Central banks are hawkish. Stocks popped higher, anyway.
Last week, despite signs that inflation is slowing, U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) officials emphasized their commitment to tightening monetary policy to lower inflation. Several indicated they anticipate a third consecutive rate hike of 75 basis points, reported Craig Torres and Matthew Boesler of Bloomberg.1
Investors seemed to disregard the Fed as U.S. stocks moved higher, snapping a three-week losing streak. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the week up 3.6 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.7 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 4.1 percent, reported Christine Idzelis and Joseph Adinolfi of MarketWatch.2
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a rate increase of 75 basis points and revised its expectations for inflation higher last week. The ECB emphasized that tightening will continue and more rate hikes are likely. European stocks rose following the ECB’s announcement, reported Karen Gilchrist and Katrina Bishop of CNBC.3
Last week’s stock market gains were a bit confounding, especially when you consider the fact that money has been flowing out of global equities and bonds and into cash and investments that are perceived to be safe havens.4 The stock market’s performance may be the result of investors whose only option was to buy shares.5 Bloomberg’s Lu Wang and Isabelle Lee explained:
“In a week that saw discretionary buyers beat a quick retreat from risky assets, another set of traders stood up to halt a three-week plunge in the S&P 500: those with little choice but to buy. They included short sellers, whose rush to cover lifted stocks [that] they’re betting against to gains of more than twice the market’s. Options dealers were another bullish force after getting caught needing to boost hedges by buying stocks when they rise.”5
Major U.S. stock indices moved higher last week,6 and U.S. Treasury yields moved higher across the yield curve.7
STAY SAFE WHEN MAKING PEER-TO-PEER PAYMENTS.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps let you quickly send money to other people from a bank account, credit card or another source. All you need is their phone number, email address or username. P2P apps are convenient ways for friends to split the bill for dinner, roommates to pay their share of utility, streaming, or other bills, and parents to send money to children, reported Ellen Sheng of CNBC.8
Before getting too comfortable with the convenience of P2P apps, it's important to understand their risks and limitations. “No app provides fraud protection beyond tools to protect your account. If you authorize a payment and the transaction turns out to be a scam or fraud, there’s not much you can do. If your account is hacked, you can reach out to customer support for help. In any case, treat your electronic payments with the same care you apply to cash payments,” reported The New York Times’ Wirecutter.9
According to Consumer Reports, there were more than 70,000 reports of fraud in mobile payment apps in 2021.10 Here are a few things to consider and some steps to take to protect your money when using P2P payment apps.
- Download apps from a safe source. Only download apps from recognized app stores. Banks and businesses that offer payment apps often have links on their websites, according to Malwarebytes Labs.11 If you’re not sure whether the app source is legitimate, ask someone you trust for help.
- Enable security settings. Use the account settings to turn on additional security measures, such as two-factor authentication. Also, if you will be making payments via phone, make sure your phone is protected by a password, fingerprint identification or facial recognition.11
- Don’t send money to strangers. Most apps recommend using P2P apps only with friends and family. That’s because, once you send the money, it’s gone. If a typo results in the transfer of $500 rather than $50, the mistake isn’t correctable unless the receiver sends the overpayment back.8
- Check the information twice. Some banks limit the amount that can be sent through P2P apps because transactions cannot be cancelled. So, double-check the phone number, email address, or username before you choose “send”.12
- Connect your P2P service to a credit card instead of a bank account. “Credit cards are subject to the Electronic Fund Transfers rule (Regulation E), which requires that users be held liable for no more than $50 in the event of fraud or a payment made in error,” reported Consumer Reports.10
Digital transfers are handy. That may be one reason P2P payments and digital banking are becoming more common. To stay safe, make sure to protect your login information and know who is receiving the money.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.”13
-Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Queen Elizabeth II