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July 2014 Performance Review

August 3, 2014

Stocks finally took a breather at the end of the month as investor enthusiasm for newer startup and growth stocks may have hit an old economy wall of debt problems in Argentina and political instability in multiple locations. The global stock and bond market can't live on Facebook earnings and iPhone 6 expectations alone.

If July winds up being the top of a new bear market, the pets.com moment could be that Rap Genius, a website that tells you the meaning of rap lyrics, raised $40 million more dollars to expand into, well, who knows what.

Our Conservative portfolio was down 0.99% in July. Our Aggressive portfolio gained 0.24%. Benchmark Vanguard funds for July 2014: Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX) down 1.39%; Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX) off 0.26%; Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund (VTMGX) down 2.27%; Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index (VEIEX) up 1.46%; Vanguard Star Fund (VGSTX), a total global balanced portfolio fell, 1.31%.

We booked a pretty good month relative the stock and bond markets — which were both down in July — mostly in our Aggressive portfolio which benefited from shorts on oil and gold and good long term government bonds performance. We also enjoyed a surprisingly good showing in our emerging market funds, iShares MSCI BRIC Index (BKF) which one would expect to tank given the troubles in Russia and Argentina. As it turned out, China was about the strongest stock market in July with a near 4% rise in most funds in this area. The Conservative portfolio was dragged down by European and Utilities on the stock side.

Weak areas for us in July were micro-cap stocks Satuit Capital Micro Cap (SATMX) down 5.8% — small-cap growth funds were the weakest U.S. category for the month.

More surprising was the big drop in American Century Utility Income (BULIX) down 4.71%. Utilities have been outperforming the stock market this year and were sort of due to slide, but we would expect safe-seeming utilities to perform well in a month were risky investments performed poorly.

European stocks are showing signs of investor fears of economic troubles with a 4.32% drop in Vanguard European ETF (VGK).

In bonds longer-term government bonds did the best — as we'd expect when other governments are in trouble with debt. Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (EDV) was up 1.48%. In general bonds were flat to down except for high-yield, which were down over 2%. Surprisingly this didn't hit DoubleLine Floating Rate N (DLFRX), which was just down a fraction in July, as the credit rating of these floating rate bonds is low.

Stock Funds1mo %
PowerShares DB Crude Oil Dble Short (DTO)13.04%
Gold Short (DZZ)6.91%
iShares MSCI BRIC Index (BKF)3.87%
[Benchmark] Vanguard Emerging Mkts Stock Idx (VEIEX)1.46%
Wasatch Frontier Emerg Sm Count (WAFMX)1.22%
Vanguard Telecom Services ETF (VOX)1.18%
Vanguard Europe Pacific ETF (VEA)-1.21%
Vanguard MegaCap Growth (MGK)-1.29%
[Benchmark] Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX)-1.39%
[Benchmark] Vanguard Tax-Managed Intl Adm (VTMGX)-2.27%
PRIMECAP Odyssey Growth (POGRX)-2.38%
Wasatch Long/Short (FMLSX)-2.42%
Artisan Global Equity (ARTHX)-2.46%
Vanguard European ETF (VGK)-4.32%
American Century Utility Income (BULIX)-4.71%
Satuit Capital Micro Cap (SATMX)-5.80%
Bond Funds1mo %
Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (EDV)1.48%
PIMCO Mortgage Opportunities D (PMZDX)0.19%
Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index ETF (BLV)-0.01%
DoubleLine Floating Rate N (DLFRX)-0.05%
[Benchmark] Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)-0.26%