It was a choppy week on Wall Street as investors digested the ongoing oil crisis, manufacturing stress, staggering jobless claims, a new economic aid package and slowing coronavirus hospitalizations in New York and New Jersey. On Friday, oil prices clawed back some of their losses and stocks ended in the green. But stocks still slipped for the week. For the week, the Dow fell 1.90 percent to close at 23,775.27. The S&P lost 1.30 percent to finish at 2,836.74, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.18 percent to end at 8,634.52.
Returns Through 4/24/20
Dow Jones Industrials (TR)
NASDAQ Composite (PR)
S&P 500 (TR)
Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)
MSCI EAFE (TR)
Source: Morningstar.com. *Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Three- and five-year returns are annualized. The Dow Jones Industrials, MSCI EAFE, Barclays US Agg Bond, NASDAQ and S&P, excluding “1 Week” returns, are based on total return, which is a reflection of return to an investor by reinvesting dividends after the deduction of withholding tax. (TR) indicates total return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.
It’s Raining Now — All 50 U.S. states maintain a rainy-day fund that may be accessed as a result of an economic emergency. As of July 1, 2019, California had $19.2 billion set aside, Texas had $7.8 billion, New York had $2.5 billion while Illinois had just $4 million (source: National Association of State Budget Officers, BTN Research).
Get a Whole Row to Yourself — 95,085 travelers went through TSA screening at U.S. airports last Thursday, April 16, down 96 percent from the 2,616,158 screened passengers on Tuesday, April 14, 2019, or one year earlier (source: Transportation Security Administration, BTN Research).
Will They Look to Washington for Help — 88 percent of more than 2,400 city officials across the U.S. anticipate the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus will result in budget shortfalls that will force them to reduce services and cut staff. The loss of sales tax and fee revenue occurred because businesses have closed and travel and tourism has disappeared (source: National League of Cities, BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – Defeat the Villains
To say we all have a lot on our minds these days is a massive understatement. Unfortunately, bad actors and scammers know we are preoccupied. And, as they often do in a crisis, they’re ramping up their nefarious activities. There has been an increase in email and text message phishing, social media posts and fake websites designed to steal information and distribute malware. Here are some steps to head the bad guys off at the pass:
Be early. Yes, you have until July 15 to file your 2019 taxes. But one of the best ways to avoid identity tax theft is to file your taxes soon (if you haven’t already) to give thieves less time to file a fake return.
Be skeptical of requests for donations to help people who are ill or to fund a treatment or cure. Be wary of ads from unknown companies selling face masks or hand sanitizer or offers to invest in companies claiming to solve pandemic problems. To avoid clicking on a scammer’s COVID-related headline, get your news from reputable sites.
Be deliberate. Slow down. Scam artists create a sense of urgency to keep you from evaluating the situation. So, don’t be too quick to click a link or open an attachment – even if it’s in an email from a friend. If someone claiming to be a bank or company you associate with contacts you and asks for information, hang up and call them directly. If you receive information on an investment opportunity, ask a financial professional you trust for their opinion.
Be a little anti-social: Monitor your privacy settings on your social media profiles. Don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know. Don’t share risky personal information (like your mother’s last name or your birthdate) on your profile. Use strong passwords. Don’t access your accounts on public wi-fi.
Be vigilant. Back up personal data, keep your devices secured and updated, and use multi-factor (MF) authentication when you can. (MF requires a security code sent to a second device.) Delete programs you don’t need. Monitor your credit cards, bank accounts and credit reports for activity you don’t recognize.
If you would like more information about identity theft and protecting your confidential and important information, please contact our office.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE Index) is a widely recognized benchmark of non-U.S. stock markets. It is an unmanaged index composed of a sample of companies representative of the market structure of 20 European and Pacific Basin countries and includes reinvestment of all dividends. Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index comprised of U.S. investment-grade, fixed-rate bond market securities, including government, government agency, corporate and mortgage-backed securities between one and 10 years. Written by Securities America, Copyright April 2020. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#3060760.1