December 2018

“What I like about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with the present.”

– Don Marquis

This December, investors should ask themselves three important questions:

  1. Do I need to make tax-related trades before the end of the year?
  2. Have I taken my IRA required minimum distribution?
  3. How can I invest in Fingerling Untamed Raptors?

The Fingerling Raptors are among this year’s hottest Christmas toys, more about them in a moment, but first a recap of the financial markets in November…which were at times untamed.

The Markets – November 2018

In November the U.S. stock market was skittish and volatile but managed to finish in the plus column after a post-Thanksgiving rally.  The numbers:

  • S&P 500 Index:  $2,760.17 + 1.79% in November, +3.24% year-to-date
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average:  $25,538.41 +1.68% in November, + 3.31%  year-to-date
  • NASDAQ: $7,330.54  +.34% in November, +6.19% year-to-date

Oil, Gold and More – November 2018

 Light crude oil prices dropped 21% in November…which shook up oil companies but felt great at the pump. While oil prices plummeted, another fossil fuel soared:  natural gas rose 41%. 

 Meanwhile Coffee (choose your own pun here) ground, pressed or dripped lower. 

  • Light Crude: $50.72 -21.80% in November
  • Natural Gas: $4.64 +41.29% in November
  • Gold: $1,227.80 +.70% in November
  • Coffee:  107.55 cents pound -7.88% in November

Hot Toys:

During the Christmas season investors sometimes trade the season’s “hot toy” stocks, hoping for quick profits.  This year that strategy may not work.  Many of this year’s hot toys are made by private companies, meanwhile a few companies have been hurt by the recent bankruptcy of Toys-R-Us.  Among this season’s hot Christmas toys:

Fingerling Untamed Raptors

The Fingerlings were sellouts last year, and several Untamed Raptor species are already extinct on the shelves in ‘18.  According to WowWee™, “your actions will stir up all sorts of testy reactions: Tap his nose or pet him once or tap the back of his head for various replies, such as warning calls, hisses, growls, and roars!”  Fingerlings are sold by WowWee Holdings, a private Canadian robotics and electronics industrial conglomerate.  Also, super-hot from WowWee this Christmas are Fingerling Hugs, which are larger interactive monkeys kids can wrap around themselves.

Comment:   Nothing better than a hug from a monkey or a dinosaur.

Don’t Step In It

A game for the whole family.  Forgive us for being earthy, but we are not making any of this up. From Hasbro:  “Put on a blindfold, spin the spinner, and then take that many steps across the game mat.  But watch out!  Little piles of compound, molded in the shape of poop, have been strategically placed along the mat…”  You get the point.  Don’t step in it.  Hasbro is publicly traded (Nasdaq: HAS); the largest toy maker in the world as defined by stock value.  Hasbro owns the Transformers, Kenner, Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley, among other popular brands.  (There’s a “Monopoly” joke in here somewhere… which is another Hasbro game.)

Comment:  In November Hasbro stock dropped almost 10%. The decline is blamed on the Toys-R-Us bankruptcy; the retail chain accounted for 10% of Hasbro’s sales. 

Grumblies

Temper

According to Skyrocket LLC., Grumblies are, “Mischievous and short-tempered, Grumblies’ powerful tantrums are the root source of mother nature’s awesome power!”  Grumblies are toys you abuse – throw them around (or at your little brother) and the Grumblies in return throw temper tantrums.  Grumblies are part of the Pomsies toy family, made by Skyrocket LLC, a private California-based company.

Comment:  Glad Grumblies aren’t publicly traded.  Enough “short-tempered and mischievous” elements in the stock market already.

Honorable Mentions

We will spare you details of other hot Christmas toys including the Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set , (hide the family dog from the recipient of this gift?) or the Baby Alive Potty Dance Baby Doll.

One last hot 2018 Christmas toy: the Hatchimal Mystery.   A Hatchimal is a “mystery egg” purchased with no clue what creature lives inside.  But it’s all good.  “You could hatch a super fluffy Bunwee, Pandor, Hedgyhen or Elefly” says the marketing material.  Hatchimals are made by Spin Master (publicly traded, on the Toronto Stock Exchange).

Comment:  a well-named company.

Looking ahead to the last month of the year:  with razor thin profits year-to-date, the stock market’s performance in 2018 may come down to the next four weeks.   As always, the market is a mystery egg.  But with seasonal strength possible, the best advice – especially for long-term investors – may be:  step in it.

Note:  At the beginning of December’s Watching the Tape, we mentioned the timeliness of tax transactions and required minimum distributions.  For further information on those topics and more, check out the links below.

Mitigating Taxes, Simple IRA, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA

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