March Madness: Final Four Investing Bracket 2017

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Dear Mr. Market:

Is your bracket already busted? This year’s March Madness tournament opened up with very few upsets until this past weekend. Much like the stock market, we see a similar trend happening right now. What follows is how we see things panning out but first, here’s a little background on how one of the most famous sporting events in the United States correlates to the investing landscape.

Seven years ago we became the first Registered Investment Advisor to use the NCAA basketball tournament as a way to show our readers a forward-looking view on the stock market! We break down and assign each of the four “regions” with an asset class and then pick teams (companies) that we think have the best chance at doing well relative to others.

CLICK THE LINK TO VIEW OUR Final Four Investing Bracket Picks 2017

Large Cap

Last year started off much differently than 2017 and as we wrap up the first quarter …some trends are emerging while others continue. If you eyeball the overall theme of this years bracket it will become clear that we’re picking some stocks that should continue to do well under the Trump administration. Whether you love him or hate him, ever since Donald Trump assumed office, the stock market has risen. The proverbial “Trump bump” is real and while we personally believe he needs to stay away from Twitter, there is no question that the stock market and certain economic sectors are primed to perform. Continue reading

MPG Core Tactical 60/40: September 2014 Performance Update

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Dear Mr. Market:

October is historically one of your stormier months and it looks like you began to rumble a month or so early this year. We’re headed into the last quarter of the year but in case you’ve missed why we’re running a series of articles around the topic of a “60/40 benchmark”, here’s a refresher:

Click here to revisit the first edition of the MPG Core Tactical 60/40 Portfolio.

Here’s the current summary of the MPG Core Tactical 60/40 portfolio mix, which is updated as of this writing (October 6, 2014).

Click here to compare our portfolio against the benchmark.

It’s finally happening. Yes…it appears the stock market is correcting. As a matter of fact for the second time this year alone the Small Cap asset class has endured a correction of -10% or more. What’s puzzling (and actually quite worrisome) is the divergence between what Large Caps and what Small Caps are doing. In a healthy and rising stock market, “as the tide rises so do all the boats”. We’ve had warnings before but the alarm bells are ringing louder since not all asset classes are moving in tandem as they once were. What we’re seeing now are perhaps the final signs of the rally peaking out.

What adjustments did we make?

The following moves were made during the month of September: Continue reading

MPG Core Tactical 60/40: May 2014 Performance Update

MW-BB798_sm6040_20130422180557_MDDear Mr. Market:

Where have you been? Whenever you get quiet like this it makes us even a bit more nervous.

Hopefully you didn’t succumb to the alluring sounds coming from those in the “bear camp” last month. If you were tempted to “sell in May and go away” it still just wasn’t meant to be. As cute and trendy as that old investment adage is, we must remind you that it doesn’t necessarily have a specific date in mind. Proponents of this theme merely imply that the summer months are the ones to avoid and if there ever was a month of May to make this move…it was now. Or was it?

Now that the “sell in May” adage looks flat out stupid, you can perhaps resort to a “June Swoon” for the eye candy headline of the day. After all, June is the 10th worst calendar month of the year. Since 1950 it’s basically been a flat month but more recent history points to June losing an average of -1.33% over the past 10 years.

It’s not so much the market or serious investors that love catchy phrases but it’s those that feed you the news who are the perpetrators. If this article were being written in November we would have many of the same concerns as we do now. Many of the catch phrases will be stale by then but in the interim…much like a broken clock tells time correctly twice a day…eventually the bears will be right. Contrarian investors will point to this immediate period as the market climbing the proverbial “wall of worry”… or is it now a “slope of hope”?

Here’s the current summary of the MPG Core Tactical 60/40 portfolio mix, which is updated as of this writing (June 9, 2014).

Click here to compare the MPG Core Tactical Portfolio against the 60/40 benchmark.

What adjustments did we make? Continue reading

Is it time to buy Gold?

images-32Dear Mr. Market:

Over the past few weeks the world has been focused on Gold as world class athletes compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. These athletes have dedicated their lives towards the dream of standing on the awards podium and having an Olympic medal placed around their neck. Gold is certainly used to capturing headlines over the last several years as as its returns caught major attention.

Mr. Market rarely considers gold to be a worthwhile investment or warrant a place in anyones portfolio. We’ve written a few articles about the precious metal over the last few years but honestly haven’t given it much press. Why is so little of our attention given to gold as an investment? Let’s be blunt about it… There is plenty of market chatter already given to Gold and most of it is nothing but noise. We prefer to touch on it at key inflection points and this happens to be one of them.

The first article we wrote was our most popular. This piece was written when the stock market was getting hit every week and gold was doing just the opposite; it was setting record highs and receiving all the glory. Writing a piece about why why we didn’t want to buy gold was not popular at the time but now it sure seems like our crystal ball was as spot on as it could ever have been. Here is the article, we would encourage you to read it again if you haven’t already (Click here) Continue reading

Independent Review of the Permanent Portfolio Fund (PRPFX)

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Every so often we come across an investment that grabs our attention. In this case we would like to turn the clock back a bit and revisit a time when the sky was falling and “Mr. Market” seemed to have it in for all of us regardless of where you tried to put your money. That was in 2008 and without reliving too many painful memories or details…let’s just simply refresh you on the performance of certain asset classes/indexes that year:

S&P 500   =  -37.00%

Mid Cap  =  -41.46%

Small Cap  =  -33.79%

MSCI EAFE (International)  =  -43.06%

Emerging Markets  =  -53.18%

If you had any Bond exposure in your portfolio that’s probably all that you had to celebrate as they at least turned in a positive +5.24%. Most people realistically didn’t have enough Bond exposure but flocked to them in 2009. They were rewarded with another positive year with +5.93%. The problem with that, however, is that the areas they just cut bait on (stocks) returned the following:

S&P 500 = +26.46%

Mid Cap  =  +40.48%

Small Cap  =  +27.17%

MSCI EAFE (International)  =  +32.45%

Emerging Markets  =  +79.02%

So what’s the solution during market stretches like this? Continue reading

Fool’s Gold

images-2Dear Mr. Market:

It’s been a while since we saw you get so upset with the gold bugs. Today marked the worst two day slide to gold in 30 years. Your temper really punished gold holders with a 13% hit.

Do you remember August 23, 2011? What happened that day? Maybe if you were a Virginia resident you might remember since that was the day a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the area. For those wondering, that was the strongest earthquake in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains since 1897. Back to our question though…What’s so important about August 23, 2011?

Investors sometimes have short memories but nothing specific really happened on this day; it’s what was happening that summer that we want to bring back into focus. Since we recently wrote an article about “Sell in May and Go Away” let’s actually go back to that very point in time.  After a positive month of stock market returns in April of 2011, the S&P 500 dropped -1.35% in May, -1.83% in June, and another -2.15% in July. Continue reading