KFA Blog

2017 has Begun

By:  Lisa Thuer - Senior Trading and Research Specialist

 

What a contrast from how last January started. It is almost the reverse of stocks that were down last year are up this year. As we have stated before, last year was a difficult year to navigate. You may ask yourself, won't this year be just as difficult with the new regime now in office? What happens now and where do we go from here?

 

Earnings season is upon us and corporate earnings have thus far been positive. Businesses are optimistic with potential tax cuts, infrastructure spending, employee benefit costs and reduced regulation. Bringing earnings back from overseas would be a bonus for shareholders and the stock market. However, this all takes time and we still need to keep both hands on the wheel. We know in the political world not everything gets done as planned nor as fast as we would like it to.

 

So regardless of your views on our current Commander-in-Chief, we still want America to succeed and we are all Americans. We all want our portfolios to increase regardless of who is in office. Now with all the election noise behind us and some will probably continue, we are moving forward. Towards the end of last year we started adjusting investments going into 2017. There will be additions to current holdings and reducing others. We still continue to like dividend payers, technology, consumer discretionary, financials (regional banks), and small companies. We will continue to hold alternative investments, however we will be reducing our holdings and allocating funds towards growth or income based the portfolio. As stated above, we will remain diversified and weather the storms and the tweets. 

 

As always, do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or would like to come in and meet with a KFA team member.


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Market Commentary: 4th Quarter 2016

By:  Lisa Thuer - Senior Trading and Research Specialist

The year 2016 started out by taking the polar plunge.

China came out with disappointing manufacturing data, sending all markets on a free fall. Analysts and economists reports stated slower earnings and economic growth. The Federal Reserve, after raising rates a quarter point in December refrained from raising interest rates a second time, stating that the economy was too fragile. Yet they were calling for 2-3 rate hikes in 2016, but they only raised rates once. Early in the year markets rapidly dropped day after day, at the same time, oil hit a low of $26 per barrel. Were we on the brink of a recession?

Then in February the whipsaw came; new data stated a recession was less likely than feared and the markets rebounded, however not all sectors participated. Healthcare and FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, andGoogle) stocks were not taking part in the rally, yet utilities and telecom were skyrocketing. There was a flight to safety and value on the forefront.

All was going well until the next big uncertainty hit the market – Brexit! The markets were rattled leading up to Brexit. As the election was nearing the polls were stating that the U.K. would remain in the Eurozone. The markets reacted positively, but then the votes were tallied, and we soon learned that the polls were wrong. The U.K. voted to leave the Eurozone; the markets were shocked and once again plunged. Financials took a beating and the Federal Reserve decided not to raise interest rates at that point and furthermore no rate hike was insight. We were in uncharted territory and everyone was predicting we are on the brink of a disaster. Once again, this wiped out all of the market gains. After some digesting, all wasn't as bad as first stated, and the market hit the road running, we were upward once again.

As if all this news wasn’t enough for the markets to digest, America was in a very unusual presidential election year. A New York Business Man running against a Woman, with political experience.  But there is no need to go into details about that, as we all know the outcome. Everybody we talked to could not wait for the election to finally be over. But, once again the polls had it wrong, which again sent the markets into a tailspin.  As the market did a complete turnaround and climbed to new highs. Based on optimism, equity markets climbed as the bond prices fell. KFA was feeling a little overdone in both areas and we wanted to let the markets settle down just a bit before jumping back in with both feet.

2016 is now behind us and as we reflect on our portfolios, not only did the economists predict incorrectly, so did some analysts, but we at KFA, also erred on the conservative side. Financials tanked after Brexit in the uncertainty of how banks would be affected by the change. But after the US election of Donald Trump –so far financials have been leading the way. Healthcare stocks took a beating for most of 2016, but since the election we are starting to see some recovery in that sector also. We can’t help but wonder; had Hillary Clinton won… would we be seeing the same results, she made it clear that she was very much against Drug Company’s price gouging. We are not saying that Trump isn’t against price gouging; he just took a different approach on the subject.

In an effort to keep risk out of our clients’ portfolios, it may have kept us from partaking in some of the upside of the market recovery. However we feel that this is a small price to pay for what could have turned in a different direction. We had certain situations that did go south last year, and we wanted to do what we could to make sure that our clients were protected. Even the best of economists and analysts had a hard time forecasting last year, and some were just down right wrong. It was definitely an unusual time. We are seeing that the portfolios which benefited most last year are the ones that did nothing from start to finish and just rode the markets ups and downs.

2017 is now upon us, and this January in comparison to last January, we are seeing a reversal in the markets, we are also seeing green lights ahead. Some areas of interest to KFA are Aerospace, Defense, and Financials (in particular regional and smaller banks). Along with Information Technology (IT), Infrastructure and Small Companies ,while holding on to our Large Cap Dividend payers, which will benefit investors if the overseas earnings are repatriated, bringing offshore monies back to the U.S.

We continue to look for preservation of capital and yield as our conservative portfolios continue to hold a larger portion of their portfolios in these areas. Alternatives and Market Neutral holdings continue to be a part of our portfolio to keep a balance to the uncertainty that always faces us. Bonds and bond funds are known to be less volatile- however as of late even they have seen more volatility than normal.

If only we had a crystal ball to help us predict the future, life would be so much easier. But for now,

we need to go by research, and sometimes even gut feelings, and the knowledge that we need to make money for our clients while we are protecting them from markets down falls.

With the start of a New Year, please consider that this is a good time for clients to review your portfolio risk tolerance. Have you had any life changing events last year or an upcoming event that you know about that has changed or may change your needs? Whichever it may be, the start of the year is always a good time to revisit your risk tolerance.

If you would like to come in, or have a telephone conference with a KFA team member, please feel free to contact us, we love hearing from our clients. KFA will work with you to make the necessary risk adjustments to your portfolio. As always, we thank you for your confidence in us and we look forward to 2017 being a great year! 

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Moving Forward

Things we can cheer about: the Election is over and the Cubs did win the World Series, so now let’s move forward. Post-Election, the market has seen some strength with some sectors preforming better than others. The bond market has reacted with rising bond rates. KFA has been analyzing and processing all the different aspects of the election and what it means for our portfolios. Obviously the election had gone a different direction than most had expected it to go. Therefore, there will be adjustments made to our portfolios. The economy is still doing okay and based on some assumptions it will do better in the foreseeable future. However we are expecting some kick up in volatility with the regime changes and therefore hope to take advantage at that point in time. It may seem cut and dry as to areas of investing but we have to look down the road as to how the change in policies will affect various sectors and industries.

Some of the assumptions we are basing investment decisions on are as follows:

- The Federal Reserve will most likely increase rates December.
- There will be some form of Tax Reform for individuals and corporations.
- Repatriation of corporate earnings/Tax Holiday which means bringing money back into our country which will benefit shareholders and also hopefully create jobs in the U.S. also.
- Inflation will likely occur.
- GDP should tick upward.
- There should be a better business climate with possible Dodd-Frank reform which means less regulation but in a good way.
- Infrastructure spending which will create jobs and improve our roads and bridges to name a few.
- Some sort of Healthcare reform will take place.
- The dollar has gotten stronger and will likely remain strong.
- Bond pricing has gone down and yields have gone up.

Some of the stock price run up has been quick and rapid (overbought) and the bond pricing also has gone the opposite way also quick and rapid (oversold). Taking a step back and letting it settle down, we will be adding to positions in the areas that will benefit from these assumptions. In these upcoming days based on the market movement, we will be adding to Financials, Healthcare, Materials and Technology sectors which are on the forefront.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call one of our KFA Team Members.

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Post Election Market Commentary

We have all just witnessed a historic election that may forever change politics, as we know it, in this great country.  It is still very early to know how all the pieces will be picked up by supporters of candidates on both sides as we learn to once again come together after supporting a favorite candidate.  As is always the case, no matter the outcome, we have to come together to move our economy and country forward so that all Americans can benefit in spite of our individual opinions or beliefs.

This election has truly been historic due to a difference in the path to winning office.  History shows there are things you typically do to get elected, but Donald Trump showed that without large financial backing and party support that is common he was able to win the election.  For these reasons this election was historic.

As we have been reading and digesting plans put forth by Donald Trump during the campaign we do know there are areas that should benefit such as infrastructure and defense.  As with any campaign there are many things said or promised that we may not be able to count on actually coming to fruition.  As some have suggested, we really have an Independent as President with a Republican Congress.  Will this create a balance of power that seems less obvious today?  It is going to take time to see what actions become reality. 

Aside from the large stock market futures drop during the late but early hours of election results we are not seeing a massive sell-off that some expected.  We do expect to see continued volatility over the coming weeks.  Investment choices may change slightly dependent on policies put in place during the early days of office which we will await.

We believe your portfolios are invested to weather a short and long term horizon.  We feel any changes made may only be to increase or decrease an allocation to a specific sector.  Prior to the election we worked to position portfolios for any outcome. 

We hope for the benefit of all Americans that those elected into office will serve in our best interest and will truly take their elected office seriously.  We will continue to watch and listen for any changes we feel may change your investment portfolios and will act as necessary, if so.

We thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

Kabarec Financial Advisors

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Will the Election Ever be Over?

By:  Lisa Thuer - Senior Trading and Research Specialist

We are a week away from a historical Presidential Election. A new twist seems to take place on a daily basis in both camps of Clinton and Trump. Unfortunately the market does not like the uncertainty that is taking place. These volatile times make investing in the near term a very difficult time to deal with the volatility and the fear of the unknown. Each candidate has their own agenda.  How much they will be able to get done in Washington also depends on if we remain a balanced government with Congress or if it will be one-sided. Approaching Election Day, we thought it would be clear as to which direction the markets will be heading. However, everyday there seems to be a new headline leading to more uncertainty.

Healthcare has been a drag on our portfolios this year. It is one sector that had been hit hard at the beginning of the year and was not able to bounce back as other sectors did.  The healthcare sector is filled with innovation and advancements allowing people to live longer and cures for cancer and other diseases to name a couple. Baby boomers and our aging population are all benefiting from the advancements taking place in this sector. Unfortunately, the elections are wreaking havoc in this area and the regulations that may be implemented are unknown. We have made a decision to reduce the risk going into the Election next week by taking healthcare off the table. Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology will continue to be volatile in the coming months. We still believe this is an area of growth in the future; however we will sit on the sidelines and wait for all the regulatory issues to fall in place.

The rest of our portfolio will remain invested in the current asset allocation of stocks, bonds and alternatives and we will not make any further changes until after the Election. Even with the volatility that will take place in the coming days and weeks, it is built to weather the storm. The talk has been swarming that there will be a tax repatriation holiday where multinational companies will be able to bring back foreign profits to the U.S. at a favorable tax rate. This would benefit the U.S. and us as investors by encouraging the corporations to spend and create jobs along with a possible one-time special dividend to shareholders. Therefore we are willing to be patient in the remainder of our portfolio and do not want to be out of the markets when this does take place.

In the meantime, we appreciate your confidence and support through these difficult market times. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact one our KFA team members.


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