Tag Archives: Cover Letter

Second Quarter 2022 Review, Half Way Point, All about the Fed

The Halfway Point 

While we have just reached the halfway point of 2022, for what it’s worth in seemingly much faster fashion than prior several years, likely due to the various lockdowns that we endured, even with such seemingly speed of time, there has been a tremendous amount of interesting events that have occurred so far this year! 

All about the FED, once again 

After multiple years of Federal Reserve stimulus both through lowering of interest rates and large asset purchases, as the calendar turned the federal reserve, FOMC, led by Jerome Powell pivoted and moved their foot from the accelerator to the brake. Not only has the FOMC pivoted to the brakes, but they have put both feet firmly on said pedal. First talking aggressively about rate increases leading up to the fastest interest rate increases on a percentage basis that have ever occurred, putting headwinds in safe assets also known as bonds or fixed income, but the other foot on the pedal included reversing asset purchases through balance sheet runoff. 

The first glimmer of easing of the brakes by the Federal Reserve occurred several weeks ago in a public testimony by Jerome Powell in which he stated the federal reserve cannot control oil and food prices. Capital Markets participants read that to be not as aggressive in posture, maybe one foot easing off the brake. 

Literally the last week of the quarter, the second major event occurred oddly enough from the research partner at the Atlanta Federal Reserve. The Atlanta Federal Reserve research department has a forward looking predictive model that attempts to predict GDP (gross domestic production), the most blunt instrument of economic activity. Just days ago, they updated their model from an expectation of 1% growth in Q2 2022 to -2.1% growth or an actual contraction. While seemingly unimportant, this estimate if true would mark the official R word for the economy – Recession. This second event was even more impactful as market participants began pricing in an even less firm brake pedal fed.

 

Persistent hot CPI Consumer Price Index reports present challenges 

Back to the Jerome Powell lead FOMC, one of their favorite inflation measuring sticks, the CPI or Consumer Price Index a very blunt measuring instrument of price increases and inflation measures, looks to remain high, mostly due to the severe lag effects of some of the input data. This puts the FOMC in a pickle, with the aforementioned possible R word and a slowing economy, but lagging blunt measurement showing high blood pressure in the economy a.k.a. the CPI . Not a fun time to be a member of the FOMC! 

How about some positives? 

In our latest newsletter, hopefully already on your reading table, we point out in multiple graph format tons of positives. While some may say were looking through rose colored glasses, we prefer to say the glass half full. Of course, these can change, but the pictures we pointed out at the time, were positives. 

Time is our friend on all of these matters, be sure to avoid the ugly headlines which most certainly will continue likely throughout the remainder of this year, we have your back and will talk to you at the end of the next quarter! 

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Enclosure (2022 Report)

First Quarter 2022 Review, Fast Quarter

Remember when we were kids and it seem like the birthday would never come? Now they seem to come on almost a quarterly basis!

Speaking of a quarter, as we look back over the first quarter of this year, 2022, Wow, we had a lot of things occur.

Interest Rates

As the calendar turned, the FOMC, led by chair Jerome Powell, reading very rearview mirror inflation data points, began verbally discussing aggressive rate hikes.  Right on cue fixed income participants front ran the Fed and raised interest rate across the board.

Mortgage rates, specifically 30 year fixed mortgage rates have risen in percentage terms faster than any time in history.  This is likely a product of the stopping of monthly FOMC purchases of mortgage back securities. It would not be unreasonable to think that current levels could be an overshoot from the artificial downward pressure the federal reserve had been creating.

As of late, several Federal Reserve Presidents have publicly doubled down on even more aggressive rate increases, pushing rates even higher.

Longer-term, recall increasing interest rates are headwinds to fixed income instruments initially, but higher interest rates mean greater income longer term.

Fiscal Stimulus Comparables

As we exit this quarter, and enter the next, we begin a journey over one of the most interesting comparable times in history. As noted in our Q1 and Q2 newsletter, tough comparables will likely make for a natural slowing of the economy. Recall last year at this time over $1 trillion of stimulus was pushed into the economy. As mentioned once again in our newsletter, this is a natural slowing and will be a tail wind to the federal reserve as they raise short term interest rates in an attempt to slow the economy.

And did we mention there was major Geopolitical conflict?

There is a saying that conflict is the great geography educator. Certainly it was a surprise to see the amount of resources that come from the two countries in conflict. The lack of resources on the natural market may be a headwind to lower prices of certain commodities..

In closing, the really good news is that much of what we have experienced in this past quarter, and the coming next quarter, in birthday like format may likely come and pass much faster than previously experienced.

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Enclosure (2022 Report)

Fourth Quarter 2021 Review, Looking Ahead, Private Policy

As the year ended, we cannot help but look back, especially over the last two years, and maybe even farther, to the ups and downs that have occurred, and we are delighted to be on this journey with you!

Thank you for the Collaborative Journey; but “What Have We Done Lately?”

In true “What have we done lately!” form, as we look forward to 2022 and are always very careful to stray from a definitely forecast (burns from prior years attempts) we want to call your attention to the main article in our Newsletter called “The Anatomy of a Slowdown/Recession”.

We are not predicting a slowdown, nor do we want one, but we also know they do come, eventually!

The last decade has given us unique experiences that are somewhat muted from the normal slowdowns. A dramatic drop in 2020, followed by a dramatic and extremely fast recovery.  In similar fashion, two drops in 2018, one early in the year and one late. Collectively, all very short in time!

If we really show our age (mostly present party speaking here) and look back to 2007-2009, that experience was the opposite of a normal slowdown and the absolute antithesis of the prior mentioned slowdowns, long deep and very frightening. Only to follow a 1999 to 2002 similar dramatic slowdown (really showing our age now, but we were there!)

So back to What Have We Done Lately, as we turn the page on the new year many of our allocations may need to be trimmed back “lower our risk“ and this may cause us to incur taxes depending on the situation.

We are always cognizant of taxes, heck we hate taxes and try to minimize them at all cost,  but we don’t want the tax tail wagging the investment risk dog, and as such allocations and reallocations causing taxes but for the benefit of the portfolio safety may occur early this year.

Thanks again for enjoying the journey together, please make sure you are receiving automatic emails from our blog at www.street-cents.com as we post every MWF at 10:30 am CDT

Your Fourth Quarter summary is enclosed on the front page of this report we have included our most recent investment allocation from your Investment Policy Statement. This is also the time we attach our Private Policy Statement for the year, along with our opportunity to offer our latest ADV filings and Client Relationship Summary (Form CRS); Requests for review will be accepted via phone, mail or email, and mailed immediately upon request.

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Enclosure (2021Report, Private Policy)

J.K. Financial, Inc.

PRIVACY POLICY NOTICE

Our Promise to You

As a client of J.K. Financial, Inc., you share both personal and financial information with us.  Your privacy is important to us, and we are dedicated to safeguarding your personal and financial information.

Information Provided by Clients 

In the normal course of doing business, we typically obtain the following non-public personal information about our clients:

  • Personal information regarding our clients’ identity such as name, address and social security number;
  • Information regarding securities transactions effected by us; and
  • Client financial information such as net-worth, assets, income, bank account information and account balances.

How We Manage and Protect Your Personal Information

We do not sell information about current or former clients to third parties, nor is it our practice to disclose such information to third parties unless requested to do so by a client or client representative or, if necessary, in order to process a transaction, service an account or as permitted by law

In order to protect your personal information, we maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect your personal information.  Our Privacy Policy restricts the use of client information and requires that it be held in strict confidence.

Client Notifications

We are required by law to annually provide a notice describing our privacy policy.  In addition, we will inform you promptly if there are changes to our policy.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about this notice.

.

Q 3 2021 Review – Let the Taper Begin, Interest Rates, Bumpy Season

Let the Taper Begin

In late 2018 the FOMC learned a valuable lesson that they are intent on not repeating.  At their most recent FOMC meeting Jerome Powell, chair, made it very clear that the large monthly asset purchases, $120 billion to be exact, will begin to be tapered.  Powell also made it very clear that the eventual raising of interest rates would not occur until the taper was complete unlike the events of 2018 in which the FOMC tapered and increased short-term interest rates at the same time, much to market participants dismay.

Bottom line if all goes well scheduled monthly asset purchases will be trimmed and eventually reach zero sometime next year.

Interest Rates

The most widely followed interest rate, the 10-year US treasury, after having a startling move earlier this year from under 1% to over 1.7% dropped back down to the low 1.2% during the most recent slowdown due to the variant.

Whether Powell’s comments, or the turning of the variant, interest rates have taken note and moved up smartly to over 1.5% beginning the normalization of higher interest rates which is very good long-term for the financial system

Kyle Bass Predictions

In our Q4 Newsletter we noted some very positive predictions from local financial mogul Kyle Bass, namely oil reaching $100 a barrel before the year end and continued Federal Reserve protection along with a push through to the end of the variant.

Hopefully all of these predictions come true.

The Worst of Times the Best of Times

September and October tend to be the most challenging months for Capital Markets mostly due to large institutions, think Fidelity as an example, closing their books on the year which make for more volatile times. So far, this theme seems to have played true.

The good news is notwithstanding our 2018 example from above, November and December tend to be some of the better months of the calendar.

As we head to the end of the year, we will be watching all of these and many other things very closely and will be communicating live on our blog at street-cents.

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder J.K. Financial, Inc.

Q 2 2021 Review – Return to Normal, Inflation Here to Stay or Transitory

Slowly Returning to Normal, or Some Similarities

With hindsight available as our measuring stick, it appears that sometime between March and April earlier this year things across the country really began to return to some type of normal.

As noted in our blog at street-cents.com and in the prior newsletter TSA throughput a measurement of airport travel looks to possibly eclipse 2019 highs later this year.

Restaurants began opening, some earlier and some much later, depending on the geographic location with patrons welcoming their reopening.

Uncertainty remains on the remote versus office environment. Most think the new normal will not be a complete office environment, but some blend of remote since it is readily acceptable and well tested.

Inflation, Here to Stay or Transitory?

As discussed in detail in our latest Q 3 2021 Newsletter, the most prevalent debate at this moment among market participants is the topic of inflation and it’s staying power, or just transitioning through. The importance of this subject is directly related to the FOMC, chaired by Jerome Powell and the timing of his reduced stimulus.  All eyes are on the inflation debate and the timing of the decrease in stimulus and will be sensitive to timing changes.

Not surprisingly economic numbers roared as they met favorable comparisons from last year, but in very recent days, have given the appearance of a return to normalcy already, decreasing concerns of longer-term inflation.

Capital Markets being forward looking are now trying to see what is around the next corner. As earnings continue to return to normal, valuations are finally beginning to be decreased from extremely stretched proportions and as long as earnings outpace returns a continuation of this should occur.

Time is really our friend, and once again the good news is, this will all play out in quarters rather than years. Things can certainly change quickly, and it is not a time to swing for the fences, which we never do!

Have a terrific summer and talk to you at the beginning of fall.

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Q 1 2021 Review – Three V’s: Vaccine, Volume of Money, Valuation

Vaccines, Volume of Money, Valuations 

With the continued increase of the number of people getting the vaccine a much-welcomed sigh of relief is being felt across the country and most of the globe. Thankfully thus far the variance seems not to pose a terrible threat and most continue even post vaccine to take the appropriate precautions. This is leading to a slow Opening of the country and a light at the end of the tunnel heading back to some type of normalcy. 

Volume of Money 

The Federal Reserve (FOMC) led by Chairman Jerome Powell continue to buy assets at the rate of $120 billion a month. With a main goal of lowering the Unemployment rate, these funds of course are giving a boost to Capital Markets and providing massive volume liquidity. 

Additionally, the Fed has short term rates at zero and has stated they intend to keep them there for some time. This is also a stimulus for certain parts of the economy, but also a boosting effect on Asset Prices. 

With Fed controlled short interest rates being held low, longer term rates, notably on the 10-year US Treasury have been moving up in minor protest by bond vigilantes that economic stimulus may be too much, fortunately at this time there seems to be no effect. 

With the FED on record saying that short term rates are deemed to stay low, their first move back to normalcy maybe to pair back the purchases.  Our interest will be, when, and if this occurs, and more importantly, capital market participants reactions.  

Valuations 

As mentioned, multiple times in our blog at www.street-cents.com and again our Q2 2021 Newsletter, valuations by almost any metric are stretched. 

While valuations may be a more somber note, the re-opening and vaccine completion rates should dribble into corporate earnings, the ultimate driver of capital markets and possibly provide a wonderful “Grow into our Valuation” affect. 

If you asked us for our candid opinion, we would like capital markets to trend sideways while we grow into our valuations. Continued rise in capital markets could lead to a bumpier ride once the Fed adjust their policy. 

We of course will be watching carefully!  �

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Q 4 2020 Review and Annual Private Policy

It’s hard to believe the final quarter of the year included an Election, multiple vaccines, the commencement of vaccine shots and near the end of the quarter, a second stimulus package for the year 2020. Wow!

Three Major Acts in a Little Over Twelve Months

If we look back just a little over twelve months, three major bills, The Secure Act, passed in late 2019, but left in the shadows by lasty years events. Then the Cares Act late first quarter 2020, followed by the Appropriations Act of 2021, which was an extension of the Cares Act. If you are not confused yet (or do not even remember some of these), congratulate yourself, most are! Not to worry, we will be reviewing all of these over the year as the much forgotten, Secure Act will have multiple planning techniques and mandates that once again may have been forgotten.

Who let the dogs out? Or Maybe Better Said, The Dogs Continued to Cheer!

Capital markets bullied by federal reserve purchases and anticipations of good news coming from a vaccine, in true Capital Market form did cheer much of the news, but not as much as many had thought, mostly because it had already been anticipated.

As we had mentioned multiple times, Capital Markets are likely well ahead of themselves currently which may make for tougher rowing in the near term, but just as clothes purchased a little too large for that growing teenager, Capital Markets with an expected economic recovery, should be able to grow into their overzealous clothes. However, with current stretched valuations, negative surprises may be met with more volatility due to the priced-to-perfection levels currently, once again making us happy we are conservative and diversified investors.

Interest Rate Watch

One thing we will be watching closely are interest rates, and their levels, as the economy begins to come back on line. The Federal Reserve is squarely focused on keeping interest rates down through their purchases. Should interest rates begin to rise or should the FED ease off (or even give speak of ease) of the pedal and interest rates rise on their own, especially quickly, this could be a headwind to Capital Markets and other assets. Not to worry, we will be watching and letting you know what we see and taking appropriate actions as needed.

In Closing

Your Fourth Quarter summary is enclosed on the front page of this report we have included our most recent investment allocation from your Investment Policy Statement. This is also the time we attach our Private Policy Statement for the year, along with our opportunity to offer our latest ADV filings and Client Relationship Summary (Form CRS); Requests for review will be accepted via phone, mail or email, and mailed immediately upon request.

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

J.K. Financial, Inc.

PRIVACY POLICY NOTICE

Our Promise to You

As a client of J.K. Financial, Inc., you share both personal and financial information with us.  Your privacy is important to us, and we are dedicated to safeguarding your personal and financial information.

Information Provided by Clients 

In the normal course of doing business, we typically obtain the following non-public personal information about our clients:

  • Personal information regarding our clients’ identity such as name, address and social security number;
  • Information regarding securities transactions effected by us; and
  • Client financial information such as net-worth, assets, income, bank account information and account balances.

How We Manage and Protect Your Personal Information

We do not sell information about current or former clients to third parties, nor is it our practice to disclose such information to third parties unless requested to do so by a client or client representative or, if necessary, in order to process a transaction, service an account or as permitted by law

In order to protect your personal information, we maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect your personal information.  Our Privacy Policy restricts the use of client information and requires that it be held in strict confidence.

Client Notifications

We are required by law to annually provide a notice describing our privacy policy.  In addition, we will inform you promptly if there are changes to our policy.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about this notice.

Q 2 2020 Quarterly Review Cover Letter –

The Look Through Continues

As mentioned in the last quarterly summary, Investors and Capital Market Participants are indeed looking through this self-made slow down and into the eventual continuation of the economy.

The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) led by Jerome Powell continue to provide support via lower interest rates (likely for a shorter period than during the post 08-09 period)  and asset purchases to help shore up possible needed cash from institutions and participants.

Speaking of FOMC stimulus, should a vaccine or multiple vaccines, (the possibilities detailed greatly in our Q3 Newsletter), occur sooner, rather than later, a faster economic rebound may be in the cards. On the other side, should increase in contagion lead to further Economic slowdown, capital market participants would likely lose some of their enthusiasm.

The Sequel Is Usually not as Scary

One thing about the sequel, should it occur, it is usually not near as scary as the original. No doubt as mentioned again in our Q3 newsletter, many of the worlds brightest are working together and have learned much just over the last 90 days.

With the worlds brightest pushing massive energy to a common goal, the future, especially when dealing with healthcare, is likely much brighter and coming faster than we all think!

Given so many unknowns, we are likely to be captive to positive and negative headlines until the eventual vaccine is discovered.

With the possibility that Investors may have gotten a little bit ahead of themselves, expectation for bumps along the way over the next few quarters have heightened.

Again, why we like having a conservative posture.

Stay safe be well will talk to you in the fall!

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Enclosure (2020 Report)

Q 1 2020 Quarterly Review Cover Letter –

First and foremost I want to wish everyone safety and healthiness as we go through these times. We will get through this and will all be stronger and more knowledgeable for the experience.  

As mentioned in our Q 2 2020 Newsletter, the speed of the lower Equity markets left many investors struggling for cash to recklessly sell their safest assets, bonds. This put unique pressure on Bonds and Bond Funds, temporarily lowering their value in stead of increasing their value, which is what should happen as interest rates lower. The good news with this situation, with history as our guide, this situation corrects over shorter time frames and also allows for our re-investment at artificially lower rates, a win, win in our opinion!  

An Unknown becomes a Known?  

As of this writing the contagion continues, uniquely, do to the self-imposed economic slowdown from the Virus, at a given point in time, hopefully much sooner than many may think, a great unknown will become a known.  

Unlike the last two major economic slowdowns there was uncertainty in far reaching aspects of other assets and other parts of the world and economies.  

At some point in time we will conquer the Virus and the unknown will become the known!  

Capital Market Participants will anticipate this and begin pricing in the not only conclusion of this economic slow down but the positive affects of the very large stimulus package that has been put into place.   

As mentioned in again and more prominently, in our Q 2 2020 Newsletter which you hopefully have already received, there have been an abundance of stimulus programs that at this point have likely not even begun to filter into our economy in any meaningful way.   

Once the full effects of the stimulus seep through our country and the unknown becomes the known we truly believe that our economy and therefore capital markets will be in a much better place in a much shorter time than in prior slowdowns.  

Stay safe, thanks for all of the positive comments – we will get through this together. 

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

 

Q 4 Quarterly Review Cover Letter – Private Policy

There is a very old, well known, Wall Street saying that goes something like this.

“The stock market will always climb a Wall of Worry!”

Oddly there are two themes that are conveyed in this saying.

  1. The obvious, a wall of worry creates enough doubt for capital markets to operate efficiently and rise
  2. The less obvious, when everything is clear and the sun is shining, sometimes it’s near the end of the expansionary times and happy capital markets.

As fast as this year went, our memories are still very clear on what capital markets look like just twelve months ago.

In chicken little like fashion the sky was falling, Capital Markets, and participants were throwing a giant hissy fit, and the federal reserve was cranking up interest rates to participants dismay.

With 2020 hindsight, a nice wall of worry was created.

With earnings being the ultimate driver of capital markets, a drop in earnings, a recession, or global slow down, would lead to the decline in capital markets but for now we certainly don’t have to worry about item two above in that old wall street saying.

Speaking of recessions, be sure to review the capital market article in our Q1 2020 Newsletter, concerning the lowering of rates while the inverted yield curve – a much talked about by us event, and somewhat disdained. As mentioned in the newsletter we ran across this information mid quarter, and certainly must acknowledge the history brought up by the speaker and his chart, which may avert a recession, at least for now

Also in the newsletter two, two -part personal financial planning articles, one dealing with inheritance and another dealing with automobiles that you may find interesting as these topics were repeated in our office throughout the final quarter of the year and made for a great subject.

Thank you for your time, thanks for reading our blog posts, newsletter and YouTube videos, we enjoyed bringing you all original, somewhat rough at times information as we see it through our eyes!

In Closing

Your Fourth Quarter summary is enclosed on the front page of this report we have included our most recent investment allocation from your Investment Policy Statement. This is also the time we attach our Private Policy Statement for the year along with our opportunity to offer our latest ADV filings; Requests for review will be accepted via phone, mail or email, and mailed immediately upon request.

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Enclosure (2019 Report, Private Policy)

 

J.K. Financial, Inc.

PRIVACY POLICY NOTICE

Our Promise to You

As a client of J.K. Financial, Inc., you share both personal and financial information with us.  Your privacy is important to us, and we are dedicated to safeguarding your personal and financial information.

Information Provided by Clients 

In the normal course of doing business, we typically obtain the following non-public personal information about our clients:

  • Personal information regarding our clients’ identity such as name, address and social security number;
  • Information regarding securities transactions effected by us; and
  • Client financial information such as net-worth, assets, income, bank account information and account balances.

How We Manage and Protect Your Personal Information

We do not sell information about current or former clients to third parties, nor is it our practice to disclose such information to third parties unless requested to do so by a client or client representative or, if necessary, in order to process a transaction, service an account or as permitted by law

In order to protect your personal information, we maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect your personal information.  Our Privacy Policy restricts the use of client information and requires that it be held in strict confidence.

Client Notifications

We are required by law to annually provide a notice describing our privacy policy.  In addition, we will inform you promptly if there are changes to our policy.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about this notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A True Yogi Berra saying may be fitting now – It’s like déjà vu all over again!”

Tariffs and Trade War Talks Continue

While the tariff banter seems relentless and every day changing, leading to Capital Market bipolar movements, one day irrational exuberance, and the next day irrationally depressed, as mentioned in our Q4 Newsletter, tariff talk has been going on for decades. With today’s constant bombardment of immediate news stories and short clips it seems, present party included, to be constant and all encompassing. The reality is this likely will work itself out, just as seen in the graph in the newsletter. Our bet is once the tariff talk turns into tariff agreements, we will see market relief and higher overall interest rates. For now, there’s no doubt that the tariff talk is slowing the global economy and there is no envy for public company managers trying to navigate the possible changes that occur on a day by day basis, making it very tough to stock inventory and make purchases.

Treasury Rates- Interest rate cycle

Given the afore mentioned Tariff Talk, FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) led by chief Jerome Powell and a company have embarked on a lowering of rates, twice to be exact, but only two .25 basis points each, in an attempt to help ease interest rate burdens and spur the economy. While not huge fans of the lowering of rates at this time due to gun powder needs at a future, when the inevitable recession occurs, at this time it appears we are on an interest rate decrease path, a complete 180° turn from just one year ago, when reserve officials were raising. If there is an agreement in Tariff talk, lowering of rates would likely stop, and we might even hear talks of raising, making for an interesting rate cycle. Time will tell.

Taxes or the savings of taxes paid

As we head into the final quarter of the year it’s time to make sure we’ve done all we can do for this years’ , especially items that have no look back features. As also mentioned in our Q4 newsletter, be sure to max those 401(k)s, contribute or distribute from 529‘s, complete Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s) and make sure those charitable giving are complete this year, as all of these items have a hard stop year-end deadline.

Have a great day and start to fall!

Sincerely,

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Enclosure 2019 Report