July 26, 2016

The Markets

“Start your engines,” was not in the Department of Labor (DOL)’s June Employment Report Summary, but it may as well have been. A positive jobs report revved investor optimism and sent U.S. stock markets sprinting higher last week.

Job growth was strong in June with 287,000 new jobs created. That helped soothe worries raised by a less than stellar May jobs report.

Investors appeared to agree the U.S. economic growth would continue apace. The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII)’s Investor Sentiment Survey reported bullish sentiment – the expectation stock prices will rise over the next six months – increased by 5.8 percentage points last week to 36.9 percent. That’s just the second time since November 2015 bullishness has stayed above 30 percent for two weeks in a row.

Money managers didn’t sit in the stands. The National Association of Active Investment Managers reported active managers increased their stock market exposure to 97 percent last week, which is the highest since the group began calculating the measure, according to Bloomberg.

Look into the Crystal Ball

Sure, the world has changed during the last decade or two. We’ve gained about 1.6 billion people. (There are now 7.2 billion of us, globally.) There is an app for almost everything. (Just try to ‘catch ‘em all!’) We even job hunt in cyberspace. (Make sure you customize your communications.) Here are a few other changes that may be coming our way soon:

  • Saltwater crops. One-fifth of the world’s irrigated farmland has been swamped by seawater, and rising sea levels mean more acreage may be at risk. Phys.org reports scientists around the world have been studying how to grow salt-tolerant crops, including potatoes, strawberries, carrots, onions, and lettuce.
  • Custom-engineered bones. “For the first time, pieces of living bone have been grown from the cells of…miniature pigs – and sculpted to replace…a pig’s lower jaw, one of the strongest and most complex jaws in the face,” according to LiveScience.com.
  • Smart refrigerators. Someday soon, you may replace your old refrigerator with a smart fridge. The latest models have cameras that connect to your smart phone via Wi-Fi, so you can see what’s inside while you’re shopping at the grocery store.
  • Food-sharing apps. Don’t have time to cook? Log in to a food-sharing app to “connect with people in the same area who have leftover food to give away, allowing surplus to be shared and not wasted.” NOT SURE I”D WANT THIS ONE!!
  • Dragon silk armor. Genetically modified silkworms – they now share DNA with spiders – are spinning one of the toughest fibers ever made. If it performs well in ballistic tests, the U.S. Army may soon be wearing silk.

Our parents and grandparents saw the arrival of countless innovations – the telegraph, radio, television, automobiles, space travel, and much more. We’re likely to witness some pretty amazing things, too!

Weekly Focus

“The four costly words in investing: this time it’s different”

-Walter Deemer

Image courtesy of Buck, used in accordance with the Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

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