Steady As She Goes…| March 29, 2024

AUTHOR: Jason Roque, CFP®, APMA®, AWMA®
TITLE:   Investment Adviser Rep – CCO
TAGS: S&P 500, NASDAQ, Housing Data, Durable Goods, GDP, Sentiment, PCE

Markets were little changed for the week. Is this a sign of a coming storm, or is it steady as she goes?

Monday                       S&P 500 0.31% | NASDAQ 0.27%

New homes sales were little changed and building permits expanded more than expected. The strong home data was little comfort to markets that had a stellar week last week. Markets pulled back slightly on the day.

Tuesday                       S&P 500 0.28% | NASDAQ 0.42%

Core Durable Goods Orders grew more than expected in February after a pullback in January. The markets were little moved by the economic data, however, as they continued to slip from recent highs. This came after being in the green for much of the session. 

Wednesday                 S&P 500 0.86% | NASDAQ 0.51%

Markets managed to jump for the day with not much in the way of economic data to support the move. The move in markets helped send the S&P 500 to new highs.

Thursday                      S&P 500 0.11% | NASDAQ 0.12%

The final reading for fourth quarter GDP came in at a strong 3.4%. Initial jobless claims continued to signal strength in the employment markets. Michigan Consumer Sentiment expanded to 79.6. This was the highest reading since July of 2021! Markets were mixed for the day but capped off a strong quarter to open the year.

Friday                               S&P 500 -% | NASDAQ -%

Stock markets were closed in observance of black Friday. Economic data was still released and will likely be responded to on Monday. Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), the Federal Reserve Board’s (FRB) preferred gauge for inflation, came in lower than last month. It is at its lowest level since April 2021. This signals continued progress to the FRB’s target of 2% inflation. Headline PCE is within a half percent of the target. This makes an FRB rate cut this summer more realistic.

Conclusion                  S&P 500 0.39% | NASDAQ 0.30%

This week completed the first quarter of 2024. Markets showed strong gains across the quarter as recession fears receded. Employment strength and a strong consumer have kept the economy chugging. Additionally, March Jobs data will come out and be a major focus across the week. A weak jobs report would signal that the FRB’s rate cut activity is needed sooner rather than later.

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