Economic Update

Market Week: April 8, 2024

The Markets (as of market close April 5, 2024)

Despite a late-week surge, stocks closed lower last week. Investors saw the continued strength of the labor market (see below) as increasing the chances of a soft landing for the economy, while potentially delaying the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates.

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Quarterly Market Review: January-March 2024

The Markets (first quarter through March 29, 2024)

Wall Street got off to a fast start to begin 2024. Investors were encouraged by strength in the economy, the likelihood of interest rate cuts, possibly beginning in June, and opportunities in artificial intelligence. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted solid first-quarter gains led by the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Several indexes reached new highs throughout the quarter. The S&P 500 hit its first record high in two years late in January, leading to its best first-quarter performance since 2019. The Federal Reserve provided encouraging news following its meeting in March as it projected three interest rate cuts by the end of the year. Ten-year Treasury yields stayed around 4.20% for most of the quarter, up from 3.86% at the close of 2023. Roughly 76.0% of S&P 500 companies reported fourth-quarter corporate earnings that exceeded analysts’ expectations. Some of the “Magnificent Seven” megacap stocks stumbled a bit in the first quarter. Nevertheless they were responsible for nearly 40.0% of the S&P 500’s year-to-date gain, which is down from over 60.0% last year. Ten of the 11 market sectors posted quarterly gains, with industrials, information technology, communication services, financials, and energy climbing more than 10.0%.

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Market Week: April 1, 2024

The Markets (as of market close March 29, 2024)

Stocks finished the month of March in solid fashion. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted gains, with the exception of the Nasdaq. Bond yields dipped lower. Crude oil prices advanced, while energy shares ended up being a top performer. The dollar inched higher, while gold prices continued to climb.

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Market Week: March 25, 2024

The Markets (as of market close March 22, 2024)

Despite a dip last Friday, stocks closed out last week higher. The S&P 500 recorded its biggest weekly percentage gain of the year, while the Dow and the Nasdaq hit record highs. Investors gained a bit of encouragement after the Federal Reserve maintained projections for three interest rate cuts by year’s end. Each of the market sectors moved higher last week, with communication services and industrials gaining 3.9% and 3.5%, respectively. Both the dollar and gold prices advanced. Crude oil prices declined for the week, influenced by a rising dollar (since oil is priced in dollars, if the dollar goes up, oil prices generally go down, because you need fewer dollars to buy that oil).

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Market Week: March 18, 2024

The Markets (as of market close March 15, 2024)

Equities closed lower for the second straight week, with the Russell 2000 losing nearly 2.0%. A sell-off in tech shares pulled the Nasdaq down 0.7%, marking the first back-to-back weekly losses since last October. Higher-than-expected inflation data may have raised investor concerns that the Federal Reserve may keep interest rates elevated for longer than hoped for. Information technology, consumer discretionary, health care, industrials, real estate, and utilities underperformed, while energy jumped more than 4.0%. Long-term bond prices slipped, driving yields higher. The dollar ended the week higher. Crude oil prices rose 4.0%. Gold prices declined, ending a three-week rally.

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Market Week: March 4, 2024

The Markets (as of market close March 1, 2024)

Wall Street continued its February rally into March as stocks closed last week notably higher with the exception of the Dow, which ticked lower. Investor enthusiasm about tech shares, particularly AI stocks, helped drive the upturn. Inflation data also was positive. While consumer prices ticked up in January, the 12-month rate actually declined, lessening concerns that the Federal Reserve would delay interest rate cuts beyond this year. Information technology led the market sectors, with real estate and consumer discretionary also moving higher. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell as bond prices advanced. Crude oil prices ended the week higher. The dollar slipped lower, while an end-of-week rally helped drive gold prices up.

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Market Month: February 2024

The Markets (as of market close February 29, 2024)

Stocks ended February on a high note as each of the benchmark indexes listed here closed up. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 notched all-time highs, as tech shares, particularly those linked to AI, helped drive stocks. Inflation data released at the end of the month, was in line with expectations, which also supported stocks. February’s gains marked the fourth straight month of advances for the S&P 500, theDow, and the Nasdaq. For the year, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have risen about 7.0%, while the small caps of the Russell 2000 recouped losses from January.

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Market Week: February 26, 2024

The Markets (as of market close February 23, 2024)

Stocks advanced last week, driven higher by tech shares that were bolstered by favorable corporate earnings reports. The Dow, the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 posted weekly gains for the 16th time out of the last 18 trading weeks. Among the benchmark indexes listed here, only the small caps of the Russell 2000 closed the week in the red. Each of the 11 market sectors ended the week higher, led by consumer staples, materials, and health care. Bond prices ticked higher, pulling yields lower, with 10-year Treasuries slipping 3.0 basis points. The dollar slipped lower, while gold prices advanced. Crude oil prices fell over $3.00 per barrel.

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Market Week: February 19, 2024

The Markets (as of market close February 16, 2024)

Rising inflation heightened investor concerns that the Federal Reserve may not consider lowering interest rates during the first half of the year. Among the benchmark indexes listed here, only the small caps of the Russell 2000 and the Global Dow were able to gain ground. The Dow snapped a five-week winning streak, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 also finished the week lower. With the stock market closed on Monday for President’s Day, investors will have to wait a little longer to try to begin another rally. Materials, utilities, financials, and industrials were better-performing sectors, while information technology and communication services lagged. Ten-year Treasury yields rose for the second straight week. Crude oil prices climbed higher, while the national average for regular gasoline jumped to a two-month high.

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Market Week: February 12, 2024

The Markets (as of market close February 9, 2024)

Stocks closed higher last week, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reaching record highs. Investors were encouraged by generally favorable fourth-quarter corporate earnings data and a downwardly revised Consumer Price Index for December. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here gained ground, led by the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq. Last week saw information technology, communication services, industrials, and consumer discretionary lead the market sectors, while utilities and consumer staples trended lower. Crude oil prices continued to rise last week amid ongoing Middle East tensions.

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