While stocks and bonds were mostly unchanged over the last week, the big news in the markets was that oil prices are now down 20% for the year, which Wall Street defines as a bear market (meaning prices are falling).
Ever get to the airport and realize you must pay $25-$50 extra for your baggage? Unless you did your research, these fees can add up. Most of the time companies don’t advertise these fees – or they’re just well-hidden in the fine print. You may feel as though you got an “unreal” deal, but think again. There are a few industries that do a great job of hiding fees.
Even though the U.S. economy only grew 1.2% in the first three months of 2017 and inflation is only 1.5% higher over the past year, the Federal Reserve, our nation’s central bank, raised short-term interest rates by 1/4 of a percentage point for a second time this year.
Topics: Federal Reserve
Americans, you’re a giving bunch! New numbers just out from the Giving USA Annual Report show the country donated $390 billion to charity in 2016. That’s up almost three percent from 2015.
Topics: Charitable Giving
There was very little economic data released in the U.S. last week, but the story is still the same: the U.S. economy is growing and the risk of recession is low. Most economists expect the economy to grow around 3% in the second quarter (April through June); meanwhile, Simply Money Advisors believes the U.S. economy will grow around 2% for all of 2017. This is good news for your investments, as corporate profits are on track for about 15% to 20% growth (on average) in 2017. Cincinnati-based Kroger will report earnings Thursday morning, June 15th.
Today, the Department of Labor’s “fiduciary rule” goes into effect. This means stockbrokers providing financial advice on retirement accounts must now prioritize your best interest. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, conflicts of interest with financial advisors and brokers account for client loss of $17 billion every year. This may seem surprising that financial advisors and brokers weren’t always required to have your best interests in mind.
Buy, sell, hold! How can you determine when to buy or sell stocks? The financial media has made the stock market confusing and hard for you to understand. Every “expert” has an opinion and nothing seems to make sense. Many investors, like you, are in a constant search of that one person who knows all the answers and can “beat” the market.
The big news last week was the disappointing report on jobs. Businesses only added 138,000 new jobs, which was well short of the 182,000 new jobs economists expected for May. Looking at the individual industries shows weakness was widespread when compared to the prior months. An area that did show continued and stable gains, though, was temporary help. Contrary to popular belief, this is a good thing because when businesses stop hiring temporary workers, they often are about to stop hiring all workers. A misleading headline in the jobs report was the "good" drop in the unemployment to 4.3% from 4.4%, as the unemployment rate fell for the wrong reasons.
According to a 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, over $107 billion has been stolen by identity thieves and 10% of that is stolen right from your smartphone. Think about all the things you do from your phone. There is an application for almost everything you could imagine and most of your most personal information is saved in that one place.
Economic growth in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2017 was revised higher to 1.2% from 0.7%. This shows that the weakness in the first three months of 2017 was not as bad as many economists feared because businesses and consumers, like you, spent more than initially thought. Looking forward, Simply Money Advisors believes the chance of a recession in 2017 is low at about 5%. The Federal Reserve, our nation’s central bank, may raise short-term interest rates at their June 14th meeting. This could cause some uncertainty in the investment markets during the summer months.