Our Thoughts

FJY News to Know #61

Mortgage Rates Are Feeling the Effects of the Coronavirus Too

Mortgage rates dropped again to the lowest level since October 2016, as investors are still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. A 30-year fixed note averaged 3.45% in the last week, a loss of four points. A 15-year mortgage came in at about 2.95%, also a loss of four points. These events have affected Treasury yields, as investors have sought a haven in place of the skittish markets. “Lenders tend not to keep up with volatile movement in Treasurys like those seen in the past few days, particularly with rates as low as they currently are,” said economist Matthew Speakman. To learn more about the lending industry’s reaction to this, visit this page.

 

The Dow Jones Plummets recently — With the Coronavirus Taking Much of the Blame

Recently the Dow has been a wild ride for investors particularly last Friday, which punished many investors as it sank more than 1,000 points — Before rallying back up to about a negative 350 points. Last week as a whole gave us the biggest weekly losses since 2008. The newest strain of the coronavirus is taking much of the blame for the drops. The markets suffered the backlash of the latest news of the virus and all infiltrated countries and deaths continuing to rise. To read about how individual stocks fared in the market last week, click here.

 

Identity Theft Scammers Are At It Again; This Time With an IRS Tax Form

These scammers are using bait-like exemptions from withholding and paying income tax. In an email, scammers instruct targeted taxpayers to authenticate their information by filling out and returning a form W-8BEN. This latter form is legitimate; it’s used by non-resident aliens who receive certain kinds of income. However, the credibility disintegrates once the recipient breaks down the instructions. It asks for personal details such as your mother’s maiden name, your passport number, driver’s license, and deposit information. The biggest red flag is the email itself: The IRS never contacts taxpayers via email. To see screenshots of the scammers’ ruse, click here.

 

Telecommuting and Video Apps Are Hip Now — But For a More Morbid Reason

In the past, telecommuting was often a holy grail at some companies — granted to those with higher tenure or with exceptional circumstances. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19 — it’s quickly becoming a standard preventive method of combating the international virus. Nowhere else is this more evident than in China, the origin of the COVID-19 outbreak. To remedy the necessity of collaborative projects or services, phone calls and video chatting are skyrocketing. One banker in Hong Kong said he’s going to extend his vacation abroad, as he can work anywhere with his laptop and a phone. A venture adviser in the same city said his meeting schedule is empty.

More IPOs and deals are on hold. To read more about the impact of the virus on the Chinese economy, click here.

 

What Would Happen to the NYSE if an Outbreak Happened in NYC?

The new coronavirus strain, the wicked cousin of the SARS virus in 2003 — poses a potential threat to the great financial center of the West. However, other incidents have compromised the market’s functions in the past. When Super Storm Sandy hit New York in 2012, the market was closed for two days. At the time, the NYSE wasn’t prepared to go fully electronic. On July 8, 2015, a technical glitch forced the NYSE to suspend trading for several hours, but trading continued in other U.S. cities. Things have changed since then, especially with VPN technology: More people can work from home than ever before. There are also contingency plans for a major market crash. To learn about the details of these plans, please visit this page.