Moving forward on trade

NAFTA negotiators remain upbeat about the prospects of a deal. This will be an "agreement in principle" rather than a full deal which means that while it won't be signed, it can still trigger the formal Congressional review so that Mexico's current President is able to sign it before his term ends and he leaves office. However, on Friday, negotiations between the U.S. and Canada appear stalled in meeting the White House’s imposed deadline. Even so, President Trump plans to notify Congress of the US/Mexico deal which he hopes will replace NAFTA. Canada’s heavy reliance on NAFTA export trade will pressure the country as negotiations continue into next week. Also, President Trump appears ready to implement the previously discussed $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports next week. Elsewhere, the European Union and the U.S. have not reached an agreement.

We continue to caution investors NOT extrapolate NAFTA progress with a deal with China. China negotiations are a different animal and we wouldn't anticipate much happening here until after the midterm elections.

Stocks continued to move higher last week in the run-up to Labor Day weekend.  The Nasdaq (+2.06%) led, followed by the S&P 500® Index (0.93%), the Russell 2000® Index (0.87%), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (0.68%).  Also, with comparatively low trading volumes, all of the major indices moved higher in August: the Russell 2000® and Nasdaq led with gains of 4.03% and 3.81%, respectively. Major factors included solid earnings, economic reports, and commentary by Federal Reserve Chairman Powell which reinforced the expectation of gradual interest rate increases.

Corporate news was fairly light although DSW, Inc., Lululemon and American Outdoor Brands rose in response to strong earnings; other retailers, including Box, American Eagle Outfitters and Movado disappointed. Oil prices rebounded as Chinese refineries resumed oil purchases; also, trade data suggest that the November trade embargo on Iran is already significantly impacting the country’s oil exports.

Looking ahead, investor attention will turn to third quarter earnings reports and corporate outlooks for 2019.  Trade issues, including NAFTA negotiations, and discussions with both Europe and China, will continue to influence market volatility.  Also, investors will closely monitor the upcoming mid-term elections, and the potential shift in party control of Congress. These events have the potential to create market volatility; but worldwide economic growth remains the primary driver. Valuations continue to rise, but not excessively so; overall, the positive bias heading into the Fall reflects the combined influences of moderate inflation, interest rates and market sentiment.

Source: Pacific Global Management Company

Chart reflects price changes, not total return.  Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.


Last Week's Headlines

Last Week's Headlines: 8/31/2018

1. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 6.2% annual gain in June, down from 6.4% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 6.0%, down from 6.2% in the previous month. The 20-City Compos...

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Brian Amidei is Coachella Valley's only Barron's Magazine Top 1,000 Advisor in 2013 and 2014!

Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers!

Disclosures:

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Fortem is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement of Fortem or its representatives by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor. Awards may not be indicative of one client?s experience or of the Firm?s future performance.  Neither Fortem nor the recognized advisor has paid a fee for inclusion on a list, nor purchased any additional material from the award provider. The criteria for each award is listed below:

Barron's Disclosure:

The Barron's award is is based on the recognized adviser's assets under management, contribution to the firm's revenues and profits, and quality of practice.  Investment performance is not an explicit criteria.  Additional information about this award is available at http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors. 

Five Star Professional Disclosure:

The Five Star Wealth Manager award is based on 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria: 1) Credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; 2) Actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; 3) Favorable regulatory and complaint history review; 4) Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; 5) Accepting new clients; 6) One-year client retention rate; 7) Five-year client retention rate; 8) Non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9) Number of client households served; and 10) Educational and professional designations. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or the magazine. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided.  Additional information about this award is available at: fivestarprofessional.com/2016FiveStarWealthManagerMethodology.pdf

Fortem Financial 2016. All rights reserved. 

Data Sources:  News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations.  Market Data: Based on reported data in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury Yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates).  All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. 

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent those of Fortem Financial, LLC or any of its affiliates.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.  Forward looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, the economy, and future conditions.  As such, forward-looking statements are subject to inherent uncertainty, risks, and changes in circumstance that are difficult to predict.  Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated outcomes.  Carefully consider investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing.  Fortem Financial is a registered investment adviser with the SEC.  Advisory services are offered through Fortem Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks.  The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.  The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.  The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighed index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks.  The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide.  Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Update on the latest Bull Market and a Huge day for Trade

Last week you heard a lot about the longest bull market in our countries history. The Purest definition of a bull market is “a market advance without a pull back or sell of greater than 20%”. We do not necessarily agree with the "longest bull market" headlines from last week. Both 2011 and 2015 witnessed massive drawdowns at the stock level with over 70% of issues down 20% in 2011 and 63% during 2015. The Russell 2000 was down by 30% and 27% in each respective year and global equities also endured severe pullbacks during these times. While the S&P may not have reached the -20% threshold, in many ways the bar was reset around the globe. It's also worth noting that the S&P did not outperform bonds until late 2016. By that measure, the bull market is barely 2 years old! Based on current economic indicators we believe the market still has room to run to the upside.

A US/Mexico deal was announced today and the market was up today. Negotiators are targeting 2 weeks of Canada talks before finalizing a deal. We should know more about the deal as the details are released in the days to come.  What's been announced so far would require 75% of the parts in any car sold in North American to be produced in the US or Mexico.  It would also require that 40-45% of auto parts in cars sold be made by workers earning at least $16/hour.  Negotiations with Canada will now begin.  Once a new deal is reached, the agreement will need to be evaluated by the US trade agencies and presented to Congress for a vote.

The equity markets continued to rise last week while U.S. Treasuries fell below 3%.  The Russell 2000® Index (+1.93%) led the major indices, followed by the Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500® and Dow Jones Industrial Average with gains of 1.66%, 0.86% and 4.7%, respectively.  With last week’s gains, most people believe the current bull market became the longest on record.  Also, the S&P 500®, Nasdaq Composite and the Russell 2000® achieved record highs this week. The most important news event was likely a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Powell; he indicated that, despite strong economic growth, the Fed would continue its policy of gradual interest rate increases.  

Trade discussions continue with Canada, the EU and China and will probably pick up steam now that the US and Mexico have reached an agreement. The U.S. implemented the previously announced $16 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports; the Chinese reciprocated.  China’s tariffs do not include oil imports; the exclusion is likely due to the lower price of U.S. oil and the potential November disruption with the resumption of the U.S. ban on Iranian oil.

Several retailers announced second quarter results last week.  Target reported its best comparable sales results in thirteen years on strong in-store and e-commerce spending; the company increased sales estimates for the year.  Notably, Walmart, Foot Locker and Nordstrom are among many retailers that posted higher quarterly sales results. The fear that Amazon would make brick and mortar stores irrelevant appears overblown as retailers have improved e-commerce initiatives. The convenience of in-store pick up and return servicing has increased store traffic; also, many have adopted pricing policies to compete favorably with Amazon’s vendors.  Moreover, the stronger economy is also giving consumers more confidence to increase spending on an array of goods.

Overall, August has been a relatively quiet month with low trading volumes still moving the indices higher. The Russell 2000® continues to gain on the year-to-date leader, the Nasdaq, as investors find greater value in smaller cap companies.  Nearing the end of summer, in what is usually considered a slow time of the year, the equity markets have delivered strong performance.

Source: Pacific Global Investment Management Company, Bob Doll - Senior Portfolio Manager at Nuveen Asset Management.

Chart reflects price changes, not total return.  Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.


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Brian Amidei is Coachella Valley's only Barron's Magazine Top 1,000 Advisor in 2013 and 2014!

Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers!

Disclosures:

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Fortem is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement of Fortem or its representatives by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor. Awards may not be indicative of one client?s experience or of the Firm?s future performance.  Neither Fortem nor the recognized advisor has paid a fee for inclusion on a list, nor purchased any additional material from the award provider. The criteria for each award is listed below:

Barron's Disclosure:

The Barron's award is is based on the recognized adviser's assets under management, contribution to the firm's revenues and profits, and quality of practice.  Investment performance is not an explicit criteria.  Additional information about this award is available at http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors. 

Five Star Professional Disclosure:

The Five Star Wealth Manager award is based on 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria: 1) Credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; 2) Actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; 3) Favorable regulatory and complaint history review; 4) Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; 5) Accepting new clients; 6) One-year client retention rate; 7) Five-year client retention rate; 8) Non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9) Number of client households served; and 10) Educational and professional designations. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or the magazine. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided.  Additional information about this award is available at: fivestarprofessional.com/2016FiveStarWealthManagerMethodology.pdf

Fortem Financial 2016. All rights reserved. 

Data Sources:  News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations.  Market Data: Based on reported data in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury Yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates).  All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. 

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent those of Fortem Financial, LLC or any of its affiliates.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.  Forward looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, the economy, and future conditions.  As such, forward-looking statements are subject to inherent uncertainty, risks, and changes in circumstance that are difficult to predict.  Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated outcomes.  Carefully consider investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing.  Fortem Financial is a registered investment adviser with the SEC.  Advisory services are offered through Fortem Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks.  The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.  The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.  The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighed index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks.  The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide.  Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

Markets climb higher as the S&P 500 is back at record levels

The major indices, with the exception of the Nasdaq, ended higher for the week despite heightened volatility.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.41%; the S&P 500® and the Russell 2000® Indices rose .59% and .36%, respectively.  The Nasdaq’s -.29% decline was due, in part, to a sell-off in Tesla; the company disclosed an SEC subpoena of directors following the tweet from CEO Elon Musk about a pending deal to take the company private; the SEC was already investigating potentially misleading statements about the Model 3 production levels.  Poor results from Chinese internet service provider Tencent, and disappointing guidance from Applied Materials and NVIDIA, further pressured Technology stocks.  In contrast Walmart, Tapestry and Nordstrom gained impressively after reporting better-than-expected earnings; e-commerce initiatives have gained traction as each company pushes to compete with Amazon.

Capital spending continues to strengthen. The second quarter saw another solid rise in spending. Capital expenditures rose 17% year-over-year, with the technology sector leading the way. Although trade concerns have not yet weighed on capex levels, policy uncertainty could negatively affect future planning.

Turkey’s currency crisis sparked much of last week’s market volatility as the lira declined dramatically early in the week; the government has not intervened to raise interest rates or take other measures which might stabilize the currency.  Thursday’s announcement by Qatar of plans to invest up to $15 billion in Turkey offered some relief.  Back in 2009, the Turkish government encouraged companies to fuel the country’s growth with foreign loans.  The loans, many in U.S. dollars, were successful in stimulating economic growth.  Now, however, the pressure on the lira risks serious economic damage as those loans become due.  And, political tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have added to the country’s economic pressures.

Trade issues appear to be improving on the margin, but we expect this issue to linger. President Trump decided last month to seal agreements on NAFTA and with the European Union, likely to gain traction on a harder line with China. Chinese officials are due to travel to the U.S. for another round of negotiations later this month, some speculate that the discussions may pave the way for a trade summit between Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping in November. We caution investors not to read this as an overly optimistic sign. We still expect trade issues to surface and perhaps escalate, and see little hope of significantly easing tensions this year.

Light trading activity continues with the exception of company specific events.  In the run-up to Labor Day, new events will likely shape investor sentiment.  This week’s trading volatility, with overall positive results, continue to support the market’s upward bias.

Source: Pacific Global Investment Management Company, Bob Doll - Senior Portfolio Manager at Nuveen Asset Management.

Chart reflects price changes, not total return.  Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.


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Brian Amidei is Coachella Valley's only Barron's Magazine Top 1,000 Advisor in 2013 and 2014!

Brian Amidei, along with Partners Joseph Romano and Brett D'Orlando have also been named *2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Five Star Wealth Managers!

Disclosures:

Awards and recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, companies, and/or publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if Fortem is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services; nor should they be construed as a current or past endorsement of Fortem or its representatives by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines and others are generally based on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized advisor. Awards may not be indicative of one client?s experience or of the Firm?s future performance.  Neither Fortem nor the recognized advisor has paid a fee for inclusion on a list, nor purchased any additional material from the award provider. The criteria for each award is listed below:

Barron's Disclosure:

The Barron's award is is based on the recognized adviser's assets under management, contribution to the firm's revenues and profits, and quality of practice.  Investment performance is not an explicit criteria.  Additional information about this award is available at http://online.barrons.com/report/top-financial-advisors. 

Five Star Professional Disclosure:

The Five Star Wealth Manager award is based on 10 eligibility and evaluation criteria: 1) Credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR) or a registered investment advisor; 2) Actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years; 3) Favorable regulatory and complaint history review; 4) Fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards; 5) Accepting new clients; 6) One-year client retention rate; 7) Five-year client retention rate; 8) Non-institutionalized discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9) Number of client households served; and 10) Educational and professional designations. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or the magazine. The award methodology does not evaluate the quality of services provided.  Additional information about this award is available at: fivestarprofessional.com/2016FiveStarWealthManagerMethodology.pdf

Fortem Financial 2016. All rights reserved. 

Data Sources:  News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations.  Market Data: Based on reported data in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury Yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates).  All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. 

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, and do not represent those of Fortem Financial, LLC or any of its affiliates.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.  Forward looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, the economy, and future conditions.  As such, forward-looking statements are subject to inherent uncertainty, risks, and changes in circumstance that are difficult to predict.  Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated outcomes.  Carefully consider investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing.  Fortem Financial is a registered investment adviser with the SEC.  Advisory services are offered through Fortem Financial.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks.  The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.  The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.  The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighed index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks.  The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide.  Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.

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