Economic and Investment News Bits
- “Terrorism seems a far more common and deadly occurrence than it is. Terrorism-related deaths overshadow the larger number of deaths resulting from other causes. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs broke down the causes of death for Americans traveling abroad. According to the data, overseas travelers are over 10 times more likely to die in a transportation accident than in a terrorist attack. In fact terrorism accounted for only 3% of deaths, just a bit more than natural disasters, and drug-related deaths.” (Source: Stratfor Global Intelligence)
- “Millenials bear the scars of the recent global financial crisis, and that has changed their risk tolerance (as it has for investors of any age). Younger generations are also more focused on experience and charitable giving, which affects how much they save and the structure of their investments”, (Source: William Blair Funds).
- Economists and market analysts face a constant temptation to fit market movements to a convenient narrative. They need a story to explain why markets are moving the way they are. Lately, stocks have rallied strongly and are within a couple of good days of reaching new all-time highs, the story line being that it is due to “not as bad a feared” economic prospects. Sometimes there may be no explanation, other than momentum. Up or down, momentum can be a force by itself. (Source: SentimenTrader)
- The latest data suggests China’s economy is stabilizing, eliminating a potential drag on emerging market economies. One reason for the positive change has been the growth of retail sales (sales minus inflation), now by an average of 10% per year. E-commerce has become a driving force in retail sales, growing by more than 40% per year. This is the best consumption story on the planet by a very wide margin. In the U.S. and Europe, we are excited if retail sales growth reaches 3% or 4%. (Source: Olga Bitel, economist)
- It’s tax time! The federal tax code and regulations contain 10 million words, a publication that would take an individual reading 300 words a minute (the average adult reading speed) more than 23 days of non-stop reading to digest. (Source: Tax Foundation)
Thought for the week
“The happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr, American author (b. 1940)
So You Think Your Email Account Has Been Hacked?
The health care sector has accounted for almost 43% of data breaches over the last three years, with 91% of all health organizations hacked in the last two years. In 2015 alone, there were 253 breaches of medical data, affecting 112 million individuals’ health records. The draw for cyber criminals is the rich and unique information. A credit card record can be acquired for about $1 on the black market. In contrast, a person’s complete medical record can go for $200 to $2,000, says Carl Leonard of Raytheon/Websense. Surprisingly though, the easiest access to individuals’ personal information is through their email accounts. A number of PDS’ clients have experienced hacking of their personal email accounts. AOL appears to have a particularly serious problem with hackers, but the problem is not exclusive to them. Our upcoming Quarterly Investment Webcast (April 20) will include a list of things to do when you discover your email account has been hacked. We urge folks to join the discussion, or listen to the replay.
Chart For April (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
The global stock markets started the year on a bad note where practically all countries were significantly in the red by mid February. The S&P 500 was down over 10%, Latin America down almost 15% and oil down almost 30%! Fast forward through today and the markets have really snapped back. The S&P 500 and oil are back into positive territory and Latin America is up almost 20%. This just goes to show how quickly markets can move across the world.
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