Market Month: February 2023

The Markets (as of market close February 28, 2023)

February saw stocks slide lower after posting solid gains to begin the year. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here retreated from their January totals, with the Dow falling the furthest, followed by the Global Dow, the S&P 500, the Russell 2000, and the Nasdaq. Investors saw hope in January that inflation may be waning. However, February data showed inflationary pressures reversed course and expanded. The Federal Reserve has consistently maintained that it seeks to achieve maximum employment and hold inflation at the rate of 2.0%. So far in 2023, job growth has been solid, with more than 500,000 new hires, while the Consumer Price Index (+0.5%) and the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (+0.6%) revealed increasing inflationary pressures over the previous month. Inflation has risen 5.4% since January 2022, according to the latest PCE price index. With evidence that the economy can withstand further tightening, the Federal Reserve is likely to continue to drive interest rates higher and for a longer period of time. This, coupled with lagging corporate earnings and the Russia/Ukraine war, which is entering its second year, has caused some investors to move from risk.

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