Update from Harold Lowe:
Over the past 6 months we have been providing you with updated information regarding my health. Unless something else unexpectedly develops, this is intended to be the final update that we will be sending.
The reason it will hopefully be the final update reflects the results of the PET/CT scan that was performed on June 14th, 2010. In the words of the doctor: ” PET Scan shows resolution of all previous metabolic activity in the spine and elsewhere and all lymph nodes are smaller than before. Together results indicate complete response at this time.”
Obviously there is no better report that we could have hoped for. Considering the aggressive nature of the lymphoma this report is awesome! So, the plan at this point is to check my status every 3 months for the next 2 years with a PET/CT scan.
As I have indicated in previous communications, this journey over the past 6 months has been quite challenging in many respects. However, it was made so much easier because of the support from all of you. The caring concern of all that sent emails as well as cards, your prayers and all of your words of encouragement made things so much more tolerable. I cannot begin to adequately thank all of you for this support and encouragement.
In many ways it is unfortunate one has to go through an experience of this nature to truly appreciate how important the supportive relationship with others really is. Clearly this experience has had its impact on me as a person. It has caused me to look at life in a very different way and certainly to not take anything for granted. It has taught me the true meaning and value of friends and how important it is to support each other in every way possible.
I feel so blessed to have been given what I consider to be a second chance at life.
Our discretionary and actively managed portfolios continue to be tilted toward preservation. A shift we made in early May. At that time, we made the decision to take some of the recent gains off the table by reducing our equity exposure by about 5% in some portfolios. Shortly thereafter, we exited the energy sector and added an inverse position (in actively managed accounts only).
Our goal was to take steps which might dampen the potential market risk by about as the pressures of Europe and a slowing U.S. economic recovery came into play. We believe the market increase of this past Tuesday and the fact that the market did not fall yesterday (on a day when it clearly should have been down) is not rational and could be unwound very quickly. However, we know investors are not always rational and in light of that, we are considering that we may have hit a market bottom, at least in the near term.
The fundamental problems with the market (Europe and a slowing domestic recovery) have not changed or improved in any meaningful manner in the past few days.
To us, we go back to the fact that the unemployment number released yesterday does not support job growth. Without job growth there is no income growth. Without income growth there is no spending increases and without spending increases how can corporate profits increase? Another interesting indicator about the overall perception of the economy by businesses is the amount of cash businesses are stockpiling. Businesses fear they will not be able to obtain credit and that profits will not meet targets and they have, according to an article earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal, stockpiled a record amount of cash.
When you add the European situation to the mix, we cannot see how the market can a. sustain any of the recent gains and b. continue higher in any sustainable manner. If the market does trend higher we think it could be setting investors up for massive disappointment. The only thing that could drive it higher in the short term is the absence of new bad news out of Europe and reasonable corporate earnings in July.
If the stock market does increase in value strongly in the near term, our current allocations could allow us to participate in a portion of those gains, but we will lag behind pure market indexes because of the diverse approach we have taken in most allocations.
Our number one focus for discretionary actively managed portfolios remains potential preservation portfolio value, followed by a reasonable level of growth.
We think the risk remains elevated presently and that a more conservative strategy is mandated. Lowe Wealth Advisors speaks with our Capital Markets Analyst Morris Segall several times a week and will let you know of any changes which we are considering.
Looking forward, we are beginning to study asset classes that are generally not correlated to the equity and bond markets. The extreme volatility may be here to stay for some time, and if it is, we may seek to add asset classes that might generate potential returns regardless of market activity. The goal of an asset class such as this is to preserve assets and earn a reasonable return greater than inflation, no matter what the markets are doing, over a market cycle.
Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. Not all portfolios are actively managed. If you have a question about how your account is being managed please contact us. Generally accounts less than $150,000 are not actively managed. An Index is a portfolio of specific securities (common examples are S&P, DJIA, NASDAQ), the performance of which is often used as a benchmark in judging the relative performance of certain asset classes. Indexes are unmanaged portfolios and investors cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
- Not all portfolios are actively managed. If you have a question about how your account is being managed please contact us.
- No diversification can completely protect against market risk or other risk factors with investing. A diversified portfolio could still lose money.
- An Index is a portfolio of specific securities (common examples are S&P, DJIA, NASDAQ), the performance of which is often used as a benchmark in judging the relative performance of certain asset classes. Indexes are unmanaged portfolios and investors cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
Foreign investing carries additional risk such as currency risk, political risk and different accounting standards.
*Lowe Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor.