THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Rising bond yields and uncertainty over whether this was the close of the Fed’s rate-hike cycle dragged markets lower last week despite solid corporate earnings results.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 1.61%, while the S&P 500 fell 2.39%. The Nasdaq Composite index, which has led for much of the year, slumped 3.16%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, retreated 1.67%.
FACT OF THE WEEK
Movie star Richard Burton dazzles wife Elizabeth Taylor—and their legions of fans—when he buys her a 69-carat Cartier diamond ring costing $1.5 million. It was just another chapter in a tempestuous marriage that began on the Ides of March and continued thereafter in the public eye.
Taylor and Burton met and fell in love during the filming of Cleopatra (1963). She was a 30-year-old London-born American starlet who was already on her fourth marriage, and he was a former British stage actor, also married but known to fool around and drink on the set. Cleopatra made them both superstars and on March 15, 1964, they were married at the Ritz in Montreal. As one of the most famous married couples in the world, they commanded high salaries to appear in nearly a dozen movies together. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Taming of the Shrew (1967) were the only two to receive critical acclaim.
The flawless, pear-shaped diamond had 58 facets and was unearthed from the Premier mine of South Africa in 1966. It went up for auction in October 1969 and was bought by the Cartier jewelry firm for $1.05 million. The very next day, on October 24, Burton bought the diamond for an estimated $1.5 million, although the exact sum was undisclosed. The diamond—christened the “Taylor-Burton”—remained at Cartier for several days before Burton took it home and presented it to Taylor. Thousands of people lined the street outside Cartier every day to view it.
Rising Yields Sink Stocks
Stocks rallied to start the week on earnings optimism before losing momentum over rising bond yields. Yields rose after traders speculated that strong economic data might persuade the Fed to raise rates. By mid-week, stocks turned lower as the 10-year Treasury yield moved above 4.9% for the first time since 2007, while mortgage rates hit 8%–the highest level since mid-2000. Stocks were under pressure Thursday as the 10-year Treasury yield moved closer to 5% and in response to comments from Fed Chair Powell that inflation remained too high. With the 10-year Treasury yield crossing above the 5% mark on Friday–and ahead of a weekend of uncertainty in the Middle East–stocks weakened further, ending a down week on a sour note.
Economic Strength, Housing Weakness
The economy continued to evidence surprising strength according to data released last week. Despite worries about a struggling consumer, consumers increased their spending as retail sales rose 0.7% in September–well above the forecast of a 0.3% rise, while industrial output jumped 0.3%, exceeding the forecast of a 0.1% gain. There were also updates on the state of housing. Housing starts rebounded 7.0% from August, though permits (an indicator of future housing starts) declined 4.4% month-over-month. Existing home sales were weak, falling 2.0% from August and 15.4% from a year ago. Existing home sales are on track to record their slowest year since 2011.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
October is CyberSecurity Awareness Month
With the surge of online services and increased smartphone and tablet usage, password security is critical. The use of passwords remains the primary authentication protocol for online accounts, so keeping your passwords secure is vital to protecting those accounts.
One common frustration is that complex password requirements make it challenging to create passwords that are tricky/unusual yet also easily remembered. This complaint is universal and has actually led to easier breaches for cybercriminals. Why? People who are burned out from password overload are more likely to either memorize one password and use it across multiple accounts or create simple and easy-to-remember passwords, which are easier to crack! (Password123, anyone?)
How can you ensure your passwords are strong and secure, so the barrier to entering your online accounts is at maximum effectiveness? Follow these three tips:
Use two-factor authentication. Many businesses that store your personal information now offer you an extra layer of security by either texting a one-time code, asking you multiple security questions, or requesting your fingerprint recognition to confirm that it's truly YOU trying to access the account. There's a huge security benefit to using these high-tech features.
Use "passphrases" instead of passwords. Instead of using a one-word password, string together a few words with symbols in place of letters to create a "passphrase" relevant to each account, such as "Thi$I$MyFir$tHomeloanAccount." Not only do these phrases fulfill the newer, complex password requirements, but they can be much easier to remember and harder to crack.
Use a password manager, not a sticky note. Instead of surrendering to using simple passwords or writing them all down, use a password manager. Think of it as a vault that holds all your passwords; only you have the master key. So you only need to remember one strong and unique password while the manager remembers the rest for you. Bitwarden, Dashlane, and 1Password are a few of the highest-rated options; just be sure to do your research to find the best option for your needs.
Choosing and using the best passwords -- and keeping them secure -- is one more way to significantly reduce your online risk. We hope you found this information helpful! Give us a call if you have any questions about how we keep client information safe and secure.