Hope your day is going well. Last month saw a very busy month. Not only did the markets continue its downward trend in performance, but I had the privilege of cross-country travel visiting clients on both coast. During that 2-week stint, I set out to inform clients of signals we are seeing that could disrupt year-end opportunities.
The first week of October saw 8 of 11 sectors down, due in large part to growing concerns of weaker demand, higher interest rates and a shift in bond yields. And while we don’t want to use the “R” word to describe this economic slow-down, history has shown us that we should not ignore the signs. For example, today we are seeing regional conflicts in the Middle East which has the potential of carrying a negative signal we just spoke on. As of now our portfolios are maintaining a defensive approach to limit portfolio volatility.
So what will iPlan do and what should clients do?
Most of our portfolios are already defensive as mentioned above. We have maintained this posture in design to reduce both volatility and limit negative returns. Short-Term treasuries in the form of money-markets and fixed-income equivalents have provided some cushion, however we don’t want to overexpose ourselves creating a cash drag on performance. Given the lackluster performance in August and September, this strategy has worked thus far, but please know we are ALWAYS looking for opportunities when and if markets perform above expectations.
Regarding what clients should do, clients should focus on eliminating and/or reducing consumer liabilities like credit card debt. Along with economic woes, we are seeing a rise in debt delinquencies, use of credit and lower savings balances. This is not a good sign considering the consumer was the driving force that held up this economy in the 2nd quarter.
Another recommendation we are advising is to shop rates. We are speaking with clients regularly offering higher returns on savings deposits. If you are currently holding large deposits in your savings account, please consider giving us a call to discuss your options.
We expect volatility to continue, however we don’t want to ignore that opportunities exist albeit they may be overvalued right now. The focus will be finding those gems in lieu of a pending correction or pullback. We think tech, energy and industrials can still offer some year-end rewards provided the reward is worth the risk.
Until next time…