Market Recap – March 22, 2024

Summary:

  • Weekly Returns (Friday Open – Thursday Close) & YTD Returns*: [1]

The Fed kept interest rates unchanged this week and maintained expectations for 3 rate cuts this year.  Both US stock and bond markets rallied on the news.  Meanwhile, International stocks did well as Japanese equities continue to outperform due to a healthier economy. [2]

  • Fed Meeting: As expected, the Fed left interest rates unchanged between 5.25 and 5.5% in March. Despite higher-than-expected inflation data from the first two months of the year, the Federal Reserve is still eyeing three interest rate cuts this year. [3]
  • United States vs. Apple: The US Department of Justice announced they are suing Apple for monopolizing the smartphone market and using a variety of unfair tactics to entrench its market position and restrict innovation. The lawsuit follows similar issues for Apple in the European Union due to the bloc’s Digital Markets Act. [4]
  • Leading Index for U.S. Turns Positive: The U.S. leading economic indicator index rose into positive territory for the first time in two years, reinforcing the notion that the U.S. economy will avoid recession in the first half of 2024.  It turned positive due to strength in weekly hours worked, stocks prices, and the leading credit index. [5]

Chart of the Week:

India vs. China Demographics

Source: Michel A. Arouet

Economic Outlook:

  • Equity: We expect a broadening of stock market returns beyond the Magnificent 7 as corporate earnings continue to improve and recommend clients maintain diversified equity exposure.
  • Unemployment: We expect the unemployment rate to slowly trend upwards throughout 2024 with a potential increase in layoffs as heavily indebted firms struggle to refinance their debt at higher interest rates. [6]
  • Fiscal Policy: We expect fiscal policy to remain stimulative for the foreseeable future after the House passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill to avert a government shutdown. [7]
  • Short-Term Interest Rates: We put the odds of any rate cut before June of 2024 at less than 25%. Goods inflation should reaccelerate as services inflation moderates, leading to potential rate cuts in the second half of 2024.
  • Long-Term Interest Rates: We expect longer-term interest rates to stay elevated and relatively volatile, which is consistent with sticky inflation. Longer-term interest rates have a high correlation to GDP growth and inflation expectations.

 

*US Small Cap Stocks is Russell 2000

* US Bond Market is Bloomberg Aggregate

*International Stocks is MSCI ACWI ex-US Index

*Weekly Returns is March 15th, 2024-March 22nd, 2024

*YTD is Jan 2nd, 2024-March 22nd, 2024

By: Nick Colletta, CFA, CAIA

Sources:

Bridge Advisory LLC Disclosures

Bridge Advisory, LLC is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investment Advisory Services offered through Bridge Advisory, LLC. Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio. Information herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but Bridge Advisory, LLC. does not warrant its completeness or accuracy; opinions and estimates constitute our judgment as of this date and are subject to change without notice. This newsletter expresses the views of the authors as of the date indicated and such views are subject to change without notice.

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