November Economic Update
Last month, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted their seventh straight monthly gain as stocks rallied out of October. The fall season welcomed more encouraging economic news including positive earnings reports, strong fundamental indicators, and consumer confidence rising - all of which helped send the S&P 500 index higher by 2.22% and the Dow Jones rising 4.3%. The Nasdaq index gained 3.6%, adding to its four month streak of positive returns and closed at a record high. (1)
Tech Earnings Reports
More than half of the S&P 500’s monthly gains in October were the result of five big name tech stocks. Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft all helped to bolster the broad stock index to new highs with stellar earnings reports. Apple reported after the end of October, but shares rose in anticipation of their report. (2)
Equifax Data Breach
With the recent data breach at Equifax, many of our clients have asked us what steps they should take to protect their identity.
How long should you worry about identity theft in the wake of the Equifax hack?
If your personal data was released in this cybercrime, you should scrutinize your credit, bank, and investment account statements in the near term. You may have to keep up that vigilance for years to come and it is always good practice to keep a close eye on all of your accounts and credit score.
Should you accept Equifax’s offer to try and protect your credit?
Those who sign-up for Equifax's TrustedID Premier protection must agree to some troubling fine print. By enrolling in the program, you waive the right to join any class action lawsuits against Equifax.
Should you consider paying for credit monitoring?
It may be worth considering purchasing a third-party credit monitoring service such as IdentityForce or LifeLock. These services do not prevent the misuse of your personal information. However, they will alert you when a threat is detected and restore your credit score.
Should you freeze your credit?
Some analysts recommend this move. You can request all three major credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) to freeze your credit accounts without any adverse effect on your credit score. It stops a credit agency from giving your personal information to a creditor, which should lower your risk for identity theft. The only hassle here is that if you want to buy a home, rent an apartment, or get a new
Other measures and precautions which should always be implemented include changing your passwords frequently and not using the same password on multiple accounts. Choose to opt into a two-factor authentication when possible, where a second passcode must be sent via text or email for every login. (3)
1 - barchart.com/stocks/indices?viewName=performance [10/31/17] 2 - https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/31/us-stocks-earnings-fed-jobs.html [10/31/17] 3 - time.com/money/4947784/7-questions-you-must-keep-asking-about-the-equifax-hack/ [9/20/17]
This post has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Bob Lawson is not engaged in rendering legal or accounting services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.