Big News From TD Ameritrade

Hi everyone,

**In this week’s blog below, we highlighted the fact that TD Ameritrade is cutting its trade costs from $6.95 to $0.00 on all exchange-traded funds (ETFs). We stated that trade costs would still apply for individual stocks. That is incorrect. Trade costs are going to zero dollars for individual stocks as well, which is great news.**

Click below to watch this week’s blog. Enjoy.

(video created in Camtasia)
(charts created in

Have a great week!

Brian E Betz, CFP®

Is Merger Mania Upon Us?

Hi everyone,

Here is the rundown of this week’s blog…

  • Seattle-based Tableau bought by another software giant for $16 billion (0:10)

  • What does the Tableau sale mean for the broader market? (2:00)

  • Stocks rise on the week, though mixed results at the sector level (2:55)

  • S&P 500 struggles to eclipse the 2,900 level (4:07)

  • Importance of the 200-day moving average and what it is telling us (5:14)

  • Portfolio activity (8:05)

Last, but not least… HAPPY (belated) FATHER’S DAY!

Have a great week!

Brian E Betz, CFP®

Digging Into A Very Muddy Bond Market

Hi everyone,

Here is the rundown of this week’s blog…

  • Read Josh’s latest blog highlighting the 8 ways to put cash to work (0:20)

  • Unemployment holds at 3.6%, lowest in 50 years (0:48)

  • Largest weekly percentage gain for stocks this year (2:08)

  • What now for stocks? (3:30)

  • What bond yield curve “inversion” means and why it matters (5:05)

  • Portfolio activity (10:47)

(sources:, FRED) (Video created using Camtasia)

Have a great week!

Brian E Betz, CFP®

Buy, Sell Or Hold Boeing Stock?

Hi everyone,

I usually keep our rationale to a minimum in these blogs whenever I discuss portfolio buying and selling. This is intentional. We refrain from celebrating wins and try to learn from losses. In either case, we do not dwell. We ask ourselves if we used our best judgment in the decision-making process and then move forward.

I bring this up because we are in a unique spot with one of our current holdings: Boeing (BA).

We bought Boeing back in March, at a time when it appeared it was set up well for further gains. That did not occur. The opposite, in fact.

Shortly after we bought, an Ethiopian Airlines-operated Boeing 737 MAX plane crashed. These type of one-off events are impossible to predict. I rarely assign the price movement of a stock to a particular event, but this was a rare exception. The Boeing share price fell some -12% over that weekend and, just like that, we were quickly down on our position.

No excuses here. It did not work out as we thought. Did we use our best judgment in arriving at the decision to buy? Yes. If another investment presents us with a similar price-trend, we would buy that without hesitation.

So now what? This is where the work lies. When an investment has such a sharp move like Boeing did, the outlook changes considerably. So now do we…

Buy more shares?

We decided to purchase more shares of Boeing for accounts that had the room to do so. Since that time, Boeing has been pretty flat. Each week we analyze whether this is merely a blip in the long-term uptrend (the positive outcome) or the beginning of a steeper decline yet to come (the negative outcome).

Right now it is hard to say. I would not advocate buying more shares of it right here. However, as our own behavior implies, if you own shares of Boeing I would not sell them just yet. We would not continue to hold Boeing if we did not think there was a decent chance of it rallying in the coming weeks. But my conviction is not strong enough to advocate buying right here. I say this while considering the importance of time. If we own something that is fledgling around, we are missing the opportunity to own something else that we believe has a better chance to rise in the weeks ahead.

(Side note: Only accounts that own individual stock own Boeing currently. If your portfolio only owns exchange-traded funds, ETFs, this does not affect you. I am happy to discuss your portfolio make-up and whether individual stocks makes sense for your situation.)

I could speak at much greater length about Boeing and our investment decision-making process. Feel free to ask me. For now I thought you might find it interesting to hear my take on a current position we own, specifically one that has yet to play out in our favor as we had anticipated. With that being said, the book is not fully written just yet. Let’s see what happens from here. If there is enough interest in Boeing stock I’ll provide greater detail next week into our rationale for buying it.

In The Market...

The S&P 500 was essentially flat last week. Let's look under the hood:

(price data via

The S&P index entered the holiday shortened week at 2,907 and finished it at 2,905. So not much happening. Roughly half of the stock sectors gained, again led by the growth-oriented areas of the market (Industrials, Technology, Consumer Discretionary). This is certainly a positive, but it’s tough to make too much out of that just yet. If the overall market is to hit new highs these sectors must continue to lead the way.

Portfolio-wise we sold both our Semiconductor Fund (XSD) and Industrials Fund (XLI) this past week. With the broader market hitting a pause, this presented a good opportunity to sell those positions for nice gains before reallocating the proceeds elsewhere. As such, I anticipate reinvesting these funds in the near future, although I would like to see the overall market surge to new highs before we do.

In Our Portfolios...

What's New With Us?

I hope everyone enjoyed a nice Easter Sunday. We were supposed to go up to Newcastle for a brunch and Easter egg hunt but our daughter was sick all weekend (she’s fine now). We did finish our back yard project, which is a plus. We had a new fence installed and pushed out a retaining wall to provide us some more space.

I will be out of the office this Friday. If you need something urgent, shoot Josh an email that day.

Have a great week!

Brian E Betz, CFP®