April 21, 2014
Weekly Market Commentary
April 21, 2014
"Donetsk is a British city! God Save the Queen." In a parody worthy of The Onion, an online poll suggested citizens of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk would like to secede and join Britain. The city, which was founded by Welsh steel worker John Hughes in the 19th century, has been the site of conflict between pro-government and pro-Russian groups recently.
Ignoring the Donetsk poll, which showed 61 percent of citizens favored accession to Britain, the European Union, the United States, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation reached an agreement on Thursday to “Refrain from any violence, intimidation, or provocative actions… All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares, and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.” Russia’s Micex index closed higher on the news; however, the gains may be short-lived as pro-Russian separatists refused to comply and continued to occupy government buildings in nine cities and towns in eastern Ukraine (including Donetsk).
Just across the Asian continent, China missed its government’s target for economic growth (7.5 percent) during the first quarter of 2014, although it exceeded the expectations of economists who had estimated growth at 7.2 percent. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.4 percent.
In America and across the globe, news of conflict in Ukraine and slowing growth in China were trumped by positive economic data and the Federal Reserve’s reassurance it was committed to keeping interest rates low for some time. The majority of indices tracked and reported by Barron’s International Recap showed gains for the week.
IT MIGHT NOT COME AS A SUPRISE TO LEARN MEN AND WOMEN have different priorities and worries. A recent survey by U.S. Trust found wealthy women – those with $3 million or more in investable assets – have goals similar to those of wealthy men, but they prioritize differently. The survey reported:
“Women create and control an increasing share of wealth and have a powerful economic influence in the workforce and at home – as business owners, executives, investors, philanthropists, consumers, caregivers, and role models for the next generation. They have a distinct perspective and set of behaviors, shaped by their experiences, upbringing, outlook, and goals that uniquely affect their income, financial security, wealth, and wealth planning needs.”
For example, when it comes to investing, almost two-thirds of women surveyed think it’s important to consider the social, political, and/or environmental effects of the companies in which they invest (42 percent of men share this belief). In fact, more than half are willing to accept a lower investment return if they believe the company in which they’re investing has a positive social impact. Close to three-fourths simply don’t want to invest in companies that have negative social or environmental influences.
On the family front, more than a third of women indicated they devote more time to caring for aging parents and other relatives than do their spouses. In some cases, women said care giving has affected their career advancement and/or income levels; however, relatively few have taken time to calculate the monetary value of the time they’ve spent providing care.
A 2013 Congressional Budget Office report estimated the economic value of caregiving for older Americans was about $234 billion in 2011. It arrived at its estimate by multiplying $21 per hour (the average wage of a home health aide in 2011) by 11.2 billion hours of donated care. Despite the cost, or perhaps because they don’t understand it, the vast majority of survey participants had no formal plans in place to provide for family members who might need support.
When it comes to taxes, a lot of people – male and female – are perplexed. Three-fourths of women are unclear about the effects of tax law changes on investments and income (as compared to 62 percent of men). Regardless of confusion, high net worth investors of both men and women felt pursuing higher returns was more important than letting tax matters determine their investment choices.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”
--Maya Angelou, American author and poet
Suzanne H. Christian, CFP®
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Suzanne Christian is a Registered Representative with and securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.
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