Leading up to the holiday weekend, Wall Street ended a bad month and quarter with a broad rally as investors hunted for bargains on the recent sell-off. Although the NASDAQ closed the quarter up 2.3 percent, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 broke their nine-quarter winning streak. For the week, the Dow gained 0.61 percent to close at 24,103.11. The S&P fell 0.08 percent to finish at 2,640.87, and the NASDAQ rose 1.03 percent to end the week at 7,063.44.
Stronger Dollar – While the Fed has been raising interest rates to keep our economy from overheating, the dollar has increased in value. From the Fed’s initial rate increase on Dec. 16, 2015, to last week’s sixth rate hike, the dollar has risen 13 percent against the euro (source: BTN Research).
A Lot in a Few – Just 2.2 percent of banks and savings institutions in the United States hold 83 percent of the deposits maintained in FDIC-insured institutions nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2017. There were 5,670 banks and savings institutions holding $17.4 trillion of deposits at the end of last year (source: FDIC, BTN Research).
Discretionary vs. Mandatory – Over the next decade (fiscal years 2019-2028), estimated discretionary spending by the U.S. government is $14.1 trillion, an amount that is dwarfed by the government’s $35.9 trillion of projected mandatory spending (source: Office of Management and Budget, BTN Research).
Weekly Focus - Use Social Media Safely
The ongoing Facebook data scandal (the result of a quiz developer illicitly passing along users’ personal information to a political data firm in the 2016 campaign) provides a powerful reminder to seriously weigh what and how we share on social media. Here are some practical tips to protect your information:
- Always use complex passwords on your social media accounts and update them frequently.
- When filling out a social media profile, leave personal details – such as your home address, phone number, birthday and email – blank.
- Don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know in the real world.
- Secure your mobile devices with passcode or fingerprint protection.
- Try not to visit your social media accounts on public wireless connections, which make it easier for others to see your sensitive data. Avoid accessing social media on public computers. And if you do, log out and clear your browsing history when you’re done.
- Turn location tracking off on your social media channels. Turn off the GPS function on your smartphone camera if you plan to post images. Don’t post vacation photos until you return home.
- Be cautious about clicking on links – even from friends – and completing quizzes and surveys.
- Close old accounts you don’t use anymore and delete as much personal information as you can.
- Check your security settings on your social media accounts regularly. They may revert to a less private default when updates occur.
- Avoid signing into other apps using Facebook.
- Make sure you have a quality security software installed on your devices.
In light of current Facebook concerns, you may want to review the data Facebook has on you. To do so, go to the dropdown arrow in the top right corner and click on Settings. This takes you to the General Account Settings page where you can click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” To verify/update your privacy settings, go to Settings/Privacy. To stop apps from sharing your data, go to Settings/Apps. For more on privacy, go to Facebook.com/help and select Privacy and Safety.
Just as you strive to protect your personal information on social media accounts, we’re committed to keeping your financial account information secure. And as always, we’re available to discuss any concerns you may have about your finances.
The Dorion-Gray Team
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning is a trade name of Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Dorion-Gray and the Securities America companies are separate, unaffiliated entities.
Diversification seeks to reduce the volatility of a portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes. Neither asset allocation nor diversification guarantee against market loss or greater or more consistent returns.
© 2018. Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc.
* 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 2018. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#2074897.1