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Weekly Market Commentary

10/8/2021
Do Your Part.  #BeCyberSmart.
The line between our online and offline lives is becoming indistinguishable.  The month of October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  The theme is "Do Your Part.  #BeCyberSmart".  It empowers individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace. 
 
As our lives have become increasingly dependent on technology, virtually all personal and business data is kept on internet-connected platforms.  Below are several security practices which focus on general cyber hygiene to keep your information safe.

  • Set up alerts on all sensitive accounts- Credit card providers, banks, and other financial companies already have alerts for suspicious log-ins or transactions on your accounts. You also can enable alerts to notify you of suspicious activity. If you don’t have alerts set up, contact these institutions to enable alerts on all your accounts.

  • Enable two-factor authentication on smart devices- All smart devices have the option to enable two-factor authentication where you must answer questions, provide pins or passwords at least twice to gain access to use the device. If working remotely on a company-provided device or personal device, enable two-step authentication to help hinder an attack.

  • Always check the source- When receiving emails, click on the sender’s email address before opening the email to see if it is a real source. Why check first? Opening an email from a cyber-hacker can result in compromising your device. Often, cybercriminals install a bot when you open the email and watch for opportunities to take passwords and more!

  • Use different passwords for every account or a password manager- For websites that require a password to log in, use different passwords or a password manager to generate unique passwords. Unique passwords contain random phrases or include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols is one way to help deter cyber-hackers.

  • Restrict your social media profiles- Lock down your personal information on your social media profiles by leaving your date of birth, address, location information, and social connections private. Also restrict your social media profiles by not making them public. Common security questions to sensitive accounts often ask security questions about pets, family members, or other information to verify your identity making these Q & A’s easy for cyber-criminals to use.
Keeping yourself and your devices safe is an on-going process but can be successful when you take steps to deter cybersecurity risks.  
 
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U.S. equities moved higher this week as indicated by the S&P 500 which was up +0.83% on the week. In the U.S., smaller-sized companies underperformed their larger-sized counterparts, as the Russell 2000 index decreased by -0.37% on the week.  International stocks as measured by the MSCI EAFE were positive on the week, up +0.29%, underperforming domestic stocks. Emerging market stocks were positive on the week with the MSCI EM up +0.85%. U.S. investment-grade bonds were negative last week with the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond index down -0.78%.


GOING UP? - Inflation as of 9/30/21, using the Consumer Price Index, will be reported this Wednesday 10/13/21. For the trailing 12 months ending 8/31/21, inflation was up +5.3%, a level not seen over the course of a calendar year in 31 years (source: Department of Labor).

SAME FOR YOU? - The total household net worth in America is up +47% in the last 4 years and is up +89% in the last 8 years. The total US household net worth was $74.8 trillion as of 6/30/13, was $96.2 trillion as of 6/30/17 and was $141.7 trillion as of 6/30/21 (source: Federal Reserve).

GOT YOUR SHOTS? - 81% of 1,000 small business owners (i.e., firms employing less than 100 workers) who were surveyed in September 2021 say they would require new hires to be vaccinated or they are considering a requirement that new hires be vaccinated (source: Digital.com).

WHAT A DAY! - 13 years ago, this week (on Monday 10/13/08), the single-best trading day for the S&P 500 in the last 71 years (since 1950) took place – a gain of +11.58% (total return) in just 1 trading day. The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry group representation. It is a market value-weighted index with each stock's weight in the index proportionate to its value (source: BTN Research).

Index performance does not reflect the deduction of any fees and expenses, and if deducted, performance would be reduced. Indexes are unmanaged and investors are not able to invest directly into any index. Past performance cannot guarantee future results.
 
Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect again loss. In general, the bond market is volatile; bond prices rise when interest rates fall and vice versa. This effect is usually pronounced for longer term securities. Any fixed-income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to a substantial gain or loss. Vehicles that invest in lower-rated debt securities (commonly referred to as junk bonds or high-yield bonds) involve additional risks because of the lower credit quality of the securities in the portfolio. International investing involves special risks not present with U.S. investments due to factors such as increased volatility, currency fluctuation, and differences in auditing and other financial standards. These risks can be accentuated in emerging markets.

The statements provided herein are based solely on the opinions of the Advisor Group Research Team and are being provided for general information purposes only. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed constitutes an offer or a solicitation to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments. Any opinions provided herein should not be relied upon for investment decisions and may differ from those of other departments or divisions of Advisor Group or its affiliates.

Certain information may be based on information received from sources the Advisor Group Research Team considers reliable; however, the accuracy and completeness of such information cannot be guaranteed. Certain statements contained herein may constitute “projections,” “forecasts” and other “forward-looking statements” which do not reflect actual results and are based primarily upon applying retroactively a hypothetical set of assumptions to certain historical financial information. Any opinions, projections, forecasts and forward-looking statements presented herein reflect the judgment of the Advisor Group Research Team only as of the date of this document and are subject to change without notice. Advisor Group has no obligation to provide updates or changes to these opinions, projections, forecasts and forward-looking statements. Advisor Group is not soliciting or recommending any action based on any information in this document.

Securities are offered through Securities America, Inc., a broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc.. Advisor Group, Inc. is an affiliate of these firms. [3794653]