By JLP | February 10, 2014
The S&P 500 Index was down 3.46% in January. There’s a saying that goes something like “As goes January…”
Well, based on history, that’s not necessarily true. Take a look at the following two graphics. The first one is all the returns (these are total returns) for the month of January listed in order from worst to best. The other column shows the total return for the remainder of that year (February – December). The second graphic summarizes those results, looking only at the Januaries with negative returns.
Of the 33 Januaries with a negative return, 18 of them were followed by a positive return for the remainder of the year. Interestingly, of the 56 Januaries with a positive return, only 11 of them had a negative return for the February – December that followed.
Basically, January’s return doesn’t mean too much when it’s negative&151;at least as far as I have looked at it. I’m sure the results hinge more on where the January return is in a market cycle (not good for January 2014 if you look at 2013′s amazing year).
Anyway, I post the info and you form your own opinions.
By JLP | January 2, 2014
Here is a newly-updated Periodic Table of Dow Jones Total Market Index Sector Total Returns:
By JLP | January 1, 2014
What a year.
• The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 29.65%
• The S&P 500 Index was up 32.39%
• The S&P MidCap 400 Index was up 33.50%
• The S&P SmallCap 600 was 41.31%
Of the ten indexes I keep track of here at AFM, 7 were up. Of the three that were down, Gold was by far the worst, losing 28.24% for the year.
The S&P 500′s 2013 return was its best since 1997 (it ranks 14th in the 88 years that I have data for).
You can view the full report (along with the numbers for 2011 and 2012) by clicking on the following graphic.
By JLP | December 28, 2013
My wife bought me some Martini glasses for Christmas. We aren’t usually Martini drinkers so I had to go buy some supplies. My wife wanted to try a Cosmopolitan, which calls for cranberry juice. On my way home from the liquor store, I stopped at H-E-B, a popular grocery chain here in Texas. I picked up a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and this is what I saw:
Any time you see the phrase “NEW LOOK,” beware. It usually means the size has changed. Sure enough. They reduced the size from 64oz. to 60oz. The price…was still the same.
I don’t know about you guys, but I HATE this kind of inflation. I would rather the company just raise their prices than to try to be sneaky about it.
Anyway, when I got home I did a quick search and found a customer complaint regarding the new bottle size on Ocean Spray’s facebook page. This was their response (keep in mind that this response was written by someone who works for Ocean Spray):
“Hi Ethan, We understand your frustration. We did reduce our 100% juice drink bottles from 64 to 60 ounces to accommodate the rising costs in the bottling materials and juice concentrate used in our 100% line. We chose not to pass these rising costs onto the consumer, and therefore chose the alternative of reducing the bottle size. We still have a variety of 64 oz. options and would be happy to discuss with you further at 800-662-3263.”
So a reduction in the container size&151;while the price remains the same&151;ISN’T passing the rising costs onto the consumer? Did I really just read that?
I paid $2.97 for a 60oz. container (basically $.05 per ounce). Had I paid that same price per ounce for a 64oz. container, I would have paid $3.17. That’s the equivalent of a 6.7% price increase. IT IS A PRICE INCREASE.
I would rather companies just be honest with their customers rather than trying to treat us as if we are stupid.
By JLP | November 12, 2013
This is just comical to me.
The cause for the inflation?
“The amount of bolívares in circulation rose 70% over the past year, a clear sign the government is printing ever larger amounts of money to stoke a slowing economy.”
So, the government floods the economy with new money, prices rise, and the government moves to cap prices. Pretty crazy, isn’t it?
By JLP | October 30, 2013
Today’s quote of the day comes to us from Robert Greene in his book, The 48 Laws of Power*:
By JLP | October 28, 2013
A friend of mine gave me her 401(k) information to look at. Her company changed 401(k) providers and went with Nationwide. I wasn’t fond of their previous 401(k) provider (I forget the name now), so I was happy to see a change.
I flipped through the information packet and landed on the page listing their options. I was pleased to see companies like DFA, Vanguard, American Century, etc. Expense ratios for the funds were fairly low too (the highest was 1.21% for a SmallCap value fund).
Then I turned the page…
IN ADDITION to the mutual fund expenses, Nationwide tacked on an additional annual management fee ranging from 1.02% to 1.27%.
So…the Vanguard Index 500 Signal Class, with a .05% management fee, now had a 1.32% annual fee! FOR AN INDEX FUND!!!!!
Now, I know why companies do this. Small companies are struggling. Health insurance premiums are going up. Gas is expensive. So, a broker or advisor comes along and offers a 401(k) plan that is really cheap to the business owner and the costs to the employees are either glossed over or buried in the information. Sadly, most employees don’t have a clue.
To give you an idea of the impact of a 1.27% additional fee, I ran some numbers. I assumed an employee socking away $10,000 per year in the S&P 500. Using monthly returns, I calculated that at the end of 10 years (2003 – 2012), the 1.27% annual fee would have lead to a loss of $8,800 to fees (you can see my numbers here). That’s a sizable chunk of change.
My advice would be to only invest enough to get any company match and then max out a Roth IRA (assuming you qualify) or a traditional non-deductible IRA. There is no sense in throwing away money due to useless fees.