KFA Blog

Market Conditions - Thanksgiving Week

If you read our latest commentary on Monday you may have noted that we projected the market to make a rebound this week and this was before we were informed of the Paris attacks. Our projection was correct and we experienced a nice recovery of 66 points up since last week's S&P 500 close. This was in large part a concluding calm after an overreaction of fear to retail and energy reports. The world became united as we survived the aftermath of a terror attack, sluggish consumer reports, and a continued free fall in the energy sector - we have much to be thankful for as we head into Thanksgiving week.

The energy sector will likely see some support next week as we endure our first round of winter weather. This will spell added trouble to oil dependent industries such as airlines and transports and carry an adverse reaction to tourism. These industries braced let downs last week from the Paris terrorist attack and may once again experience setback. This will have little to no effect on your KFA holdings as we have very little exposure to energy and presently hold no transports in any of our investment models.

Your portfolio is likely to experience the greatest lift from continued economic progress and a Federal Reserve interest rate hike. An interest rate hike would prompt investors to allocate more to financials which is where we have been adding and will continue to add to in our investment allocation. We are also confident in consumer goods as Nike, Square, Keurig, and Home Depot posted strong gains in the previous two weeks. This week provided stability and clarity against market turmoil we experienced last week.

We expect the market to experience volatility and as always we are here to address any concerns you may have. The market will be closed Thursday and we have a shortened trading day on Friday. Our office will also be closed Thursday the 25th and Friday the 26th.  From our family to yours, we hope you have a relaxing Thanksgiving.

Thank you for your continued trust and support.

 
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Market Conditions - Paris Attacks

Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of life in France after Friday’s attacks. Terrorism is a constant threat to our world, a world that values liberty and freedom over tyranny and oppression. Thankfully, global financial markets have reacted with an unwavered and even defiant response to the 129 lives lost in Paris. The chief culprit amongst international instability presides in the crude oil price but it actually went up today by almost a full percent. However, we are still recovering from a selloff last week and we are on watch for more volatility this week.

Airlines and the tourism industry bore the brunt of losses today amid concerns of safe travel.  Overall, the market remained calm with the S&P 500 finishing 1.5% up today. Typically, stocks fall anywhere from 1-3% in response to terrorism attacks. The 2005 London subway bombings saw the S&P 500 fall nearly 1% the following day and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing saw a devaluation of 2.3% the following day. In both cases, terrorism did not succeed in the long run as lost ground was made up in just two weeks.

Investors, entrepreneurs, and citizens of the free world will not waver because of a few radical insurgents. As our friends in France look toward bringing justice to their country we continue to preside over your investments with rational and sound logic. Our concerns are more aligned with upcoming home buying reports, an interest rate decision, and your year-end distributions than playing in the hands of fear-mongering. We continue to believe that the fundamentals are sound and look forward to a positive return for 2015.

We are here if you have questions as we watch for any new information that may confirm or change our thoughts about the market. Terrorism will never have the capability of stopping the progress of freedom and economic liberty.

 

We thank you for continued trust and support. We hope you enjoy your week!

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Market Conditions

This week has been extremely hostile to markets as data contrary to US economic growth emerged. The market was harmed by several factors ending with today’s news that the holiday shopping season is off to a weak start. This news came on top of increased chances of a fed rate hike, weak commodity prices, and a dollar that may be too strong and hurt domestic production. International concerns still abound as the Eurozone posted a disappointing growth rate and China concerns plague Asia. Uncertainty around the world and US consumer concerns set the market in a downward spiral in this week.

To fully understand the US economy, you must first be aware of its driving forces. We are a consumer driven economy. US consumption as a percent of GDP is 71%, the highest in the world. This is why monthly retail reports are paid closely attention to. The annual savings rate stands at 4.8% which is higher than the pre-recession norm of around 3%. Although consumer confidence is high folks are not opening their wallets and it is resulting in a slowdown in our consumer driven market.

Despite the latest slate of bad news, the market is still fundamentally oversold. Every technical analysis points to an undervalued market because so many are acting out of fear. We hold strong in our conviction that we will end the year on a positive note. Many indicators point to a positive 4^th quarter ending as unemployment is the lowest in years, vehicle sales are at their highest point in a decade, and home buying numbers remain strong. Thought leader and noted economist Dr. Robert Genetski has stated that stocks are nearly 20% undervalued and with this week’s market stocks may be undervalued by over 20%.

We hope to see the market digest the round of bad news this weekend and swing in a positive direction next week. As always, we are keeping a keen eye on every economic report and we will keep you updated with our thoughts. We are here if you have questions and we are watching for any new information that may confirm or change our thoughts about the market. As the great Warren Buffet said, “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy”.

We thank you for your continued trust and support.  Enjoy your weekend!

*** As of the time this update was written, the events in Paris were not known.  We will be in communication early next week to update you on how this news over the weekend may affect any changes in our market outlook. ***

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Medicare Insurance

 

Medicare is an essential benefit available to eligible Americans starting at age 65 and it is critical that you understand your Medicare options. You should enroll in Medicare three months before your 65th birthday so your coverage will begin the first day of your birthday month. Failing to enroll in a timely manner can result in financial penalties that can last the rest of your life. When you enroll in Medicare you automatically receive Part A which covers hospitalization but not doctor’s fees. This makes enrolling in Medicare Part B essential, part B will cover a portion of doctor visits, ambulance fees, blood tests, and other healthcare related expenses. You must pay a monthly premium for part B which is usually around $104 for the majority of the population. However, your premium cost is dependent on your income level and may costs as much as $300 a month for those with high incomes. An alternative exist for part A and part B which may be advantageous for those in higher income levels.

Medicare part C is an alternative to Medicare parts A and B. Often referred to as Medicare Advantage, it is privatized Medicare and provided by companies such as BlueCross BlueShield and Humana. Under federal law, Medicare Advantage must provide all of the benefits covered in Medicare Part A and B and most Medicare Advantage plans include Medicare part D. Medicare part D is a prescription drug plan that helps you pay less or nothing for prescription drugs. It is very important that you select some type of prescription drug coverage when you begin Medicare or you will be penalized for lack of coverage the remainder of your life. Even purchasing a policy with minimal coverage qualifies to meet this.

At Kabarec, we recommend having Medicare parts A, B, and D or Medicare Advantage with part D included. It is important to review the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage, often your selection of hospitals and doctors is severely limited by choosing Medicare Advantage over original Medicare. Medical costs are often your largest medical expense during retirement and being properly insured is critical to your financial success.  

In addition to the basic parts of Medicare we suggest adding a supplemental policy.  Supplemental Medicare plans offer great value and are necessary to pick up any additional medical costs not accounted for in original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. The most common supplemental Medicare plan option is plan F. For example, if you go to the doctor and you are charged $100 part B will pay $80 and you are left to pay $20. If you have plan F you would pay nothing, plan F picks up on excess costs uncovered by part B. In addition to this benefit, plan F covers 80% of medical costs covered outside of the United States –coverage in foreign countries is not provided without a supplemental policy like plan F. There are 6 supplemental Medicare policies which you can consider, plan F is the most comprehensive but in many cases an alternative plan may fit you best.

Medicare does not replace the need for long term care insurance and for additional information you can visit medicare.gov.

Your KFA team understands how important your health is to you and should you have questions we can help provide answers.

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The Broken Record - What's in the Black Box?

We feel like we are sounding like a broken record. We want to keep you informed so you know our views through these volatile times. We thought the start of today things would be different with green across the big board as the news broke of China cutting their interest rates and lowering the required reserve ratio for its banks. But the day ended differently than we had hoped. Unfortunately, the moves by policymakers do not create overnight change.

In reality, the truth about China is unknown. No one really knows if the true numbers are being reported or if there are issues being withheld from the rest of the world. The lack of transparency leaves a lot to the imagination and with the devaluation of the yuan and rate cut it provides ample opportunity for speculation about what is really happening. In many ways China is more transparent than it was a decade ago and also no worse than some other countries whose troubles have roiled the world markets such as Mexico or Russia. The difference is size. China represents 15% of the world’s economic output. For an economy that size a Black Box causes panic.

With the world seemingly broken into two parts, either developed markets will join the slump or a Chinese recovery will reduce external worries in the U.S. and Europe. We still believe the U.S. economy is strong. With the holdings in our portfolio, we still have reason to hold them for the long-term. We are looking for any opportunities to buy or sell at attractive levels. Our team continues to stay alert for any unexpected news positive or negative that will move the markets. As always, your team is here for you. We will continue to keep you informed.

As always, we appreciate your confidence and support in us.  Please feel free to call should you have questions.  

Your team at Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd.

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