Stocks continued to climb over the month adding to already impressive gains year to date and over the past year. Our average diversified portfolio net-of-fee return closed June competitive with the S&P stock index over the month and the past year. Even with bonds and conservative positions, emphasis on health care, technology and international markets has kept our portfolios competitive without excessive risk. Eventually this aging bull market will end but for now we can still pack in some growth. Even so we prepare for future moves to preserve some gains, remembering that “the biggest moves come just before the end”.
The news of Amazon’s offer to buy Whole Foods has focused attention on how technology is affecting retail. It is important to note that not all retail is sinking. And the rise in technology is affecting other industries as well, including hotels (Airbnb & Priceline), oil & gas (shale oil & electric cars)), and TV/media (Netflix & Vice). If tech drives increased sales, the stock market will continue to grow. As job losses increase from technology growth, the economy will weaken and stocks will drop. Watching for unemployment rise to even 5% will give the warning for this. So far there is no problem.
Copious June rains feed green lawns and keep the mower running. Only one hummingbird this summer – not sure why – checking out favorite blooms. Rodent populations explode. A dear little bunny and chunky chipmunk cohabit under the deck, eyeing us calmly as they come and go their separate ways. The dreaded deer tick nymphs – the size of a poppy seed – are most numerous in June-July. Mature deer ticks are not common until the nymphs molt, beginning in mid-October. Easier to spot, the adults are also more likely to carry diseases. Nature delights until it invades our space.