Bond Market

Hot Air Balloon half inflated on the ground

What the Heck is Stagflation?

There has been some talk of stagflation this year and it finally became enough for Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to comment on it. It seems to me that a lot of financial jargon gets tossed about without consideration for the fact that most people didn’t go to school for economics or get a job in finance. So, since it’s in the zeitgeist, maybe it’s time to define some terms and get to the bottom of a couple of questions. What is stagflation? Is it occurring in the U.S. right now?

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Market Outlook Spring 2024

In our Winter 2024 outlook, we wrote about what we thought would be the most important factors that would impact investments in 2024, including:
(1) Will inflation continue to fall as expected towards the
Fed’s 2% target?
(2) Will there be a recession?
In January, a large majority of investors believed that the Fed would successfully bring inflation down from a very high level to near its 2% target by the end of 2024 while avoiding a recession. In this update, we analyze recent inflation and economic data and provide our opinions as to how it changes the outlook.

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How Are the Magnificent 7 Faring Through Earnings Season?

The S&P 500 closed last week down 0.42% ending a five-week winning streak and pulling back from a string of record-breaking highs. The dour mood continued into the beginning of this week and the S&P 500 only barely squeaked out a positive return in the last few minutes of trading on Wednesday leading up to the Nvidia earnings release only to turn on a dime and power back on Thursday. There are explanations for this activity which I’ll explore below. However, the bottom line is that volatility is back in the markets, and we are seeing that in the reactions to earnings announcements this quarter. As of Wednesday night, the companies dubbed the Magnificent 7 have all reported earnings and they seem as good an example as any to explore how changing expectations are impacting stock prices.

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Should Investors Worry About the U.S. Presidential Election?

Investing in an Election Year: Should Investors Worry About the U.S. Presidential Election?

Should Investors Worry About the U.S. Presidential Election? Happy New Year, everyone! I know we’re already nearly a month into 2024, but this is my first article to our clients in the new year and I just took down my Christmas tree embarrassingly late in January, so it still feels appropriate. At the beginning of every year, the financial media is awash in market forecasts. It should come as no surprise that I am not one for market predictions, but it is valuable to consider the developments so far in 2024, understand the market environment we find ourselves in today, and think about the challenges and opportunities the coming year may have in store. One topic I expect to come up in conversation this year is the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Throughout my career, every presidential election cycle has brought fresh anxiety for investors and questions about what a given election outcome might mean for the markets. So, we’ll consider that question today and hopefully avoid some apprehension later.

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Market Outlook Winter 2024

As we start 2024, we make the following observations about what we believe are the most important uncertainties that will impact investments in 2024. (1) Will inflation continue to fall as expected towards the Fed’s 2% target? (2) Will there be a recession? (3) Will artificial intelligence adequately deliver on its promise in 2024?Notably, investors’ opinion on the first question is resoundingly “yes.” Investors’ opinion on the second question has shifted during the last several months and there is now a strong consensus opinion that the answer is “no.” Based on the performance of technology stocks in 2023 and high relative valuations, it seems clear that investors expect a lot from artificial intelligence in 2024. Read along as we explore these questions in more detail.

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The Important Things: tuning out the financial noise to focus on what really matters

As the end of the year rapidly approaches and we all spend time with our friends, family, and loved ones, it feels as though time is accelerating and 2023 will be in the past before we know it. Reflecting on the topics of blog articles this year, I wrote about legislation a few times including changes to Roth rules, debt ceiling battles, and banking regulation interventions. Macroeconomic conditions, geopolitical tensions, and market reactions to both were also common topics. Perhaps the most common subject was the Federal Reserve and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), and it was so frequent that we need not count. There was another Federal Reserve meeting this week and, while the Summary of Economic Projections was a point of some interest for the markets, reflecting on such a strange year for economics and the markets got me thinking of the bigger picture. Perhaps it’s the season, but it feels like a good time to take a step back and reflect not on the noise of the financial press and the minutiae of the financial markets, but on the reasons we all bother to get up in the morning, go to work, do the hard things, and invest for the future.

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Market Outlook Fall 2023

As we turn the calendar to the closing months of 2023, we look back and consider how the year has unfolded compared to expectations at the beginning of the year. A year ago, the consensus opinion was that economic conditions would be poor in the first half of the year, likely including a recession, and the economy would recover in the second part of the year. Most investors expected a weak first half for stocks, with a rebound later in 2023. Contrary to the consensus belief, the economy proved far more resilient than expected through September, driving equity returns far above expectations in the first half of 2023 as investors’ calls for a 2023 recession went silent by mid-summer.

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Why Avoiding Billionaire Investment Advice Benefits Your Financial Plan

Dylan Potter, CFP®, VP and Wealth Manger, delves into the reasons why you should steer clear of personal finance advice from billionaires and focus on your own financial plan. These insights are rooted in the principles of self-control, understanding your own risk tolerance, and avoiding undue influence from high-profile investors.

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Let’s Talk About Headlines: Jackson Hole, China, U.S. Banks, and Nvidia

With earnings season winding down and this week’s relatively light economic calendar, the talk of the week has been around Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole which is underway as of the publishing of this article. One of these days, speeches by Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) members and monetary policy decisions may once again be humdrum affairs which don’t compel regular newsletter updates, but that time has not yet come.

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ferris wheel against blue sky

Market Outlook Summer 2023

The phrase “if it is not one thing, it is another” implies that when dealing with financial markets and the economy, there is often a continuous cycle of challenges or issues. It suggests that as one problem is addressed, another one arises. This statement reflects the dynamic and ever-changing nature of financial markets and the economy.

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