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Weekly Reports, Investment Strategy Reports and Monthly Newsletters

Mast Report Week 10/20/17

Investors' optimism is driving stock prices higher. Higher prices are also driving expected rates of return and expected risk premiums down. Investors should plan for lower returns on stocks over the next several years. Corporate earnings continue to rise, with S&P 500 operating earnings per share estimated to have increased by 10.4% in the third quarter. On the economy, labor market conditions continue to tighten. Industrial production is rising, but only modestly. Single-unit housing starts and permits are strong, but multi-units remain weak. Increases in existing homes sales continue to slow due to a lack of homes for sale. Weekly reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Report Week 10/13/17

This week's Report recounts the October 19, 1987 record percentage decline in U.S. stock prices. What led to the decline and what caused it are discussed. Financial markets were relatively quiet over the past week. On the U.S. economy, worries about low and decelerating inflation seem to be misplaced. Retail sales rebounded, helped by motor vehicle sales and higher gasoline prices. Labor market conditions are strong, which means that employers are encountering tight supplies of workers. Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Report Week 10/06/17

This week's Report discusses the continued rise in stock prices and the reason for it. On the economy, September employment fell due to the impact of hurricanes. Despite this, trends in employment remain positive. Survey's of both the manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sectors show impressive strength. However, growth in the U.S. economy likely slowed in the third quarter and remains modest at or just above 2%. Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Investment Strategy Week 09/29/17

Content Here

The Investment Strategy report provides advice for asset allocation in portfolios. Riskier asset classes continue to outperform, resulting in less attractive valuations. This can continue, but the margin for error is becoming smaller.

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Mast Report Week 09/29/17

Stock prices continued to rise and prices of Treasuries again fell in the last week of September. Leadership in the U.S. stock market has shifted to favor small cap value stocks.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Investment Letter October 2017

Leverage/Debt pressure is building in the economy, financial assets and within and against wealth management products. The implications of this building pressure are opportunities for unencumbered and prepared investors. Increasingly fast quantitative investment methods are accumulating investor assets in concentrated, leveraged and ultimately illiquid financial asset pools. Low interest rates, already forcing investor emotion, continue to incent high financial asset prices and lower expected returns, even if acceptable relative to those low interest rates. There are tools to use for both investment offense and defense, other than product and wealth management stories.

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Mast Report Funds Competitive Review

Twice a year, S&P Dow Jones Indices distributes its SPIVA U.S. Scorecard report. These reports compile the investment performance of actively managed mutual funds compared to selected benchmark indices. Following is our report of those results of active funds versus passive indexes

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Mast Report Week 09/22/17

Yields on U.S. Treasuries have risen modestly since September 8th in response to the Federal Reserve's decision to start to reduce its securities' holdings in October and to a likely rate hike in December. Further modest increases in Treasury yields are expected. This will create headwinds for stocks, but strong growth in earnings and dividends will be a positive offset.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Report Week 09/15/17

Investors' appetite for risk returned this past week, as global stock prices generally rose and were led by U.S. shares. Oil and the U.S. dollar also rose. Safe haven assets, notably U.S. Treasuries and gold, fell. Several reports on the U.S. economy for August show negative impacts of hurricane Harvey. Retail sales and industrial production both fell. Expectations for stronger U.S. economic growth in the third quarter have waned, but inflation looks to be picking up.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Report Week 09/08/17

Investors' caution and uncertainty has increased. It has been reflected in rising gold prices, sharp declines in the U.S. dollar, and lower yields on Treasuries. The heightened caution and uncertainty seems to have been related to President Trump. Also discussed is a recent Wall Street Journal on "black swan" investment products. There are some lessons to be learned. On the economy, labor markets continue to tighten, with increasing shortages. Motor vehicle sales continue to fall, and the solid expansion in the nonmanufacturing sector continues.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Report Week 9/1/17

The week ending 9/1/17 U.S. stocks turned in a good week. While nearly all major classes of financial assets are overvalued, economic growth and corporate earnings and dividends are increasing. This helps stocks more than other asset classes. The past week's batch of economic reports is reviewed, and nearly all were positive. Be sure to also see the Investment Strategy Report about August information, period ending 8/31/17.

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Mast Report Investment Strategy 8/31/17

The monthly Asset Allocation Strategy Report for August 31st is posted. Do you and your investment advisor or wealth manager have a well defined and consistently applied strategy for how to allocate your investment assets among major asset classes? Does that strategy take into account changing financial market and economic conditions? Or is it set up based solely on your investment needs, objectives, and tolerance for risk, to be reviewed and rebalanced periodically, irrespective financial market and economic conditions? Most "strategies" only deal with the second question, like planning for a trip. That's important, but it's incomplete. Having the right vehicle and a good driver are needed to address the first question. This Report specifies the approach and process we use to address the equally important, but often overlooked first question. Included at the end of this report are key metrics included in the discussion.

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Mast Investment Letter September 2017

Accumulating funds from investors dissatisfied with decelerating expected returns from public markets, investment products are experiencing declining value of leveraged and illiquid investments. Financial product engineering increases risk profile for uninformed investors and their wealth management sales people. These are very important leading indicators for investor asset and security allocation. Investor feelings preclude attention to actual conditions in the investment ecosystem.

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Mast Report Week 08/25/17

This past week President Trump said he would shut down the federal government if Congress did not provide funding for a wall on the Mexican border. The federal government would also run out of money sometime in October, if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling and pass bills on spending. Financial markets' response to this was that these things would not happen. Mr. Trump also returned to his prior position to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA. Were this to happen, it would have negative economic consequences.

Stock prices generally rose slightly for the week, again led by emerging market shares. Gold continued to rise on political uncertainties. Oil continues to struggle to move above $50. On the economy, rates of growth in home sales have slowed, while new durable goods orders continued to gradually improve.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Report Week 08/18/17

The fallout from President Trump's response to recent violence in Charlottesville Virginia added to the prior week's verbal exchanges with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Regardless of one's agreement or disagreement with the President's policies, his approach is increasingly seen as chaotic, disrupting, and lacking control. This risks undermining his agenda and has been associated with the underperformance of U.S. stocks since early June. Also discussed is the massive flow of investors' funds into indexed ETF's. In our view, it is not ETF's that are the concern, but that asset allocation in many funds that use ETF's is on autopilot and is not based on or consider market conditions. Finally, on the economy, strong growth in retail sales in July will not be sustainable unless growth in personal incomes pickup.

Weekly Reports provide a review of financial markets and recently released reports on the U.S. economy. Topics of current interest and importance are also discussed.

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Mast Investment Newsletter August 2017

Data is growing about the wealth management investment product pile-up with veg-o-matic concentration of cross-factoring and derivative hedging. Investors generally change wealth managers once each market cycle, sticking with the second manager through inevitable product losses and "waiting" for investment recovery. This time, however, baby boomer investors, pension plans and insurance reserve funds have much less time remaining for recovery from product losses.

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