July 25, 2016 The Markets Like a cool breeze on a hot day, the post-Brexit market rally has soothed investors. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), also known as the fear gauge, fell significantly during the past few weeks, according to CNBC.com. The VIX measures investors’ concerns about future volatility. The lower the Index is; the calmer investors are about the future. In late June, the VIX rose as high as 25.76. Last week, it hovered around 12. Barron’s reported the latest advisory sentiment readings from Investors Intelligence showed bullishness at 54.4 percent, up two percentage points from last week. That’s the highest reading since April 2015 (just before the S&P 500 hit its previous record). The relative serenity of investors has been good for markets. By the middle of last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) were at record highs. Not everyone is convinced investor positivity is a good sign, however. Barron’s explained: “After nearly two years of sideways trading, albeit with some large swings, the indexes finally gave what should be an important buy signal. But is it really? ...I am not talking about the simple divergence between price and volume during the June-July rally, although that certainly does not help the bulls. Nor am I considering the seasonal cycle, which teaches us to ‘Sell in May’ and sit out the usually weaker summer months. And I am not talking about any news from politics to Brexit to terrorism…What really bothers me is the lack of dissent in the bullish chorus.” Contrarians, investors who use popular opinion as a gauge of what not to do, may find themselves leaning toward pessimism. OUR INVESTMENT STRATEGIES HAVE CHANGED SLIGHTLY. After the “Brexit” concerns faded (there still could be some future issues to consider) we added to stocks in most of our models. The stock market seems “tired” and the recent rally is on very low volume with very few stocks reaching 52 week highs which is a concern. The market is notorious for reacting too much to news issues both on the upside and downside. We remain focused on flexible stock and bond managers who have a proven track-record as well as alternative investments that don’t focus on the traditional markets. Fake charities are on the list. Groups masquerading as charitable organizations to solicit donations from generous-minded individuals are among the twelve cons named in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) ‘Dirty Dozen,’ a list of common scams targeting taxpayers. Americans tend to be a generous bunch. During 2015, they gave more than $373 billion to charities, setting a record for the second year in a row, according to GivingUSA.org. People gave to all sorts of organizations including: Religion ($119.30 billion)Education ($57.48 billion)Human Services ($45.21 billion)Foundations ($42.26 billion)Health ($29.81 billion)Public-Society Benefit ($26.95 billion)Arts/Culture/Humanities ($17.07 billion)International Affairs ($15.75 billion)Environment/Animals ($10.68 billion) Millions more may have gone to groups pretending to be charities. The IRS offered some recommendations for avoiding scams. Before you give, get the exact name of the charity. Many fake charities use names that sound similar to those of legitimate charities. Also, request the charity’s employer identification number and use the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Select Check search tool to review the organization’s tax status and filings. (While you’re at it, you may want to review how much the charity spends on fundraising versus programs to confirm it is spending donations judiciously.) Once you’ve done your homework, don’t give cash. Making your donation by check or credit card provides a record for tax purposes and is more secure. Finally, no matter how kind a charity’s representative seems on the phone or in person, do not give him or her personal financial information or other important identification data, like your Social Security number. Weekly Focus – Think About It “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”-- C. S. Lewis, British novelist Best regards, The GPS Team P.S. Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.* You cannot invest directly in an index.* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.* Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.Sources: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/19/no-fear-heres-why-the-vix-has-cratered.html or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_No+fear_+Here%E2%80%99s+why+the+VIX+has+cratered.pdf http://www.cboe.com/micro/vix/historical.aspx (For June index readings choose Historical Daily Prices – Spreadsheet with Closing Prices for Several Indexes) or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_VIX_Historical_Price_Data_CBOE.pdf http://www.barrons.com/articles/as-investors-sing-a-happy-tune-smart-money-wonders-if-its-time-to-sell-stocks-1469120253  http://www.barrons.com/articles/3-reasons-to-worry-that-stock-rallys-end-is-near-1469050014 https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Fake-Charities-Are-a-Problem-and-on-the-IRS-Dirty-Dozen-List-of-Tax-Scams-for-2016-1 or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_Fake_Charities_Are_a_Problem_and_on_the_IRS_%E2%80%9CDirty_Dozen%E2%80%9D_List_of_Tax_Scams_for_2016.pdf http://givingusa.org/giving-usa-2016/ or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_Giving_USA_2015_Was_America%E2%80%99s_Most_Generous_Year_Ever_Giving_USA.pdf http://www.consumerreports.org/charitable-donations/best-and-worst-charities-for-your-donations/ or go https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_Best_and_Worst_Charities_for_Your_Donations_Consumer_Reports.pdf http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cslewis119176.html?src=t_motivational or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/07-25-16_You_are_never_too_old_to_set_another_goal_or_to_dream_a_new_dream_CS_+Lewis.pdf Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Spire Wealth Management, LLC), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this commentary will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this commentary serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Spire Wealth Management, LLC. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Spire Wealth Management, LLC is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the website content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Spire Wealth Management, LLC’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. ators designed to help you learn more. As you search our site, send me a note regarding any questions you may have about any particular investment concepts or products. We'll get back to you quickly with a thoughtful answer.