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The Best of What They Said and I Read Week Ending 2/25/18

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 – February 23, 2018 – We’re All Gun Owners, and Here’s Why – by Reshma Kapadia

  • “For many Florida teachers, it’s an indignity on top of tragedy. Inside their retirement plans, they hold stock in the companies that make the AR-15 rifle, the weapon used to kill 17 of their students and colleagues at Stoneman Douglas High School this month. The $163 billion Florida Retirement Pension Plan had a $4 million stake in gun manufacturers as of Dec. 31. Nearly half of that comes from a low-cost index fund that tracks the broad-based Russell 3000—a perfectly fine investment. A spokesman for Florida’s State Board of Administration, which runs the pension plan, told me that it “must act solely in the economic interest” of participants.”
  •  “…Indexing giants Vanguard and BlackRock (ticker: BLK) are the largest investors in the three major publicly traded gun makers. BlackRock owns 11% of American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), formerly Smith & Wesson, via exchange-traded funds like iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) and iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense (ITA). Vanguard owns 8%, through its Vanguard Small-Cap index (VSMAX) and Vanguard Total Stock Market index (VTSMX) funds. Together, BlackRock and Vanguard own 26% of Sturm Ruger (RGR), which makes semi-automatic rifles including the AR-15. And they’re the No. 2 and No. 3 owners, respectively, of Vista Outdoor (VSTO), with a combined 22% stake.”
  • “…Vanguard is treading carefully, as well: “Mutual fund firms over the years have been called upon to take actions against a wide range of companies, from food manufacturers to energy producers,” Vanguard spokesman John Woerth wrote in an e-mail. “We believe it would be exceedingly difficult to manage our funds effectively and efficiently while seeking to address the many social, political, and environmental concerns of 20 million clients.” He added that roughly 95% of the firm’s 388 funds don’t invest in companies involved in gun manufacturing…”

Blue Zones – February 20, 2018 – News: Drinking a Glass of Wine and Taking a Walk May Be Key to Longevity 

  • For 15 years, Dr. Claudia Kawas and her team from the University of California have been investigating why some people reach 90-years-old and beyond and others don’t. The 90+ Study began in 2003 to answer the age old question: Why do some people live longer? It followed 1,700 90-year-olds and examined their daily habits. Some of these habits included drinking coffee, talking to neighbors, getting out of the house, having a positive attitude, getting 15 minutes of exercise a day, and drinking wine.”
  • “Dr. Kawas spoke about her findings and the keys to longevity at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas. She revealed that nonagenarians who consumed approximately two glasses of beer or wine a day were 18 percent less likely to experience a premature death than those who abstained. Those who took moderate exercise every day (between 15 and 45 minutes) had an 11 percent lower risk and drinking two cups of coffee gave a 10 percent lower risk.”

U.S. Global Investors – February 23, 2018 – Investor Alert – by Frank Holmes 

  • “…The major market indices finished up this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.36 percent. The S&P 500 Stock Index gained 0.55 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.35 percent. The Russell 2000 small capitalization index was up 0.37 percent this week…The 10-year Treasury bond yield fell 1 basis point to 2.86 percent.”
  • “…Rite Aid's stock rose on Monday after Albertsons announced a deal to acquire the drugstore chain in a cash-and-stock deal. The resulting merger will bring in an expected $83 billion in 2018 revenue…Walmart's stock dropped more than 10 percent Tuesday, its biggest single-day loss in 30 years, on reports that the company experienced a sharp slowdown in its e-commerce operations over the holiday season following three quarters of booming growth.”
  • “…Americans’ outlook for the U.S. economy improved in February to the second-highest level since March 2002, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed. Further, the Bloomberg Economic Expectations gauge climbed to 54.5, up from 52.5 in January.”

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