Stocks appear to be at a crossroads. During the past two weeks, we’ve seen a slide in the major indices that’s sent several key segments back below the 200-day moving average.
While the S&P 500 remains above its long-term trend line, both the NASDAQ Composite and Russell 2000 now have fallen through their respective long-term support lines.
The three charts below clearly demonstrate the recent weakness in all three indices since the April highs.
So, what are the reasons for the downbeat performance of late?
First off, we have the natural ebb and flow of markets that want to come back to a kind of equilibrium. That means that after the big run we saw from mid-February through late-April, the market was overdue for a pullback.
Aside from this, the market now is indicating that there are substantive headwinds likely to keep putting pressure on stocks. The way I see it, there are three major headwinds pushing back against a market move higher.
- Weak Economic Growth. The latest Q1 gross domestic product (GDP) print was rather pitiful, showing the economy eked out a 0.5% gain in the first three months. Then today we got a very poor April employment report that showed the economy created just 160,000 new jobs during the month. This is not the stuff bull markets are made of.
- Central Bank Fail. Respective central banks around the world — the European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of Japan (BOJ) and our own Fed — have been pumping money into the financial system ever since 2008. And while that may have extricated the global economy from a horrible recession, it’s hard to see how more of the same can stimulate the economy more going forward. After trillions of quantitative-easing (QE) dollars spent, and zero or even negative interest rates, central banks around the world just appear to be out of ammunition to stave off lackluster growth.
- Election Uncertainty. The current presidential race is coming into view, with the most unlikely wild card candidate, Donald Trump, now the presumptive GOP nominee. Regardless of if you love or hate Trump, he is an unknown quantity in the eyes of the market. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is a known quantity, but she’s facing her own struggles on both the email scandal front, and in her battle with another wild card candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Until the political uncertainty is over — and that won’t be until we’re well into summer — markets are going to continue to get hit with big election headwinds.
So, what do you do with your money now that the headwinds are here, and now that the market is pulling back?
Subscribers to my Successful ETF Investing service are going to follow the rules of a proven investment plan that’s protected and grown their money for nearly four decades.
To find out just how we do it, check out Successful ETF Investing today!
ETF Talk: This Mining Fund Has Rocketed 140% in Just Months
In the past several months, precious metals and mining companies have been outperforming the market. This upcoming series of ETF Talks will focus on some of the best-performing, biggest and otherwise noteworthy mining company exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on the market. Our series begins with PureFunds ISE Junior Silver ETF (SILJ).
SILJ is a fund that focuses on small-cap silver mining and exploration companies. These potentially overlooked companies may have greater potential to pull in big gains in the event of a continued flight to safety in precious metals. Like gold, silver is valued both for its industrial uses and what is seen as its intrinsic value. Whether used for investment, jewelry, industrial purposes or an alternative currency, the demand for silver is growing and the mining companies held in this fund stand to benefit. In addition, the fund’s recent performance is especially impressive, even among mining ETFs.
So far in 2016, SILJ has soared 140%, while the benchmark S&P 500 fund, SPY, has gained only 0.87%. In the world of ETFs, a gain of 140% in just four months is almost unimaginable. For the past 12 months, SILJ has gained 58%, while the S&P has dipped.
This fund does not pay dividends, and it charges 0.69% as an expense ratio, but investors this past year certainly were not disappointed with their return.
Top holdings for this fund include First Majestic Silver Corp. (AG), 16.54%; Pan American Silver Corp., 11.69%; Mag Silver Corp., 10.91%; Coeur Mining Inc., 5.69%; and Silvercorp Metal Inc., 5.67%. This fund has a very large stake in Canadian companies, which comprise a majority of its portfolio, with smaller allocations to U.S. and U.K. mining companies.
The year thus far has been phenomenal for silver and silver mining stocks. If you suspect this trend might continue, PureFunds ISE Junior Silver ETF (SILJ) could be a powerful place to put your investment dollars.
If you want my advice about buying and selling specific ETFs, including appropriate stop losses, please consider subscribing to my Successful ETF Investing newsletter.
As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.
Lessons from a ‘Prince’
The still-stinging death of pop music icon Prince has made the world a sadder place. The singer/songwriter, master guitarist, actor and bona-fide musical genius touched millions with his life’s work.
Unfortunately, Prince won’t have a say in what happens to the fruit of his life’s work now that he has passed.
Because Prince did not have a will, or a living trust, or any kind of estate plan in place when he died.
That means the state of Minnesota will likely be responsible for the disposition of an estate valued at some $300 million. That figure doesn’t even include the estimated $500 million in publishing rights to Prince’s musical catalog, or future royalties from ongoing sales of his music (which skyrocketed right after his passing).
While the death of Prince was a tragedy for music lovers around the world, his death also can be a teachable moment about the importance of having a will, a living trust and a complete estate plan in place — especially if you have significant wealth, and especially if you have children.
If you want a say in what happens to your money, property, business, family heirlooms, etc., after you die, then the only way to do that is to set up a will or a living trust that specifies who gets what, how your estate is to be distributed and who will be in charge of your estate after you’ve departed.
I know this isn’t a pleasant subject to tackle, but it is one that must be dealt with before it’s too late. The last thing you want is for some government bureaucrat to decide for you where your money goes after you’re gone.
The way I see it, you owe it to yourself and to the ones you leave behind to tackle the unpleasant issue of estate planning.
And while the process might not be the most comfortable experience of your life, knowing that the fruit of your life’s labor will have the destination of your choosing is a most-comforting feeling.
So, let us all learn from the lessons of a Prince — and don’t leave your legacy up to chance, or up to others.
A Great Trump Observation
“Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”
— Donald Trump
The brash businessman, and now presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has said a lot of controversial things over the past year on the campaign trail. Yet in the above quote, I couldn’t agree with him more. Remember that not putting your money at risk is sometimes the most-profitable holding you can ever have.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my audio podcast, newsletters, seminars or anything else. Ask Doug.
Last Call for MoneyShow: Join me for the MoneyShow Las Vegas, scheduled for May 10-13 at Caesars Palace. I will be among the dozens of speakers who also will include my colleagues at Eagle, Dr. Mark Skousen, Bryan Perry and Bob Carlson. Registration is free. Obtain details by calling 1-800-970-4355 and mentioning priority code 040754. If you cannot attend in person, listen to me online Wednesday, May 11, 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT), when I discuss the “Top Ten New ETFs You Need to Know About.” Watch my presentation, which will be streamed live, and your choice of others to gain valuable insights about the markets: http://goo.gl/4lAUgT.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my column from last week about estate planning. I also invite you to comment about my column in the space provided below.