Our Thoughts

FJY News to Know #34

Consumer Confidence Remains Strong Despite International Financial Intrigue

Consumer spending has been strong in recent months.  Accounting for two-thirds of domestic economic activity, it has significantly helped growth in the second quarter.  Inflation has remained weak: The price index for personal consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, was up 1.4% from a year earlier.  Read here for the new economic outlook Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sees for the U.S.

GE Has a Whistleblower on Their Hands — Which May Upset Investor Confidence

Forensic accountant Harry Markopolos alleged accounting fraud in General Electric’s legacy long-term care insurance business.  While CEO Larry Culp accused Markopolos’ report as market manipulation, the stock price dropped 11% after the release of the compromising document. Markopolos wrote the 170-page report without consulting company officials, which immediately called into question the author’s desire for financial accuracy.  How does this potential scandal stack up against other revelations in the past?  And most importantly, what does it mean if you own a Genworth long-term care policy? Find out more here.

Despite Some High-Profile Scandals in Higher Education, the Tough Choice Still Exists

Choosing a four-year college is one of the biggest and most expensive decisions a family can make.  With a total of about $1.5 trillion owed by Americans for student debt, any decision in this realm will invariably have considerable financial consequences.  Recent admissions fraud and bribery scandals have tainted the higher-education landscape to some degree — Which probably doesn’t sit well with college hopefuls and their kin, especially if they don’t have affluent backgrounds.  So what are the best candidates for schools?  Here is an updated list.

The US Might Have Some Economic Woes — But it’s All Relative on the International Scene!

Several major economies around the world are now in recession, and several are on the verge of one.  If the situation continues unabated, experts say the effect could put the U.S. into a recession as well.  Germany, a traditionally economic stalwart — has already experienced two-quarters of negative growth.  China has had the worst manufacturing output in nearly two decades.  Argentina has perhaps the biggest crisis:  It has been in recession for months, and inflation is devaluing their peso — pressuring their middle class.  Read here to see a breakdown of all the precarious nations.

Thanks, Fed for the Low-Interest Rate — Or Maybe Not?

Low mortgage rates seem wonderful for buyers, but they’ve increased mortgage debt to the highest level in U.S. history.  In the second quarter of 2019, Americans’ mortgage balances totaled $9.4 trillion, $162 billion more than the previous quarter. Mortgage balances represent the largest component of household debt.  However, some people are putting a positive spin on the news.  Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president at the New York Fed, said that mortgage delinquencies and the average credit profile of mortgage borrowers have continued to improve.  Here are more details about the matter.