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Let’s Give a Hand for Insurance – Car Thefts 4% Lower Nationwide

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California is home to nine of the 10 regions in the U.S. with the highest rate of auto thefts as criminals target San Francisco and its surrounding cities. The Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto regions in California were the three most susceptible. The state had eight of the top hot spots in 2012 and seven in 2011, NICB said. “We have an international border and we also have our ports” contributing to auto theft, Fran Clader, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol, said in phone interview. “We have dense population areas where there are these vehicles that present opportunities for thieves.”

The Harrisonburg, Virginia-area had the lowest rate among more than 300 regions tracked by the NICB, with 21 per 100,000 people. The Spokane, Washington, region was the only city arithmetical area in the top 10 that isn’t in California.

NICB predictable nationwide vehicle thefts dropped about 3 to 4 percent in 2013 from a year earlier, Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the insurance-industry group, said in a phone interview. Better revival technology and car-safety features may have pushed thefts down to their lowest level since 1967, NICB said, citing preliminary figures.

Vehicle defense specialists at the NICB said to park in well-lit areas and use audible alarms and kill switches to guard from auto theft. Owners can also install tracking devices to help law enforcement recover stolen autos.

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Economy

Stocks Will Head Lower, Warns Billionaire Bond Investor

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Stocks Will Head Lower, Warns Billionaire Bond Investor

Billionaire bond investor and DoubleLine Capital founder Jeffrey Gundlach is the latest Wall Street veteran to warn that the worst is yet to come for stock prices.

He joins famed investor Jim Rogers, who said on Tuesday that he expects the market to stay elevated for a while, but ultimately another stock market route is on the way.

“I expect in the next couple of years we’re going to have the worst bear market in my lifetime,” Rogers said in a phone interview.

Gundlach may not be as bearish as Rogers, but he did say earlier in March that there was a 90% chance the United States would enter a recession before the end of the year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the short-term Gundlach said during a webcast on Tuesday that he believes that the lows we saw in March will be eclipsed in April due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus outbreak and when we can expect the number of new cases to slow.

“I think we are going to get something that resembles that panicky feeling again during the month of April,” while adding “The low we hit in the middle of March, I would bet that low will get taken out.”

Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide agrees with Gundlach and warns that there is compelling evidence that nearly every bear market has a few rallies before plunging lower.

“Last week’s double-digit gain for markets was a welcome relief rally, though market bottoms are rarely as clean as this one has been. In 2000/01, there were four rallies of greater than 20% before ultimately reaching a bottom, and in the financial crisis, the S&P 500 had a false breakout of 27% before hitting a bottom.”

Gundlach also said that any projections that the US economy will quickly recover once the spread of the virus slows were too optimistic and that the hopes of a quick recovery were causing the markets to act “somewhat dysfunctionally.”

“We will get back to a better place, but it’s just not going to bounce back in a V-shape back to January of 2020,” he said.

Gabriela Santos, JPMorgan’s global market strategist agrees with Gundlach that we aren’t going to get the quick “V-shaped” recovery that most are predicting.

She believes that we’ll start a slower “U-shaped” recovery once coronavirus infection rates peak.

“A ‘V-shape’ I think we should unfortunately discount at this point, because even when infection rates peak for COVID-19 around the world, what the China experience is teaching us is even though the government begins to relax some social distancing guidelines, individuals themselves are still very careful about how exactly they go back to their day to day lives,” she said.

“So demand was quick to shut down, but it’s actually much slower to come back online,” she added. “The better analogy here is a U. There’s a very sharp drop in activity in the first half, there’s a bit of a stall in the second, and then in 2021 is when that strong rebound begins.”

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Finance

Brutal First Quarter For Stocks Comes to End, Here’s What’s Next

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Brutal First Quarter For Stocks Comes to End, Here’s What’s Next

All three major indexes ended Tuesday in negative territory, with the S&P 500 slipping 1.6%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.84% and the Nasdaq dropping 0.95%.

Mercifully, the first quarter has come to an end, so we can start to put the post-Feb 19th carnage into some context.

The Dow has plunged 23.2% since the start of the year, it’s worst first-quarter performance in history, and single worst overall quarter since the fourth-quarter of 1987 when it plunged 25.3% during the Black Monday crash.

The S&P 500 is down 20% so far this year, it’s largest quarterly decline since the 2008 financial crisis. It’s also the first time in more than a decade that the index started the year losing ground in each of the first three calendar months. The S&P was down 0.2% in January, 8.41% in February and 13.1% in March. That’s only happened seven other times in the indexes’ 63-year history.

The Nasdaq closed out the quarter down 14% since the start of the year.

Stock weren’t the only investments getting pummeled, oil turned in a particularly gruesome report card for the quarter as well.

Prices for West Texas intermediate crude (WTI) futures saw their largest single-quarter decline in history to start the year, with prices dropping more than 65%. In March alone the number of oil contracts fell 54%, also a record for a single-month.

While nearly all of this volatility in stocks is a result of the coronavirus outbreak (oil’s decline is also due to a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia), the fallout from the pandemic is expected to dramatically affect our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the coming quarters.

Yesterday Goldman Sachs said that the second-quarter U.S. economic decline would be much greater than it had previously forecast. The bank says it expects higher than anticipated unemployment figures and “sky-high jobless claims numbers” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s also forecasting a real GDP sequential decline of 34% for the second quarter on an annualized basis, significantly higher than its earlier estimate of 24% drop. Also concerning is that the bank now sees the unemployment rate hitting 15% by mid-year compared to its earlier estimates of 9%.

Looking Ahead

When the market is volatile like it has been for the last month or so, it’s often hard to imagine brighter days ahead.

But when you look at the market’s historical performance immediately following a significant decline like we are seeing right now, there are reasons to be optimistic.

According to Dow Jones Market Data, after the Dow has turned in a quarter as brutal as the one we just went through, the index returns 11.88% and 8.49% in the following two quarters.

And over the course of the following year, the Dow returns 22.75% on average.

For the S&P 500, the two quarters following a massive decline return 12% and 15.8%, and a year later the index is up 27.79% on average.

And the Nasdaq returns 3.79% and 5.57% over the next two quarters and 9.54% over the following year.

So while nothing is guaranteed, it appears we can look forward to better returns ahead.

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Lifestyle

Top 10 Travel Destinations to the Start the New Decade

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For many, traveling offers an opportunity to disconnect from the everyday and experience new places and cultures. With the beginning of a new decade, it is the perfect time to start deciding your next travel adventures.

When booking your future destinations, consider these spots and tips recommended by travel expert and Bank of America ambassador, Lee Abbamonte, the youngest American to visit every country plus the North and South Poles.

1. Australia

From its deserts to tropical beaches, Australia is a beautiful country to explore. While many people might be familiar with the Sydney Opera House and the unique wildlife, there are many hidden gems in Australia.

“I’ve been to Australia 10 times and I still can’t get enough,” Abbamonte said. “One of my favorite cities is Melbourne. While it’s one of the largest cities in Australia, the heart of the city is hidden and secretive. It comes to life when you visit the alleys, laneways and arcades. The vibrant city has so much to offer: cafes, a unique street culture and street art.”

2. New Zealand

If you are going to New Zealand for the first time, Abbamonte recommends boogie boarding down the sand dunes, hiking up a volcano and visiting the Moeraki Boulders. However, if you are really interested in getting the blood pumping, take a leap from Nevis Bungy near Queenstown. It is among the highest bungy jumping experiences in the world, measuring 440 feet.

3. Mexico

“Mexico City has two of my favorite things – great food and sports,” Abbamonte said. “The street tacos are to die for, and I love going to soccer games at Estadio Azteca.”

In 2020, there will be many festivals to explore. The city is a cultural hub with music, theater, dance and food events throughout the year. While experiencing the festivities, it is also an opportune time to take a step back and enjoy Chapultepec Park.

4. Brazil

One of Abbamonte’s favorite waterfalls is Iguazu Falls located on the border of Brazil and Argentina. While Iguazu Falls might be well known, the falls themselves are truly unique. The waterfall system consists of 275 falls that stretch over approximately 1.68 miles. The Devil’s Throat is the tallest fall with a drop of more than 262 feet.

While traveling internationally can be fun and exhilarating, there are also places throughout the United States that offer memorable activities:

5. Scottsdale, Arizona

If you enjoy being outdoors, Scottsdale is an ideal place to visit. There are many trails to explore in Camelback Mountain, Papago Park and Hole in the Rock. After hiking, follow Abbamonte’s example and golf at The Short Course at Mountain Shadows.

“Scottsdale has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the States, and from The Short Course at Mountain Shadows, I get to enjoy the view while practicing my swing,” he said.

6. Boston, Massachusetts

“I love sports, so I visit Boston regularly for the professional games,” Abbamonte said. “I’m also fortunate that Boston is a beautiful city I can enjoy along the way.”

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the country. Founded in 1630, Boston is filled with history, museums and universities. If you are interested in a more unique attraction, check out the Warren Anatomical Museum, which is one of the last of its kind in the United States.

7. Portland, Oregon

What makes Portland unique are the bizarre and wonderful things you can do when you visit. For example, you can try bone marrow ice cream, stop by Mill Ends Park (the world’s smallest park) or attach your wish to The Wishing Tree.

“Portland is absolutely beautiful,” Abbamonte said. “It has a bit of everything – restaurants, bars, parks – and I enjoy the people watching. Portland has some of the nicest people while maintaining an edgy vibe.”

8. Tampa, Florida

Tampa might be known for its spring break party scene, but it has so much more to offer. For example, the city’s zoos and aquariums provide opportunities to interact directly with animals. Then you can take a break at Clearwater Beach, which is known for its soft, white sand and calm waters.

9. Santa Barbara, California

“I go to Santa Barbara when I want to recharge,” Abbamonte said. “I enjoy the food, walking around, talking to the locals and even watching a football game or two.”

There are wine tours, zoos, beaches, museums and restaurants. While taking in the city, also make time to visit the hidden gems such as Knapp’s Castle ruins.

10. England, Germany, Scotland, Azerbaijan and more

While technically more than one place, these locations have one thing in common: Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Euro 2020. The international soccer event marks the first time the games will be held across the continent in 12 host cities.

“The year is a big one for sports,” Abbamonte said. “From sporting events in Europe to Japan, it is a fun year for travel and to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

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