Jim Cramer Just Paid Off His Mortgage with Bitcoin Gains

Posted on April 15th, 2021

File this one under bizarre, for several different reasons.

Mad Money host Jim Cramer disclosed yesterday that “he recently paid off a mortgage using profits from his investment in bitcoin.”

He apparently purchased a significant amount of the cryptocurrency back when it was trading at around $12,000, which was actually as recently as last October.

The price of a single bitcoin has launched since then, hitting a record high of around $64,000 this week.

For Cramer, that’s an investment return of about 433%, something he then moved into his mortgage account, which was probably earning a return of say 2-4%, which is the mortgage rate.

He said it was “great to pay off a mortgage,” likening it to using “phony money” to pay for “real money.”

But why would he pay off a home loan that was priced at 2-4%, which is essentially its annual rate of return?

Surely a big-wig investment guru like Jim Cramer could do better than a measly 2-4% in this market, or any market for that matter.

What Is Cramer’s Rush to Be Free and Clear?

  • Mortgage debt is typically the cheapest debt you can own, especially today
  • Yet homeowners are often in a huge rush to pay off their home loans
  • While this could make sense from an emotional or psychological point of view
  • It’s a bit of a head-scratcher coming from an investment guru like Jim Cramer

Now I understand it’s a common goal for homeowners to pay off their home loan(s) in full, to become free and clear on the mortgage.

It’s certainly an achievement, and not something to be frowned upon. But it also is just that, a celebratory moment, not necessarily a financial win.

This is especially true when mortgage rates are near their all-time record lows, with the 30-year fixed priced around 3% today.

Perhaps this infatuation with paying off the mortgage early got started back in the 1970s and ‘80s when interest rates hovered between 10-18%.

That would make a lot more sense, as you’d essentially be carrying what equated to credit card-style debt, and a lot of it.

But why go crazy paying off a 3% mortgage way ahead of schedule? Does it make sense to do so financially, or is it just the emotional victory?

And why is Cramer boasting that he now owns a house “lock, stock and barrel.” What’s the good in that?

He’s proud to have a lot of money tied up in an illiquid asset?

Taking Profits Makes Sense, But Is Cramer Being Too Conservative?

  • He sold some of his bitcoin in order to take profits after a massive run
  • That sounds pretty smart because it’s not a gain until you actually sell it
  • But why did he turn around and settle for such a low rate of return (mortgage rate of 2-4%)
  • Could his profits be better served in an index fund where they might earn triple that conservatively?

Now I understand taking profits, reducing risk, and stashing gains in a safer place after such a historic and massive win.

But why the mortgage, which yields maybe 2-4% as noted, versus say anything else?!

For example, the S&P 500 Index has seen an average annual return of roughly 10%–11% since it got started back in 1926.

While there are certainly good years and bad years, those who hold long-term, which is the preferred method of investing, would see their money grow handsomely.

Cramer essentially settled for paying off a super-cheap mortgage instead of opting for relatively conservative double-digit annual gains, which is surprising.

To sum things up, paying off a mortgage in full can be a crowning achievement, assuming you do it on schedule over the course of several decades.

But rushing to prepay the mortgage might not make the best financial sense, especially with mortgage rates as low as they are now.

Simply put, there’s often a better place for your money. Now if rates go back to 10%, I might change my tune.

About the Author: Colin Robertson

Before creating this blog, Colin worked as an account executive for a wholesale mortgage lender in Los Angeles. He has been writing passionately about mortgages for 15 years.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

What Are Altcoins? Guide to Bitcoin Alternatives

There are many alternative investments available for people who hope to grow their money—from age-old collectibles like baseball cards, to new and somewhat confusing assets, like NFTs. Another alternative investment is cryptocurrency—and within that category falls another “alt”: alt coins, better known as altcoins.

Altcoins are crypto coins that are an alternative to Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency and reigning crypto leader. There are many different altcoins—different types, and within those categories, different specific products.

This article covers everything you need to know about altcoins, including what they are, where to buy them, and examples of the more popular coins on the market. Familiarize yourself with altcoins here, then check out the top things you should know before investing in any cryptocurrency.

What Are Altcoins?

Bitcoin is just one of the myriad coins and tokens that comprise the cryptocurrency space. You’ve likely heard some of their names—such as Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. These coins and cryptos are, in effect, alternatives to bitcoin.

“Altcoin” is a catch-all term for alternative cryptocurrencies to bitcoin. They’re altcoins. It’s that simple. Currently, there are more than 9,000 cryptocurrencies in existence. That’s a lot of altcoins.

How do Altcoins Work?

Like Bitcoin, altcoins rely on blockchain technology, which allows for secure, peer-to-peer transactions. But each altcoin operates independently from the rest, and each has its own sets of rules and uses. For example, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are mineable, whereas Ripple and Stellar are not.

That said, in general, most altcoins operate in much the same way: They’re traded among investors, with transactions recorded via blockchain in a distributed ledger.

Different Types of Altcoins

Most altcoins can be slotted into a few different categories, which can help potential crypto investors get a better grasp of the field. This is not an exhaustive list, as categories and subtypes are always changing. But here are some of the most prevalent types of altcoins:

Digital currencies

The digital currency category comprises most of the cryptocurrencies that investors are familiar with, including Bitcoin. They’re exactly what they sound like: currency in digital form. They can be acquired as a form of payment, through trading on an exchange, or through mining (when applicable), and are generally used to conduct transactions.

Tokens

Unlike crypto like Bitcoin or Ethereum, which can be used on any platform, tokens are tied to their parent platform. For example, Tether and Golem are tokens used only on the Ethereum platform.

A utility token provides holders with some sort of service. BAT (Basic Attention Token) is an example of a utility token, meant to be used specifically as a method of payment on the Brave open-source browser.

Stablecoins

Stablecoins are built to be stable—they are pegged to an existing asset like the Euro or the U.S. dollar. The logic is that by pegging the asset to an existing one, it should help stabilize value and reduce volatility.

In contrast, consider Bitcoin: while its value has risen substantially in recent years, its price is highly volatile. Values have dropped to less than $6,000 per coin to more than $60,000—all within a couple of years. Stablecoins are designed to reduce those wild fluctuations, and allow holders to sleep at night.

An example of a stablecoin is Libra (aka Diem), which is being developed by Facebook, and pegged to the dollar.

Common Altcoins

There are seemingly more and more altcoins hitting the market every day. Here are a few of the more common altcoins:

Ripple: Also known as “XRP,” this altcoin is used primarily on its namesake, the Ripple currency exchange system. It was designed for use by businesses and organizations, rather than individuals, as it’s most often used to move large amounts of money around the world.

Ethereum: Ethereum is a programmable internet platform used to build decentralized programs and applications, and its native currency, Ether (ETH), is the altcoin in question that can be traded by investors.

Litecoin: Litecoin is another popular altcoin, which is often referred to as “Bitcoin lite,” hence the moniker. It’s one of the largest and most popular cryptocurrencies on the market, and operates in a very similar way to Bitcoin.

Dogecoin: There are a bunch of “joke” altcoins that are on the market, and Dogecoin is perhaps the most recognizable right now. Dogecoin started as a joke (its genesis is actually an internet meme), although it has gained value in recent months.

Cardano: Cardano (ADA) allows developers to use the Cardano blockchain to write smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps). ADA crypto is required to run programs like dApps. Cardano is also used as a medium of exchange.

Where to Buy Altcoins?

Looking to buy altcoins? They’re available on most any cryptocurrency exchange, like Coinbase or Binance. You can even trade cryptocurrencies with SoFi Invest® (if you live in an eligible state). Not all altcoins may be available on every platform, so interested investors should do their research before choosing an exchange.

In terms of actually trading for coins, the process can be as simple as depositing money into an account on your preferred exchange, and then trading either dollars or crypto for a targeted altcoin.

The Takeaway

Altcoin is a catchall term for cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin, the original crypto. There are a variety of different altcoins—from tokens to stablecoins—but many are available for interested investors.

If you want to get your feet wet, you can get started trading certain cryptocurrencies and altcoins using SoFi Invest. You can get started with just $10, manage your transactions in the SoFi app, and rest assured that your holdings are securely protected against fraud and theft.

Find out how to get started with SoFi Invest.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SOIN21139

Source: sofi.com

A Brief History of Cryptography

Who doesn’t love a good secret code? Cryptography is the science of secret codes—of creating a language or code that can’t be cracked unless one knows exactly how to decode it.

Today, cryptography is used for everything from internet cybersecurity to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency investing. It has evolved and advanced over time along with technology, but it got its start in ancient times, with hieroglyphs and cuneiforms.

Let’s look back at the history of cryptography and how it has evolved over the years to serve different functions with the same goal—securing information.

What is Cryptography?

Cryptography is the process of securing information by changing it into a form that people can’t understand unless they know how it was encoded. The original information is known as plaintext, and the encoded version of the information is known as ciphertext. The calculation or code used to change plaintext into ciphertext is called an algorithm and the process is called encryption. The opposite of encryption is decryption—turning ciphertext back into plaintext, or another readable form.

In order for someone to decode the information, they need to know how to read it or change it back into its plaintext form. Usually decryption involves both the algorithm and a key. Generally this key is a number.

Ancient History of Cryptography

The history of encryption dates back thousands of years. The earliest known use of cryptography was over 5600 years ago in Sumeria and Egypt. Cuneiform and hieroglyphics were created to record transactions. These were not necessarily intended to be secret, but were forms of writing down information that someone wouldn’t know how to read unless they understood the language system. It took hundreds of years for these early forms of writing to be deciphered by other societies.

Early forms of encryption all used a key that had to be given to the recipient in order for them to be able to decipher it. This is known as symmetric encryption, because the same key is used for encryption and decryption. The following are several examples of ciphers that use symmetric encryption.

Caesar Box

Julius Caesar used cryptography around 100 BC to send messages to his military generals, encrypted to be protected from opponents who might intercept it. The “Caesar Box,” or “Caesar Cipher,” was easily decrypted by those who knew how, but it protected messages from unintended eyes.

The Caesar Cipher is what is known as a “substitution cipher” or “shift cipher.” It works by changing each letter within a message three letters, to the right. For example, an A in a message would become a D, and a B would be written as an E. The number of letter places that get shifted is called the key. In this case the key is three.

Since there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, shift ciphers like the Caesar Box are easy to figure out and not very secure forms of cryptography. Once mathematicians figured out that certain letters are more commonly used than others in a language, they understood that people trying to crack the code could start to recognize patterns and figure it out.

Scytale Cipher

The Spartans developed a different type of encryption known as the Scytale Cipher. It was made by wrapping parchment around a pole then writing on the pole length-wise. When the paper is removed from the pole, the message is encrypted. To decipher it, one needs to know the pole’s diameter. The Scytale is less easy to decipher using patterns like the Caesar Box, but it can be possible to read some of the words on the pole.

Vigenère Cipher

The Vigenère Cipher was created by an Italian named Giovan Battista Bellaso in the 16th century. It uses a key as part of the decryption process. The key can be any combination of letters or a word of the message writer’s choosing. The key is matched to the plaintext and used in the process of decrypting the secret message. It’s much more difficult than the Caesar Box because each letter of the message has its own shift value. Therefore, even solving one word in the message won’t reveal the entire message.

Using a key adds an extra layer of security to a cryptographic message. The cipher wasn’t solved until 1863, and became known as le chiffre indechiffrable, or “the indecipherable cipher.”

Vernam Cipher

The only cipher that has been mathematically proven to be unbreakable is the Vernam Cipher, otherwise known as a one-time pad (OTP). It’s similar to a Vigenere Cipher but the key changes with each use. The Vernam Cipher isn’t used widely today due to the challenges of distributing the keys, but it is useful for emergency situations in which there is no electronic option.

Enigma

The Enigma is a type of cryptography using rotary encryption, which was developed by Arthur Scherbius in Germany during WWII. Similar to other cryptography, it was created using disks that were put into a machine in a certain order. If they were inserted in the correct order, the machine would decode the message.

An early computer developed by British cryptanalyst Alan Turing and his colleagues helped to crack the Enigma code. It’s estimated that their work helped save as many as 21 million people.

Asymmetric Encryption and Modern Cryptography

The advent of computers made it essential to develop more advanced forms of cryptography in order to keep data and information safe. This was especially the case as financial transactions began to move to computer networks. Everything from email to ecommerce sites to phone apps use encryption today.

The world of cryptography is also getting more complex due to its use by terrorists and criminals, as well as legal structures which protect individuals’ data. The U.S. Government and tech companies like Apple have been in legal battles for years to determine the ethics around data and privacy.

Most modern cryptography uses asymmetric encryption, or public-key encryption, in which there is a separate lock and key. This allows people to share public keys openly while keeping the private keys secure.

Here are some examples of asymmetric encryption.

Morse Code

Samuel F. Morse developed the Morse Code to transmit messages through telegraph machines in 1835.

The Zimmerman Telegram

The U.S. entered WWII with the decryption of a message solved by the British Intelligence Agency. The Zimmerman Telegram was sent from the German Foreign Office in the U.S. to the German Ambassador to Mexico and proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico.

Lucifer/DES

IBM developed a system called Lucifer in the 1960s, which was ultimately adopted by the U.S. National Bureau of Standards and is also known as the Data Encryption Standard (DES).

RSA

The RSA encryption system created in the 1970s was one of the first uses of asymmetric encryption.

Salt

One tactic used in encryption is called salting. This is where a random string of alphanumeric characters gets added to the end of the password before it’s encrypted. Salting adds extra security because even after the password gets decrypted, the “salt” has to be subtracted before it can be used. Even very obvious and common passwords can be difficult to figure out when they are salted.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

Today’s default encryption mechanism used by the U.S. government is the Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES. It uses a 256-bit key and multiple rounds of encryption, known as substitution-permutation networking. AES has mostly replaced the formerly used Data Encryption Standard, or DES, which is now considered to be less secure.

Other Forms of Encryption

There are countless other forms of encryption. Some of the commonly used ones are:

•  Triple DES
•  Blowfish
•  Twofish
•  ElGamal
•  Hash Functions
•  Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange

Cryptocurrency and Cryptography

Cryptography is an integral part of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Transactions and balances are tracked on a ledger and encrypted using complicated algorithms. This helps with security, transparency, and tracking. Crypto wallets also rely on cryptography for security.

Each type of digital asset or cryptocurrency has its own form of cryptography, making some more secure or popular than others and providing different use cases. Before investing in cryptocurrencies, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of the way the technology works, especially the use of public and private keys. This will help decide which cryptocurrency to invest in and ensure that the transaction and digital asset storage is done securely.

The Future of Cryptography

As time goes on, it gets more and more challenging to maintain secure encryption of information. Computers and hackers get more sophisticated, and even the most impenetrable codes can be cracked using psychological tactics and social engineering.

Two tools that help increase security are two-factor authentication (2FA) and Honeypots. Each of them works slightly differently, though with the same goal.

•  With 2FA, the user must input a code retrieved from a text message or app on their phone in addition to their password. This means that an account can’t be accessed without access to the individual’s phone.
•  Honeypots trick attackers by creating false data that looks real and then alerting organizations when the attackers attempt to do a hack.

A newer form of cryptography is called homomorphic encryption. This attempts to solve one of today’s major cryptographic problems: the fact that data cannot be processed while it’s encrypted. This means that data has to be encrypted before it can be used for anything, making it vulnerable during that processing time. Homomorphic encryption allows users to process data while it’s encrypted, and then simply decrypt the final result.

The next wave of encryption will likely involve the use of quantum computers and post-quantum cryptography. These add layers of encryption beyond today’s capabilities. However, this technology is still in development.

The Takeaway

The history of cryptography is long and fascinating, and the technology has gotten more essential and complex over time. In today’s world, cryptography underpins everything from social media to financial transactions. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you keep your data and information safe using strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and other tools.

If you’re starting to invest in cryptocurrencies, you’ll need a basic understanding of public and private keys. One way to get started investing in cryptocurrencies is with SoFi Invest®. The investing platform allows you to research, trade digital assets right from your phone, and view all of your financial information in one simple dashboard.

Find out how to invest in crypto with SoFi Invest.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . SoFi Invest refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Cryptocurrency is offered by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, please visit www.sofi.com/legal.
Neither the Investment Advisor Representatives of SoFi Wealth, nor the Registered Representatives of SoFi Securities are compensated for the sale of any product or service sold through any SoFi Invest platform. Information related to lending products contained herein should not be construed as an offer or pre-qualification for any loan product offered by SoFi Lending Corp and/or its affiliates.
Crypto: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t endorsed or guaranteed by any government, are volatile, and involve a high degree of risk. Consumer protection and securities laws don’t regulate cryptocurrencies to the same degree as traditional brokerage and investment products. Research and knowledge are essential prerequisites before engaging with any cryptocurrency. US regulators, including FINRA , the SEC , and the CFPB , have issued public advisories concerning digital asset risk. Cryptocurrency purchases should not be made with funds drawn from financial products including student loans, personal loans, mortgage refinancing, savings, retirement funds or traditional investments.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SOIN21087

Source: sofi.com

Stock Market Today: Markets Settle Down, But Backdrop Remains Rosy

Monday’s blowout session that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 to new heights was followed by much calmer, more horizontal, trading on Tuesday.

But it wasn’t for a lack of additional positive ammunition following Friday’s blockbuster jobs report.

This morning’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) was another window into an improving employment situation, showing that U.S. job openings hit a two-year high in February. Also, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgraded its 2021 outlook for both U.S. economic growth (from 5.1% to 6.4%), and global economic expansion (from 5.5% to 6.0%).

Still, the major indices spent Tuesday digesting the prior session’s gains; the Dow slipped 0.3% to 33,430, the S&P 500 was off 0.1% to 4,073, and the Nasdaq Composite was marginally off to 13,698.

Recovery-oriented stocks were among the day’s individual winners, especially those in the restaurant industry. Yum Brands (YUM, +3.1%), Domino’s Pizza (DPZ, +2.4%) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG, +2.4%) all finished solidly in the black.

Sign up for Kiplinger’s FREE Investing Weekly e-letter for stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations, and other investing advice.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 declined by 0.3% to 2,259.
  • U.S. crude oil futures improved by 1.2% to $59.33 per barrel.
  • Gold futures also were higher, by 0.8%, to $1,743 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices closed 1.3% lower to $58,242. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
stock chart for 040621stock chart for 040621

E-Commerce Can Still Get It Done

As great as “reopening plays” have been of late, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all of 2020’s COVID-assisted trends are duds.

Take e-commerce, for instance.

While you might imagine a vaccinated America abandoning its keyboards for the malls, the smart money recognizes that COVID only further entrenched the already growing digital-spending trend, and they see further promise even as more people get ready to go out.

“The convenience offered by eCommerce will continue to be an important consideration to consumers as they return to travel and social activities, and those people who tried shopping online for the first time during COVID are likely to continue using these services with greater frequency moving forward,” says a team of Canaccord Genuity analysts.

Many of the best individual plays are the very same stocks that enjoyed a COVID lift, and some are considered among the market’s most innovative companies — an important quality that can drive outsized long-term returns.

But if you’re hesitant to put all your chips on one or two individual names that could get choppy over the short term, we don’t blame you, and we have a solution: e-commerce funds. Read on as we highlight nine e-commerce ETFs that leverage the growth in digital spending in a variety of ways, and explain how each one might suit different individual investors’ tastes.

Source: kiplinger.com

Stock Market Today: Stocks (and the Fed) Stay the Course

The market flipped between minor gains and losses throughout a fairly mundane Wednesday that the Federal Reserve failed to spice up.

This afternoon, the Fed released its minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in March, and officials expressed patience in keeping its easy monetary policy in place, believing it will be “some time” until its economic and price-stability goals are met.

“Without doubt, the March FOMC meeting minutes point to a desire to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy for the foreseeable future,” says Bob Miller, BlackRock’s head of Americas Fundamental Fixed Income. But he adds that “the March meeting also saw seven of 18 participants who did not think keeping the target policy range unchanged for three more years was appropriate.

“That’s now becoming too many voices to squelch. … We think this debate will unfold further as the economy (and inflation) strengthen in the coming months.”

There were individual pockets of motion across today’s market – larger tech-related stocks such as Twitter (TWTR, +3.0%) and Nvidia (NVDA, +2.0%) headed higher, as did recovery plays such as retailer L Brands (LB, +3.6%) and cruise line operator Carnival (CCL, +1.4%).

Sign up for Kiplinger’s FREE Investing Weekly e-letter for stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations, and other investing advice.

But the broader indexes hardly moved. The Dow improved marginally to 33,446.26. The S&P 500 gained just 0.2% to 4,079, but that was enough to mark a new all-time high.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Nasdaq Composite was off marginally to 13,688.
  • The small-cap Russell 2000 had a much rougher go at things, dropping 1.6% to 2,223.
  • U.S. crude oil futures headed higher again, up a modest 0.4% to $59.55 per barrel.
  • Gold futures slipped a mere 0.1% to $1,741.60 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices took a tumble, falling 3.6% to $56,136. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
stock chart for 040721stock chart for 040721

Which Stocks Should You Watch? Here’s What a Machine Had to Say.

Over the past few years, we’ve frequently touted the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). This technology’s ability to revolutionize everything, from industrial logistics to toasting your bread, has made the companies who enable artificial intelligence, or best utilize it, into many of the market’s top returners.

Several AI-focused funds have come to life as a result, and some of today’s most innovative companies have AI flowing through their business.

But artificial intelligence can do more than power profitable stocks – apparently, it can pick ’em, too.

Near the start of 2021, we explored an AI-powered analytics platform and some of its selections, and, since then, those stocks have clobbered the market. Naturally, we’re curious whether this “robo-picker” can continue to outperform, so we’ve taken a fresh (and expanded) look at this system’s top stocks to watch right now. You should, too.

Kyle Woodley was long NVDA as of this writing.

Source: kiplinger.com

Stock Market Today: American Jobs Plan Imminent, But Tech Wins the Day

The major indices finished higher Wednesday ahead of the unveiling of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, dubbed “The American Jobs Plan.”

Earlier in the day, ADP reported that the U.S. added 517,000 private payrolls in March – up big from 176,000 in February, but below consensus expectations for 550,000.

Later on, the White House’s outline of the $2 trillion-plus infrastructure proposal revealed potential new spending on transit, our water systems, the electric grid, education and healthcare. But while the major indices did head higher, many investors weren’t buying the infrastructure news today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was actually the worst of the major indices, off 0.3% to 32,981.

Anu Gaggar, senior global investment analyst for Commonwealth Financial Network, explains that “the infrastructure spending will come over a period of years versus weeks for the stimulus bill, which had a massive immediate impact.” 

“Passing the bill as is in Congress is quite an uphill task and might either need to be broken down into smaller chunks or go through the budget reconciliation process in the next fiscal year,” he adds.

Also worth noting in The American Jobs Plan were several potential tax changes to help finance the plan, chief among them a hike in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

“The larger impact to markets will be whether or not the corporate tax rate is raised to 28% – or somewhere in between there and the current 21% level – and whether or not a global minimum tax on corporations can be established,” says Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. “It’s likely that the stock market can withstand a hike in the corporate tax rate to 25%, but unclear how much room there is above that if stocks are going to keep moving higher between now and year end.”

Instead, investors snapped up recently battered technology shares, with tech-sector ETF Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK, +1.5%) outperforming its 10 sector peers. Gains from tech and tech-adjacent stocks such as Tesla (TSLA, +5.1%), Nvidia (NVDA, +3.7%) and Facebook (FB, +2.3%) helped the Nasdaq Composite jump 1.5% to 13.246. The S&P 500 climbed 0.4% to 3,972, just a couple points shy of its all-time high.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 also snapped higher, finishing up 1.9% to 2,232.
  • U.S. crude oil futures suffered another drop, down 2.3% to $59.16 per barrel.
  • Gold futures rebounded 1.8% to $1,713.80 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices slipped 0.4% to $58,803. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
stock chart for 033121stock chart for 033121

Ways to Play the Infrastructure Payday

It’s all going according to, ahem, “plan.”

Biden’s first few months in the White House have been largely what Wall Street was anticipating – a massive new round of stimulus made its way out of Washington, and the 46th president has quickly pivoted to a well-telegraphed infrastructure initiative. (Both themes factored heavily into our top 20 stocks for the Joe Biden presidency.)

So, who stands to gain?

Green energy, for one. Various aspects of The American Jobs Plan are focused on energy-efficiency improvements and building green infrastructure, which should benefit stocks such as these seven plays.

Electric vehicle stocks (such as the aforementioned Tesla) should get a jolt, too, as the plan includes an extension of EV incentives, as well as a pledge to ensure the U.S. has half a million EV chargers by 2030.

But more broadly speaking, a wide array of companies from numerous sectors stand to profit from the heavy spending of this infrastructure plan. Read on as we look at 12 of the most likely beneficiaries.

Kyle Woodley was long NVDA as of this writing.

Source: kiplinger.com