For the Week of March 1, 2021
Stocks closed mixed Friday as government bond yields rose, spurring concerns of rising inflation. The NASDAQ pared earlier losses but still suffered its worst weekly loss since October. For the week, the Dow fell 1.70 percent to close at 30,932.37. The S&P lost 2.41 percent to finish at 3,811.15, and the NASDAQ dropped 4.90 percent to end the week at 13,192.35.
|Returns Through 2/26/21||1 Week||YTD||1 Year||3 Year||5 Year|
|Dow Jones Industrials (TR)||-1.70||1.41||24.41||9.80||16.08|
|NASDAQ Composite (TR)||-4.90||2.47||55.27||23.17||24.99|
|S&P 500 (TR)||-2.41||1.72||31.29||14.14||16.82|
|Barclays US Agg Bond (TR)||-0.36||-2.15||1.38||5.32||3.55|
|MSCI EAFE (TR)||-2.80||1.15||22.46||4.59||9.73|
How We Live — Of the 7.2 million new U.S. households created in the last four years, 100 percent were owner households while none were renter households, i.e., owner households grew from 75.6 million (Dec. 31, 2016) to 82.8 million (Dec. 31, 2020), while renter households remained flat at 43 million (source: Census Bureau, BTN Research).
Supply and Demand — The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil had fallen to $22.76 a barrel as of April 9, 2020, as the global impact of COVID-19 was crushing the worldwide demand for oil. On Friday, Feb. 12, WTI crude oil closed at $59.47 a barrel, its highest closing price since Jan. 9, 2020 (source: NYMEX, BTN Research).
Stock Market — The median annual return of the stock market over the last 45 years (1976-2020) was a gain of 15.8 percent (total return). The stock market has produced a positive total return gain in 37 of the last 45 years, i.e., 82 percent of the time. The S&P 500, consisting of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry group representation, was used as the stock measurement. It is a market value weighted index with each stock’s weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – The Art of Complaining
Even when you do your research, you can wind up with a purchase that doesn’t live up to a company’s claims. Since this is National Consumer Protection Week, today’s article tells you what to do to avoid losing money when marketing claims prove inaccurate.
Gather pertinent information. Find the company’s return and exchange policies. For instance, time limits for retail returns can vary from seven to 90 days. Locate your receipt, contract/warranty, order number, model number, and previous communication. If you don’t have a receipt but paid with a credit card, find the purchase date on your statement. For in-person returns, bring the card you used and your ID.
Choose your form of contact. A face-to-face or phone conversation may make it easier to connect on a personal level and appeal to a service person’s compassion. Address them by name, describe your problem, and ask, “Can you help me?” When you’re seeking a simple fix or want to create a communication trail, use email. Including words like “complaint” or “refund” may bump your email to a priority list since some systems look for such keywords.
Stay calm. Don’t expect a resolutionin 60 seconds. Be patient, respectful, specific, and concise. Know what you want: a replacement, refund, or repair. But wait to see what they offer before stating your goal. You can always counter, and their suggestion may be better than you expect. Document each interaction with the date, person you communicated with, and what you were told. Keep copies of correspondence or screenshots of online chats.
Escalate if needed. When you can’t settle your issue through customer service, ask to speak to a manager or write a short letter to an executive. Or check the company’s Facebook page to see if they respond to customer service matters there. If nothing else works, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure your statements are accurate and complete; once you submit your complaint, it can’t be edited. It’s important to remember you are legally responsible for what you say. If you want to go farther, you can complain to your state attorney general’s office or take the business to small claims court.
Ensuring you get what you pay for – so you don’t have to spend additional money to replace an item – is just one way to preserve assets. Contact our office if you’d like help identifying others.