St. Patrick's Day

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Post by: Valley Financial Group

We're less than a week away from March 17th, the one day a year where people of every color and creed come together to be Irish for a day. Big cities throw elaborate parades, the Chicago river turns a fluorescent green, and everyone is decked out in green beads and shamrock shirts for one glorious day.

There are all kinds of holiday traditions and clever T-shirt sayings to commemorate the feast of St. Patrick, but perhaps the best known is the familiar "luck of the Irish". So, the question is, just what makes those of Irish heritage just a little bit luckier than the rest of the population? On the contrary, the saying actually was originally meant to be ironic, with the extremely unlucky history of the Irish people being cited for the saying's origins, but as time has gone by images of four-leaf clovers and pots of gold at the end of rainbows have taken away the phrase away from its sarcastic beginnings.

There are, however, some things that you would never want to leave up to chance, whether you have an apostrophe in your last name or not, and that is taking care of your money. Luck shouldn't be a factor when determining you and your family's financial future, and that's where selecting the right financial adviser becomes key. By doing your homework and ensuring that your adviser is going to work to the best of their ability to maximize your benefit rather than just doing the bare minimum to get their paycheck, you can take luck out of the equation when it comes to your financial security.

Happy St. Patrick's to all, and here's hoping everyone a bit of luck going forward, financial and otherwise.

NFL Playoffs and the Market

Post by: Valley Financial Group

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No one really knows how they pulled it off, but our Philadelphia Eagles have made it back into the playoffs with a chance to defend their Super Bowl LII title. Just one month ago, I don't think a single person in Philadelphia would have believed you if you told them the Eagles would run the table in the last three weeks and that Nick Foles would lead the Eagles back into the dance, but here we are.

The NFL playoffs are an amazing phenomenon, an entire month where 12 cities and the entire sports world collectively holds their breath during the first month and a half of the New Year, waiting for a new champion to be crowned. Not only do these games have an effect on us as fans, they may also have effects on the market. For example, if an AFC team were to bring home the Lombardi trophy, 80% of the time the Dow will go down in the following year, with the opposite being true for NFC teams. Also, teams with a corporate sponsored stadium, such as the New Orleans Saints who play in the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome, can affect their sponsors stock in the range of 1-5% up or down following the result of a big game at home, categorized as a prime time or playoff game, according to a study by University of Connecticut finance professor Assaf Eisdorfer, who compiled data from 3,399 games over the course of 16 NFL seasons.

So what causes these changes? Are people really making important investment decisions based on the outcome of their home team's playoff match ups? I certainly hope not, and I tend to think that we may have a classic case of correlation rather than causation of our hands, but who knows? Sixteen years of data is no high school science project, and it’s hard to argue with the Dow Jones rising or diving with the champion's conference four out of five years. Whatever side you take, I know I'll definitely be doing my research on this year's playoff team's corporate sponsors, you know, just in case.

Happy New Year everyone, and Go Birds!

Disclosure:

This material should not be relied upon by the readers as research or investment advice nor should it be construed as a recommendation to hold, purchase or sell a security.

Halloween and Market Spooks

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Post by: Valley Financial Group

We're just a one day away from the spookiest day of the year with Halloween falling this Wednesday. With ghosts, goblins and ghouls running amok, you'd be inclined to think that there is nothing but fear and fright all around on the evening of the 31st. There is, however, one reason to be just a little bit joyous when the clock strikes midnight and the eleventh month of 2018 gets underway, this being that October has come to an end. For a lot of us, the most frightening part of October isn't the creepy costumes, decorations, or haunted houses, but the fact that October is the worst month for the market in regards to overall average performance.

So is this just a random coincidence, or is there a reason for the consistent downturn during the month? Firstly, the month got its unfortunate reputation as a less than stellar one for investors in 1929, when on October 29 the market collapsed and resulted in our nation's worst economic recession, now known as the Great Depression. The second reason October has worse stock performance is that it follows September, another historically poor month for the market whose performance could potentially bleed into the following month. Finally, the idea of behavioral finance and investing comes into play heavily in this case. With a lot of investors cognizant of October's reputation as a poor month for the market, it can cause them to make rash decisions without really thinking, perhaps selling hard on their currently owned assets before the perceived downturn hits, which of course will end up aiding the cause of the downturn they sought to avoid. So, if the thought of vampires and werewolves are making you sleep with the lights on this week, just remember that October will soon be behind us, and with it, hopefully, the start of better market performance in the month of November. I've always liked Thanksgiving better anyway.

Fire in a Crowded Theater

Post by: Valley Financial Group

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Yesterday’s market declines—the Dow down 3.15%, the S&P 500 down 3.29% and tech stocks, as represented by the Nasdaq index, off 4.08%--were entirely within the normal range of mini corrections, which we’ve experienced numerous times since March 9, 2009.  But they represent an interesting test of character for the press and market pundits.

The most responsible voices in the press and elsewhere point out that market corrections are normal, and fear of market corrections works to the investor’s advantage.  Fear of incidental declines is exactly why investors demand a higher return from stocks than, say, for cash.  

The responsible voices will point out that being able to control your fear is one of the best ways to generate higher returns in your portfolio.  They will say—correctly—that there has yet emerged no way to know the future, and therefore we have no idea if this lurch in the market is temporary or the first sign of a significant downturn.  Not knowing means that any action you take is likely to be wrong—especially since the markets have always recovered to set new highs after every downturn so far.

But these declines always bring out the opportunists who do everything they can to feed the fear.  In order to get clicks, or draw attention to themselves, they will predict disaster, and claim to know what’s going to happen tomorrow or in the next week or two.  They’ll make it sound as if this one-day reversal is a clear hint of doomsday—and of course the normal fear mechanisms in the human mind is programmed to pay attention to warnings like this.  

Your best course, which your rational mind already knows, is to simply tune out the pundits who yell “fire” in a crowded theater.  You know that they don’t know the future any more than you do.  Stocks just went on sale, albeit a little bit, and if you’re in accumulation mode, you might hope they drop a little more, so you’ll be able to buy cheaply and hold on for the recovery.  

Your rational mind knows that panic seldom leads to a good outcome; please, if you can, give it your attention amid the screaming and shouting that is sure to show up in the news this week.

The Super Bowl & Investing

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Post by: Valley Financial Group

I️ know that it’s been a few months since THE EAGLES. WON. THE SUPER BOWL. But it is very obvious it’s still at the forefront of the minds and hearts of Eagles fans all over the greater Philadelphia area. After all, how could one soon forget what we had longed for more than anything else and which we had been cruelly forced to wait for so long? But despite the years, for some decades, of waiting and dreaming and crushing disappointment, the Birds faithful never lost hope, and never stopped believing.  We Philly fans are special like that. A 2-3 start won’t stop us from turning on our TVs and radios every single week to cheer on our beloved Eagles, and we’ve all watched hours of football on Sunday’s when our boys in black, white, and green were well out of playoff contention.

This same no quit attitude we all have for the Birds can just as easily be applied to your investment portfolio, even if i‎t might be a little more difficult to execute. Sticking with your investments through slight downturns in value, as opposed to jumping ship as soon as you see red on your ticker, can end up being extremely beneficial in the long run. I‎t may seem deceptively simple, but to follow through when your hard-earned dollars are on the line is far easier said than done. It’s finance 101. Buy low, sell high, and the third golden rule, do not panic. Have a little faith in you and your adviser's carefully thought out investment strategy and who knows, you might just end up winning the Super Bowl.