Showing posts from July, 2016

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Clearly, Not Everyone Is Getting Rich Off The Stock Market

Well, the NY Fed was out today with its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for Q4 2017. Clearly, Americans are in a lot of debt. Take a look.

Just a couple of quick hits from the report. Total U.S. household debt rose $193 billion in the 4th quarter, to a new all-time peak of $13.15 trillion. That's 17.9% above the most recent trough in Q2 2013. Broken down by segment, what do you suppose was the largest gain in percentage terms? Credit cards, with a 3.2% increase. In the picture above, the widening gap represented by the red arrows reflects the fact that non-housing debt is rising at a faster pace than housing debt.

Here's what's troubling about that. Below is a picture of the stock market, as represented by the S&P 500 index, over that same period; from the most recent credit trough in Q2 2013 to the end of 2017.

And thus, the title of this article. Over that period, the S&P 500 index rose by 75%; from roughly 1,600 to 2,800. Apparently, however, the r…

Apple's Much-Maligned iPhone SE Strikes Back

Just a quick hit for today.

Apple has taken a lot of flack for its recently introduced iPhone SE. Given that, I found this quote from Tim Cook on today's earnings call very interesting.
We had a very successful global launch of iPhone SE, and demand outstripped supply throughout the quarter. We brought on additional capacity and were able to achieve supply/demand balance as we entered the September quarter. At its launch, we said that the addition of the iPhone SE to the iPhone lineup placed us in a better position to meet the needs of customers who love a four-inch phone and to attract even more customers into our ecosystem. In both cases, that strategy is working. Our initial sales data tells us that the iPhone SE is popular in both developed and emerging markets, and the percentage of iPhone SE sales going to customers who are new to iPhone is greater than we've seen in the first weeks of availability for other iPhones launched in the last several years. (Italics…

Quick Take: Vanguard Core + REIT vs. Vanguard Core - 7/25/16

I recently published the Q2 update for The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core Portfolio.

As my readers may recall, I set up a variant of this portfolio that I called The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core + REIT Portfolio. This idea was based on my personal portfolio, in which I maintain a dedicated allocation to REITs. For those interested, the above-linked article explains the rationale for this, as well as features the fact that I set up this particular variant by removing a rather arbitrary 2.5% weighting from each of the asset classes in the "base" portfolio such that I ended up with an initial weighting of 7.5% for REITs.

A commenter on one of my recent Seeking Alpha articles suggested that REITs are a useful addition to a diversified portfolio. It was this comment that led me to develop this quick update on my own variant of such a portfolio.

Here, then, as of the market close on July 25, 2016, is the cumulative performance of The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core + REIT Portfolio:

For purposes o…

Has Starbucks Lost Its Way?

I couldn't help but notice that same-store-sales in the quarterly results announced today fell short of expectations. For me, this did not come as a total shock.

ETF Monkey has loved Starbucks for years. In the course of my work travels, I frequented their locations in Seattle back in the days when they were small. They were amazing. The quality of everything they served was top-notch. I wanted to meet their HR person, because my experience was that virtually every employee went above and beyond your expectations. It was like they had enjoyed a little too much of their own product, but in a good way. Cheery, bubbly, upbeat.

And then they got big. Very big.

The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core Portfolio: 2016 Q2 Update

Author's Note: If you find my work valuable, I would deeply appreciate your taking a minute to follow me on Twitter, Google +, and/or Facebook and/or sharing a link to this article on your social media accounts.

This article is an update to the following articles:
On July 1, 2015, I wrote an article for Seeking Alpha introducing The ETF Monkey Vanguard Core Portfolio.On January 4, 2016, I wrote the 2015 year-end update for the portfolio.On April 5, 2016, I followed that up with the 2016 Q1 update.On April 13, 2016, I executed a second rebalancing transaction for the year. In this article, I will report on the performance of the portfolio for the period ended July 18, 2016. I was on vacation on June 30 and unable to capture the required screen shots to document an update as of that date. While this Q2 update is a little late, as it turns out the sharp rebound following the Brexit announcement offers a nice opportunity to evaluate the performance of the portfolio in a rising market.