No doubt you, along with most Americans, have taken some time this week to reflect on the 75th anniversary of the Allied Landings on the shores of France and too the lasting importance, not only of the specific day of June 6, 1944 but of the days that followed and the opportunities therein, for freedom.

Operation Overlord, as it was called, was the single largest military invasion ever contemplated or executed. Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower told his troops “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

The Caen Memorial in France provides the staggering figures:

– Troop strength: On the first day of the operation, 156,177 troops landed on the beaches chosen for the D-Day invasion, most of them American, British and Canadian. They were grouped mainly in five infantry and three airborne divisions. By the end of the day, 10,470 were killed, injured or listed as missing.

– Around 133,000 troops arrived by sea. Another 23,000 landed by air, of whom 13,000 were American paratroopers from the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions who were dropped behind Utah Beach. Ten thousand paratroopers from the British 6th Airborne Division landed between the Orne and Dives rivers.

– Air power: On June 6 alone, 11,500 aircraft — including 3,500 gliders, 5,000 fighters and 3,000 bombers — flew over the Normandy beaches, dropping 11,912 tons of bombs on German coastal defense forces. Losses were comparatively low — 127 aircraft were lost and 63 damaged.

– Naval forces: Operation Neptune involved 6,939 vessels, the most ever involved in an amphibious landing. The actual landing force included 4,126 boats and landing craft, grouped in 47 convoys.

Some of the Landing Craft Assault boats were carried across the English Channel on larger vessels and were only dropped into the sea once off the beaches on which they were intended to land.

Other kinds of landing craft crossed under their own power. They included small troop carriers called Landing Craft Infantry; Landing Craft Tanks and the larger Landing Ship Tanks, which transported tanks and other vehicles; and the “ducks”, amphibious vehicles driven by a propeller.

Around 20,000 vehicles and 1,000 tanks were brought into France.

– The logistical fleet: 736 auxiliary vessels and 864 cargo ships carried food, munitions and floating hospitals to France. Among the cargo ships, 54 were used as blockships, scuttled to create protective reefs.

– The fighting squadron: The warships included seven battleships, of which four were British and three from the US, as well as around 20 cruisers; 221 destroyers, frigates and corvettes; 495 gunboats; 58 subchasers; 287 minesweepers; four mine layers and two submarines.

Amidst all the commemorative commentary this week, we were heartened to hear President Trump’s speech at Normandy. Indeed, even some of the president’s harshest critics put away their hard feelings and seemed to find comfort in the thought that — when it’s important enough — we could come together and appreciate that we are all still Americans. Whatever our future holds, we’re in it together.

President Trump: “As we stand together upon this sacred Earth, we pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. We will forever be together. Our people will forever be bold. Our hearts will forever be loyal. And our children, and their children, will forever and always be free.”

Market Minute and a Half 6/7/2019 – – We Were Wrong About May

In one of our Friday posts, we suggested that readers ignore the ‘Sell in May’ saying because statistically a one-month (or 3 month) return is close to a coin-flip. Fasttrack charts show that the big Gorilla Index (the S&P 500) lost 6.38% in May. So, while we leaned a bit toward the conservative side in May, and client portfolios mostly lost ground, the pullbacks looked generally better for clients than S&P returns. 

Now, admittedly we always remind clients that past returns are not necessarily indicative of future returns, but in 2019 May was rather an unusual month – from a number of views.  We had trade spats with China (and now Mexico as well) making headlines, a Brexit that never quite seems to resolve but did see the resignation of a Prime Minister, expectations of a Fed Reserve interest rate CUT, and political craziness – all causing large, headline-moving fits and starts. 

And it continues. With the current G-5 meeting, leaders are discussing trade, banking policy, and a host of other potentially volatile items. Add to that today’s jobs announcement of only 75,000 new jobs in May, and our expectation is that the volatility will likely continue.

This past week has been an excellent one for markets- although some of the jump may be attributed to month-end bias. (You will recall that the last 4 and first 4 trading days of every month tend to be ‘up’ time periods).  Just as we have suggested that you ignore a one-month move to the downside, it is time to suggest that perhaps the recent market bounce is also best ignored. Markets are generally in an upward move, although the past year and a half have been mostly just noise – in which your market results have depended on which week you happened to run the calculations. And we’re happy for the upturn, but still concerned that the defensive parts of the market seem to be accumulating a lot of buyers – also concerned that the small-caps have not kept pace with the larger caps on the up days. 

Still it feels that the world may give us a positive market over the summer months- and that will likely put the major indexes into new record territory- in my opinion.  Stay tuned.

Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
Investment Advisor
Denk Strategic Wealth Partners
10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite C-262
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone (602) 252-8700
Fax (602) 252-8701
Toll-Free (877) The-Denk

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