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The Markets (as of market close December 21, 2018)

The tech-heavy Nasdaq had been the only benchmark index to have exceeded its 2017 closing value. That is no longer the case, as an 8.36% drop last week put the Nasdaq more than 8.0% below its value at the end of last year and firmly in bear market territory. Investors saw the potential of a federal government shutdown and an implied warning from the Federal Reserve that the economy may be slowing as reason to seek shelter from stocks. Besides the Nasdaq, each of the other benchmark indexes listed here suffered large weekly losses, led by the small caps of the Russell 2000, followed by the large caps of the S&P 500 and the Dow. The Global Dow fell “only” 4.86% and is over 13% below its 2017 year-end value.

Oil prices plummeted last week, closing at $45.42 per barrel by late Friday, down from the prior week’s closing price of $51.16 per barrel. The price of gold (COMEX) increased last week, closing at $1,259.10 by last Friday evening, up from the prior week’s price of $1,242.20. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.369 per gallon on December 17, 2018, $0.052 lower than the prior week’s price and $0.081 less than a year ago.

did you know?

Investors remain rattled by recent market volatility, and the level of these swings has been dizzying with continual record-breaking statistics. Of the twenty largest point shifts in the history of the Dow, twelve of them occurred in 2018, but none of the largest percentage shifts occurred this decade (as of 12-26-18). Here are four days to remember:

  • The largest single-day point gain for the Dow: 1,086.25 (12-26-18)
  • The largest single-day point loss for the Dow:l 1,175.21 (2-5-2018)
  • The Dow saw its largest daily percentage gain of 15.34% (3-15-1933)
  • The Dow experienced its largest daily percentage loss of 22.61% (10-19-1987)

Sources: MarketWatch, CNBC, Bloomberg, DJIA

bright ideas
Stop-Loss Provides Relief for Anxious Investors:
Eliminating Emotion and Extreme Volatility

Are we merely in a correction or are we headed into full bear territory? Time will tell the extent of the market downturn, but what remains clear is a correction seemed inevitable in 2018. Over the course of this past year, we have seen a significant shift in the emotions driving investors from greed to extreme fear, further fueling recent volatility. After a prolonged and historic bull run in 2017, the equity markets stagnated in 2018 and dipped close to correction territory on numerous occasions before finally tanking during the holiday season, triggering the stop-loss mechanism in Beacon’s Vantage portfolios on December 21.

Fear and Greed IndexSource: CNN Business

As emotions of either extreme lead investors to act against their best intentions, at Beacon, we believe in eliminating emotion from investing altogether. Our front-line defense for dealing with uncertainty is by following a set of predetermined rules with mechanical precision. Even with the stop-loss triggered, this is a great opportunity to provide value and education to your clients and prospects emphasizing that the timing for both exiting and buying back into the market are of equal importance and are fully automated with our signature Vantage portfolios.

Since triggering the stop-loss, our advisors have shared three key reasons they’re happy (and relieved) to have assets on the sidelines for the time being:

Geopolitical turmoil. Whether our domestic policies, international trade policies or international events, there’s been an expressed overwhelming feeling of uncertainty about how these issues will be resolved. As one advisor explained, “It doesn’t matter whether it’s China or Russia or something going on in the Middle East, I’m just happy my clients are out of the market right now.”

Eliminate emotional decision-making. Our advisors said they understand, now more than ever, that emotional investing is what gets investors in trouble. “Euphoric emotions have us putting bets where we shouldn’t be putting bets,” one advisor said. “And depressed emotions have us saying we don’t ever want to be in the market again.”

The mathematical consequences of losses. Finally, advisors are saying they understand that losses have a greater impact on a portfolio than gains do. As one advisor told us, “I was just telling one of my clients that a 10% gain is not equivalent to a 10% loss. If you have a minus 10, you will need a plus 11 just to get back to even.”

More than just returns, we are focused on outcomes—primarily the outcome of providing a smoother ride and reducing the extremes that can derail a portfolio in times of volatility, particularly at or near retirement.

As you have conversations with clients about market uncertainty and the strength of stop-loss investment strategies, we encourage you to utilize the client education tools available to you on the Advisor Toolbox, which are designed to help you educate and grow trust with your most valued clients, particularly in these times of volatility. For additional information on how you can educate clients on the dangers of emotional investing and the power of stop-losses, contact your wholesaler today!

beacon news

Be sure to visit Beacon’s News & Press page for the latest credibility pieces to share with your clients and prospects, and follow Beacon on LinkedIn for the latest updates as they happen.

“Everything is all over the map. Investors are trying to find some kind of direction,” said Chris Cook, founder and president of Beacon Capital Management. “But it’s almost as if there’s a buffet of things to worry about.”—USA Today



Beacon Capital Management, Inc. is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies.  Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

Additional information about Beacon Capital Management is also available on the SEC’s website at under CRD number 120641. Beacon Capital Management only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, notice filed, or excluded or exempted from registration or notice filing requirements.

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