Elliot H. Kallen

Financial Planner, Wealth Manager, Registered Principal
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Inflation Mystery

Seventy-one-year-old Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen, a Professor of Economics at Harvard and Berkeley for four decades before her appointment to lead the Fed in 2014, admitted at a press conference recently that the persistently low rate of inflation was a mystery. Perhaps then it should be no surprise that inflation’s mysterious behavior is behind the unexpectedly good financial news of 2017.
 
 
 
 
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Business Mergers and Acquisitions Acquiring and Selling a Company With Tax Efficiency and Opportunity

Prosperity is proud to present an educational event for Business Owners, CFOs and CPAs: Strategies for Acquiring and Selling a Business. Thursday November 9th: 5:30-7:30 pm at Prosperity's First Floor Conference Room. Guest Speaker - Ron Claussen Attorney at Law specializing in Business Sales Transactions

  • Enjoy free appetizers and drinks
  • Relaxed, no-pressure atmosphere
  • Feel free to bring family, friends and colleagues

Register here

Ron Claussen’s practice focuses on corporate law, with an emphasis on merging growth companies, venture capital financing and mergers and acquisitions. Ron continues his entrepreneurial approach to the practice of law, providing creative solutions for his clients’ business opportunities.

Prior to going into private practice in 1986, Ron was general counsel to Nanco Enterprises, and had oversight of Nanco’s subsidiaries, including Carrows Restaurants, Jeremiah’s Steakhouses, Elephant Bar and Restaurants, Rayne Corporation and Santa Barbara Aviation, Inc. In addition to his general counsel responsibilities for these companies, Ron became actively involved in the long range orientation of each entity. From 1978 through 1981, Ron was also president of the Rayne Corporation, a west coast franchisor of water treatment products. In only three years, he doubled the client base of this 50-year-old company through acquisitions and strategic alignments.

Ron is a member of the State Bar of California and the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity and was a charter member in the Gibson Inn, Phi Delta Phi. Ron served as the Pacific Coast Director of the Montana Wildlife Federation from 2008-2013, during which time he created and fostered MWF’s Montana Matters fundraising campaign (www.montanamatters.com); he currently serves as an At-Large Director of the National Wildlife Federation and as a member of its development committee. He received his B.A. from University of California at Davis in 1968 with departmental honors and earned his J.D. from the University of California at Davis in 1971.

For more information, please call Yvette Mays at 925.314.8501 or Register here.

 

 

 

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This Week's News in Wealth Management

The Federal Reserve’s new Beige Book for August rolled in, and it’s a recipe for broad, steady growth that is neither too hot nor too cold - a “Goldilocks economy.” Conditions are “just right” because the Fed feels no pressure to hit the brakes on the economy any time soon, particularly with inflation slowing.

Since growth is coming with almost no inflation, the Fed is nowhere even close to considering tightening credit.
That’s good because Fed intervention, when rates are hiked too much by policymakers and choke off growth, always eventually causes a recession. With no Fed action on the horizon, this 99-month-old expansion could very well surpass the record 120-month long post-War boom of the 1990s.

The Institute of Supply Management’s August survey of corporate purchasing managers came in this week at a strong 58.8%. Although this indicator has occasionally slipped below 50% during expansions, it has historically collapsed well below 50% right when the economy has fallen into recessionAt 58.8%, the manufacturing economy is looking good.

The ISM’s manufacturing purchases index is calculated monthly based on ten equally weighted components.
One of the ten measures new orders. The New Orders Index is a metric of business orders entering the pipeline at large manufacturing companies, and a good way of judging growth in the weeks immediately ahead. At 60.3%, new orders in August were exceptionally strong.

Of course, the manufacturing sector accounts for only about 12% of the U.S. economy. The non-manufacturing services sector is more important to American prosperity. While it has a limited history dating back only to 2008, the survey of purchasing managers in non-manufacturing strengthened from 53.9% in July to 55.3% in August, staying well above the 50% line where recessions become a concern.

The forward-looking component of this indicator showed new orders rose to 57.1% in August. This indicates the pipeline for non-manufacturing companies - 88% of the economy - is loaded up with new orders in the weeks immediately ahead. One caveat is needed here: the hurricanes that hit Houston and Florida are likely to cause some business disruption and create some new uncertainty.

With the economy cruising along at a sustainable pace and almost no inflation, a recession -the most likely cause of bear markets - is not on the horizon. But bear markets have occasionally occurred during expansions.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has repeatedly broken its all-time record-high price since the start of the year in a strong new leg of the eight-and-a-half-year bull market. A natural disaster, domestic political uncertainty, the standoff with North Korea, or some completely unexpected crisis could trigger a change in sentiment and a 15% drop in stock prices at any time. The economy shows no sign of weakness and a bear market is unlikely, but a bear market can never be entirely ruled out. However, Goldilocks conditions have set in motion a virtuous growth cycle that could continue rolling along, and stock prices could be driven much higher still.

As financial professionals, we are an authoritative and independent channel for news about wealth management.
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Join us for a Night of Education and Hors d'oeurves on September 14th.

Bring a friend or family member to our free event.  Learn How to Avoid Financial Landmines and Cyber Security and Beyond on Thursday, September 14th, 2017 from 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm at Prosperity’s First Floor conference Room.

The event will feature special guest speaker Brian Nash, Regional Director for Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Brian is responsible for managing Goldman Sachs’ Independent Financial Advisor relationships in Northern California. Brian joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 and brings over 12 years of industry experience to the firm. Prior to this role Brian was a Regional Consultant for Goldman Sachs in their Chicago office. Brian received his BA in Finance from the University of Illinois and his MBA from Kellogg University.

Elliot Kallen, Prosperity Financial Principal, will also be presenting. Elliot brings over 25 years of entrepreneurial business ownership experience to Prosperity’s financial planning and advising practice. Elliot is a keynote speaker on motivation and marketing in the independent financial advisor industry, utilizing his previous experience in international distribution to teach other investment professionals nationwide. He holds Series 7-, 24-, 63-, 65- and 66-licenses to offer securities. Since 1993, Elliot has been licensed to offer insurance and annuities underwritten by a wide variety of the nation’s insurers. in 2011, Elliot was named one of the Top 300 Advisors to the Defined Contribution (401k) Industry.

For more information please contact Yvette Mays at 925.314.8500 or register online here.

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Horse Sense Economics as Stocks Break Another All time High

According to the Federal Reserve Bank’s latest Beige Book, modest to moderate gains in the U.S. economy are just ahead. “Consumer spending appears to be rising across a majority of Districts, led by increases in non-auto retail sales and tourism,” said the U.S. central bank’s report.

Published every six weeks, the Beige Book summarizes economic data collected by the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. In the 32-page mid-July report, many Districts noted softer consumer spending, particularly in auto sales, which declined in six Districts.

But it’s likely auto sales were merely reverting to their long-term mean rate, after surging way above their long-term norm in the long comeback from The Great Recession. Here’s the evidence.

The proof is in June’s report showing total retail sales, which, compared to a year earlier, grew by 3.2%.  =That’s stronger than the 3.1% peak achieved during the last economic expansion! While auto sales can be volatile, total retail sales are nonetheless doing just fine.

Meanwhile, Fed Chair Janet Yellen, in Congressional testimony, reiterated that she expects to continue the gradual upward course of rates in the face of growing economic strength —even as inflation declined sharply in recent months.

The so-called “headline” inflation rate that is almost always cited in the financial media, the Consumer Price Index, started a nosedive in February, and on June 30th was at just 1.6% —plunging from 2.8%.

Ms. Yellen has been quoted in the press saying wage-inflation is on the way and, as a labor economist, she should know. Wage inflation is evident in the Core CPI, which indexes the monthly expenses consumers pay but excludes food and gasoline. Lower gas expenses have masked wage inflation evident in the Core CPI rate. A strong labor market and rising imports are likely to make the disinflation temporary.

Consumers are not overly optimistic. When consumers become giddy, it could be a signal of trouble ahead for the stock market. Optimism is not approaching the peaks of the tech-stock bubble. For a bull market to continue, optimism can’t be so widespread. You always need skeptical bears on the sidelines that may eventually capitulate, change their minds and purchase stocks.

In early July, 63 economists gave The Wall Street Journal their forecasts for five quarters, and the consensus prediction was that the U.S. would grow an average of 2.5% quarterly. The 2.5% quarterly forecast is a small revision downward; it stemmed from a reduction in the forecast for the quarter that just ended on June 30th.

A handful of economists, politicians and pundits say a 2.5% growth rate is not that good and that 3% growth, or more, is possible. But the math driving America’s economy makes growth higher than 2% unsustainable. Demographics and productivity — the key factors — cannot reasonably be expected to make a 3% growth rate sustainable.And don’t turn your nose up at a 2.5% growth rate.

Economic horse sense tells us 2.5% is pretty darn good growth! In fact, it would significantly outpace the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s 10-year projection of less than 2%.

The key growth engine in a diversified portfolio, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, has been hitting new all-time highs repeatedly for months. Unexpected bad news could plunge stock prices by 10% or 15% at any time, but the outlook for economic fundamentals that drive stocks prices remains bright.

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Market Data

Market DataBank: 2Q 2017

Contact Info

2333 San Ramon Valley Blvd.
Suite 200
San Ramon, CA 94583
Phone: 925-314-8500
Fax: 925-314-8504
prosperity@prosperityfg.com

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