Stocks fell Friday following ABC’s report that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would testify he was told to contact Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. Stocks regained ground after Senator Mitch McConnell told reporters the Senate had enough votes to pass the tax bill. For the week, the Dow rose 3.00 percent to close at 24,231.59. The S&P climbed 1.60 percent to finish at 2,642.22, and the NASDAQ fell 0.60 percent to end the week at 6,847.59.
Impacts Just a Few – The House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would limit the deduction of mortgage interest expense to that created by debt of $500,000 or less. Just seven percent of the 7.7 million home mortgages originated in 2016 were for loans that exceeded $500,000 (source: Inside Mortgage Finance, BTN Research).
The Last Time – The last 10 percent correction for the S&P 500 was a 13.3 percent drop over the three months that ended Feb. 11, 2016. The last 20 percent or more bear for the S&P 500 was a 56.8 percent drop over the 17 months that ended March 9, 2009 (source: BTN Research).
Has online shopping become part of your holiday norm? You’re not alone. The National Retail Federation predicts online retail will grow 8-12 percent in 2017. That’s up to three times higher than the growth rate of total retail sales. It’s a safe bet to say that where the money is, so are the criminals.
Chances are if you’re a frequent online shopper, you don’t remember from which site you bought a particular gift. Keep records of all transactions. Write down what you bought, when and from what website.
If you shop from your computer, make sure it’s secure with up-to-date software (operating system, browsers and any apps). Use a good antivirus. Connect to the internet using a secure connection.
It can be tempting to get some shopping in while you’re waiting in the coffee shop or hotel lobby. But you should never use free public WiFi to buy online.
Using apps can help ensure online safety, but you should download or buy apps only from legitimate retail or app stores. Verify the source before you download.
Only shop at sites that take secure payment methods, such as credit cards or PayPal. Look for the lock icon in your browser address window and for URLs with https rather than http. The “s” stands for secure.
Use a credit card, not a debit card. Credit cards carry securities that debit cards don’t. When possible, use payment technologies like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay. The seller receives a one-use token, not your actual credit card number.
When deals pop up through social media or email, don’t open attachments or click through links. Phishers want you to click on links to gain information or introduce malware. If you receive spam email, don’t use the Unsubscribe button. A click is still a click. Just mark it as Spam and delete.
Finally, keep as little information on your smart phone and tablet as possible. These devices are far more than just about calling home or reading a book. Unfortunately most of us don’t take the time to secure them. Faux online shops and cybercriminals can infect your smart phone or mobile device to access phone numbers, notes and even app contents.
Cybercrime can compromise not only your shopping but also your long-term financial plans. Call our office today. We can help you protect your finances from cybercriminals.
* 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 December 2017. All rights reserved. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. SAI#1962611.1