We’re a little more than a week into the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and so far Russia has surprised experts and fans alike. Expectations were low at best. Because of recent setbacks, including a disastrous performance at the 2016 UEFA European Championship and injuries sustained by key players, the federation ranked a dismal 66th place among Fédération Internationale de Football Association teams—its lowest position ever. The only reason it didn’t have to qualify to compete was because Russia is the host nation. (This is the first time in its 88-year history, by the way, that the World Cup has been held in Eastern Europe.)
The S&P 500 was a bit of a rollercoaster this week with three days of losses and two days of gains. The index was up 0.19% from Thursday but is down 0.88% from last week. The index is up 2.19% YTD and is 4.11% below its record close.
The economic calendar is modest. Volatility is lower even with plenty of news. The summer doldrums have arrived! It provides time for introspection to fill those empty timeslots and pages.
Traditional index funds match market performance and have negligible trading costs with low tracking error—or do they? Not actually—they routinely buy after high price appreciation and sell after high price depreciation. They also have significant trading costs from adding and deleting stocks. We show how index providers can construct better-performing indices that are less prone to performance chasing and have lower turnover.
Each year, Social Security’s Trustees report to Congress on the financial status of the program. This typically generates a number of anxiety-provoking media headlines about if/when it will run out of money. Gail Buckner, CFP, our personal retirement and financial planning strategist, takes a look at the facts. She says Social Security is actually in pretty good shape overall.
Four of eight indexes on our world watch list have posted gains through Monday, June 18, 2018. The top performer this year is India's BSE SENSEX with a gain of 5.13%. In second is our own S&P 500 with a gain of 3.75%. In third is France's CAC 40 with a gain of 2.60%. Coming in last is Shanghai's SSE with a loss of 8.63%.
Energy equities have underperformed the S&P 500 materially over the last five years. While spot oil prices have risen significantly over the last twelve months, longer dated oil prices have not, and energy equities have remained under pressure.
We've always been skeptical that bond yields carry deep meaning about the future. Low Treasury bond yields in recent years were said to be a signal of slower growth, or possibly a recession, ahead. And the bond world said stocks were over-valued.
To put Procter & Gamble’s current valuation into perspective, this blue-chip can be purchased today with a 3.7% current dividend yield which is hovering around the highest it has been over the past two decades. Furthermore, Procter & Gamble appears attractively valued over virtually every rational valuation metric that prudent value investors might consider.
Investors and their advisors must be alert to managing both pre-tax and after-tax alpha in order for investors to realize the highest possible return from their taxable portfolios. Increasingly, the opportunities to accomplish both goals are within reach of investors through, for example, tax-advantaged smart beta strategies and tax-efficient vehicles such as ETFs.