Author: admiin

This post was originally published on this site

Don’t expect the stock market to rise much between now and the end of the year. In fact, U.S. stocks are more likely to decline.

That’s the conclusion contrarian analysts are reaching, based on the bullish enthusiasm that prevails among short-term stock market timers. Instead of forming a Wall of Worry that the markets like to climb, those timers have constructed a so-called Slope of Hope that the markets like to descend.

This downbeat forecast is just the opposite of what contrarians were foreseeing a month ago, when contrarians concluded that new market highs were in store.

Read: As the market hits new highs, most stocks are sinking

How bullish are the market timers right now? Consider the average recommended equity exposure among a subset of several dozen short-term stock market timers that my firm monitors on a daily basis. (This average is what’s reported by my Hulbert Stock Newsletter Sentiment index, or HSNSI.) Right now, as you can see from the accompanying chart, this average stands at 65.6%. That’s higher than more than 95% of all daily readings since 2000.

This bullish enthusiasm has been evident over the last couple of trading sessions. On Nov. 15, in the wake of rumors that a trade deal with China was imminent, the stock market soared and both the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.11%   and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.05%  rose to new all-time highs. Yet, when on Monday of this week those rumors were called into question, the stock market didn’t fall back to where it stood prior to last week’s rumors.

This “heads I win, tails you lose” behavior is a classic sign of irrational exuberance.

Read: Why Dow 28,000 could mark that ‘blowoff top’ bears have been predicting

To illustrate the short-term bearish consequences of this much bullishness, the table below reports the performance over the past two decades of the Russell 2000 index RUT, -0.26%  in the wake of the 5% of readings that were the highest. I chose to focus on this index since prior academic research has shown that small-cap stocks are particularly susceptible to swings in retail investor sentiment.

The table also shows the Russell 2000’s returns subsequent to the other 95% of that distribution.

HSNSI readings…

Russell 2K over subsequent week

Russell 2K over subsequent month

Russell 2K over subsequent 3 months

Russell 2K over subsequent 6 months

Higher than 65.5% (the highest 5% of all readings since 2000)

-0.3%

-1.4%

-0.9%

-0.4%

Below 65.5% (the lowest 95% of the historical distribution)

+0.2%

+0.8%

+2.1%

+4.1%

To be sure, the negative returns in the first row of the table reflect averages, and sometimes the market declines by less. The key to how far the market is likely to fall over the next few weeks is how the market timers respond when the market hits a rough patch. If the timers run for the exit at the first sign of trouble, then it will take a relatively mild decline to create the sentiment foundation for the subsequent rally.

If the market timers stubbornly hold to their bullishness in the face of market weakness, in contrast, then contrarians will be watching for a deeper decline.

In the meantime, the usual qualifications apply: Contrarian analysis doesn’t always work. Even when it does, it is only a short-term indicator — telling us nothing about the longer term trend. Nevertheless, to the extent contrarian analysis is right, in a couple of weeks the market is likely to be lower than where it is now.

Mark Hulbert is a regular contributor to MarketWatch. His Hulbert Ratings tracks investment newsletters that pay a flat fee to be audited. He can be reached at mark@hulbertratings.com

More: Why a ‘Santa Claus rally’ for stocks is no more real than Kris Kringle himself

Plus: When ‘idjits’ mock Warren Buffett, the stock market could be in trouble

This post was originally published on this site
  • Launch slated for Spring 2020
  • Bronco R teases new design
  • Based on Ranger platform
  • Set to rival Jeep Wrangler
  • Pricing estimated at $30,000-plus
  • Preceded by Escape-based Baby Bronco

We know when the 2020 Bronco won’t be launched. While there was some speculation that the wraps could come off as soon as the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford’s F, +0.00%   announcement that it will debut an all-electric crossover SUV with Mustang styling cues has been followed up with a release that says the Bronco will bow next spring. It also released a logo that will be used with the revived icon.

Baby Bronco first

That spring launch is expected to be preceded by the so-called “Baby Bronco,” a crossover SUV based on 2020 Escape mechanicals. While the new Escape has a more carlike look to its styling and looks to appeal to shoppers of the now discontinued Focus (and the canceled Focus Active), the Baby Bronco will have a much more rugged SUV-inspired shape.

Worth reading: 10 cars with the best resale value

In addition to the more macho look, the Baby Bronco will also have greater ground clearance and an all-wheel drive system more suited to light off-road work. The vehicle, which Automotive News says could be called Bronco Scout, Bronco Adventurer, Bronco Sport or Maverick, will rival the Jeep Renegade. Teaser shots reveal a boxy profile, round LED headlamps and the Ford name embossed on the front grille. It will probably be priced at a premium over the all-new 2020 Escape, which starts at about $25,000.

Bronco R teases shape

As part of its slow reveal of the new Bronco, Ford revealed an off-road race version of the new SUV at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. This race truck is essentially the bare body of the 2020 Bronco on a race chassis, so other than the silhouette, it doesn’t portray much of what buyers of the reincarnation of this icon can expect.

Ford
Ford’s Bronco R race prototype.

Ford admits as much by describing the Bronco R as essentially dropping heritage-inspired design and proportion hints on top of a Trophy Truck campaigned by Baja 1000 winner Cameron Steele. The teaser racer was displayed alongside a 1969 Baja-winning Bronco piloted by Rod Hall.

You might like: The 10 coolest things about the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender

“Bronco’s win at Baja in 1969 was epic, something that even after 50 years has not been repeated,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development officer. “Rugged endurance racing is such a part of Bronco heritage. The Baja 1000 gives us not only the perfect setting to honor Rod Hall’s win, it also provides an authentic test bed to demonstrate our upcoming Bronco’s desert racing capability and durability.”

The one thing the Bronco R is — it telegraphs the size and proportions of the 2020 model versus the original. Based on the Ranger, it’s much larger than the original Bronco.

The main event

The highly anticipated 2020 Ford Bronco, when it launches next year, is taking direct aim at the Jeep Wrangler. It will have body-on-frame construction and will be built alongside the midsize Ranger at Ford’s Wayne, Mich., assembly plant. It’s expected to have a boxy, rugged SUV look to it, great off-road capability along with the requisite removable roof panels and doors, similar to its key competitor.

Where it fits in the Bronco continuum is a bit of a mystery but given the dimensions of the Ranger (which is larger than previous generation models and almost rivals some earlier F-150s in size), the Bronco will be bigger than the original, but smaller than the F-150 based on the last generation Bronco made famous by O.J. Simpson. Those looking for the feel of the first-generation compact Bronco may be surprised by the size of the new one. This also explains in part Ford’s need to round-out its portfolio with the smaller Escape-based model.

Pickup possible

On the other hand, those who loved the full-size Bronco last produced in 1996 may find much to like about the new one, especially the fact that it will be offered both in 2- and 4-door models. There’s also speculation that Ford could do a pickup version of the Bronco somewhere in the 2024 time frame.

Read next: 14 tips for a safe and fun holiday road trip

Bronco, like Ranger, will come with a turbocharged inline-4 and there’s talk of a possible V6 option, either of which would be mated to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. Hybrid powertrains are also a good bet. Standard models will be offered in rear-drive with 4-wheel drive optional on lower trims and standard higher up in the line.

How much will the 2020 Ford Bronco cost?

Since it is viewed as a direct competitor to the Wrangler, expect pricing to follow the Jeep’s pricing. The 2-door versions of the Wrangler start at just over $28,000, so we estimate that the new base 2-door Bronco should start at just under $30,000. The 4-door Wrangler starts at about $31,000 and range up over $40,000. The Gladiator pickup is priced from just over $33,000.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

This post was originally published on this site
  • Launch slated for Spring 2020
  • Bronco R teases new design
  • Based on Ranger platform
  • Set to rival Jeep Wrangler
  • Pricing estimated at $30,000-plus
  • Preceded by Escape-based Baby Bronco

We know when the 2020 Bronco won’t be launched. While there was some speculation that the wraps could come off as soon as the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford’s F, +0.00%   announcement that it will debut an all-electric crossover SUV with Mustang styling cues has been followed up with a release that says the Bronco will bow next spring. It also released a logo that will be used with the revived icon.

Baby Bronco first

That spring launch is expected to be preceded by the so-called “Baby Bronco,” a crossover SUV based on 2020 Escape mechanicals. While the new Escape has a more carlike look to its styling and looks to appeal to shoppers of the now discontinued Focus (and the canceled Focus Active), the Baby Bronco will have a much more rugged SUV-inspired shape.

Worth reading: 10 cars with the best resale value

In addition to the more macho look, the Baby Bronco will also have greater ground clearance and an all-wheel drive system more suited to light off-road work. The vehicle, which Automotive News says could be called Bronco Scout, Bronco Adventurer, Bronco Sport or Maverick, will rival the Jeep Renegade. Teaser shots reveal a boxy profile, round LED headlamps and the Ford name embossed on the front grille. It will probably be priced at a premium over the all-new 2020 Escape, which starts at about $25,000.

Bronco R teases shape

As part of its slow reveal of the new Bronco, Ford revealed an off-road race version of the new SUV at the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. This race truck is essentially the bare body of the 2020 Bronco on a race chassis, so other than the silhouette, it doesn’t portray much of what buyers of the reincarnation of this icon can expect.

Ford
Ford’s Bronco R race prototype.

Ford admits as much by describing the Bronco R as essentially dropping heritage-inspired design and proportion hints on top of a Trophy Truck campaigned by Baja 1000 winner Cameron Steele. The teaser racer was displayed alongside a 1969 Baja-winning Bronco piloted by Rod Hall.

You might like: The 10 coolest things about the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender

“Bronco’s win at Baja in 1969 was epic, something that even after 50 years has not been repeated,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development officer. “Rugged endurance racing is such a part of Bronco heritage. The Baja 1000 gives us not only the perfect setting to honor Rod Hall’s win, it also provides an authentic test bed to demonstrate our upcoming Bronco’s desert racing capability and durability.”

The one thing the Bronco R is — it telegraphs the size and proportions of the 2020 model versus the original. Based on the Ranger, it’s much larger than the original Bronco.

The main event

The highly anticipated 2020 Ford Bronco, when it launches next year, is taking direct aim at the Jeep Wrangler. It will have body-on-frame construction and will be built alongside the midsize Ranger at Ford’s Wayne, Mich., assembly plant. It’s expected to have a boxy, rugged SUV look to it, great off-road capability along with the requisite removable roof panels and doors, similar to its key competitor.

Where it fits in the Bronco continuum is a bit of a mystery but given the dimensions of the Ranger (which is larger than previous generation models and almost rivals some earlier F-150s in size), the Bronco will be bigger than the original, but smaller than the F-150 based on the last generation Bronco made famous by O.J. Simpson. Those looking for the feel of the first-generation compact Bronco may be surprised by the size of the new one. This also explains in part Ford’s need to round-out its portfolio with the smaller Escape-based model.

Pickup possible

On the other hand, those who loved the full-size Bronco last produced in 1996 may find much to like about the new one, especially the fact that it will be offered both in 2- and 4-door models. There’s also speculation that Ford could do a pickup version of the Bronco somewhere in the 2024 time frame.

Read next: 14 tips for a safe and fun holiday road trip

Bronco, like Ranger, will come with a turbocharged inline-4 and there’s talk of a possible V6 option, either of which would be mated to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission. Hybrid powertrains are also a good bet. Standard models will be offered in rear-drive with 4-wheel drive optional on lower trims and standard higher up in the line.

How much will the 2020 Ford Bronco cost?

Since it is viewed as a direct competitor to the Wrangler, expect pricing to follow the Jeep’s pricing. The 2-door versions of the Wrangler start at just over $28,000, so we estimate that the new base 2-door Bronco should start at just under $30,000. The 4-door Wrangler starts at about $31,000 and range up over $40,000. The Gladiator pickup is priced from just over $33,000.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

This post was originally published on this site

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

Black Friday sales on big-screen TVs and Instant Pots might get all the love, but they are far from the only deals in town. A range of items, from treadmills to makeup palettes to pet supplies, get marked down during the biggest shopping occasion of the year.

“Almost every store in America is hosting a Black Friday event of some kind,” says Michael Bonebright, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Even if you’re shopping for something very specific, you can probably get a great deal on Black Friday.”

Here are some unexpected items you can find on sale this holiday shopping season:

1. Makeup and beauty supplies

Lip gloss, nail polish and eye shadow kits make great gifts and stocking stuffers. You can find those items, as well as hair styling staples and skin care favorites, on sale during the holiday shopping season.

Last year, beauty retailer Ulta ULTA, -0.80%   marked down the cult favorite Urban Decay Naked Smokey Eyeshadow palette by more than 50%. Shoppers could also get 50% off Revlon REV, -0.99%   hair dryers and 40% off lotions and scrubs from The Body Shop.

2. Fitness equipment

Black Friday sales on exercise equipment can help you work off those holiday meals. This year, for example, Costco COST, +0.29%   is knocking $300 off the price of the ProForm Premier 600 Treadmill.

If winter sports are your thing, you’re in luck, says Kristen Gall, president at Rakuten Rewards, an e-commerce site.

See: How to get the best Black Friday deals at Costco

“Ski gear, like jackets and pants, and equipment, like skis and snowboards, will be sold at deep discounts to make room for 2020 inventory,” Gall says.

3. Pet supplies

“Black Friday brings tons of discounts for all types of pets,” says Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert with RetailMeNot.

So deck your four-legged friend out in a new holiday sweater. Stash a few toys under the tree. Or treat your pet to a monthly subscription box.

Retailers, including PetSmart and Petco, and subscription services, such as BarkBox, will all have holiday discounts befitting your favorite furry friend.

A few notable deals include:

  • Buy one, get one 50% off on all dry dog food at Petco if you’re a Pals Rewards member.
  • Buy one, get one free on all cat treats at Petco for Pals Rewards members.
  • $10 off a Kirkland Signature pet bed at Costco.
4. Travel

Travel is one of the most overlooked categories for Black Friday,” Skirboll says, adding that flexibility will help you snag the best deals. “[You] can scoop up some stellar vacations as hotels and car rental companies, as well as travel packages, will pump out time-specific sales.”

Expedia EXPE, -0.20%   will be offering deals on cruises, vacation packages and lodging across its websites, which include Orbitz, Hotwire and Hotels.com, among others. But shoppers will find the best deals by using the Expedia app, says Alexis Tiacoh, public relations manager at Expedia.

Among the deals you’ll find on Expedia’s app this year, according to Tiacoh:

  • Black Friday: Flight deals ($100 off where applicable) and a coupon for 75% off hotels.
  • Cyber Monday: Flight deals ($200 off where applicable) and a coupon for 95% off hotels.

You need to be prepared to pull the trigger if you spot a great deal since coupons and sales are often in limited supply. But don’t book before examining the details.

“Read the fine print before committing to any vacation as some discounts and offers are contingent on when the trip is scheduled,” Skirboll says.

5. DNA kits

You, too, can take a DNA test and find out if you’re 100% that…nationality. And you can do so for less, thanks to Black Friday sales on home test kits from 23andMe and Ancestry. Both brands slashed the price in half for their DNA test kits during last holiday shopping season.

6. Automobiles

Feeling inspired by those commercials featuring shiny new cars wrapped in giant red bows? Black Friday could be the perfect time to score some new wheels, Bonebright says.

Related: What to buy and what to skip on Black Friday

“The holiday lines up with year-end clearance events at dealerships,” he says. “In years past, we’ve seen car dealers offer large trade-in discounts or sizable gift cards of around $1,000 with a new purchase.”

Nissan, NSANY, -0.66%   for example, offered a $1,000 bonus, plus 0% financing for five years on the 2018 Murano during last year’s Black Friday sale. And GMC offered $5,000 cash back on the 2018 Acadia SUV.

More from NerdWallet:

Kelsey Sheehy is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: ksheehy@nerdwallet.com.

This post was originally published on this site

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.

Black Friday sales on big-screen TVs and Instant Pots might get all the love, but they are far from the only deals in town. A range of items, from treadmills to makeup palettes to pet supplies, get marked down during the biggest shopping occasion of the year.

“Almost every store in America is hosting a Black Friday event of some kind,” says Michael Bonebright, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Even if you’re shopping for something very specific, you can probably get a great deal on Black Friday.”

Here are some unexpected items you can find on sale this holiday shopping season:

1. Makeup and beauty supplies

Lip gloss, nail polish and eye shadow kits make great gifts and stocking stuffers. You can find those items, as well as hair styling staples and skin care favorites, on sale during the holiday shopping season.

Last year, beauty retailer Ulta ULTA, -0.80%   marked down the cult favorite Urban Decay Naked Smokey Eyeshadow palette by more than 50%. Shoppers could also get 50% off Revlon REV, -0.99%   hair dryers and 40% off lotions and scrubs from The Body Shop.

2. Fitness equipment

Black Friday sales on exercise equipment can help you work off those holiday meals. This year, for example, Costco COST, +0.29%   is knocking $300 off the price of the ProForm Premier 600 Treadmill.

If winter sports are your thing, you’re in luck, says Kristen Gall, president at Rakuten Rewards, an e-commerce site.

See: How to get the best Black Friday deals at Costco

“Ski gear, like jackets and pants, and equipment, like skis and snowboards, will be sold at deep discounts to make room for 2020 inventory,” Gall says.

3. Pet supplies

“Black Friday brings tons of discounts for all types of pets,” says Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert with RetailMeNot.

So deck your four-legged friend out in a new holiday sweater. Stash a few toys under the tree. Or treat your pet to a monthly subscription box.

Retailers, including PetSmart and Petco, and subscription services, such as BarkBox, will all have holiday discounts befitting your favorite furry friend.

A few notable deals include:

  • Buy one, get one 50% off on all dry dog food at Petco if you’re a Pals Rewards member.
  • Buy one, get one free on all cat treats at Petco for Pals Rewards members.
  • $10 off a Kirkland Signature pet bed at Costco.
4. Travel

Travel is one of the most overlooked categories for Black Friday,” Skirboll says, adding that flexibility will help you snag the best deals. “[You] can scoop up some stellar vacations as hotels and car rental companies, as well as travel packages, will pump out time-specific sales.”

Expedia EXPE, -0.20%   will be offering deals on cruises, vacation packages and lodging across its websites, which include Orbitz, Hotwire and Hotels.com, among others. But shoppers will find the best deals by using the Expedia app, says Alexis Tiacoh, public relations manager at Expedia.

Among the deals you’ll find on Expedia’s app this year, according to Tiacoh:

  • Black Friday: Flight deals ($100 off where applicable) and a coupon for 75% off hotels.
  • Cyber Monday: Flight deals ($200 off where applicable) and a coupon for 95% off hotels.

You need to be prepared to pull the trigger if you spot a great deal since coupons and sales are often in limited supply. But don’t book before examining the details.

“Read the fine print before committing to any vacation as some discounts and offers are contingent on when the trip is scheduled,” Skirboll says.

5. DNA kits

You, too, can take a DNA test and find out if you’re 100% that…nationality. And you can do so for less, thanks to Black Friday sales on home test kits from 23andMe and Ancestry. Both brands slashed the price in half for their DNA test kits during last holiday shopping season.

6. Automobiles

Feeling inspired by those commercials featuring shiny new cars wrapped in giant red bows? Black Friday could be the perfect time to score some new wheels, Bonebright says.

Related: What to buy and what to skip on Black Friday

“The holiday lines up with year-end clearance events at dealerships,” he says. “In years past, we’ve seen car dealers offer large trade-in discounts or sizable gift cards of around $1,000 with a new purchase.”

Nissan, NSANY, -0.66%   for example, offered a $1,000 bonus, plus 0% financing for five years on the 2018 Murano during last year’s Black Friday sale. And GMC offered $5,000 cash back on the 2018 Acadia SUV.

More from NerdWallet:

Kelsey Sheehy is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: ksheehy@nerdwallet.com.

This post was originally published on this site

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

Financial exploitation of older Americans seems to be getting worse. The Treasury Department reported a 17% increase in the number of cases in 2017 vs. 2016, the latest figures available. And the Center for Financial Services Innovation says at least 20% of older adults have been victims of elder financial fraud. But there’s one piece of encouraging news on this otherwise depressing front.

“It’s like fighting pollution. You want to get it at the point of production.”

Jilenne Gunther, national director of the BankSafe Initative

A new, six-month pilot program known as BankSafe, created by AARP and evaluated by Virginia Tech’s Center for Gerontology, has shown impressive results preventing elder fraud and catching scammers.

Results from the BankSafe elder fraud program

More than 1,800 employees at nearly 500 bank and credit union branches from 82 financial institutions in 11 states received the BankSafe training since the program launched in May 2019. Among the results:

  • The BankSafe participants stopped nearly $1 million from leaving accounts of older customers — 16 times higher than the amount saved for customers by employees who didn’t take the training ($54,384).
  • One customer avoided losing $500,000 to a con artist.
  • After the training, which included interactive videos, real-life scenarios and skill-testing games, the BankSafe participants reported a sizable increase in confidence in recognizing, preventing and reporting cases of exploitation. In fact, it was four times greater than those who weren’t trained.

“We’re thrilled with the results,” said Debra Whitman, executive vice president and chief public policy officer at AARP. “Working with the [financial] industry, we are making it more difficult for individuals to take advantage of older adults.”

This kind of help can’t come quickly enough. Michele Kryger, head of elder and vulnerable client care at AIG, AIG, +0.41%   told me that her firm’s recent elder financial abuse survey found that “fifty-three percent of Americans say elder financial abuse is likely to compromise their ability to live a long, financially secure life.”

What made it work so well?

I was curious what made the BankSafe training so effective at protecting the 3 million-plus customers of these institutions when many other banks and credit unions have been less successful preventing and curbing elder fraud. A new report by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition said: “Unfortunately, most cases of financial exploitation are unreported by financial institutions.”

Jilenne Gunther, national director of the BankSafe Initative at AARP Public Policy Institute, said the key was teaching employees how to spot the red flags of exploitation and then being empowered to report situations to their managers, to Adult Protective Services, and to law-enforcement officials.

“It’s like fighting pollution. You want to get it at the point of production,” said Gunther.

Once bank and credit union representatives saw attempts at financial exploitation, they often delayed suspicious transactions or put a hold on accounts.

Read: You’re in denial if you think you or your elderly parents won’t be scammed

And if it looked like someone suspicious was trying to steal money from an older customer, the employee would put that information in the customer’s “account notes” file. This way, workers at other branches would be aware of the potential problem.

“That helps the institution connect the dots,” Gunter noted, so the customer won’t be a victim at another location.

Who were the elder fraud victims and scammers?

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the average victim in the BankSafe project was a woman between age 70 and 79. But I was surprised that she had under $20,000 in her account, on average; I thought the scammers would be going after big money.

Elder fraud “perpetrators target everyone, regardless of how much money they have in their account,” Gunther said.

A family member was the perpetrator in a striking 70% of cases when money was saved due to suspected exploitation, she added. Often, she notes, scamming family members steal money from accounts held by victims at multiple financial institutions.

“They have more than one hand in the cookie jar. They know where all the assets are,” Gunther said. “Where the real estate properties are. Where the 401(k) is…”

Also see: 4 costly scams targeting older people that you should know about — but probably don’t

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition report noted: “A barrage of scammers, fraudsters and even close members of social and familial circles threaten the ability of older adults to age in place, in community and with confidence, dignity and security. For low- to moderate-income older adults, the prospects are even more stark.”

The future for BankSafe

AARP is so pleased with the BankSafe results it plans to expand the program to other financial institutions nationwide.

The goal, said Whitman: “To make sure every person who works with consumers in banks and credit unions is BankSafe trained.”

Gunther’s advice to people in their 50s and 60s concerned that their parents might become elder fraud victims: “Be a second pair of eyes.”

Read next: The important online security tool you need to start using now

That means monitoring your mom and dad’s financial accounts for unusual behavior. “You’re likely to know your parents’ spending patterns,” Gunther said.

Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of “How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis” and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS Moneywatch. Follow him on Twitter.

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2019 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

More from Next Avenue:
This post was originally published on this site

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

Financial exploitation of older Americans seems to be getting worse. The Treasury Department reported a 17% increase in the number of cases in 2017 vs. 2016, the latest figures available. And the Center for Financial Services Innovation says at least 20% of older adults have been victims of elder financial fraud. But there’s one piece of encouraging news on this otherwise depressing front.

“It’s like fighting pollution. You want to get it at the point of production.”

Jilenne Gunther, national director of the BankSafe Initative

A new, six-month pilot program known as BankSafe, created by AARP and evaluated by Virginia Tech’s Center for Gerontology, has shown impressive results preventing elder fraud and catching scammers.

Results from the BankSafe elder fraud program

More than 1,800 employees at nearly 500 bank and credit union branches from 82 financial institutions in 11 states received the BankSafe training since the program launched in May 2019. Among the results:

  • The BankSafe participants stopped nearly $1 million from leaving accounts of older customers — 16 times higher than the amount saved for customers by employees who didn’t take the training ($54,384).
  • One customer avoided losing $500,000 to a con artist.
  • After the training, which included interactive videos, real-life scenarios and skill-testing games, the BankSafe participants reported a sizable increase in confidence in recognizing, preventing and reporting cases of exploitation. In fact, it was four times greater than those who weren’t trained.

“We’re thrilled with the results,” said Debra Whitman, executive vice president and chief public policy officer at AARP. “Working with the [financial] industry, we are making it more difficult for individuals to take advantage of older adults.”

This kind of help can’t come quickly enough. Michele Kryger, head of elder and vulnerable client care at AIG, AIG, +0.41%   told me that her firm’s recent elder financial abuse survey found that “fifty-three percent of Americans say elder financial abuse is likely to compromise their ability to live a long, financially secure life.”

What made it work so well?

I was curious what made the BankSafe training so effective at protecting the 3 million-plus customers of these institutions when many other banks and credit unions have been less successful preventing and curbing elder fraud. A new report by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition said: “Unfortunately, most cases of financial exploitation are unreported by financial institutions.”

Jilenne Gunther, national director of the BankSafe Initative at AARP Public Policy Institute, said the key was teaching employees how to spot the red flags of exploitation and then being empowered to report situations to their managers, to Adult Protective Services, and to law-enforcement officials.

“It’s like fighting pollution. You want to get it at the point of production,” said Gunther.

Once bank and credit union representatives saw attempts at financial exploitation, they often delayed suspicious transactions or put a hold on accounts.

Read: You’re in denial if you think you or your elderly parents won’t be scammed

And if it looked like someone suspicious was trying to steal money from an older customer, the employee would put that information in the customer’s “account notes” file. This way, workers at other branches would be aware of the potential problem.

“That helps the institution connect the dots,” Gunter noted, so the customer won’t be a victim at another location.

Who were the elder fraud victims and scammers?

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the average victim in the BankSafe project was a woman between age 70 and 79. But I was surprised that she had under $20,000 in her account, on average; I thought the scammers would be going after big money.

Elder fraud “perpetrators target everyone, regardless of how much money they have in their account,” Gunther said.

A family member was the perpetrator in a striking 70% of cases when money was saved due to suspected exploitation, she added. Often, she notes, scamming family members steal money from accounts held by victims at multiple financial institutions.

“They have more than one hand in the cookie jar. They know where all the assets are,” Gunther said. “Where the real estate properties are. Where the 401(k) is…”

Also see: 4 costly scams targeting older people that you should know about — but probably don’t

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition report noted: “A barrage of scammers, fraudsters and even close members of social and familial circles threaten the ability of older adults to age in place, in community and with confidence, dignity and security. For low- to moderate-income older adults, the prospects are even more stark.”

The future for BankSafe

AARP is so pleased with the BankSafe results it plans to expand the program to other financial institutions nationwide.

The goal, said Whitman: “To make sure every person who works with consumers in banks and credit unions is BankSafe trained.”

Gunther’s advice to people in their 50s and 60s concerned that their parents might become elder fraud victims: “Be a second pair of eyes.”

Read next: The important online security tool you need to start using now

That means monitoring your mom and dad’s financial accounts for unusual behavior. “You’re likely to know your parents’ spending patterns,” Gunther said.

Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue and Managing Editor for the site. He is the author of “How to Avoid a Mid-Life Financial Crisis” and has been a personal finance editor at Money, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, and CBS Moneywatch. Follow him on Twitter.

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2019 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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STOCKHOLM — Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB said Tuesday that a list of suspect customers passed onto the bank by a Swedish investigative television program were mostly already known to the bank.

The Swedish lender SEB.A, +0.81%  was last week contacted by Swedish TV show Uppdrag Granskning, claiming it had information on the bank ahead of a program it will air on suspected money laundering in the Baltics.

SEB has now received that information, that included a list of 194 corporate names.

“The names on the list from Sveriges Television have previously been handled and approximately 95% of the customer relations are terminated,” SEB said in a statement Tuesday.

“When SEB has detected suspected activities it has been reported to relevant finance police.”

A few of the clients on the list still have a relationship with the bank as SEB considers that they meet the bank’s criteria, and with the information that SEB has about the customers today, there has been no reason to terminate the relationship, it said.

However, the bank acknowledged that before 2008 neither regulations nor the banking system’s ability were sufficiently efficient to handle risks of money laundering. It said that since then, its ability to prevent, detect and report suspected financial crime has increased while regulations have been tightened.

“SEB is doing its utmost to prevent that the bank is used for financial crime. Nevertheless, SEB cannot guarantee that it has not been used nor that SEB will be used,” the lender said.

SEB had previously avoided being dragged into the money-laundering scandal that has seen Denmark’s Danske Bank AS DANSKE, +0.00% and Sweden’s Swedbank SWED.A, +0.15% embroiled in investigations.

It was the Swedish news show Uppdrag Granskning that first reported in February that billions of dollars of illicit funds may have passed through Swedbank’s Estonian branch.

Denmark’s Danske Bank is also being investigated over allegations that around $230 billion in suspicious funds from Russia and other former Soviet states entered Europe through its branch in Estonia.

Uppdrag Granskning also recently interviewed Swedbank Chief Executive Jens Henriksson as a follow-up to previously aired programs about suspected money-laundering.

The Uppdrag Granskning show is expected to air on Nov. 20.

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Gains in some technology stocks this year have been nearly wiped out by what has been called a “value rotation.”

The narrative in much of investing media is that investors are concerned about earnings. But I believe it was a strategic move by some large investors to time the top of the stock market and pocket gains.

The rotation, which began in September and continued in October, was under-reported because investors dumped stocks directly after earnings reports were released. This made it appear as though the declines were due to an individual stock’s fundamentals. In reality, there were share-price decreases across the board, even as many companies reported earnings “beats.”

The term “value rotation” doesn’t accurately describe what occurred in early September. The proof is in the comparison between value IVE, +0.09%  and so-called momentum MTUM, +0.19%  indexes. Value hasn’t outperformed momentum.

Instead of a value rotation, the market is going through a cash rotation. As IVE and MTUM battle it out, cash positions are increasing. As reported by MarketWatch in October, research firm DataTrek said there was $3.4 trillion in U.S. money market funds last month, 14% higher than at the end of 2018.

As we see below, institutional selling of individual stocks has been much more severe over the past month than during last year’s fourth-quarter selloff. This matches the information from DataTrek.

A storyline is that growth is overvalued, with many software as a service (SaaS) stocks trading at 20 times sales with zero profits. Another is that the market is worried about soft IT spending. Third, there are concerns of weak growth. However, recent earnings prove that for some companies, growth and cloud spending are actually accelerating.

Alteryx

Alteryx AYX, +1.04%  is a great example. The company beat analysts’ estimates on all measures, including revenue, profit and earnings per share (EPS) in the most recent quarter, yet the share price has dropped 35% in three months. Revenue jumped 65% to $103 million, with international business rising 43% to more than $28 million. Doing business overseas is always an important leap for U.S. software companies. Alteryx raised its full-year revenue outlook to $389 million-$392 million, up from $370 million-$375 million. Non-GAAP income from operations and non-GAAP EPS full-year guidance were also raised.

In the chart above, the large volume spikes coupled with noticeable price movements suggests institutional positioning. We see that selloff volume (red spikes) is much higher over the past two months than during the fourth-quarter selloff.

Alteryx’s shares were down in the days after the strong earnings report.

Roku

Roku’s ROKU, +1.79%  stock also fell, even though the company beat estimates for every single number. Revenue of $260.9 million was above the Wall Street consensus of $257 million. Platform revenue surged 79%, while ad revenue more than doubled. Roku had an adjusted loss of 22 cents a share, better than the 28-cent loss expected by analysts. Still, the stock plunged 16%. While the shares have recovered, there was steep institutional selling going into the earnings that was similar to what happened to Alteryx.

The chart above also shows large-volume selling, suggesting institutional positions. The selloff volume is much higher than it was during the fourth-quarter decline.

Veeva Systems

Veeva Systems VEEV, -0.91%  is another example. The company’s operating margins expanded from 17% in 2016 to 27% in the most recent quarter. Veeva beat on earnings, reporting 55 cents per share, compared with estimates of 48 cents. Full-year guidance exceeded analysts’ estimates. Veeva is also strong on cash flow, having increased it from $40 million in 2014 to almost $400 million in the most recent quarter. The company has $1.4 billion in cash reserves and no debt.

Despite this, Veeva’s stock price has dropped 12% from its three-month high of $168.42 and was immediately down 3% after earnings in late August.

Pinterest

Pinterest PINS, -0.20%  had one of the more interesting reports this earnings season. The company beat on EPS of 1 cent compared with an expected 4-cent loss. The company also beat on monthly active users, with 322 million reported versus 311.8 million expected. Analysts had forecast $280.6 million in revenue, while Pinterest reported $279.7 million.

The company actually raised guidance on the low end, but analysts elected to set the bar higher, and therefore, it was reported as lowered guidance. The miss of less than $1 million resulted in a 21% share-price drop, or a $3 billion loss in market cap.

Earnings erosion

The overall market is experiencing an earnings erosion, with a 4.1% decline from a year earlier, exceeding the estimated 3.3% decline, as discussed by MarketWatch’s Phil van Doorn. On that note, both Intel INTC, +0.50%  and Apple AAPL, +0.50%  reported flat year-over-year growth, yet the stocks rallied post-earnings as the market was pacified by EPS numbers that were goosed with buybacks.

The tech decline in 2018’s fourth quarter created a lot of fear, as did the September “value rotation,” yet the October earnings selloff was more muted. It could have been that the recent declines weren’t as orchestrated by large institutions or as impactful on investors’ psyche.

The truth is that many of these growth stocks are stronger than they were in the previous quarter. The stocks that declined have one thing in common: They produced substantial gains in 2019, which means there was cash to pocket. They were not dogs in the first half of 2019; they were actually market leaders.

Know your winners

Instead of a rotation into value, the current trend reveals many institutions are, in fact, taking gains and rotating into cash. While many prognosticators are predicting a recession or black-swan event, investors haven’t panicked. There has been a slow and steady drain.

In a previous analysis on MarketWatch, I had cautioned investors to know their winners as the market clearly did not have a method for differentiating beyond traditional valuation metrics. The safest way to trade tech stocks is to align investments with an overall macro technology trend in addition to fundamental analysis (the macro trend will prevail), and to have an exit strategy, such as a trailing stop, for risk management.

We’ve seen some stocks quickly recover, such as Roku, and others that haven’t rebounded, such as Veeva and Alteryx. Even the more solid recoveries suggest they are boosted by momentum and swing traders as they remain between support and resistance, as well as retail investors, as implied by lower volume.

The true test will be the upcoming cloud-software earnings reports to determine if the pattern will continue.

The writer has owned Roku shares since the IPO, and also call options on Pinterest.

Beth Kindig is a San Francisco-based technology analyst with more than a decade of experience in analyzing private and public technology companies. She owns Roku shares. Kindig publishes a free newsletter on tech stocks at Beth.Technology and runs a premium research service.

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EasyJet PLC said Tuesday that pretax profit for fiscal 2019 fell 3.4% and forward bookings for the first half of fiscal 2020 are slightly ahead of last year.

The U.K. budget airline EZJ, +0.20%  said that for the year ended Sept. 30 its pretax profit was 430 million pounds ($556.7 million) compared with GBP445 million for fiscal 2018. The company said total revenue per seat decreased by 1.8% to GBP60.81 driven by weakness in consumer confidence.

Adjusted pretax profit — a key measure for the airline which strips out exceptional and other one-off items — fell to GBP427 million, from GBP578 million the prior year.

EasyJet’s revenue was GBP6.39 billion, compared with GBP5.90 billion in 2018.

Total passengers rose 8.6% to 96.1 million, and the airline said its load factor was 91.5% compared with 92.9% the year before.

The board declared a dividend of 43.9 pence a share, compared with 58.6 pence the year before.

The airline said easyJet holidays will launch in the U.K. before Christmas and is expected to be at least breakeven for fiscal 2020.

The company said that for fiscal 2020 its expected capacity growth will be at the lower end of historic guidance of between 3% and 8% per year.

EasyJet said it expects adjusted pretax profit for fiscal 2020 to be toward the top end of guidance. In October the airline said it expects 2020 adjusted pretax profit to be between GBP420 million to GBP430 million.