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Vote Party Poopers

The party that should win is the Party Pooper Party, the one that gives voters a reality check – not nearly as fun as hocus-pocus economics. The Party Pooper Party never wins elections, though, because voters want to believe in magic. 

October 2012 Performance Review

The good times for stocks came to an end in October, though not too abruptly. The S&P 500 was down 1.86% for the month, but is still up an impressive 14.16% for the year. The recent storm hitting the financial epicenter of America and the world had no negative impact on stocks other than a historic closing of the exchange. Surprisingly, foreign stocks did well while emerging market stocks declined. Bonds were essentially flat for the month, as were both Powerfund Portfolios. 

New Stats Page!

In celebration of the 10th year of Powerfund Portfolios, we're introducing a new  “Stats” page for both the Conservative and the Aggressive Portfolios. Here’s a quick tour.

September 2012 Performance Review

2012 is turning out to be a good year for stocks and bonds. With September’s 2.58% increase in the S&P 500 equities are up just over 16% since Jan 1. The YTD total bond market fund is up 4% through the end of September. This in the face of on-again-off-again Euro death spiral news and a domestic economy that, while not stalling, is sputtering or at least misfiring outside of technology. 

How We Doin’? (10-Year Edition)

In early 2002, we launched the model portfolios as a way to apply our MAXfunds rating system to an actual portfolio. Our goal was to offer portfolios with varying levels of risk (at the time, we had five core portfolios and two special-purpose portfolios) for different types of investors, including those with only a few thousand dollars to invest.  Now that the Powerfund Portfolios are in their tenth year (we created them in March 2002), we think it's a good time to take a look back at our long-term performance. 

August 2012 Performance Review

In the absence of scary economic news, stocks drift higher – like the roughly 2.25% gain in August. We would expect this to continue if we avoid a deep recession and any debt market shocks that drive rates higher. 

When Bad Things Happen to Good Fund Shareholders

Baby Boomers are following the age-old advice to shift from stocks to bonds as they grow older, despite the fact that this general recommendation might not apply in a world in which bonds yield less than stocks. But two 50%+ haircuts in the stock market since 2000 (with a "flash crash" thrown in for good measure) certainly aren't inspiring confidence in the stock market. Fear of another global catastrophe is keeping some money in seemingly low-risk places, but that doesn’t explain the shift within stock funds.

July 2012 Performance Review

The rebound in stocks at the end of June carried through to July, though with some slides along the way. It’s a market scared of another collapse, yet it keeps finding support from (probably) not much else than the trillions of dollars globally that needs to be invested and the fact that cash and bonds should be very low return assets for the next few years.

Less than Zero New World Order

We’ve noted the hard times facing lower-risk tolerance investors – times that just got a little bit harder now that the 10-year Treasury bond yield has sunk back below 1.50%. Today, any funds with low interest rate risk (the risk of losing money if rates go up) and low default risk (the risk of borrowers not paying you back) is yielding less than 2%, often much less. Between retiring baby boomers and disappointment in a market that seems to slide 50% every few years, there are more lower-risk investors now than ever. But what about the poor multi-trillion dollar mutual fund industrial complex?

June 2012 Performance Review

The S&P 500 Index got off to a rocky start in June but ended up with a just over 4% gain for the month, pushing the index to a near 10% return so far in 2012. Bonds were basically flat even as investors stuffed tens of billions of new money into bond funds while taking money out of stocks. The Vanguard S&P 500 now yields significantly more than the bond index fund: 2.2% vs. 1.88%, both including fund fees.