Tuesday,
April 27, 2021

Market recap

Dow Jones

33,981.57

-61.92 (-0.18%)

S&P 500

4,187.62

+7.45 (+0.18%)

Nasdaq

14,138.78

+121.97 (+0.87%)

Apple

$134.72

+$0.325 (+0.24%)

Ford

$12.28

+$0.06 (+0.49%)

Roku

$368.63

+$11.76 (+3.30%)

Amid evolving news + uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, your financial needs are our top priority. For more information on COVID-19 and your finances click here.

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Top Story

Apple’s iOS Update Gives Users More Control of Their Privacy

Apple Users Can Block Ad Trackers

On Monday Apple (AAPL) rolled out its new operating software, iOS 14.5, which gives users more control over their privacy—including the ability to prevent advertisers from tracking them online.

The so-called App Tracking Transparency tool will prompt users to opt out of tracking by apps that share data with third parties. This means that information about consumers’ interests and shopping habits will not be given to companies without users’ consent.

How the Software Update Works

With the new software in place, when an app wants to track a user, a window will pop up asking the user for permission. If they say no to tracking, the app can no longer monitor their activity and share data. If an app continues to track a user without their permission, Apple may remove it from the App Store. By adding the pop-up window, Apple is making privacy control easier. Previously, users had to go to settings to block tracking in apps.

Privacy experts welcomed Apple’s efforts but warned the update may not be enough to stop all tracking on devices. App developers and advertising companies can still potentially find workarounds and new tracking methods.

Pushback From App Makers

While privacy advocates are enthusiastic about Apple’s changes, they have drawn criticism from app makers. Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGL), and other app creators argue Apple’s privacy tool will harm small businesses which rely on personalized advertisements. This controversy has prompted Google to make changes to its ads systems and has led to a public feud between Facebook and Apple.

Online privacy has been a topic of heated discussion in recent years. Apple’s software update marks a big step in giving users more say about how their data is collected and shared. Lawmakers, advertisers, and tech users will be eager to see what impact Apple’s decision will have on conversations about privacy in the future.

Learn the Money Skills You Need with “The Fundamentals of Personal Finance”

A mere half of Americans grasp personal finance concepts like managing debt, risk management, and saving for retirement. Over the last five years, financial literacy has improved by only 3% among Americans.

Introducing “The Fundamentals of Personal Finance,” a Specialization by SoFi in partnership with Coursera, one of the world’s leading online learning platforms. The program, comprising five courses created by SoFi and our team of in-house financial planners, will provide members with the basic fundamentals of personal finance—including an introduction to personal finances, saving for the future, managing debt, fundamentals of investing, and the basics of risk management.

Enroll now to gain a better understanding of personal finance topics and how to implement strategies to meet your own financial goals.


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Chip Shortages Drive Vehicle Prices Higher

Dealers Benefiting From Low Supply

Automakers including Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) have curbed vehicle production due to a global shortage of semiconductors. While the shortage is hurting car manufacturers, it is benefitting car dealers. The supply-demand imbalance has allowed car dealers to spend less money on marketing while raising the prices of vehicles.

AutoNation (AN), the largest chain of dealerships in the US, reported that its gross profit increased by 61% in the first quarter. Lithia Motors (LAD), a rival dealer, reported that profit per new vehicle increased 33%. Often dealerships must fight for customers with incentives and rebates which can slash vehicle prices by 10% or more. The unique market circumstances are a welcome change for some car sellers.

Low Inventory Causes Concerns

The global semiconductor shortage is expected to last into next year, which means US dealers should experience strong sales in the coming months. Dealers are already sitting on low inventory, with some reporting just 15 days worth of inventory on hand.

While current conditions are benefitting many dealers, some are beginning to see a depletion of their stock and no new shipments coming in. This is leading to concerns that the lack of vehicles will ultimately hurt dealers’ bottom lines, even with higher profit margins.

What These Trends Mean for Consumers

Because the supply of new cars is low and prices are climbing, many consumers are opting for older models. This is causing the price of used cars to spike.

Consumers looking to purchase a car or truck at the moment should be prepared for higher prices at dealerships for both new and used vehicles. With people willing to pay full price and dealers not offering many incentives, purchasing a vehicle is getting pricey in 2021.

What to Know About Closing a Credit Card

Millions Are Holding on to Old Credit Cards

Millions of people are holding on to credit cards which are more than eight years old. There are a lot of reasons why many consumers don’t let go of credit cards. Some do it for sentimental reasons, while others simply forget about their credit cards or do not want to go through the hassle of closing them. People sometimes keep credit cards even if they have high fees or do not provide rewards.

Many consumers have paid down debt during the pandemic and are now wondering what to do with their credit cards. For people in this situation, there are a number of options.

Ask for a Product Change

Keeping an old credit card open can sometimes have benefits. It can keep utilization low, which is one of the factors that goes into a credit score. But keep in mind the annual fee that may be associated with the card: is it worth paying every year to keep the card open?

Before closing an account, it might be helpful to contact the credit card company to see if a better deal is available. There may be a card with no fees or with rewards. This is known in the industry as a “product change.” It simply means that details like the account number and available credit will stay the same, but fees and rewards may change.

Timing is Important

Timing is everything when it comes to closing a credit card. For people purchasing homes or applying for loans, it might be a good idea to wait to make big credit card changes until the deal closes. Lenders generally do not want to see many changes in a person’s credit score when underwriting a loan. When people close or cancel their old credit cards, their available credit can drop, which can cause their credit utilization to rise. This can impact their credit score.

People are paying down debt and re-examining their existing credit cards, leading many to close old accounts. While this could be a good financial decision, everyone’s personal financial situation is different. It’s important to do a little research and to think about timing.

Not-So-Breaking News

  • The Honest Company, which makes beauty products, baby supplies, and other consumer goods, is looking for a $1.5 billion valuation in its initial public offering. The company was founded by actress Jessica Alba.
  • Nestlé (NSRGY) is in talks to buy The Bountiful Company, a nutritional supplements maker. The Swiss food giant wants to buy all, or part of the company, which is currently owned by KKR (KKR).
  • AstraZeneca (AZN) is being sued by the European Union over COVID-19 vaccine delivery delays. The drug company and the EU have been in conflict several times this year. AstraZeneca said it could not deliver as many vaccines as the bloc expected in both the first and second quarters.
  • Roku (ROKU) is threatening to remove YouTube TV from its platform. The streaming service provider has accused YouTube’s owner, Google (GOOGL), of engaging in anti-competitive practices. Roku said Google asked for preferential treatment for YouTube TV and YouTube apps.
  • Proofpoint (PFPT), a SaaS security company, is being acquired by Thoma Bravo for $12.3 billion. The all-cash deal will take Proofpoint private. The cybersecurity industry has seen a significant number of mergers and acquisitions recently.
  • We all want to achieve financial wellness. But to do so, we must first understand what financial wellness is (and what it is not). Learn more about what financial wellness is and how to achieve it at SoFi Learn.

Financial Planner Tip of the Day

“One place to begin when striving to nurture good financial habits is to write out individual money goals. Financial goals can serve as ‘external’ guideposts for kickstarting (and then sticking with) new habits.”

Brian Walsh, CFP® at SoFi

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