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Until this week, positive corporate earnings reports were buoying the markets.  This week, several big names disappointed, causing markets to sink.  Retailers Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney all fell significantly (17% for J.C. Penney) after reported second-quarter losses exceeded expectations.  Shares of newcomer Snap fell 14% after its reported earnings missed forecasts.


U.S. stocks increased on Friday but still had their worst week since May.  The two primary factors were North Korea jitters and some disappointing corporate earnings reports.  For the week, the S&P 500* decreased 1.44% (up 9.04% for the year).  The MSCI All Country X US* decreased 2.19% (up 15.28% for the year).  The Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index* increased by 0.39% (up 6.56% for the year).  The HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index* decreased 0.27% (up 3.14% for the year).


Since 1928, the S&P 500 has fallen 5% or more every ten weeks on average.  It has fallen 10% or more every 33 weeks.  It has been more than a year since the last 5% drop and more than 76 weeks since the last 10% loss.


U.S. college tuition increased 1.9% in the past year, roughly in line with inflation.  By contrast, from 1990 through last year, tuition grew at an average of 6% per year, more than double the rate of inflation.  With a healthier job market, fewer people are going back to school to learn new skills, and so demand has softened.  There are other factors.  Longer running demographic trends have reduced the pool of traditional college-age Americans.  Also, in 2008, Congress increased the maximum amount undergraduates could borrow from the government.  That cap has not been increased since.


  • According to a recent article in Trusts & Estates magazine, here are ten things you should do when evaluating a charity:
  • Read the mission statement.  Is this mission important to you?
  • Review financial information.  (Form 990s are generally available on line.)
  • Look at outcomes.  Who is helped by the charity?
  • Talk or meet with the organization’s leadership if the potential gift is large enough.
  • Identify who is on the board of directors.
  • Look at the main supporters.
  • Discuss with leadership how you can be most helpful (other than giving dollars).
  • Visit the organization and, if possible, volunteer to really get to know people and the quality of their work.
  • Determine the charity’s reputation.
  • Have a good feeling about the organization and make sure your contributions will be appreciated.




EVALUATING PROSPECTIVE CHARITIES: http://www.wealthmanagement.com/philanthropy/help-clients-evaluate-charities
EXTRAORDINARY RUN: https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-rhetoric-sinks-global-stocks-1502418910
DISAPPOINTING  RETAILERS: https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-rhetoric-sinks-global-stocks-1502418910
SLOW DOWN IN TUITION INCREASES: https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-reversal-colleges-rein-in-tuition-1500822001