August 29, 2016

The Markets

Last week, Wall Street was speculating about monetary policy with the enthusiasm of commentators trying to predict who will bring home Olympic gold.

The sooner-is-better camp inside the Fed has been quite vocal recently. CNBC reported New York Fed President William Dudley, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, and San Francisco Fed President John Williams each made statements confirming solid economic growth is expected during the second half of 2016, and indicating it’s time to continue increasing interest rates in the United States.

Recently, the CME Fed Watch tool (which looks at 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices to gauge the likelihood of changes in Fed policy) put the probability of one-quarter to one-half percentage point rate increase during September at 88 percent.

That may change this week after Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks at the Fed’s summer retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She’s expected to provide some indication of whether the Fed is ready to take action.

If you would like more information, just ‘friend’ the Fed. It now has a Facebook page.

Public WiFi

Public WiFi is remarkable convenient, making it possible to connect your tablet, laptop, phone, or other device in the middle of a national park, at a local bookstore or café, or while waiting for a flight. Whenever you’re connecting in a public venue, remember public Wi-Fi is not secure – even if you’re paying to access it. Norton warned:

“…Wi-Fi uses radio waves. The openness of these signals at public hotspots, combined with the right eavesdropping software, can allow others to take information without your knowledge – much like someone overhearing a private conversation in a crowded restaurant. Don’t assume that a public Wi-Fi network is safe and secure simply because it has a password. Remember, these passwords are shared, so anyone nearby can easily hop onto the network and see what you’re doing.”

Protect yourself with some dos and don’ts of free public Wi-Fi:

Do:

  • Turn ‘sharing’ off. Your computer may be set to ‘share’ files and printers or allow remote login from other computers. Make sure ‘sharing’ is turned off when you are on public Wi-Fi.
  • Access only public sites. Check the weather or stock markets. Read the news or your favorite blogs. Avoid sites that require you to login.
  • Use a virtual private network or VPN. VPN software may allow you to route all of your activity through a separate and secure private network even when using public Wi-Fi.

Don’t:

  • Assume a Wi-Fi option is legitimate. Cyber criminals have been known to set-up connections with names that are similar to the name of wireless offered by the café, hotel, etc. Talk with an employee before accessing Wi-Fi to get the correct name and IP address.
  • Access password-protected websites. When you’re on public Wi-Fi, do not log in to password protected email accounts or social media sites; do not enter credit card information; and do not engage in online banking.

Public Wi-Fi is wonderful – as long as you understand the risks and protect your personal information.

Weekly Focus

“I just work hard and try my best every time I step up on those blocks. I’m very goal-oriented. I’ve always set high goals for myself. When I was little I never dreamed of going to the Olympics, but once I did I wanted to do my very best at that level. Four years ago, when I was visualizing my final, I never envisaged anything other than winning gold. Once I get to that level, I’m able to set the goals for myself and go out and achieve them.”
-Katie Ledecky, Olympic gold medalist

Image is public domain.

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