Broker Check

The Weekly Wealth Report

June 24, 2024


Stocks edged higher over the four trading days last week, with the three major averages taking turns leading based on various economic and artificial intelligence (AI) news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.45 percent–its best week since May–while the S&P 500 Index gained 0.61 percent. The Nasdaq Composite, which has led all year, ended flat. The MSCI EAFE Index, tracking developed overseas stock markets, rose 0.94 percent for the week through Thursday’s close.


On the morning of June 26, 1974, at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio, a pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum becomes the first grocery item scanned with a Universal Product Code, or UPC. The result of years of scientific experimentation and industry cooperation, the UPC barcode would go on to be used well beyond the grocery checkout counter, becoming a ubiquitous feature of modern commerce, with billions of barcodes scanned daily.

The first version of a barcode was drafted by inventor Joe Woodland in the sand on Miami Beach in 1949. He designed a pattern of thick and thin lines arranged in concentric circles, readable by a scanner from any angle. Woodland took the inspiration for his design from Morse Code, but instead of communicating through dots and dashes, the barcode relayed information through thick and thin lines. He applied for a patent for his invention in 1949 and received it in 1952.

It took two decades to translate Woodland's idea into a functional barcode scanning system. In 1949, there was no practical way to "read" a barcode's image. The invention of the laser in 1960 created new possibilities for scanning technology. At the same time, computers became smaller and more affordable. Barcode scanners took advantage of both these advances. The new scanners used the ultra-bright light of a laser to sweep across the black-and-white image of a barcode, communicating information about the product and the price to a computerized cash register.


Mixed Economic News
All three averages began the week with gains, including new highs for the S&P 500. However, stocks posted only modest gains on Tuesday as mixed economic data came in. Retail sales rose 0.1 percent—less than expected, although better than in April when sales fell. Markets were closed for the Juneteenth holiday on Wednesday. As the week ended, it was the Dow’s turn to lead as sentiment shifted on mega-cap tech names as investors again questioned the sustainability of AI market drivers. Home prices hit a new high in May—this, paired with high mortgage rates, caused existing home sales to fall for the third consecutive month.

A Notable AI Driver
Some investors and market analysts are examining the underlying long-term drivers of AI more closely, given its outsized impact on market averages like the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
One such underlying driver is “DRAM”: Dynamic Random Access Memory, the AI-turbocharged version of a RAM semiconductor, more commonly referred to as “memory chips.” Companies making DRAM chips are an essential part of the AI ecosystem. Expect attention to shift to prominent DRAM players as they report earnings in Q2.


With the first half of the year in the rearview mirror, summertime is a great chance to touch base. A mid-year financial review can help to take stock of your accomplishments thus far and uncover any needs for adjustments. It’s important to regularly evaluate your financial situation, and a small investment of review time can help ensure you’re on track for both short and long-term objectives. Here are a few areas to examine:

Review financial goals. Take stock of your overall financial resolutions and long-term goals to determine whether you are making appropriate progress or if there’s a need for adjustments.

Revisit your budget. Assess any significant life changes that may impact your financial needs such as marriage, the birth of a child, divorce, or job change. Determine if any recurring costs could be eliminated or any spending habits tightened up.

Tackle taxes. Do you only focus on taxes right before tax time, when it may be too late to implement effective tax-saving strategies? Review your investments and tax withholdings to make sure you’re incurring the smallest tax burden possible. Also, look for opportunities to maximize charitable deductions, use an FSA account, or make adjustments that could lighten your tax load.

Assess savings. You should have at least three months of living expenses in your emergency fund. If you’re not there yet, don’t worry! Look to see how you can start building it up and consider setting up automatic deposits. Also, check on your progress toward other savings goals.

Review retirement. Check on retirement savings to assess progress and determine if you need to increase contributions or not. Consider account types, contribution sources, and tax implications.

Check on credit. It’s a good practice to pull a free credit report every year and examine for any discrepancies or suspicious activity and review your score. The three major bureaus offer a free report every 12-months. If needed, adjust where possible to improve your credit score.

Evaluate debt. Debt can be a major expense and a hindrance to making progress on goals. Review outstanding debt and what progress has been made toward eliminating it, adjust any habits to prevent you from incurring more.

The year is still young! Even if your review reveals a diversion from your goals, there is still time to modify and put things back on track. Identify the areas that require a bit of extra attention and make needed changes to improve them by the end of the year.