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    Market Update

    COVID-19: Investment Update

    The equity and fixed income markets are experiencing unprecedented volatility and fear about the coronavirus. This is a health crisis that has evolved into a financial challenge for policy makers as they attempt to suppress the spread of the virus while not closing down the economy entirely. Unfortunately, the only way to deter the spread of the virus is to reduce or close transportation and impose a quarantine. Since the only way we know to limit the number of infections is to reduce social interaction, we expect more states will join California, Illinois and New York in a “lock down.” For a historical comparison in 2009-2010 the H1N1 “Swine-Flu” virus infected 60 million Americans and killed 12,500, and yet the panic was not as prevalent. 
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    Online Banking

    Staying in Because of the Virus? Consider These Online and Mobile Banking Solutions

    With cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) confirmed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, “social distancing” has become one of the tactics designed to slow the spread of the global pandemic. Businesses across the country are taking precautionary steps in accordance with their emergency preparedness plans, and banks are no exception.
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    Estate Planning

    Economic Normalization on the Horizon

    During the month of November, the S&P 500 Index jumped 11% on the expectation of improving economic conditions next year. The index is signaling that the U.S. will reach economic normalization in 2021 due to the development of several COVID vaccines, a likely deferment of further trade wars, a potential stimulus package, and a divided government.
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    Business

    Has Your Email Account Been Hacked?

    Unfortunately, email hacking is one of the most common instances of cybercrime these days and something that probably has affected all of us at one point or another. Fraudsters are becoming increasingly virulent in their ability to hack into your email.
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    Estate Planning

    Happy (SECURE Act) 2020!

    The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, better known as the SECURE Act, is so new that estate planners and accountants are still learning ways to plan around it to minimize the impact on existing and future clients. Following are some items to ponder as you review your estate plans through the year.
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    Market Update

    4th Quarter 2019 Investment Update

    Supported by stable interest rates and optimism regarding the China trade negotiations, the S&P 500 Index rose 28.9% and the Nasdaq Index, with its high information technology weighting, rose 33% for the year. Enthusiasm and expectations for a better economy and strengthening earnings grew as the year progressed. Current equity market valuations look historically elevated with an overall 18x expected Price-to-Earnings ratio, but with few attractive investment alternatives, the financial market gains can continue. There is still over $1 trillion in private equity and hedge fund cash ready to be invested, so even a minor correction would be met with supportive technical buying. The rally was concentrated in the Large Cap technology growth stocks with Mid Cap and Small Cap stocks generally up less significantly. Value stocks like financials, consumer staples, energy and utilities – which are not expected to have significant earnings growth – underperformed during the year.
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    Savings

    “Be Prepared” for Hiking the Investment Trail

    Samuel A. Kiburz, who serves as Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout Troop in Punta Gorda and Portfolio Manager at Charlotte State Bank & Trust, sees several similarities between the two callings. He described those parallels in a column he wrote after taking his troop to a summer camp in the Ocala National Forest.
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    Trust

    Estate Planning and Your Pet: Should You Consider a Pet Trust?

    We share our homes, our beds and our hearts with our pets. Is it any wonder we treat them as if they were our children? For some people, pets are the only family member providing love, affection, entertainment, a listening ear and a reason to get up in the morning. They ask for no more than a place to live, to be well fed, cared for and loved – and if you spoil your pets as badly as I do, a lot of tummy rubs. What they give us in return is “priceless.”
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    Security and Fraud Prevention

    Cybersecurity: What You Need to Do

    CSI Technologies and Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans nationwide about their opinions and fears surrounding cybersecurity as it pertains to their personal financial data. A majority of respondents expressed concerns about their online security online, and 74% said they would be likely to participate in a cybersecurity education or awareness program if their bank offered it.
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    Market Update

    3rd Quarter 2019 Investment Update

    The S&P 500 Index has climbed 1.2% during the third quarter as optimism about a China trade deal and the increased probability of a more accommodative Federal Reserve has investors convinced that the economic expansion will continue. The second-quarter earnings reports were generally better than anticipated with 2-4% growth year over year, so overall valuations look reasonable.
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