Higgins Capital Management, Inc.

Stocks Sell-off, Charity Scams and Wax Seals

The Economy:  Today, buy-the-dip market participants did not materialized.  The sell-off in today's U.S. stocks accelerated into the close.  This wiped out the gains for the year for both the Dow and S&P 500.  Yesterday, the US stock markets made a big comeback after plunging in early trading.  At one point, the Dow was off over 500 points, the S&P 500 touched it lowest level since may and the Nasdaq was on pace of the worst month in 10 years.  According to Bank of America, for a 3rd week in a row, individual investors were net buyers while institutional accounts were net sellers.  What we have is a difference of opinion on the direction of U.S. stocks by Wall Street (institutional accounts) and Main Street (individual accounts). 

Food for Thought: This week marks the first International Charity Fraud Awareness Week.  The FTC, the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO), and state charity regulators have joined other global entities to fright charity fraud. 

According to the FTCs alert on sham charities, below are a couple of tips to avoid donating to a sham charity:
 1) Look up the organization online and read what others are saying about it. Search the charity’s name with the terms “scam” or “complaint.”
2) Check out the charity’s ratings with groups like the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and Guide Star. Find out how at FTC.gov/Charity.
3) Verify that the organization is registered with your state charity regulator. Most states require charities or their fundraisers to register before they can ask for donations.

Mixing Business with Pleasure: For those of you that still appreiate beautiful stationary, cards and notes or you know someone that loves a classic touch, check out artisaire.com for monogrammed wax seals.  I think this would make a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.