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On Our Minds

The best-performing sectors were energy, financial, healthcare, and materials.

The S&P 500 Index gained 8.1% for the second quarter and 14.4% year-to-date despite concerns over Federal Reserve policy, fiscal spending and the spreading delta variant of COVID. Most investors see an improving economy with continued low interest rates being positive for corporate earnings.

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Buying a home? Here's what you need to know.

Before you start driving around neighborhoods looking at For-Sale signs or going online to search houses for sale, you should get your personal finances in order. That means tracking your living expenses and creating a strict budget, which will be invaluable in finding a home you can afford.

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Business Owners Need Ransomware Protection

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that locks up your files so that you no longer can access them and demands you pay a ransom to unlock the files. Paying in Bitcoin or cyber currency gives the cybercriminal anonymity and cannot be traced.

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COVID-19 Brings Out the Scammers

To paraphrase a famous expression: When the going gets tough, the scammers get going. Scammers are even identifying themselves as bank employees to steal information and cash.With COVID-19, the fraudsters are out in force, seeking to take advantage of the widespread anxiety generated by the global pandemic.

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First quarter corporate earnings exceed expectations

The S&P 500 index was up slightly in the month of May due to growing investor confidence in higher 2021 corporate revenues and earnings. With the receding COVID pandemic, consumers and businesses are emerging from social-distancing protocols and accelerating their spending. This strong growth in demand for goods has led to inventory shortages in many cases. Temporary delivery delays for raw materials and components are constraining global growth. Employment is expanding, however, which means goods manufacturing should improve and service industries should gain momentum.

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Don’t Neglect Your Financial Information During Hurricane Season

If you’ve lived in Florida for any length of time, you know what happens every summer: Hurricane season. Longtime residents know the drill – protect yourself and your loved ones in terms of shelter, safety and supplies.

For a refresher, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the National Hurricane Center have posted some important operational guidelines.

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Fed Remains Resolute in Bond Purchases and Yields

Most first-quarter corporate earnings reports have been meeting or beating expectations and this has raised the confidence that equity valuations are not excessive. The S&P 500 Index is trading at a reasonable 22x Price to Earnings multiple, but earnings estimates are being actively raised by analysts who see stronger revenue and profit growth in the second half of 2021. Financial, industrial, energy and basic materials companies are showing considerable revenue acceleration, expense control and order backlogs.
 

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Cryptocurrency Becoming Less Cryptic

The creation of cryptocurrencies or digital currencies such as Bitcoin has bankers, financiers and governments pondering the long-term potential economic and political ramifications for the future. While the increasing use of digital currencies demonstrates the power of a secure, secretive payment transfer system, it also has created a loophole from government control.

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Federal Spending Strengthens U.S. Dollar

The S&P 500 Index grew 5.8% in the first quarter in response to the massive fiscal stimulus and the anticipation of a significant economic rebound. The recent passage of the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package added to the previous five major stimulus bills totaling over $5.2 trillion. Lawmakers as well as the Federal Reserve have responded dramatically to the COVID pandemic flooding the market with liquidity and the markets responded positively. The COVID-relief money flooding into depository institutions is being used for consumption and investment and helping corporate earnings rebound quickly.

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IRS Lists Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

It’s the time of year when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) releases its list of the latest tax scams. Scammers routinely use the anxiety of tax season to prey on the unsuspecting, and this year, they’re also using the pandemic and the government’s Economic Impact Payments to steal money and identities from taxpayers.

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