Are Stock Valuations Unsustainably High?

Yesterday (3/1/2017), on the heels of a well-received speech by President Trump to a joint session of Congress, the stock market once again reached record-high territory with the Dow smashing through 21,000 less than a month after breaking 20,000. So where do we go from here? As always, people who tell you they know are telling you a great deal about themselves and nothing about the actual future direction of the market.

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Expected Returns of REITs

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the expected future performance of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the Wall Street Journal. Recall that REITs are companies that own and operate rental properties such as hotels, apartments, warehouses, office buildings, and shopping centers. They are required to distribute at least 90% of their profits to shareholders as dividends which are not subject to the lower “qualified dividend” rate.

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Ultra-Low Interest Rates: The Elephant in the Room

“Got $1 million? That’s what it takes to retire nicely in Orange County” was the title of an article in the 2/21/2016 Orange County Register. Citing data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, the author (Teri Sforza) notes that the majority (52%) of Americans older than 55 have no retirement savings at all. Among the 48% with savings, the median value is about $150,000. This means that 76% either have no savings or have less than $150,000.

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