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The Best of What They Said and I Read week ending 2/12/2017

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.

I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice.


Barron’s – Magical Mystery Tax Plan – February 11, 2017 by Randall W. Forsyth

  • “What’s a word worth? If the word is “phenomenal” and it’s uttered by Donald Trump, apparently $175 billion.”
  •  “That’s how much the value of U.S. stocks increased on Thursday, according to Wilshire Associates’ calculations, after the president used that word to describe the tax plan that, he said, his administration would bring forth “ahead of schedule.” The ascent continued on Friday, adding another $100 billion to shareholders’ paper wealth and a total of $225 billion for the week, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the Nasdaq Composite all ended at records.”
  •  “For the financial markets, the week’s swirl of bad news for the Trump administration, from the rejection of the reinstatement of its travel ban from seven mainly Muslim nations to Kellyanne Conway’s ethics gaffe in touting Ivanka Trump’s “stuff” after Nordstrom decided to discontinue carrying the latter’s fashion items, hardly mattered.”

 Barron’s – The Aging Market’s Meltup Continues – February 11, 2017 by Kopin Tan

  • “As age-defying stunts go, our mature bull market has gone 84 sessions—and counting—without a single daily decline of 1% or more, notwithstanding an onslaught of executive orders from President Donald Trump, nationwide protests, constitutional confrontations, disquieting headlines, fake news, alternative facts, and the crippling embarrassment that are the New York Knicks. You still think Roger Federer and Tom Brady are such hot stuff? The Standard & Poor’s 500 index hasn’t seen a feat of such stamina and resolve since 2006, and before that, 1995, notes Bespoke Investment Group.”
  • “It’s easy to be hypnotized by stocks’ meltup, especially since the market’s calm stands in such stark contrast to Washington’s chaos. But how long can stocks remain an oasis of serenity?"
  •  “There are good reasons why a 1% pullback has become as rare as civility in Internet comments sections. U.S. earnings are ticking up anew, and global economic data is improving. There are even those, like Deutsche Bank strategist Binky Chadha, who argue that stocks’ postelection surge merely reflected the dissipation of uncertainty following tight elections, and not Trump’s promised tax cuts and fiscal spending. “With little priced in for policy changes, selloffs on any stimulus disappointment should be short-lived,” he writes. Above all, trillions printed by global central banks now sit uncomfortably in bonds and unprofitably in cash, and computerized trading based on patterns established during years of abnormal monetary largesse keeps up the blind buying of pricey stocks.”

 Kiplinger’s Retirement Report– Information to Act On – Social Security – February 2017

  • “Cost Cutting – To save money, the Social Security Administration is suspending sending paper benefit estimate statements to those under the age of 60.  Paper statements will only go to those who are older, not getting benefits and don’t have a My Social Security online account.  To get electronic statements at any age, sign up for an online account at www.socialsecurity.gov.
  • “Claiming tools.  The Social Security Administration discovered a problem when it analyzed its Retirement Estimator and five other free online claiming tools:  Even when inputting the same information, a user can get varying results because each tool has different underlying assumptions, such as different inflation rates or using a full retirement age of 67 versus 66. "


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