Losing Ground | March 15, 2024

AUTHOR: Jason Roque, CFP®, APMA®, AWMA®
TITLE:   Investment Adviser Rep – CCO
TAGS: S&P 500, NASDAQ, CPI, PPI, Oil, Retail Sales, Sentiment

Markets lost ground for the second week. Does this say more about the last two weeks or the week ahead?

Monday                       S&P 500 0.11% | NASDAQ 0.41%

Markets opened the week in a muted tone. There was very little movement as Consumer Price Index (CPI) data was awaited on Tuesday.

Tuesday                        S&P 500 1.12% | NASDAQ 1.54%

CPI data for February showed inflation inching up slightly. Markets opened in the red on the news, but an earnings beat by Oracle allowed equities to march higher.

Wednesday                 S&P 500 0.19% | NASDAQ 0.54%

Crude oil inventories fell when a surplus was expected, which will further support higher prices for energy. Interest rates climbed on the back of the higher than expected CPI data from Tuesday. Growth stocks lagged as the data implies the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) will be less likely to cut rates.

Thursday                     S&P 500 0.29% | NASDAQ 0.30%

The Producer Price Index (PPI), a wholesale inflation gauge, rose in February to 1.6%. Retail sales advanced less than expected and initial jobless claims remained benign. A strong jobs market with firming inflation does not bode well for future rate cuts. Markets sold on the news, though not aggressively, as hope remains for FRB rate cuts later in the year.

Friday                          S&P 500 0.65% | NASDAQ 0.96%

Consumer sentiment is projected to fall to 76.5 in March from 76.9 in February. While lower, February and March are the first readings in the 70’s since August of last year. The week closed out on a sour note as commodity prices rise with inflation data. Further concerns mount that the inflation fight may have longer to go before a rate cut.

Conclusion                  S&P 500 0.13% | NASDAQ 0.70%

This is the first back-to-back losing weeks for the market in 2024. This leads to an FRB meeting week where guidance about potential future rate cuts will be hotly watched. Not only is the FRB meeting next week, but there is very little in the way of economic data for the week. This puts all the more focus on the FRB. 

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