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As we are approach the first day of fall, Sept. 22nd, looking back, it was a quiet summer in the markets, despite emerging market currency declines (Turkey, Brazil, South Africa) vs. the stronger dollar, tariff wars (China) and increasing interest rates (Federal Reserve). With August and September often being the two most dormant months of the year, US stocks appear to be resilient due to exceptional corporate profits but also strong sales, a very solid economy and a spending consumer. Volatility has been low apart from late January and again in late March as the domestic/S&P 500 Index tested the Feb. 8th low, down ~ 10% before climbing back. Unfortunately, most of the gains have been due to a handful of stocks – Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft together make up ~ 70%+ of S&P 500 returns and 78%+ of NASDAQ 100 return, through mid-August. If you add Apple and Alphabet (Google), these six stocks make up ~98% + of market returns! The DOW 30 was slightly up through mid-August with Boeing, Microsoft, Nike and Verizon carrying this price-weighted index.  The heavy weighted stock performance reflects the very narrow market returns due to trade, currency and interest rates concerns. However, the likely resolution to the trade wars would remove the largest market headwind suggesting higher and more broad market values by year end. 

As of this writing, Aug. 15th, the S&P 500, DOW 30 and tech heavy NASDAQ are up ~ 5%, ~1 ½% and ~ 11% respectively, before dividends, with weighted returns being due to a select number of stocks, as described above. The aggregate bond index (AGG) is down almost 3% before dividends while the international sector is down ~ 8% (EFA before dividends). Despite possible dips of 3-5% (very common) or even the annual 10% correction (this past Feb), any down turn may be short lived due to the stronger earnings, economy and consumer; buying/reallocation opportunities will arise. Unfortunately, the narrow market gains and down bond market, makes it more difficult to achieve higher returns in more custom conservative and moderate portfolios as there is less risk due to increased diversification, including consumer staples/defensive securities and bonds, both of which are currently out of favor.

Steve Erken, CFP®


Dated: 8/15/2018


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Maxele Advisors, LLC is conveniently located in Webster Groves, Missouri with ample FREE parking.

20 Allen Ave.
Suite 330
Webster Groves, MO 63119

Tel:  (314) 961-1850

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