Supported by stable interest rates and optimism regarding the China trade negotiations, the S&P 500 Index rose 28.9% and the Nasdaq Index, with its high information technology weighting, rose 33% for the year. Enthusiasm and expectations for a better economy and strengthening earnings grew as the year progressed. Current equity market valuations look historically elevated with an overall 18x expected Price-to-Earnings ratio, but with few attractive investment alternatives, the financial market gains can continue. There is still over $1 trillion in private equity and hedge fund cash ready to be invested, so even a minor correction would be met with supportive technical buying. The rally was concentrated in the Large Cap technology growth stocks with Mid Cap and Small Cap stocks generally up less significantly. Value stocks like financials, consumer staples, energy and utilities – which are not expected to have significant earnings growth – underperformed during the year.
When expenses surpass revenue, some business owners may go into panic mode, restructuring from top to bottom or in the worst case scenario, shutting down. Before taking on such a major task, however, consider small cost-saving methods, such as reducing travel expenses and conserving office supplies.
CSI Technologies and Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans nationwide about their opinions and fears surrounding cybersecurity as it pertains to their personal financial data. A majority of respondents expressed concerns about their online security online, and 74% said they would be likely to participate in a cybersecurity education or awareness program if their bank offered it.
Here is a look at three indicators of the real estate market:
There are there three main developments that reinforce that belief:
The Internal Revenue Service warns taxpayers to be alert to unscrupulous tax return preparers promising inflated tax refunds. This is a common scam tactic during filing season, so be wary if your tax preparer says he or she can get you more money than their competitors or boasts of refunds substantially larger than you have routinely seen.