The Government surprised us again!
First things first, we wish to extend our wishes for a very happy and healthy 2014 to you and your family!
In our last commentary e-mail, we mentioned that the U.S. Congress created and passed a budget on December 18th. On January 16th, the House passed a full federal budget with all the details on what programs will receive which dollars. It will likely mean no government shut-down this year and a predictable stream of income for most government agencies. Congress typically passes the budget with short-term resolutions, and because of this, a full budget has not passed since 2009 (Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/business-leaders-finally-get-something-they-want-from-washington-152851069.html).
Many people are asking: Why now? The answer, we believe, is business leaders. Large business-backed groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have said that the business community has grown tired of the political brinksmanship and after the 16-day government shut-down in October, they said enough is enough. Some sources say that there were threats to support new candidates who would help to keep business as usual. In our opinion, money talks when it comes to politicians and their donation funds (in some cases).
For now, it seems the Tea Party may be losing strength in Congress, and the American public is tired of the government shut-downs. At Summit Financial, we believe that lowering the deficit is a good thing.
Bottom line: What does this mean for your money? It could be great. Business leaders have been complaining since 2009 that the U.S. government has not provided consistent tax or spending policies. It is estimated by some that U.S. corporations have over $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets. With a potentially stable government spending and tax situation unfolding, maybe the U.S. corporations will finally start to spend some of that money on equipment, expansion, and most importantly, jobs!
Just a reminder that we are still very nervous about the bond markets because of recent Federal Reserve moves. If you would like to discuss your portfolio in more detail, please give us a call or e-mail right away.
One of our goals for 2013 as a firm was to become more nimble in our portfolio management because we felt global stock and bond markets were on the verge of increased volatility. That being said, some portfolios are more flexible and nimble than others, so if you would like to discuss your portfolio with us, we would be happy to help, just give us a call.
Feel free to share this e-mail with friends, family, or colleagues. Please review the additional interesting notes and quotes below.
New Year’s Resolutions – Unsurprisingly, just 8% of Americans achieve their New Year’s Resolutions each year. Surveys find that specific, realistic goals are more likely to be met. – Forbes, January 1st, 2013
Congress – The 113th Congress is on course to pass less legislation than any Congress in history. So far, it’s passed only 49 laws. The “Do Nothing” Congress denounced by President Harry Truman in 1947 passed 906 laws – Politico.com, December 23, 2013.
Feeling Wealthy? – “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
Cost of Air Travel – When adjusted for inflation, the cost of commercial airline flights has fallen by half since 1978, thanks largely to deregulation. – The Atlantic, February 28th, 2013
Flying Scared – In 2012, on average, 30 firearms were confiscated each week at US airports via TSA carry-on searches – USA Today, July 5th, 2013.
Busy Computers – Every minute, Google processes 3.5 million search queries, 208,000 photos are uploaded to Facebook, and Twitter users send 350,000 tweets – Quartz, November 26th, 2013.
What kind of person are you? – “There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on.” – Robert Byrne
Absurd Technology ¬¬- Lee De Forest, the inventor of the radio tube, was sued by the US Attorney general in 1913. He was accused of misleading his shareholders with “absurd” and deliberately misleading claims about the possibility of transmitting the human voice across the Atlantic Ocean. – Wikipedia.com
Performance Through 01/28/2014 Dow Jones Industrials Nasdaq Composite S&P 500 Barclays Aggregate Bond
1 Week -2.94% 0.55% -2.77% 0.24%
Year to Date -3.80% -3.02% -2.94% 1.16%
1 Year 17.60% 29.92% 22.05% -0.22%
3 Year 13.37% 15.11% 14.43% 3.57%
5 Year 16.87% 21.33% 17.98% 4.76%
Source: Morningstar.com. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. 3 and 5-year returns are annualized. Assumes dividends are reinvested.