January 2024

Despite widespread recession fears, the 2023 economy surprised forecasters with positive growth. A resilient job market and strong consumer spending helped the economy defy expectations. Stocks and bonds rebounded in 2023—thanks to a strong economy, the end of Fed rate hikes, and outperformance from Big Tech. Most of the gains occurred in the last two months after the Federal Reserve signaled rate cuts were coming in 2024.  Read More


December 2023

As we approach 2024, the positive alignment of both macrocast™ and microcast™ is significant, indicating improving conditions for risk assets. However, we must acknowledge that although the macrocast™ score is positive, it is still relatively low. While we have not seen a positive score immediately fall back below zero, a market correction could push the score back into negative territory. Read More


November 2023

Recent statements from Federal Reserve officials suggest the US central bank may be at the end of its aggressive rate hike cycle that began in early 2022. Still, higher rates and the continuation of Quantitative Tightening reflect the Fed’s commitment to tighter-for- longer monetary policy as they aim to curb inflation without inducing an economic recession.   Read More


October 2023

Although the S&P 500 has posted strong year-to-date returns, major asset classes have largely stagnated over the past two years. Since the beginning of 2022, major equity and bond indices have declined between 4% to 20%. However, over the long term, both stocks and bonds have historically exhibited positive real returns, and we expect that will continue to be the case going forward.  Read More


September 2023

In August, headline inflation—influenced by rising gas prices—accelerated to 3.7% year-over-year growth, up from 3.2% in the prior month. On the positive side, core inflation continued to slow, dropping to a rate of 4.3% year-over-year. While the trend in core inflation is encouraging, there is still work to be done in achieving the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, and another rate hike is still possible before year end.  Read More


August 2023

Every August, we “Chart the Course” by reviewing a series of charts illustrating key trends in the economy and markets. We hope you enjoy these, and we will resume publication of our regular commentary in September.  Read More


July 2023

Leading indicators continue to signal potential economic softness on the horizon, while the robustness of coincident indicators paints a picture of a healthy economy. We predict that this divergence will likely sort itself out by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024, resulting either in a downturn or a positive inflection in the business cycle.  Read More


June 2023

The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500, is set to finish the first half of the year with double-digit gains. This is in stark contrast with leading economic indicators, which suggest a recession is still a high probability.  Read More


May 2023

As expected, the Federal Reserve raised the target interest rate by 0.25% earlier this month, marking what could be the end of this cycle’s rate hikes. Should this prove to be the case, it would be the quickest rate-hike cycle in the past four decades.  Read More


April 2023

Major asset classes enjoyed a strong start to the year, a reversal of the way 2022 began. Equities around the globe and across market caps saw mostly positive returns. Bonds also performed well, with the Bloomberg Aggregate Bond index posting its best return since Spring 2020.  Read More


March 2023

The banks that have failed over the past week were among the riskiest financial institutions, given their outsized exposure to clientele in the tech industry. Still, the collapse of these banks highlights the consequences of the Fed’s rapid shift in monetary policy. Following a multi-year period of zero interest rate policy, the Fed has increased interest rates at a historic pace bring down inflation. The speed of this tightening and the sharp draining of liquidity creates stress on the financial system.  Read More


February 2023

So far, in 2023, the contradicting signals of macrocast™ and microcast™ is the defining market theme—in essence, it is a clash between a recession and a soft landing. A tight labor market and improving market returns are key factors supporting the soft landing narrative, but it’s important to remember that hope for a soft landing always precedes a recession.  Read More

Archives

  • 2022

    December 2022

    Most leading economic indicators are at levels consistent with past recessions, signaling a recession is likely sometime in 2023. In each recession since 1957, S&P 500 earnings have contracted. With analysts projecting mid-single-digit earnings growth next year, we do not believe a recession is adequately “priced in” to stock prices.  Read More


    November 2022

    Last week’s lower than expected inflation data was a welcome change after several months of disappointing figures. Slowing inflation is a significant factor in the Fed’s policy framework, but inflation remains high and there are no signs the Federal Reserve will stop raising rates before next spring. Read More


    October 2022

    Inflation—and the Fed’s fight against it—remains the driving force behind market action. While inflation has likely peaked, the Fed is focused on reducing wage growth to slow inflation further, and history shows higher unemployment may be needed to achieve that goal. Read More


    September 2022

    In recent speeches, members of the Federal Reserve have reiterated that they want to see inflation come down and stay down before they are ready to slow rate hikes. With the latest inflation figures coming in higher than expected, that view is likely to remain in place for at least the next few months.  Read More


    August 2022

    Every August, we “Chart the Course” by reviewing a series of charts that illustrate key trends in the economy and markets. The data depicted in these charts is consistent with what we see in macrocast™. Read More


    July 2022

    Most major asset classes saw negative returns in the second quarter. Equity markets around the globe were down double digits, and bonds continued their sell off from the first quarter.  Read More


    June 2022

    In a follow-up to our most recent podcast, we highlight every major bear market since the Great Depression. Historically, once a bear market ended, returns over the following 1-, 3-, and 5-year periods were all positive, and often, well above average.  Read More


    May 2022

    As expected, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by 50 bps (.50%). This was the largest single rate hike since 2000. Looking ahead, they signaled for another 50 bp increase in June and July, and Chairman Powell said further rate hikes, starting in September, would depend on the path of economic growth and inflation.  Read More


    April 2022

    Most asset classes performed poorly in the first quarter. Equities around the globe and across market caps saw mostly negative returns, except for those with significant commodity exposure. In a repeat of the first quarter of 2021, the Bloomberg Aggregate Bond index suffered another major negative quarter.  Read More


    March 2022

    The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018. It was the first of what is expected to be several rate hikes in 2022, as the central bank looks to tamp down inflation while maintaining the strong job market. Chairman Jerome Powell has shifted to a more aggressive tone and is signaling the Fed will no longer wait for inflation to improve on its own.  Read More


    February 2022

    Three issues that have been a hindrance to the market should start improving over the next few months. Inflation concerns, uncertainty about the aggressiveness of Fed tightening, and geopolitical tensions should all be nearing peak levels. Read More


    January 2022

    The market has started the year with a correction, the first since 2020. An increase in volatility was expected coming into the year, given the large gains and lower volatility last year.  When viewed from a historical lens, the recent pullback is unsurprising, but typically, sustained bear market declines are uncommon absent an economic recession. Read More

  • 2021

    December 2021

    Heading into the new year, macrocast™ indicates a low probability of a sustained, recessionary bear market. Our current microcast™ signal is suggesting an aggressive allocation. Both models are decisively positive, underpinning a positive market outlook going into 2022. Read More


    October 2021

    Asset class performance diverged a bit in Q3, with few stock indices performing well. US large-cap stocks led the way, while mid- and small-caps posted negative returns. Emerging markets performed poorly, bonds were mostly unchanged, and commodities surged higher. Read More


    September 2021

    Job openings are at all-time highs, yet unemployment remains elevated. This conundrum is due to pandemic dislocations and government policy. We believe that these factors have either resolved or will do so in the coming months, leading to continued job growth. Read More


    August 2021

    Job openings are at all-time highs. While the labor market continues to recover, it remains below peak employment levels seen in February 2020. There are several reasons for this, but a lack of available jobs is not one of them, with over 10 million openings reported in the latest survey. This bodes well for continued job growth as we move beyond the pandemic and its effects. Read More


    July 2021

    Most asset classes continued to perform well in the second quarter. Equity markets around the globe and across market caps again saw positive returns and the majority are up double digits year to date. Bonds also rebounded in Q2. Read More


    June 2021

    Economic growth should remain robust for the rest of 2021, albeit at a slower pace. Constraints in both the housing market and auto industry may negatively impact GDP, but these issues should prove temporary and lead to a rebound in 2022, helping extend the recovery. Read More


    May 2021

    While higher inflation was anticipated, the latest print came in even higher than expected. However, digging deeper into the numbers suggests unique conditions accounted for most of the increase. Read More


    April 2021

    The majority of asset classes performed well in the first quarter. Equities around the globe and across market caps saw positive returns. The notable laggard was bonds. The Barclays Aggregate Bond index suffered its worst quarter since 1981. Read More


    March 2021

    Inflation worries have been in the news lately, with some economists suggesting that the fiscal rescue package, mass vaccinations, and supply constraints will lead to a significant rise in prices. We share the Federal Reserve’s view that any spike in inflation will be temporary. Read More


    February 2021

    The latest economic data continues to exceed expectations. The most recent numbers on auto sales, building permits, and retail sales remain robust as the economic recovery progresses. Read More


    January 2021

    At the end of the first quarter last year, there were bear markets across the globe. By the end of 2020, nearly all equity markets had rebounded, finishing positive on the year. It was a remarkable turnaround, and the S&P 500 saw one of the strongest rallies of all time after the fastest drop in history. Read More

November 2023

In this issue: Then and Now; Buybacks and Corporate Taxes; Much Ado About RMDs; Year-End 2023 Tax Tips; Bond Yields Are Up, but What Are the Risks?; Enriching a Teen with a Roth IRA Read More

October 2023

In this issue: Uneven Jobs Recovery; Workers and Retirees Losing Confidence; HDHP/HSA Pairing May Help Control Medical Costs; New Medicare Rules Tackle Prescription Drug Prices; You’ve Received an Inheritance, Now What?; How to Kill Your Zombie Subscriptions Read More

September 2023

In this issue: Employee Access to Roth 401(k) Plans on the Rise; What Real People Think About Artificial Intelligence; Four Key Objectives of a Sound Retirement Plan; New Life for Your Old Insurance Policy; Clean Vehicle Tax Credits: New vs. Qualified Commercial; Time to Bulk Up Your Emergency Fund Read More

August 2023

In this issue: Saving for Retirement Health-Care Costs; Motivation and Money Goals; Put Your Money Where Your Values Are; Coming in 2024: New 529 Plan-to-ROTH IRA Rollover Option; Leave a Lasting Gift with an Ethical Will; On the Move Again: International Travel Tips Read More

July 2023

In this issue: More Americans Embrace the Cashless Economy; Inflation Gauges Don’t Always Paint the Same Picture; Give Your Money a Midyear Checkup; Financing Options to Help You Ride the Mortgage Rate Roller Coaster; Home Energy Tax Credits; Should You Organize Your Business as an LLC? Read More

June 2023

In this issue: Education and Earnings, Anxious About Your Finances?, SECURE 2.0 Act Expands Early Withdrawal Exceptions, SECURE 2.0: Big Impacts for Small Business, & AS Your Parents Age, Help Them Protect Their Finances Read More

May 2023

In this issue: Where Does Remote Workers Trade Commutes for Much-Needed Rest, Reasons to Roll, How Taxes Impact Your Retirement-Income Strategy, Yours, Mine, and Ours: Financial Tips for Blended Families, A Mortgage Recast Is an Alternative to Refinancing, & Protecting Your Business Against the Loss of a Key Person Read More

April 2023

In this issue: How Changing Shelter Costs Influence Inflation, IRS Audit Rates Over Time, Social Security Offers Benefits from Birth Through Old Age, Diversifying with Market Caps, Keep an Eye Out for IRS-Related Scams, and How Much Should a Family Borrow for College? Read More

March 2023

In this issue: Where Does Your Income Fit, Child-Care Affordability Is All Over the Map, Time for a Spring Cleanup: Organizing Your Financial Records, Could Your Living Situation Change as You Grow Older, 50 and Older Here’s Your Chance to Catch up on Retirement Savings, Business Owners Should Prepare for Stronger Tax Enforcement Read More

February 2023

In this issue: Stimulus Payments: Honey, They Shrunk the Groceries, Younger Generations See Fastest Growth in Credit-Card Balances, Key Retirement and TaxNumbers for 2023, Creating Your Own Operation London Bridge, Should You Consider Tax-Loss Harvesting?, Random Acts of Financial KIndness Read More

January 2023

In this issue: Retirement Age Expectations vs. Reality, The Top Six Inflation Drivers of 2022, The Inflation Experience Is Painful and Personal, Three Ways to Help Simplify Your Finances, and Home Prices Decline as Rising Mortgage Rates Pressure Demand Read More

December 2022

In this issue: Stimulus Payments: Spending, Savings, or Both?, Three Stretch IRA Alternatives, When Should Young Adults Start Investing for Retirement?, Is It Time to Buy and Electric Vehicle?, Virtual Health Care Is Here to Stay, and Four Tips for Keeping Heating Costs Down This Winter Read More

February 19, 2024

As of Market Close on 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. Read More

February 12, 2024

As of Market Close on 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. Read More

February 5, 2024

As of Market Close on February 2, 2024
A strong labor report and solid earnings data from megatech companies helped drive stocks higher last week. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted solid gains with the exception of the Russell 2000. Nine of the 11 market sectors advanced last week, led by consumer discretionary, consumer staples, and health care, while real estate and energy declined. Ten-year Treasury yields trended lower for most of the week, only to vault higher on Friday. Crude oil prices, which had been surging, fell last week as continued unrest in the Middle East has irritated oil markets. The dollar inched higher, while gold prices advanced. Read More

January 29, 2024

As of Market Close on January 26, 2024
Stocks closed higher last week, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reaching record highs. Investors spent most of the week parsing through corporate earnings results and important economic data. Among the market sectors, communication services and energy rose over 5.0%, while health care ended the week in the red. Ten-year Treasury yields ticked up marginally. Crude oil prices rose nearly 6.0% as production cuts have begun to drive prices higher. The dollar advanced, while gold prices fell 0.6%.   Read More

January 22, 2024

As of Market Close on January 19, 2024
Wall Street closed the holiday-shortened week generally higher, with each of the benchmark indexes listed here posting gains, except for the Russell 2000 and the Global Dow. The surge in stocks was driven primarily by information technology and communication services, with chip makers leading the charge. Other than financials, which ticked up marginally higher, the remaining market sectors ended the week in the red. Read More

January 15, 2024

As of Market Close on January 12, 2024
Wall Street saw stocks close higher last week, despite dampening hopes of an interest rate reduction. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here rebounded from a slow start to the year by adding value last week. Some major financial companies posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Information technology and communication services led the sectors, while energy and utilities underperformed. Ten-year Treasury yields slipped lower. Crude oil prices retreated marginally. The dollar was flat, while gold prices ticked higher.  Read More

January 8, 2024

As of Market Close on January 5, 2024

After pulling off a surprisingly strong rally in the fourth quarter of 2023, the stock market took a tumble during the first week of the new year. All five of the indexes listed here ended lower, with the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq seeing the largest losses. Information Technology and Consumer Discretionary were the two worst-performing sectors, while health care, utilities, and energy posted decent gains.  Read More

January 1, 2024

As of Market Close on December 29, 2023
The markets closed out last week and the year with gains, despite losing steam at the end of the week. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here ended last week higher, with the exception of the Russell 2000, which dipped 0.3%. The Dow and the S&P 500 logged their ninth straight week of gains, with the S&P 500 enjoying its longest weekly winning streak since 2004.  Read More

December 25, 2023

As of Market Close on December 22, 2023
Stocks notched their eighth straight week of gains heading into the holiday-shortened week. While trading was generally light, investors remained bullish toward stocks as traders clung to the hope that the economy has survived the restrictive inflation-reducing policy of the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 enjoyed its longest weekly winning streak since late 2017, while the Nasdaq and the Dow marked the streaks since early 2019.  Read More

December 18, 2023

As of Market Close on December 15, 2023
Last week saw stocks rally after the Federal Reserve policy statement released last Wednesday suggested no more interest rate hikes, while predicting rate cuts in 2024 (see below). Despite losing momentum at the end of the week, stocks enjoyed their seventh consecutive week of gains, with the S&P 500 marking its longest winning streak since 2017 and the Dow’s longest since 2018. Each of the market sectors ended the week higher, led by real estate, consumer discretionary, materials, and financials. Read More

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