ECONOMIC COMMENTARY (09-08-2020)
September 8, 8:01 am EST. August saw the largest percent stock market increases since 1984. That’s the good news. The bad news is both September and October are historically down months for the overall market. The other good news is that you are not invested exclusively in the stock market averages. Many of you will see an increase in your account holdings this month; some are hedged differently. Your accounts will neither do as well as “the market” indices on their best days nor as badly on the market’s worst days. Our investment philosophy is founded on academically-based, efficient, diversified principles. This philosophy creates the opposite range of emotions that friends warned me of when having kids: “The highs are higher and the lows are lower,” they said. When it comes to long-term investing, we do our best to ensure the core (majority) of your portfolio is stable, sound and boring.
Of course, as we have all learned in life, just because we may not change does not mean that the world won’t around us. One of the major “core” investments for our model is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) that represents the 30 companies of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index. Those are the 30 largest companies in the world but one of them, Apple, Inc., just decided to split their stock (4 for 1). This means that the price of each share has been divided by 4 but the value at the time of the split was pretty much the same. This reduces the price of Apple’s stock per share and as a result, dropped it to the 17th biggest stock amongst the DJIA (from the 1st). The result of this change means Apple’s value (share price) will have less of an effect on the DJIA; Pfizer, Raytheon Technologies and ExxonMobile were removed from the DJIA; and Salesforce.com, Amgen and Honeywell International were added to the DJIA. This will be the first time since the DJIA was tracked that ExxonMobile – formerly Standard Oil Co. – will not be part of the average. Yes, that’s the same “Standard Oil” from the J.D. Rockefeller days. Times have changed. Our firm’s “core” investment model will soon be changing as well.
Sustainable. Responsible. Impact Investing (SRI)
As announced last week, our firm is making a commitment to SRI or “Socially Responsible” investing. As stated on our newly launched website, “We see it as an investing discipline that supports assessing long term return potential and risk reduction by considering environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors.” It is an opportunity for stockholders to equally recognize their responsibility as global stakeholders. We are excited to offer this opportunity to you, our clients. You are people we consider pillars of your communities. More to come in the following days. Expect a phone call.
The Federal Reserve has changed its philosophy around the topic of inflation. To be brief, the assumption has been for decades that a) the Federal Reserve could actually control inflation b) that inflation (the annual increase in prices) was healthy at 2% and c) Monetary policy was the best way to get there. The problem? Over the past 13 years or so is that we’ve never hit the 2% inflation target. Despite great action taken by a non-governmental body (the Fed) on our behalf, there is no evidence that a, b or c is true. Now that same organization has decided to take actions that may “allow” inflation to drift past 2%. When it comes to 1970s era inflation, I am only old enough to remember sitting in the back seat of the car, waiting for my dad to buy expensive gas. I do not know the rate he paid on his mortgage nor do I know how quickly his salary increased. I do know that high inflation, once it occurs, is hard to control. Over the next 5 years, bank interest rates may remain low. Inflation may increase. The stock market may be the only place to get positive inflation-adjusted returns. It all depends. We will monitor the situation on your behalf.
Jason Howell Company is an independent, family wealth management firm run by two owners who consider it their family business.
Jason J. Howell, CFP® and Douglas W. Tees, MBA, CFP® are both married to patient wives and are dedicated to their kids. They have built a firm with a great reputation based in Northern Virginia and they hope to pass it on to their children someday.
The firm owners believe that serving families through a process that supports family harmony, preserves family history and nurtures family values is the key to true wealth. The process transforms regular investors into patriarchs and matriarchs of their families and communities. It begins with a responsible Investment Strategy and by equipping clients with three (3) tools for creating sustainable wealth. They call this process Family Governance. It goes beyond traditional financial planning by adding the "values management" and family history component.
For more information about our strategies, just book an introductory call: Introductory Call