Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Twist & Turn of the Stock Market

The stock market sometimes moves in mysterious ways, and there are those who would tell you the exact cause of every twist and turn. Here's a more likely explanation - and the reason why it probably doesn't matter. (Find more videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/tryonite.)
1 - In case we needed another example of the futility of predicting market performance, the Dow posted its best 3-day gain of the year last week. Where did that come from? Both This Week's Economic News (below) and This Week's Video (above) attempt to explain the unexplainable.

2 - Despite what the markets might be saying, Europe is still in dire fiscal straits. Depending on whom you listen to, we could eventually see (a) a Greek exit from the eurozone, (b) a complete breakup of the euro, (c) a surviving but somewhat changed eurozone, or (d) a smaller fiscal union anchored by Germany, France, Italy and Spain. But knowing that we really can't tell what might happen, perhaps we should add (d) none of the above. 

3 - Reminder to clients: In case you have yet to complete our technology survey, please CLICK HERE to do so. 

 Have an unpredictably fun week!



How could that happen with such negative indicators? Two words: renewed hope. Thursday, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said the ECB would do whatever is needed to save the euro; Friday, Draghi was reportedly talking with Germany's central bank about coordinated sovereign debt purchases. So the Dow (+1.97% to 13,075.66), NASDAQ (+1.12% to 2,958.09) and S&P 500 (+1.71% to 1,385.97) all did well last week. COMEX gold rose 2.22% last week to end Friday at $1,618.00; oil settled at $90.13 Friday, as prices slipped 1.85% across five days.1,4,6

S&P 500
7/27 RATE
  Sources: cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov, treasurydirect.gov - 7/27/124,7,8,9
Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Important Information from Andy About Home Mortgage

Andy discusses three aspects of the good ol' home mortgage that we may not often hear about -- or think about.
(Find more videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/tryonite.)

1 - CLIENTS: We are currently considering several technology initiatives, and we need your input. Please CLICK HERE to take a brief survey; you would be doing us a huge favor.  

2 - I was a bit hasty last week in announcing that our next Dinner and a Movie would occur next month. Michele pointed out that we've had a lot of events recently, and it might be good to wait a while before the next one. Therefore, our next client Dinner and a Movie event will take place on Friday, September 14. Save the date! 

3 - One of the more nettlesome financial topics clients often face is how to deal with their home mortgageThis week's video discusses three important things any mortgage-holder should bear in mind. 

Have a most excellent week!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Q&A with Steve MacNamara

Click on the image above to view a highlight reel from last week's very informative and thought-provoking client Q-and-A session with Steve MacNamara and Andy. (Find more videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/tryonite.)
1 - We had a very well-received informal session last Tuesday evening with Steve MacNamara, CFA, our investment researcher. Steve traveled from Connecticut to Tryon just for the occasion and flew back the same night. The issues we covered with clients were serious and meaningful. We went into some depth about Steve's experience and expertise, why and how he does what he does, and how I am able to translate his research for use in client portfolios. Click here to view an abbreviated video of the event by Erik Olsen.

2 - Our next client Dinner and a Movie event is scheduled for Friday, August 10. We'll be screening one of my all-time favorites, "Moonstruck" starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. Clients can expect to receive an email invitation later this week. Save the date!

3 - If you live in Tryon or the surrounding area, you may have noticed that I'm working with a group of local citizens in an effort to reverse the recent trend of businesses leaving the downtown area. I did not ask for ask for the leadership of this effort, but it seems to have been thrust upon me, and I'm happy to work with a this enthusiastic group to bring about positive change. I've made it clear that our clients must come first, so we're putting several things in place that will allow me to limit my time commitment to the project. Fortunately, there are several talented and energetic folks ready to step up and assume leadership roles.

Have shop-local week!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Our Core Beliefs

Millard & Company's investment approach is based on four core beliefs. Here they are. (Find more videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/tryonite.)
1 - By now, all clients should have received their reports for the second quarter. The quarter was a rocky one: full of global sound and fury, with the upshot being a 3.3% drop in the S&P 500. And with many looming questions surrounding Greece, the European recession, a sluggish domestic recovery, and a contentious presidential campaign, the next three months could be another adventure -- but we can't say for sure. As we said last week, we must not anticipate, but instead try to prepare our portfolios for many possible scenarios. 

2 - This week's video happens to be on the very topic of preparing portfolios for various scenarios.

3 - One final reminder: our Investment Roundtable event with Steve MacNamara is tomorrow at 5:30. Steve is our investment researcher, and he's traveling here from his office in Connecticut to share his insights. This is as challenging an investment climate as I have ever seen, so this particular session is very timely. To reserve your spot, you can click here, email Michele at michele@low-stress-investing.com or call her at 859-7001, ext. 2. 

Have fantastic week!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Proud to be An American

A client recently received a letter indicating that she had won a multi-million-dollar sweepstakes. Something didn't seem quite right, so she brought the letter to us for confirmtion. Let's look at it together, shall we? (Find more videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/tryonite.)

1 - All right, clients, it's time to make your plans: our Investment Roundtable event is one week from tomorrow. Our investment researcher, Steven MacNamara, CFA, is traveling here from his office in Connecticut to share his insights, and I'll chime in with a few as well. If you have any interest in learning more about our investment process and how we're dealing with the craziness that is 2012, come and chat. It should be a lively, informal conversation. To reserve your spot, you can click here, email Michele at michele@low-stress-investing.com or call her at 859-7001, ext. 2.

2 - Have you ever won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes? One of our clients received a letter the other day indicating that she had won over $2 million, but something told her she should show me the letter before claiming her prize. In this week's video, we turn a critical eye on this suspicious document and look for the telltale signs of a fake.

3 - The markets are always reminding us to not count our chickens -- or to count them out. The second quarter just ended, and it saw the S&P 500 drop by 3.3% -- but it would have been much worse without Friday's 2.5% surge on the heels of a promising eurozone deal. How long the optimism will last is anyone's guess. As always, we must not anticipate, but instead try to prepare our portfolios for many possible scenarios. It's not easy, but we work diligently at it. Sure you don't want to come to the Investment Roundtable?

4 - Our office will be closed on Wednesday for the 4th of July. Our nation is going through some crazy stuff at the moment, and life in these United States is changing fast, but aren't you glad you live here?

Have an All-American week!


PS - On a personal note: I have a friend named Jerry Corn; we met 12 years ago as volunteers at the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival. Jerry has a compelling personal story he wants to share with the world, so I helped him by making a 15-minute video interview, which you can watch by clicking here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Andy Explains Bond Yields

 You've read that bond yields are rising in some European countries. What does that mean? And how does it affect you? Juliet helps Andy explain the answer. Find more videos on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/tryonite.

1 - It seems as though we can't shake a European influence on the financial headlines. This week was no exception, as Spanish bond yields have global investors quaking in their loafers. For this week's video, I recruited Juliet to assist me in explaining how bond yields can change suddenly, and what it means to us as investors.  

2 - My good buddy Cooper Flack sent me a link to an excellent article ("So long, suckers - I'm leaving Wall Street") by David Weidener, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch. He describes 15 conclusions from his years covering the financial center of the world. Some of those conclusions agree with what I have said for years ("simple is better;" "you can't time the market"); others I have somewhat of a beef with ("mutual funds are a waste of time"). But it is thought-provoking and enjoyable. You may want to click here to read it.

3 - Reminder to clients: our Investment Roundtable event is rapidly approaching on July 10. We have confirmed that our investment researcher, Steven McNamara, CFA, will be here in person to take your questions. To reserve your spot, you can click here, email Michele at michele@low-stress-investing.com or call her at 859-7001, ext. 2.

Have an sun-drenched week!