The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ hit all-time highs Friday following a quarterly report showing U.S. economic growth slowed less than expected. Strong earnings from tech giants like Alphabet and Intel also boosted the S&P. For the week, the Dow rose 0.14 percent to close at 27,192.45. The S&P climbed 1.66 percent to finish at 3,025.86, and the NASDAQ gained 2.26 percent to end the week at 8,330.21.
Returns Through 7/26/19
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 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. The NASDAQ is based on price return, which is the capital appreciation of the portfolio, excluding income generated by the assets in the portfolio in the form of interest and dividends. (TR) indicates total return. (PR) indicates price return. MSCI EAFE returns stated in U.S. dollars.
Up and Up and Up — U.S. oil production for all of 2019 is projected to be 12.36 million barrels a day, then rising to 13.26 million barrels a day in 2020. Actual oil production for the U.S. in 2009 was 5.35 million barrels a day (source: International Energy Agency, BTN Research).
Have Started Saving for Retirement — 58 percent of 5,000 Americans surveyed currently participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan or have begun making pretax contributions to an IRA (source: Financial Health Network, BTN Research).
Higher Risk, Higher Return — The stock market has produced a total return of 14.7 percent per year over the last 10 years through June 30, 2019. The worst quarter over the last decade was a drop of 13.9 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011. The S&P 500 was used as the stock measurement for this statistic (source: BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – One of the Fastest Growing Crimes
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 27 percent of data breaches in 2017 were medical or health related. This is unfortunate news on several fronts. Medical identity theft can be difficult to detect, be hard to correct and create potential health risks.
Why it’s growing: Medical identity theft is becoming more common for several reasons. Medical providers’ security is often weak. For example, hospitals may allow a wide variety of employees – from doctors to techs and admins – to access patients’ information. One dishonest employee could sell thousands of dollars’ worth of electronic health records. (Because medical records contain so much personal information, a medical record can sell for $100 on the dark web.)
Why it’s dangerous: Imagine the ramifications if a thief’s health records get mixed with yours. You could be given the wrong blood type or a drug you’re highly allergic to. You could even be turned down by future insurers because of a serious illness or condition you never had. If an insurance company or the government pays the bills, unsuspecting victims may not notice something is amiss. Getting records corrected can be complicated. Medical insurers may be reluctant to remove inaccurate information if an action was taken based on the information.
Although federal law limits fraudulent credit charges to $50, it doesn’t offer the same protection for medical identity theft. According to a survey by cybersecurity research firm, the Ponemon Institute, medical identity victims who lost money spent $13,500, on average, to resolve their problem.
What you can do to prevent it: Watch your Explanation of Benefits statements for incorrect information. Ask your health care provider for a copy of your current file and correct anything that’s wrong. Monitor your credit report for unpaid medical bills. Ask medical providers how they protect your information. Don’t provide your Social Security number unless absolutely required to do so. Never give out medical or personal information over the phone or by email – unless you started the communication and are sure who you are dealing with. Be wary of offers for free health services or products. Shred outdated health insurance forms, statements and prescription labels.
Protecting your personal information is important to us. For more information on obtaining and monitoring your accounts and credit history and for tips on protecting your identity, please give our office a call.
* 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 July 2019. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#2660119.1