• Raffa Wealth Management

    Raffa Wealth Management is a boutique investment advisory firm. We can help you achieve your financial goals so you can enjoy the freedom to pursue your passion. We know that you’re working to accomplish great things for your families and in our communities. We’re proud to help you Grow it for Good!

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through April 22nd

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US stocks rose over the week on positive earnings reports. The S&P 500 gained 0.9% and the Dow rose 0.5% for the week.  Abroad, Europe eased 0.6% ahead of the French election and Japan had its best week since February jumping 1.6% for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury bond ended the week at 2.23% and in line with the previous week.  Oil fell below $50 a barrel dropping 7.4% over the week.  Article

China posted a higher than expected 6.9% GDP growth rate in the first quarter, the fastest rate of growth since the third quarter of 2015. The pace is well ahead of its 6.5% annual growth target.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May called for early elections in June in order to strengthen her position in the country’s upcoming negotiations to leave the EU.

Netflix, United, VW, BofA, Morgan Stanley, Honeywell, American Express and Blackrock posted positive earnings reports, while IBM, Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm, Verizon and GE disappointed.

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through April 15th

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US stocks sank over the week on geopolitical concerns with Syria, Russia and North Korea. The S&P 500 sank 1.1% and the Dow eased 1.0% for the week.  Internationally, Japan fell 1.8% and Europe was off 0.2% for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury fell to 2.24%, its lowest level since mid November, as investors moved into safe haven investments.  Article

Economist have lowered their growth forecasts for the first quarter and 2017 on increasing skepticism many of the campaign promises will materialize to same degree or at all.

Retail sales fell 0.2% in March from February and February was revised down from a 0.1% gain to a 0.3% decrease. It’s the first decline in two straight months since 2015.  Article

Inflation unexpectedly eased in March with the CPI U falling 0.3% from February. Excluding food and energy it fell 0.1%.

An internal Wells Fargo report slammed former CEO Stumpf over the bank’s sales scandal and the firm is clawing back $75 million in pay from former executives.

JP Morgan and Citigroup posted sharp increases in profit in the first quarter, but warned investors that the benefits of higher interest rates and Trump’s election won’t help the banks as quickly as many investors expected.

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through April 8th

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US Stocks were flat for the week after digesting a variety of economic reports and US missile strike on Syria. The S&P 500 eased 0.3% and Dow edged down slightly for the week.  Internationally, Europe was flat, but Japan fell 1.3% for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury edged down slightly to end the week at 2.38%.  Article

The jobs report fell well below expectations with only 98,000 jobs added below the 175,000 expected. In addition, the January and February reports were revised to show 38,000 less new hires.    However, the unemployment rate did drop 0.2% to 4.5%.  The average hourly earnings rose 2.7% in March from a year earlier in line with expectations.  Article

US manufacturing activity continued to expand in March, however at a reduced rate as compared to February.

Auto sales dipped in March.

Minutes from the Fed’s March meeting were released showing that it would likely begin shrinking a $4.5 trillion loan portfolio later this year.  Article

US firms in the S&P 500 are expected to post an 11.2% jump in earnings in the first quarter over last year, the strongest performance since 2011.

Tesla posted its best quarter to date with a sales increase of 69%. It is now the second most highly valued auto firm in the US behind GM.

Panera Bread agreed to sell its self to European investment fund JAB holding for $7.2 billion.

 

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed

Foreign Stocks Take the Lead

After the last several years of trailing performance we have heard from many investors questioning the continued efficacy of investing in international equity. We specifically tackled the topic in our early January Blog post Does Diversification Still Work?  We stated that while it certainly had not worked out recently, over time diversification still makes sense and we still believe in it.

With the completion of the first quarter you can see why. The US stock market had a fantastic quarter, rising 5.74%, however international stocks performed even better.  The total international market gained 7.92%.  While it certainly is too early to declare victory for foreign stocks over US stocks for 2017, it has clearly been beneficial to have an allocation to international stocks for the year to date.

We fully expect there will be times when foreign stocks outpace and when US stocks outpace. However, it is impossible to know beforehand which will be in favor and for how long.  By maintaining exposures to both asset classes, and avoiding the temptation to time the markets, it provides a smoother ride for your investment portfolio.

 

Index Performance    March 1Q Trl 1 Yr
US Stock (Russell 3000) 0.07% 5.74% 18.07%
Foreign Stock (FTSE AW ex US) 2.56% 7.92% 13.85%
Total US Bond Mkt. (BarCap Aggregate) -0.05% 0.82% 0.44%
Short US Gov. Bonds (BarCap Gov 1-5 Yr) 0.05% 0.39% -0.13%
Municipal Bonds (BarCap 1-10yr Muni) 0.12% 1.55% 0.21%
Cash (ML 3Month T-Bill)  0.02% 0.10% 0.36%

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management, Portfolio Strategy | Comments closed

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through April 1st

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US stocks had their best quarterly performance since the end of 2015 as investors moved from expecting changes in US policy to expecting stronger economy growth. For the week, the S&P 500 was up 0.8% and the Dow rose 0.3%.  Internationally, Europe gained 1.2%, while Japan sank 1.8% for the week.  The yield on the 10 Year Treasury was flat for the week finishing March at 2.40%.  Article

Margin debt reached an all time high in February, a new sign of investor bullishness.

US home prices in January increased at their fastest rate since 2014. The Case Shiller index rose 5.9% over the trailing twelve months.  Much of the surge in pricing has been driven by limited supply with the number of homes for sale down 7.1%.

Consumer confidence hit its highest level in 16 years.  Article

The UK officially notified the EU of its intention to leave setting off a likely acrimonious 2 year negotiation.

Fourth quarter GDP was revised up to 2.1% from 1.9% above expectations.

The Fed is currently planning to make two additional rate increases this year then pause near the end of the year to begin to unwind the $4.5 trillion portfolio of mortgage and Treasury securities. The plan depends on the continued steady growth of the economy.

The personal consumption expenditures index, the preferred measure of inflation by the Fed, rose to 2.1% in February for the first time surpassing the 2% goal the Fed targets.

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through March 25th

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US Stocks had their worst week since before the election on concerns over whether the president’s agenda will meet investor expectations.  The S&P 500 sank 1.4% and the Dow dropped 1.5% for the week.  Internationally, Japan fell 1.4% and Europe edged down 0.5% for the week.  The yield on the 10 Year Treasury fell to 2.40%, its lowest level since the end of February.   Article

US durable goods orders rose 1.7% in February, but excluding aircraft purchases it rose 0.4%.

After 7 years of losses Sears said it may not be able to continue operations.

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through March 18th

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US Stocks rose slightly over the week as it appeared, based on Fed comments, that they would not raise rates as quickly as the market was expecting. The S&P 500 gained 0.2% and the Dow ticked up 0.1% for the week.  Internationally, Europe rose 1.4%, while Japan fell 0.5% for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury, after reaching its highest level in over two years, fell over the week to 2.50%.  Article

The Fed announced it was raising the Fed funds rate a quarter percentage point to between 0.75% and 1.0%. They said they still expected to make two additional quarter percentage point increases this year.  The increase was made as the Fed views the US economy as being on more solid footing.  The projections were less aggressive then the market had anticipated.  As a result treasury yields fell.  The 10 Year Treasury yield posted its largest one day drop, 0.10%, since June.  Article

Retail sales posted their smallest gain since last summer rising just 0.1% in February.

Geert Wilders, an anti immigration candidate in the Netherlands, failed to make inroads in the Dutch election.

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through March 11th

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US stocks posted their first down week since January on a decline in oil prices. Oil fell below $50 to $48.49 a barrel and dropped 9.1% for the week.  The S&P 500 slipped 0.4% and the Dow fell 0.5% for the week.  Internationally, Japan rose 0.7%, while Europe was off 0.5% for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury reached its highest level this year rising to 2.58% driven by expectations of the Fed hiking the Fed funds rate at its March meeting.  Article

Job growth maintained its steady pace with 235,000 jobs added topping expectations. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.7%.  Average earnings rose to 2.8% from a year earlier.  The strong report provides additional support for the Fed to make an interest rate hike at their next meeting.  Article

The ECB said they will not reduce the bond purchase program they have in place or cut it short despite recent positive economic news from the country bloc. Draghi did state that it’s unlikely they will need to continue past the end of this year.

South Korean authorities are bringing bribery and corruption charges against the de facto leader of Samsung.

GM sold its Opel unit to France’s Peugeot.

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed

If the Fed Makes another Move, Should You?

Numerous statements have been made recently by Fed Governors saying they are actively looking at raising the Fed Funds rate soon. The most recent was a speech by Fed Chairwomen Janet Yellen stating that a March rate hike was highly likely if employment and inflation data continue to be in line with the central bank’s expectations.  After putting a low probability on a Fed rate increase as recently as Monday, February 27th, investors now believe that a rate increase is highly likely at their March meeting.

Investors’ expectations have quickly been reflected in interest rates with the 10 year Treasury yield increasing from 2.36% at the end of February to over 2.50% a week into March. Looking back to when the Fed last raised the Fed Funds rate in December, the 10 year Treasury yield is actually slightly lower now even after investors have priced in a likely March rate hike.  So while the Fed certainly has influence, there are many factors that impact interest rates.

We still very much recommend maintaining a fixed income allocation despite the head winds of a possible increase in interest rates. Fixed income should be viewed as an investment to maintain capital and provide stability from the more volatile equity side of the portfolio.  On average stocks decline in value every four years while bonds fall six years.  In addition, the declines from stock can be much more drastic than from fixed income. An increase in interest rates now is actually better for investors with a time horizon longer than the maturity of their bond portfolios as it will result in a higher expected return.

In order to cushion a fixed income portfolio from rising interest rates we recommend maintaining a shorter average maturity compared to the overall bond market. Shorter term bonds are less impacted by interest rates and have fallen less over the last six months. We also recommend diversifying amongst sectors.  Corporate, government, mortgage and credit bonds react to changes in interest rates differently.  By having exposure to all of these sectors it can limit the negative impact from rising rates.  Finally, having exposure to foreign bonds can further diversify a portfolio.  Foreign interest rates move differently than US rates providing exposure to multiple other yield curves.  While rates in the US may rise other countries may see falling rates.

Regardless of the direction of interest rates over the coming years, we still believe they are a vital piece of a well diversified portfolio. By investing across sectors and globally and maintaining a shorter term allocation it can smooth out the ride and help you meet your long term investing goals.

 

Index Performance    Feb. YTD Trl 1 Yr
US Stock (Russell 3000) 3.72% 5.67% 26.29%
Foreign Stock (FTSE AW ex US) 1.74% 5.22% 20.24%
Total US Bond Mkt. (BarCap Aggregate) 0.67% 0.87% 1.42%
Short US Gov. Bonds (BarCap Gov 1-5 Yr) 0.15% 0.34% 0.05%
Municipal Bonds (BarCap 1-10yr Muni) 0.66% 1.43% 0.01%
Cash (ML 3Month T-Bill)  0.04% 0.09% 0.39%

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management, Portfolio Strategy | Comments closed

Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through March 4th

All the news you need to stay informed about what’s currently driving the market – courtesy of Raffa Wealth Management, LLC.

US stocks posted their sixth straight week of gains posting record highs yet again on investor optimism. The S&P 500 rose 0.7% and the Dow gained 0.9%, for the week.  Internationally, Japan was up 1.0% and Europe surged 1.4%, for the week.  The yield on the 10 year Treasury yield rose to 2.49% up 0.17% over the week as investors expected an interest rate increase from the Fed in March.  Article

Recent comments by Fed Chairwomen Janet Yellen and other Fed Governors have increased the likelihood of a March interest rate increase.  Article

US auto sales were flat in February with discounts weighing on automakers.

The DOL “fiduciary” rule was delayed 60 days to allow further consideration.

The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation rose to 1.9% in January, close to its target of 2.0%

Eurozone business grew more upbeat in February with confidence reaching the highest level since before the financial crisis.

Caterpillar’s offices were raided by the IRS and other government agencies over suspected misleading information released about its financial documents and exports.

Snap’s IPO soared, rising 44% on its first day to value the company at $34 billion.  Article

Target posted declines in profit and sales and said 2017 would be worse than Wall Street expected.

 

About

Raffa Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor providing nonprofit organizations, high net-worth investors, and qualified retirement plans with a full range of investment consulting services.  We were established to fill the need for transparency, clarity, and vision in the professional management of investment assets.   Visit us at www.raffawealth.com

 

DiggLinkedInDeliciousRead It LaterStumbleUponEmailGoogle BookmarksGoogle BuzzFacebookShare
Posted in Monthly Market Commentary, Nonprofit Investing, Personal Financial Management | Comments closed
  • Contact Us
    Raffa Wealth Management
    1899 L Street, NW
    Suite 900
    Washington, DC 20036
    Tel: 202-955-6734