January 2018

January 2018 Monthly Summary

January took a page from 2017 and continued the momentum with another strong month for stocks. The Dow Jones rose 5.79% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 7.36%, making January the best stock month since March 20161. Meanwhile, interest rates were climbing, which caused the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index to begin 2018 down 1.22%. The precipitous […]


November 2017

November 2017 Monthly Summary

We have said it many times this year, 2017 has been a very good year for investors. The year has had its drawbacks politically and socially, but most investors should be happy seeing their account statements through November. With the latest GDP data showing a growth rate of 3.3%1 and unemployment at full employment levels, it […]

October 2017

October 2017 Monthly Summary

The S&P finished up over 2.3% for the month of October as we continue to break stock market records on almost a weekly basis.1 Those who would have heeded the theory of “Sell in May” would have missed out on 7.5% market gains over the last five months. Corporate earnings have been strong for the most […]


August 2017 Monthly Summary

  August gave us hurricanes and missile launches, but the streak of positive returns for the S&P 500 index continued. This large cap index was up a meager 0.31% while most small, mid, and international equities were actually negative for the month.1 Euphoria in the markets was absent, so the nervous money went into treasuries. The […]

JULY 2017

July 2017 Monthly Summary

All-time highs continue to be surpassed with stocks as the S&P 500 was up another 2% in July.  Interest rates held steady while the Barclays Aggregate gained another 0.46% last month.1  The pattern of positive economic data continues, although there hasn’t been a catalyst of tax reform or legislative changes to justify a continuation of […]

JUNE 2017


In the investment world, there are two aspects of risk tolerance: (1) an investor’s capacity for risk, or ability to absorb losses, and (2) how comfortable an investor is with risk. An investor’s capacity for risk is looked at purely from a financial point of view. How much money can the investor afford to lose? […]

MAY 2017

May 2017 Monthly Summary

This is beginning to sound like a broken record. The S&P 500 was up for the seventh consecutive month. In May, it was up 1.41% with technology continuing to lead the way. Energy was the worst performing sector, plagued with more concerns of a supply glut. On the bond side of the equation, the Barclays […]

APRIL 2017

April 2017 Monthly Summary

As strange as it may sound, if you watch enough news about the stock market, you will sometimes hear about “animal spirits”. This is not to be confused with the practice of introspective self-identification. My lightning-fast 11 year old daughter associates the cheetah as her spirit animal, but animal spirits are different. In 1936, John […]


February 2017 Monthly Summary

February was another strong month for investors, as the bull market continued. The S&P 500 finished up nearly 4%, while the Barclays Aggregate Bond was up 0.69%.1 Even better news, some of the stocks that were holding back performance in 2016 are leading the pack so far this year. In this sense, we are seeing […]


January 2017 Monthly Summary

I often refer to the John Maynard Keynes quote “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” as a way of qualifying why stocks do what they do. It helps explain how fear can overshadow fundamentals and your portfolio values could drop from one month to the next without justification. January, was […]

1099 and Tax Filing

Your 1099 and Tax Filing

With the start of a new year, many of us are anxious to get rid of anything having to do with the year past. Filing our taxes as soon as possible usually rates at the top of the todo list. I would like to offer some New Year advice, to anyone that has a brokerage […]


November 2016 Monthly Summary

Although the elections are still subject to controversy, November 8th is behind us and equities seemed relieved.  The S&P 500 was up 3.70% for the month with 3.38% of those gains coming after the election.  Bonds were uncharacteristically volatile as interest rates jumped causing values to drop.  The 10 year Treasury yield increased from 1.80% […]


October 2016 Monthly Summary

  The stock market’s timid performance over the last couple months turned negative as the S&P 500 dropped 1.8% in October. Interest rates headed north last month, so bond holders were also hard pressed to make money. 1 Overall, there wasn’t much for investors to be optimistic about as the voting public was subjected to […]


August 2016 Monthly Summary

  The momentum of July’s strong market fizzled. August was essentially a flat to negative month as the S&P 500 and Barclays Aggregate Bond were both down fractionally last month.1 There were 151,000 more jobs created in August with the unemployment rate holding at 4.9%.2 This was weaker than expected and continues to perplex the […]

JULY 2016

July 2016 Monthly Summary

  We ended the second quarter with the United Kingdom deciding to leave the European Union.  The markets closed out June unsure of how this would affect the global economy.  However, July seemed to shrug off these worries with the S&P 500 jumping an impressive 3.7% last month.1  Treasury yields are still really low thanks […]

MAY 2016

May 2016 Monthly Summary

Stocks were up again in May as the S&P 500 dabbles with highs not seen since May of 2015.  Tech-heavy NASDAQ and developed international markets (as measured by the MSCI EAFE index) are still struggling to recover from the January correction. 1  As a result, equity investors haven’t seen the benefits of the recovery show […]

APRIL 2016

April 2016 Monthly Summary

The primary elections are behind us in Indiana and we are just months away from seeing who will be the new leader of the free world.  Often times, the presidential nominations are all but decided before Indiana gets a chance to vote, but this election has been an interesting one on both sides of the […]


February 2016 Monthly Summary

The stock market in February began by showing the signs of another brutal month with the S&P 500 at one point being down 6%.   Almost half way into the leap month, the momentum reversed course to make back some of the losses.1  Treasuries and cash made modest gains, so most investors are still negative for […]


January 2016 Monthly Summary

January 2016 was not for the faint of heart.  As the barometer shows below, bonds were up, but stocks were down almost 5%.  At its lowest point last month, the S&P 500 was down over 11% already giving 2016 its first correction.  Overwhelmingly, the fear is a result of continued energy price weakness. With the […]


November 2015 Monthly Summary

The Midwest is experiencing mild temperatures in the prelude to the winter months.  You might say the November markets were mild as well.  As you look at the barometer below, you can see that 2015 overall has been pretty tepid.  We had some hot and cold spells, but not much to show in the form […]


October 2015 Monthly Summary

October is over and it would appear that the correction is over as well.  After dismal August and September performance, October saw the S&P 500 gain over 8% in that one month alone.  This made it easily the best performing month for stocks in the last four years.  However, even with the help of a […]


August 2015 Monthly Summary

The More Things Change… August is over and we have moved into our new location!  Stop by for a visit or make sure to check us out at the Open House on October 6, from 2pm to 6pm.  As I write this summary, I still have a few boxes to unpack, but we are really […]

JULY 2015

July 2015 Monthly Summary

July was a month of recovery for investors in a year that has been one of ebb and flow.  The S&P 500 managed close to a 2% gain to help offset the June losses.  Meanwhile, the Barclays Aggregate Bond index squeaked out a modest gain as well.*  Unfortunately, the first week of trading in August […]

MAY 2015

Lest We Forget

May 2015 Monthly Summary

  With Memorial Day just behind us, summer is on its way!  The weather is warming up, but the markets remain only lukewarm.   The S&P 500 ended up 1% for the month while bonds were essentially flat.  The Dow is still being challenged by the 18,000 mark and as of the time of this writing, […]

APRIL 2015

April 2015 Monthly Summary

The indecision of the markets has continued through April. The S&P 500 was up fractionally while the Barclay’s Aggregate Bond was down fractionally. The Dow Jones Industrial Index has been fighting to stay above 18,000 since last December and has yet to maintain that milestone for longer than two consecutive weeks. This 18,000 number is […]


February 2015 Monthly Summary

February turned into a strong month for stocks as the S&P 500 was up over 5 ½%.  This more than made up for the slow January.  Coincidentally, every February has been positive for the S&P since the market turned around in 2009.1  Bonds did not fare as well, as interest rates continued their volatile ways.  […]


Janurary 2015 Monthly Summary

2015 started on a bad note with the S&P 500 down 3%.  Investors seem to still be deciding if cheap oil is a net positive for the economy and whether the monetary policy changes coming forth domestically and in Europe will avert another global recession.  As you might expect, the portfolio barometer shows that bonds […]


November 2014 Monthly Summary

  Investors were blessed with another strong month as the S&P 500 was up 2 ½% in November.  Interest rates appear to have shrugged off any ill-effects from the termination of QE.  For the most part, November was a fairly peaceful month. The one area that saw the biggest change was the energy sector.  Oil […]


October 2014 Monthly Summary

The autumn months played their traditional roles again this year, as September was a down month for stocks and October appeared to be even worse.  The S&P 500 managed to bottom out after losing 5% in October alone, but rallied back in the second half of the month to give investors some relief.  Bonds did […]


August 2014 Monthly Summary

August was another strong month for investors and shook off the jitters that made a brief appearance at the end of July.  The S&P 500 was up nearly 4% for the month as it closed above 2,000 for the very first time while the Dow Jones Industrial reclaimed the 17,000 mark.  As the barometer shows, […]

JULY 2014

July 2014 Monthly Summary

July started with a bang, but a huge drop on the last day of the month changed all of that.  The promising start of the month for stocks ended up with a loss of around 1.5% as measured by the S&P 500.  The Dow Jones Industrial essentially lost all of its 2014 gains in the […]

MAY 2014

May 2014 Monthly Summary

As the cold weather finally gave way to more seasonal temperatures, stock investors should also be happy with their accounts as the S&P 500 Composite was up 2% in May. Both the Dow and S&P indices hit new all-time highs.  Treasury rates were down for the month, so most bond investors made money as well.  […]

APRIL 2014

April 2014 Monthly Summary

It was an interesting month for investors as we saw the first half of April act negatively, then reverse course in the second half.  The NASDAQ Composite ended the month down 2% (recovering from a 5% intra-month drop) while the S&P 500 managed a slight gain.  Russia and Ukraine took the spotlight for most of […]


February 2014 Monthly Summary

February made up for the January losses as the S&P 500 was up over 4% last month, closing at an all-time high. Although some economic reports yielded weaker than expected numbers and the cold winter hindered some of the corporate earnings reports, stocks stayed resilient. As shown in the barometer below, bonds also added to […]


January 2014 Monthly Summary

It was bound to happen.  With the last couple of Indiana winters being pretty mild, we were due for some record temperatures and snowfall.  Mother Nature delivered with possibly the worst Indiana winter since 1979. Stocks were also due for an unfortunate change.  The S&P 500 broke its uphill trend and finished January down nearly […]


November 2013 Monthly Summary

The November markets gave us much to be thankful for.  Stocks were up around 3% for the month with the Dow Jones Industrial and S&P 500 indices both hitting new all-time highs.  As the portfolio barometer indicates, 2013 has been a very good year for stock investors.  Bonds continue to be treading water as rates […]


October 2013 Monthly Summary

October was unusually cooperative this year. As we expected, the government went back into “normal operation” and the debt ceiling issue was temporarily addressed (at least until February 2014). With this news, the markets were able to focus on corporate earnings again, which came in at all-time highs. As a result, the S&P 500 was […]


August 2013 Monthly Summary

Most investors must have heeded my advice last month to enjoy the rest of the summer. August was the second lowest volume month in the last five years, so there wasn’t much trading going on. The stock market was weak in August primarily due to the concerns brought on by Syria in the Middle East. […]

JULY 2013

July 2013 Monthly Summary

Stocks recovered from the losses in June as the S&P 500 was up nearly 5% in July.  Both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit all-time highs last month, but (unlike 2000 and 2007) we have higher corporate earnings to help justify the growth.  Bond investments did not bounce back as interest rates continued to […]