may have to increase wages in order to bring in more productive workers. Keep your eye on wages!

(3) The Federal Reserve will be more patient with rates than most investors expect. With slow global growth, low inflation, and a strong U.S. dollar, there just may not be a compelling reason to raise rates this summer.

(4) Increased volatility will continue in 2015. The third year of a president’s term is hands down the best historically, but we expect this year to have above average volatility. Momentum has become so positive that 2015 is unlikely to be as good as 2014.

In the coming year, we expect positive results but with greater interruptions. In other words, we expect more frequent drops like those experienced in October and December of 2014 as investors digest a combination of factors: a slow global recovery, positive job creation numbers and high domestic stock valuations.

(5) The world will not pull the United States of America into recession. The strength of the U.S. economy is the envy of the world. We are more likely to lift the global economy than to sink with it. For at least 100 years our economy has led the world and there is no reason to think that things will be any different in 2015!

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What Happened in 2014?

By | 2015, Viewpoint | No Comments

Major Markets Update

The U.S. economy begins 2015 with the best momentum in over a decade. For years investors have questioned whether tepid growth could overcome the slack caused by the 2008 recession and the collapse of the housing market. Now it is time to move on. The question is whether the U.S. economy is strong enough to pull the world out of its current slowdown.

Emerging

Global Summary

There were plenty of reasons to be afraid of investing during 2014: Russia invaded Ukraine, United States joined a war against I.S. (or ISIS), spread of Ebola, and the quick collapse of oil prices.

Europe’s economy shrunk by 0.1 percent in the second quarter and then grew just 0.1 percent in the third. Japan is experimenting with government stimulus and China is slowing down.

In spite of these fearful events last year, the S&P 500 managed to achieve a double-digit gain for the third year in a row. This had not occurred since the late 1990s when the S&P 500 reached a 10 percent or greater rise 5 years in row.

unemployment

U.S. Employment

Approximately 3 million new jobs were created in 2014—making it the best year for new jobs since 1999. Unemployment improved as well, ending the year at 5.6 percent—the best level since 2008.

The average U.S. consumer spends just about every dollar earned. This spending drives nearly 70 percent of the economy. While debt levels as a percent of income are relatively low, so is wage growth.

Incomes in the United States increased at just 1.8 percent during 2014. With that lackluster change consumers are not likely to boost spending significantly.

Oil

Gas Prices

The global supply of oil is surging thanks to producers in the United States and Canada. Members of OPEC seem unwilling to cut production. This combined with slowing global growth led to an epic 55 percent drop in prices since last June. This means lower prices for consumers.

The average price per gallon in December was just $2.54 and prices have continued to fall in January. The savings per household will likely be between $500 and $1,000 in 2015.

Summary

When it comes to investing in global markets, the winners and losers rotate unpredictably each year. Last year, the winner was U.S. large companies. This year it may be different. This is why including large, small, and foreign investments in your portfolio should help you achieve better results over many years.

*Research by SFS. Data from public sources. This is not a recommendation to purchase any type of investment. Investing involves risk, including potential loss of principal. The S&P 500, S&P 600, Dow Jones Global, and MSCI Emerging Markets are indexes considered to represent major areas of the stock market. One cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Please see disclosure on opposite page for more detail.
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The Virtuous Cycle of Rising Prices

By | 2014, Newsletter, Viewpoint | No Comments

Imagine waking up tomorrow to discover gasoline prices have dropped in half. What if milk, eggs, and all your groceries cost less as well? Suddenly, your money would be worth more. Sounds great, right? It wouldn’t take long for the heavy weight of reality to hit you.

Consider how knowledge of tomorrow’s pricing might affect today’s behavior. Assuming no shortages, we would be crazy to buy today what would cost less in 24 hours. While falling prices (deflation) sound nice on the surface, they can have disastrous consequences.

Deflation's Destruction

Deflation has been present in most economic depressions in history, including the Great Depression. The initial causes may include productivity increases, oversupply of goods, or scarcity of money.
A rise in productivity has been occurring for centuries with greater education and technology. In fact, a U.S. worker today, on average, can produce twice as much as a worker in 1975 and 50 percent more than a worker in 1995! Outsourcing to cheaper foreign labor has a similar effect on productivity as technology.

Supply of goods fluctuates, especially with food and energy. For example, a drought in 2012 led to a rise in grain prices like corn, which made feed cattle more expensive in 2013, which led to higher dairy and beef prices in 2014 (see Price Changes table).

Price Changes

Scarcity of money is where the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) comes in. The Fed encourages low unemployment and low inflation by managing the money supply.

The Fed cannot control the weather in the Midwest, extract more oil from Saudi Arabia, or raise the minimum wage in China. But the Fed will do everything it can to avoid deflation. Since 2008, it has spent over three trillion dollars to stabilize falling prices.

Rising prices are normal in a healthy economy. The 50 year average for inflation is 4.1 percent. This reasonable rate encourages spending and creates a virtuous cycle of economic growth (see Inflation’s Value graphic).

Inflation's Value

All the current numbers in this cycle are good, but below average. Over the last twelve months inflation has been 1.7 percent, wage increases averaged 2.8 percent, and consumer spending grew 3.6 percent.
The most recent U.S. growth rate showed an increase of 4.2 percent. That is a great number. If it is followed by another increase in another category like wages the growth cycle could pick up speed. The result could help the current bull market continue.

Definitions

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3 Reasons to Run with the Bulls

By | 2014, Money Moxie, Viewpoint | No Comments

Our current bull market is more than five years old. Since hitting a new high on March 28, 2013, the S&P 500 has continued to reach 67 more records—averaging almost one each week. Is this market too strong to continue or is it too powerful to end now?

Herbert Stein famously said, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” This undisputable fact is profound in its application to life and investing. In other words, planning for growth over a lifetime is reasonable, but a new high every week is an unrealistic expectation.

On March 28, 2013, the S&P 500 stock index reached a new, record breaking high. I wrote about this event in the following Money Moxie article, “Patience is a Rewarding Virtue.” My conclusion then as it is now was to continue to hold on. Making money is what stock ownership is all about. I also pointed out that “The average return following a new high is positive for 1, 2, 3, 6, and even 12 months following the high.” Fortunately for investors that forecast was correct. In the 12 months following that new high the S&P 500 made over 18 percent.

Bulls and Bear

Don’t Fear a Correction
This is an unusually strong time to be investing in U.S. stocks and it will not last forever. The S&P 500 averages one 10 percent correction each year and a few 5 percent drops. This is all it takes to spook some investors, causing them to miss out on the growth that follows.

While short-term events can be shocking, long-term returns are predictable. Investing in a diversified portfolio for long periods of time, such as 10 or 20 years, almost always yields positive results. Whatever happens, hang in there. Once we accept the fact that corrections are a normal part of stock investing we will begin to see them as opportunities to invest.

Indicators Look Good
Bear markets are typically defined as a drop of 20 percent or greater. These large drops are extremely difficult to predict. (Those who do are like broken clocks-correct only twice a day.) However, bear markets have some common threads.

1. The yield curve is the difference between long-term and short-term interest rates. It has turned negative around nearly every bear market in the last 50 years, but it is extremely positive right now.

2. Energy prices matter more than any other price in the world. Oil use has an impact almost ten times greater on the economy than any other commodity. So it is no surprise that oil prices have spiked around the end of bull markets in the last 40 years. (1987 was the only exception!) Right now, oil prices look relatively stable and thanks to growing domestic production there is reason to think it will continue.

3. Consumer spending represents 70 percent of the U.S. economy. On average, Americans are spending nearly everything they make, so we cannot expect much more from them. Improvement will come as the number of unemployed workers drops and as employers raise wages. While watching for increases has been like watching paint dry, it is happening. Momentum is positive in the jobs front.

Conclusion
New market highs come for a reason. The economy is continuing to improve. The most important indicators are pointing in the positive direction. The greatest warning sign in stocks is that returns have perhaps been too good. That alone is only enough fuel for a small correction, not a major bear market. When one of these corrections comes we should try to see it as an opportunity. This is an incredible time to be an investor.

*Research by SFS. Data is from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Investing involves risk, including potential loss of principal. The S&P 500 index is often considered to represent the U.S. market. One cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions, and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan.

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