The Week on Wall Street
Stocks spent much of last week rebounding from a Monday drop that reflected nervousness about the U.S.-China trade fight. By Thursday’s closing bell, the S&P 500 had regained all its Monday losses – but it descended again on Friday.
FACT OF THE WEEK
Dogs are capable of understanding up to 250 words and gestures and have demonstrated the ability to do simple mathematical calculations.
The three big U.S. equity benchmarks finished the week lower: the S&P declined 0.46%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 0.75%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.56%. A broad index of foreign shares, the MSCI EAFE, lost 0.95%.
China Devalues Its Currency
Last Monday, stocks fell 3% in reaction to the overnight weakening of the Chinese yuan. A weaker yuan makes Chinese exports cheaper for buyers who pay for them in dollars.
Critics quickly accused China of manipulating its currency to strike back at the U.S. The federal government plans to impose tariffs on nearly all Chinese products next month, likely making those goods more expensive to American consumers; a weaker yuan could counter the effect of those import taxes.
Earnings Season Update
Ninety percent of S&P 500 firms have now reported second-quarter results. Their collective sales and profits have surprised to the upside. Stock market analytics firm FactSet says that overall earnings have beaten estimates by 5.7%. Seventy-five percent of firms have reported actual earnings per share surpassing estimates, which is better than the five-year average.
We are seeing a significant bond rally this summer, even with interest rates at very low levels. (When bond prices rise, bond yields tend to fall.) At the moment, about a quarter of the global bond market is invested in government notes with negative interest rates. The 10-year Treasury stands in contrast. Friday, it was yielding 1.74%.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
DETERMINE YOUR NET WORTH
Essentially, your net worth is the value of what you own, minus what you owe. Or, as a formula: assets - liabilities = net worth
An easy way to figure it out it is via an online calculator like the one at Bankrate.com. But you may also want to track your net worth over time to see your progress, in which case you could use an online program like the RFG Wealth Management System that will remember your past results or even a simple Excel spreadsheet.
To calculate it manually, start by adding together all your assets. Here is a list what qualifies:
• The amount your checking and savings accounts
• The amount in your brokerage and retirement accounts
• The market value of your home
• The estimated value of the items in your home
• The value of your car
• Cash-value life insurance
Next, subtract your liabilities. If you aren't sure how much you owe, get a copy of your credit report, since all your debts are listed there. Here is a list of common liabilities:
• Home loans, such as a mortgage, home equity loan or line of credit
• Auto loan or lease
• Credit cards
• Student loans
• Other loans, such as a personal bank loan or a 401(k) loan.
Calculating your number on an annual basis can help keep you on track. For example, seeing your net worth dipping might motivate you to focus on repaying your debts or building your savings. Seeing your net worth rise may motivate you to continue your savings pace, despite any tough sacrifices you're making to do so.
Keep in mind, however, that net worth only offers a snapshot on a moving target.
As always, please contact my office with any questions or financial concerns you may have.