The behemoths of the internet have been back in the news recently. The issue is that a lot of people, including Members of Congress, are not very comfortable with the amount and quality of stewardship being provided by those in the executive suites at Amazon, Google, Facebook and some other big-league players. And whenever politicians perceive a lack of stewardship, they are likely to think the solution is that they themselves should have control. They will then assign the job to some governmental agency, or maybe even make a new one.  Sometimes the result is better service and better protections for consumers. Other times it can take us down a new rabbit hole of unintended consequences. As Washington attempts to oversee it also frequently overlooks. We think it’s a good idea to stay tuned in as this unfolds.

While thinking about this whole thing — and its multiple far reaching implications, I couldn’t help thinking too about how much security and protection we can actually provide to ourselves and our children — but, for all kinds of reasons we just don’t. The internet is truly everywhere all the time. With ubiquity comes complacency.

 Protect Yourself

A good password is critical for keeping your accounts secure and preventing cybercriminals from accessing your personal information.

There are a few basic rules for creating a strong password:

  • The longer, the better: We recommend aiming for at least 16 characters.
  • Make it unique: Don’t reuse the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Make it random: Avoid using common phrases and personal references such as birthdays, anniversaries and so on.
  • Don’t store your passwords in a text file: If your system is compromised, attackers can steal all your passwords at once. Instead, use a trustworthy password manager such as KeePass.

Use an ad-blocker. A good ad-blocker can greatly enhance your online experience. Not only does it make pages load faster and remove annoying ads from your online life, it also makes your web browsing experience safer and more private by removing the risk of malvertising (malicious software spread via advertising) and preventing ad servers from keeping tabs on your browsing habits.

When using public Wi-Fi, assume someone is watching. Only transmit data that you wouldn’t mind being stolen and never enter login details or banking information when connected to public Wi-Fi. If you do need to use public Wi-Fi to send important information, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to create a more secure connection.

Protect Your Children

Young people are spontaneous individuals and might not stop to think that the internet is forever. Help them know the importance of thinking before posting and sharing. Caution them about the impact they may have on others. Warn them too about the dangers of inappropriate websites or installing games or other software that may contain malicious intent. Just as in the physical world they will encounter all manner of danger alongside entertainment and other enjoyment. The online world can seem safe because it exists on the other side of the screen. We need to let our children be aware that when online they have put themselves on the other side of that screen.

Ron’s Market Minute – ‘The Most Important Fed Meeting Ever’ 

NOT!  After a whole two FOMC meetings without the ‘news‘ media labeling them something like ‘the most important Fed meeting ever’, and after the somewhat peaceful 12-weeks without much in the way of media headlines, this past week was back to the usual commentary. 

As with most Fed statement days, 90% of the time stocks don’t move much until the 2pm announcement. And that was the case this week. After 2pm there is a tendency to see stocks surge toward the end of the day. That’s also what we had this week.  

So, the Fed did not cut interest rates this week. We saw some headlines expecting a rate cut, but the market had only priced in a 20% chance of a cut, so we doubted there would be any kind of cutting action.  Of interest, markets have priced in an 80% chance of a rate cut in July, and we also doubt that will happen.

The market (as measured by the S&P Index*) is now sitting about 1% from its all-time highs, so was definitely not in need of a rescue as in December. Economic data has been mixed.  Employment has been good with a bit of a weak numbers last month. Housing is struggling a bit, but consumer sentiment and confidence has rallied yet again (never doubt the propensity of the American consumer to BUY). The demise of the consumer seems to have been overly exaggerated. 

As usual of late, Europe’s economy is weakening and may see some stimulus from the ECB. (In a manner similar to the US FED, the ECB met this week and took no action, but they DID suggest a willingness to lower rates.) China’s economy has been hurt by US tariffs. And overall the message from Powell was dovish, which moves the message TOWARD an interest rate cut without actually doing one.

Our longer-term message is that the bull market is currently in full swing. Consumer discretionary stocks are looking healthy, high-yield bonds are acting healthy (though they could certainly be stronger), the NY Stock Exchange Advance/Decline Line keeps finding new highs, and there is wide participation in almost all the sectors of the market. 

While Mr. Market always reserves the right to act capriciously, Bull markets do not end with behavior like this.The Dow is flirting with 27,000 and frankly we would not be surprised to see the Dow touch 30,000 within the next few quarters.  

Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
Investment Advisor
Denk Strategic Wealth Partners
10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite C-262
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone (602) 252-8700
Fax (602) 252-8701
Toll-Free (877) The-Denk
www.denkinvest.com

This weekly article reflects news, commentary, opinions, viewpoints, analyses and other information developed by Denk Strategic Wealth Partners and/or select but unaffiliated third parties. DSWP provides Market Information for illustrative and informational purposes only. If you wish to receive this weekly commentary by email please contact us at 602-252-8700 or by e-mail at lindaw[@]denkinvest.com. If you are receiving this commentary via email and would prefer not to please let us know either by email or phone.

Ronald Denk is an Advisory Representative offering services through Denk Strategic Wealth Partners, A Registered Investment Advisor. He is also a Registered Representative, offering investments through Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation, Member FINRA/SIPC.

Denk Strategic Wealth Partners is not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation. Information in this commentary is the sole opinion of Denk Strategic Wealth Partners. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. All market related investments involve various types of risk, which include but are not restricted to, credit risk, interest rate risk, volatility, going concern risk, and market risk.

The Update provides information of a general nature regarding legislative or other developments. None of the information contained herein is intended as legal advice or opinions relative to specific matters, facts, situations or issues. Additional facts, information or future developments may affect the subjects addressed in this document. You should consult with an attorney, accountant or DSWP planner about your particular circumstances before acting on any of this information because it may not be applicable to your situation.

Lincoln Financial Securities and Denk Strategic Wealth Partners and their representatives do not offer tax advice. Please see your tax professional regarding your individual needs.

*The indices are representative of domestic markets and include the average performance of groups of widely held common stocks. Individuals cannot invest directly in any index and unlike investments, indices do not incur management fees, charges, or expenses, therefore specific index returns will be higher. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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