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Today's Portfolio Changes

January 10, 2019

Today, we made numerous changes to our investment models after completing our Q1 Investment Committee Meeting. Let's dive right in.


First off, we made some significant changes to our US Large Cap Stock Folio. We removed fourteen of our holdings that no longer met our stringent screening process and have replaced these with fourteen new holdings that we think are better positioned for 2019 and beyond.


Most notably, new holdings now include Phillip Morris and Kellogg that join existing consumer defensive holdings, General Mills and Campbell Soup, and we think these holdings will hold up in the face of an imminent recession. Consumer defensive stocks hold up well in turbulent markets and make up products that tend to maintain consistent sales and profitability in difficult times. This repositioning should help us moving into 2019 and 2020.


Also, with the recent pullback in the market, we have been able to take advantage of better valuations and purchase some technology shares that are usually too expensive for our taste. Applied Materials, KLA-Tencor, and Intel have joined the party. Along these same lines, Amazon.com has now joined our portfolio since it has come within a reasonable buying range. We are excited to be able to buy Amazon at a reasonable price.


The industrials category has also made a strong showing in our most recent screening process and four new firms look very attractive at this time and have joined the portfolio as well; Caterpillar, Equifax, General Dynamics, and Raytheon. We can't recall a time when industrials have screened this well and we expect this sector to perform well over the long term as emerging markets and newer developed markets are growing their economies and their infrastructure as well. This is a secular trend we seeing playing out for many years to come.


AmerisourceBergen, Zimmer Biomet Holdings, State Street Corporation, and Charles Schwab, two healthcare sector components and two financial firms, round out the new additions to our Large Cap Stock Folio.


Moving on to our US Mid/Small Cap Stock Folio, we have replaced our two holdings, the Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF and the Vanguard Small-Cap ETF with one new holding, the Vanguard Extended Market ETF.  This new holding has offered better returns than our previous holdings and should be a nice addition. It is an excellent choice for exposure to U.S. stocks that land outside of the S&P 500. This fund achieves a leg up over its peers by efficiently tracking a broadly diversified index at a low fee. It is currently a Morningstar analyst gold rated fund.


For our Emerging Markets Equity Folio, we sold the Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF and replaced it with the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF.  This new addition has a slight performance advantage over our outgoing fund over the trailing three and five year periods. It also offers more diversification than our outgoing fund.


In our Emerging Markets Debt Folio, the SPDR Emerging Markets ETF has replaced the PowerShares Emerging Markets Debt ETF.  This new fund is an attractive addition to our portfolios since its mandate allows it to own corporate investment grade and high yield emerging market debt securities versus our outgoing fund which mostly owned government issued sovereign debt. It has also outperformed over most of the trailing periods. We believe this is a better diversified play in the emerging markets debt category.


We are excited about these new changes and we believe we are much better positioned for 2019. We have a few more exciting changes planned for next week and can't wait to announce them. Stay tuned.


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