Happy Fourth of July, 2019.
America, the Beautiful! America will celebrate its 243rd Birthday this Thursday. As we enjoy the summer time festivities this week, we should count our blessings of religious freedom and economic freedom to live in the greatest country in the world. George Washington rode his horse into New York City and read aloud the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 that would later be ratified by the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The ensuing struggle with the British would last several years as the Colonists received help from the French Navy in bombing strategic British strongholds in New York City to eventually succeed as an independent United States of America. Washington was unequivocally elected President gaining the majority of Electoral Votes and was sworn in as President in 1789.
God Bless America. The financial markets during the current year have seen extraordinary market performance with the S&P 500 rising 17.1% since December 2018. Interest rates have finally dropped across the board as the Federal Reserve reversed its rising rate policy to considering lowering rates in the coming months. Already money supply growth has experienced a modest increase in the past 60 days. The current US Treasury yields are as follows:
180 days 2.093%
1 Year 1.95%
3 Year 1.709%
5 Year 1.775%
10 Year 2.019%
30 Year 2.538%
My Country Tis of Thee. With the recent decline in yields along with Chairman Jerome Powell’s recent comments that the Fed may cut rates in the second half of the year, the U.S. stock market has responded with higher stock prices. The S&P 500 currently trades as 21.89 times earnings and yields 1.87%.
The Star Spangled Banner. The financial markets have muddled through international trade issues between the US and the Europe, China, and Mexico/Canada. In spite all of the negative market sentiment, stock prices have rewarded the patient investor. The move in stocks since January has recouped most of what was lost in 2018.
The Stars and Stripes Forever. The U.S. Commerce Department released its 1st quarter GDP growth rate of +3.1%. The stock market continues to rise in spite of all the negatives which have persisted in the financial press.
This Land is Your Land. The Monteagle Value Fund which we have managed since 1999, currently trades at 14.71 times 2019 earnings and yields 3.6%. The industries favored in the Fund continue to be industrial and materials stocks. The Fund has near market weightings in Energy and Technology. The Fund owns both AT&T and Verizon Communications.
Proud to Be an American. Any lowering of interest rates should propel worldwide stocks higher. Any favorable news from Trade negotiations with China will also be a market positive. The US economy already is humming as employment levels are at 50 year highs. We would be worried that inflation could creep into the financial markets if labor remains tight. More recently the price of gold has risen from 1275 to 1425 as investors have been buying the precious metal since the first of the year.
Anchors Aweigh. The markets have several challenges which include the effects of Britain leaving the European Union and the rising Middle East tensions with Iran threatening to develop nuclear weapons (which has been going on for 20 years!). We certainly hope that the outcome for both will be positive.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic. We do believe that the Presidential election cycle will provide for better market conditions going into 2020. The stock market has already risen significantly in the past 2 and ½ years. Investors need to enjoy the ride.
We continue to consider it an honor to manage your assets and look forward to your feedback in the coming months.
Russell L. Robinson