Will consumers abandon the tech sector?
Consumers ignored “everything from soaring gas prices to mortgage foreclosures” to buy “the latest tech gadgetry” last year, says Therese Poletti in MarketWatch. But as the year’s two biggest consumer electronics trade shows get ready to open next week with no breakthrough products on tap, tech “investors may want to tread carefully in the New Year.” Consumers helped tech stocks enjoy “a pretty stunning 2007.” But even if a great product emerges from the shows, “already over-extended” consumers trying to “avoid defaulting on mortgages” will have “little money for new computers, digital music players, or cell phones.”
Weighing credit card protection
“Credit card fraud remains the most common form of identity theft,” says Kelli B. Grant in SmartMoney.com. And while you know to “properly shred those unused cash advance checks and new card offers,” for example, “vigilance can only take you so far.” But think twice before you buy security add-ons offered by card issuers—services like credit monitoring and identity theft insurance are generally not worth buying. Look into helpful free services like purchase monitoring, however. And some card companies even let you shop online with “a one-time-use or virtual credit card number.” Priceless.