So it appears the month June was able to provide some stability to the markets. I don’t foresee a lot of developments/volatility in the near term so I’d suggest one of two options – 1) Continue to sit on cash to see if a better buying opportunity arises later this year or 2) Dabble a bit using a more defensive strategy. As such, here are my Top 5 picks for July:
Stay away – Oil
Man, what a brutal May. As the Tariff Wars continue, it appears the old adage of sell in May and go away holds true this year. If you’re still long and willing/able to hold for a year, I’d advise to stay long to accumulate time on Capital Gains. Despite all the doom and gloom, the fundamentals still support the current bull cycle and a year from now we should be looking at new highs. But I do anticipate a flat or lower current market through the end of summer with a year-end melt-up possible. Which makes for an easy Top 5 this month:
No one wants to catch a falling knife.
Alright, so it’s been a tough couple of days with my prior Top Pick losing over 100 points after setting an all-time high. But if you’re still holding, fear not as the bull market is still in tact and once the China trade war is over should rebound nicely until the debt ceiling talks heat up at the end of the summer.
On another front, I’ve had a request from the 1 person actually reading this blog (hooray, I’ve got a reader). Wants to know more about the S&P 500 Index. Well fear not, just like a great musician plays to his audience, so will I play to my reader, of 1.
The S&P 500 is an index, meaning theoretically it has no stock of any value. It’s just a calculated number, in essence a derivative value of the underlying stock constituents. Basically, it’s as if you take 500 largest capitalized stocks (total shares o/s x stock price), dump them in a basket, add up all their values and then that total becomes a number that is tracked during trading hours. The basket is made up of stocks which together compose the value of 80% of all public companies on the public markets. It obviously includes the largest public companies (think Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Berskshire) and is weighted such that the changes in the largest valued companies more heavily influence the total value of the index. Therefore, when the aformentioned Alphabet suffers a 100+ point loss, the entire index is essentially weighted down by this. For a current list of the 500 Companies which compose the index, check out our friends over at Wikipedia at…
Because the index includes the largest 500 Companies, it is considered a very good barometer of the current health of our economy. Since December 24th it had been on a tear up until a former #1 Top Pick disappointed on earnings (didn’t really disappoint just didn’t live up to some outside analyst lofty projections). Even so, it’s still up 16.85% from December 24th and like I said with time should eventually set another all-time high.
Of the 3 Indexes, the S&P 500 today has the most meaning having replaced the Dow by the majority of so-called technical traders. The Dow, which is still very important from a psychological standpoint, only contains 30 Companies – usually with less volatility. The Dow has been around longer, in fact so long that it’s still referred to by some as the Dow Jones Industrial. It’s weighting is much less complicated in that each component gets 1 vote equal to the share price of 1 share, which over time is adjusted for stock splits and dividends. Unsurprisingly and perhaps boringly, it’s components are largely “blue-chip” stocks such as Caterpillar, Coke, Exxon, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble and Disney.
A current list of its constituents can be found here…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dow_Jones_Industrial_Average
Certain ETF’s track indices such as these, called passive investments who attempt to basket all the Companies in these indices, assign it a value and then issue shares against that value. So while you don’t theoretically own the Companies, you own shares of a basket of these Companies (Think Time Shares). The most popular play for this strategy on the market today is a ticker…SPY, a basket of Companies that compose the S&P 500 index.
Hopefully that 101 helps my sole known reader out…onto the countdown for May.
I still consider my Top 5 from previous months to be solid long-term investments, although the rate of return that I was generating on them prior to Alphabet’s meltdown may no longer be indicative of future returns (tough to generate almost 30% in any market over a period of a little over 4 months). I would think an annual growth rate of around 15% would be more reasonable, but if investors were to all of a sudden come pouring in, anything’s possible…cue Mr. Trump. But, if you feel growth is leveling off, it may be a good idea to switch from high growth stocks to Dividend Stocks which no matter what happens to the stock price, you still usually receive a quarterly dividend payment to help cover any losses you incur short term or in case the market trades sideways under the old saying Sell in May and Go Away. Enough rambling, if you’d prefer safer dividend paying stocks, let me introduce a brand new Top 5…
- MA, 5A – QCOM
High Risk, Purely Speculative – TSLA (No dividend here, just love it at these levels)
Just wanted to provide a quick update to my Top 5 Stock Picks for April 2019. The March 2019 Picks remain strong and in effect, with 1 new addition – call it 5A for my top San Diego Investment choice
- HD, 5A. ILMN
High Risk, Purely Speculative – FNGU
Run Away – LYFT, UBER – Unless you want to finance their large net losses/employment lawsuits and believe someday they may make a profit
No. 1 – Tax Planning is the Key
Keep up with the never-ending modifications to the tax law which underwent even more changes in 2018. It’s imperative to check your withholding now and make any necessary adjustments. This is important because you can end up owing the IRS if your withholdings have been wrong all year. Another problem can arise if you pay too much out of your check each month, allowing the government to use your money for the year instead of having it to use for yourself.
No. 2 – Get Organized
Being organized on the front end will eliminate stress and possible fees on the backend. Make a checklist of all documents and filing dates, print it out and affix it to the front of a manila folder. Gather all W2, 1099 forms etc into the checklist folder. Categorize receipts into business expenses and add them up. Make note of the totals on the front of an envelope and place all receipts in the business receipt envelope. Make sure you have records for any income received from stocks or retirement accounts. Finally, make note of any bank account logins or Quickbooks accounts for your CPA to be able to access reports and statements.
No. 3 – Be Accurate
Make sure to include all relevant dependent tax ID’s in your filing so that your return doesn’t get held up or worse yet, denied. If you are divorced and filing, make certain that you are the parent allowed to claim the children. Only one parent can claim a child as a dependent on a tax filing for the $2,000 child tax credit. New parents should get their child’s social security number filed so it’s ready at tax time.
No. 4 – File On-time
Tax day is April 15, 2019, mark it on your calendar and make sure to file on time to avoid penalties and stress. Form 4868 can be filed for an extension if you’re not able to make the deadline but that will also need to be filed by April 15, 2019. Mark your calendar now and avoid penalties later.
No. 5 – File Electronically
Electronic filing is the way to go for the quickest processing. It takes about three to six weeks to get a return through electronic filing. You need to be organized to file electronically, and you will be if you follow these five tax planning tips. Keep in mind, if you have your return deposited electronically it might take even less time.