Perhaps you are old enough to remember its first telecast. It was 1965 and it appeared on the CBS Television Network. All across America viewers watched and listened as, in animation, a small child walks to center stage. He is clutching a blanket and, as he stops, the lights dim and a soft spotlight illuminates the cherubic Linus, who has come to tell his friend what the true meaning of Christmas is.
“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Of course, one need not be a Christian to appreciate the spirit of the season just as you don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate Chanukah. There are many foundations underpinning our respect for giving, for sharing, and for expressing love for our fellow creatures.
Sadly, every coin has another side. Here we are in 2021 and I don’t have to tell you that there are an awful lot of folks who don’t get the message. Internet shopping is growing by leaps and bounds, but along with it, so is cybercrime.
The Wall Street Journal reports: “One popular scheme, sometimes known as a discount scam, involves luring potential victims with an ad. The scammers know what you’ve been searching for online—often because they place cookies on your PC to track your activity—so they serve up a banner ad offering a coupon or sweet deal for that product.
Let’s say you click on a banner purporting to offer just the right leaf blower for Dad at a steep discount. You will land on a spoof site, like “Amaazon.com,” that looks like the legitimate site. From there, the site either asks for personally identifiable information that criminals can sell on the black market, or it requests your credit card to purchase the item. You’re charged the full amount, but the item never arrives.”
This kind of unscrupulousness manages to scoop up a humungous amount of money.
“According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2020 report, Americans reported more than $265 million in non-delivery scams, when consumers are charged for an item purchased online but it never arrives. They filed nearly another $130 million in losses related to credit-card fraud, $54 million in “smishing” campaigns—when bad actors send texts urging recipients to reveal personal information—and $4 million in charity scams.”
The good news is that there are some simple ways to avoid most of these crook’s scams. When you get a promotional email, check the name on the ‘From’ line. A legitimate business will normally use their company’s branded name in the email address. If the sender has a Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook, or some other free email service, it is likely not legit. Look for spelling or grammar errors, which may indicate a foreign source unfamiliar with English. Most of all, use your common sense and keep in mind that for some people, unfortunately, the ‘Holiday spirit’ is just something to be exploited.
Ron’s Market Minute — A Good Week (in the end!)
After last Friday (a week ago) when the employment report really laid an egg by showing 210,000 new jobs v. an expected 600,000, we were not looking for this week to be up 3%. Those numbers were not good, but then the unemployment rate fell to 4.2% even though the labor force participation rate increased to 61.8%. Yes, THOSE are good numbers! And yes, that’s clear as mud.
We had thought that the last two months of 2021 and into the beginning of 2022 would bring a sharp increase in economic activity and decent jobs numbers. So, between here and the wall, I can NOT make sense of the reported numbers. (AND I expect that we’ll see the 210,000 number significantly revised higher.) Too many things don’t make sense right now.
At the beginning of this week, it was interesting to see the many pundits voicing strong convictions regarding the future flight path of markets. They ranged from those that saw the recent pullback as a buying opportunity to those that saw the pullback as a sharp warning of things to come. Apparently, there were not many fence-sitters. I love when people have high convictions and I usually do as well.
This week began on the heels of that failed morning rally last Friday with a big surge in buyers to end the day on Monday. Since then, it’s been ‘volatile’, to say the least. The charts are looking like we may not have seen the last of the down days. We may have, but not necessarily.
We’re rather surprised at the lack of client concern. All of you (as a group), apparently are a lot less concerned with the wiggles and wobbles than the average ‘public’ these days.
And on that note, let me share my surprise that a number of you have asked if they had some cash on the sidelines, and if so, could we put it to use for you now? If we’re right and we may have seen the low for now, or at least close to it, we don’t want to be too cute. We’ve been adding some equities on the pullback days and expecting that we’re near a low. If my premise is wrong it won’t matter, but it’s looking like the bulls will finish out in charge for the rest of December.
Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
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