Market Recap: January 2024

February 05, 2024
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Market commentary

  • The Fed held rates steady in January while indicating a March rate cut is unlikely as they are not yet confident inflation has been quelled entirely.
  • Initial readings of fourth quarter GDP show stronger-than-expected growth of 3.3% as strong consumer spending continued.
  • Elevated potential for fiscal stimulus ahead of the November election, which would support further economic growth.
  • The labor market may be normalizing with fewer job openings as opposed to job cuts, while initial jobless claims remain low.

 

Select economic and market data

Statistic (monthly unless noted)

Current

Previous

U.S. GDP (quarterly) 3.3% 4.9%
Consumer Confidence 114.8 108.0
Consumer Price Index Y/Y 3.4% 3.1%
Core PCE (x food & energy) 2.9% 3.2%
ISM Manufacturing Index 47.4 46.7
Unemployment Rate 3.7% 3.7%
2-Year Treasury Yield 4.21% 4.25%
10-Year Treasury Yield 3.91% 3.88%



 

Equities

  • Large-cap domestic stocks posted increases in January, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting all-time highs during the month.
  • Small-cap stocks sold off as hopes for rate cuts were pushed later into the year.
  • Emerging markets sold off as China continues to struggle, while developed foreign stocks eked out a small gain.
January 2024 Equities Indices graph

 

Fixed income

  • Bond market returns were relatively flat in January as rates were little changed.
  • The yield curve flattened slightly but remains inverted, historically a recessionary signal.
January 2024 Equities Indices graph

 

Strategic outlook

  • Some caution warranted on equities in the near-term, particularly in high-growth large cap stocks after recent rally; currently favoring small-cap and mid-cap domestic stocks longer-term.
  • Above-average volatility is likely given central bank involvement and geopolitical uncertainty.
  • Near average expected returns projected for fixed income after period of rising rates and bond market sell‐off.
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