Trading was heavy on Wall Street Friday, and stocks closed lower following the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates near zero. The Fed’s decision fueled concerns about continuing weak global growth and a potentially deflationary environment. For the week, the Dow fell 0.29 percent to close at 16,384.79. The S&P lost 0.13 percent to finish at 1,958.03 and the NASDAQ rose 0.10 percent to end the week at 4,827.23.
One Measurement –
The price-earnings (PE) ratio of the S&P 500 as of the close of trading on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, was 19.8. The historical PE ratio for the index is 15.6. This PE ratio calculation is based upon trailing 12-month “as reported” earnings per share for the S&P 500 companies (source: S&P, BTN Research).
Market Cap Numbers –
The average market capitalization of individual stocks within the S&P 500 index was $37 billion as of Aug. 31, 2015. The largest capitalized stock was worth $650 billion, and the smallest capitalized stock was worth just $2.4 billion (source: BTN Research).
Keeping Pace -
The average hourly wage of a worker in the private sector (i.e., non-government job) as of July 31, 2015 was $25.01. The average hourly wage of a worker in the private sector as of July 31, 2007 was $21.00, i.e., before the 2008 recession began. The $4.01 pay increase over eight years equates to a 2.2 percent annual increase in wages. Inflation in the United States (using the “consumer price index” or CPI) increased 1.7 percent per year over the same eight-year period (source: Department of Labor, BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – Protecting Your Smart Phone
Smart phones have brought newfound convenience to busy lives but not without some added hazards. Although not as susceptible to viruses as computers, they are vulnerable to being hacked – jeopardizing your privacy and exposing your financial information to cyber thieves.
There are multiple warning signs that may indicate your phone has been infiltrated: a battery draining much faster than normal, unusual charges on your bill, apps opening themselves, the phone lighting up when you’re not using it, clicking sounds or white noise during a conversation, and the phone and battery feeling abnormally hot.
Anti-virus software is available, but most malware on phones today is unknowingly downloaded by owners. So read the permissions statement every time you install a new app and never provide any personal information when you do. Further minimize risks by only using apps from the official Google, Apple and Microsoft stores. While malware slips through the cracks of all app stores, their safeguards are better than most.
One of the easiest ways to hack your phone is through a Bluetooth device, so disable your device’s “discoverable” mode and turn it off when you are not using your Bluetooth, or when you are entering or speaking sensitive information.
Ultimately, you need to balance convenience with security. Take the time to lock your screen with a complex password/pin and change it regularly; make sure your voicemail is password protected, pick a good email password and don’t store passwords in your phone. Turn the auto complete feature off, so critical personal data isn’t stored on sites (re-enter it each time you visit). Encrypting your phone will slow it down some but can provide added protection. Other good steps to take: access the Internet only from a secure Wi-fi, keep your operating system updated, regularly delete your browsing history and cookies, and utilize some type of anti-theft capabilities in the event your phone is lost or stolen, such as a tracker app to locate it or the ability to lock the phone remotely.
Your financial security matters to us, and that includes protecting your personal identity. We’re always happy to help you address any concerns you may have.
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.
© 2013. Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc.