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Market Update

After a big week, is the market really a bull, or a bunch of bull?

Last week was a big one in the market. We had a new bull market declared, and we saw the Federal Reserve finally pause its year-plus campaign of hiking interest rates. Let’s deal with the Fed first:

No rate hike, but are more coming?

While it did not raise rates, the Fed did raise its terminal interest rate, which is its target for where it sees interest rates going, by 50 base points, or a half percent.

With the debt ceiling looming, are your assets diversified?

I’m hearing from a lot of you who are concerned about the debt ceiling battle in Washington and what it might mean for you if the two sides can’t come together on a deal before the U.S. defaults on its bills. 

In my view, the whole rodeo is being blown out of proportion by the media as it floods us with what-if scenarios. There is a history of presidents having to work with a hostile opposition party in Congress when up against the debt ceiling. The only solution is for both parties to agree to raise the debt ceiling and then focus on a truly balanced budget.

An eventful Q1 signals big changes in the markets. Where do you stand?

Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t work out as you expected. My mother always said, when things don’t go your way, consider the “why.” 

I believe that the Federal Reserve would do well to consider that message. We’ve just gone through a banking crisis caused in part by the Fed aggressively raising interest rates, which resulted in the closure of one of the largest banks in the U.S. and the sharpest decline in commercial lending on record. In the meantime, wage inflation and housing costs remain stubbornly high, while unemployment is historically low.

With all this market turbulence, is the plane going to land?

“Buckle up, folks — we’re about to experience some heavy turbulence.”

Why do I bring this up now? Because folks, we’ve experienced some heavy market turbulence lately, and while the skies are a little calmer right now, my guess is that we have more to come before this plane lands. But I’m an experienced flyer, and let me assure you, this is no time to get panicky with your portfolios.

After a 2022 downturn, hope springs eternal in 2023

2022 was truly an awful year as the Federal Reserve began its interest rate hike policy in an attempt to battle inflation. Speaking of inflation, I know that many of you have been frustrated by the higher costs associated with financing a new home, purchasing a vehicle, or trips to any retailer. Inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose by 6.5% in 2022.

New year, same problems.

However, there are several pieces of good news.

Market Update: December 2022

I recently introduced the classic board game Axis and Allies to my sons. Michael, my third-grader, asked to be Russia, and I was happy to let him. When it comes to his turn, as head of Russia, the first thing he did was invade Ukraine. I shouldn’t have been surprised – this is the same kid I used to hear randomly announcing (while floating in a sea of bubbles in the bathtub) that Amy McGrath was “too liberal for Kentucky!” Remember those ads? Can’t say he’s not paying attention! The daily flow of nonstop media really does affect us all. 

Market & Housing Update

I know many of you opened your statements on June 30 at the end of the second quarter and probably wished you hadn’t. You may or may not have burned them. That said, July was a good month as equities and bonds recovered from their lows. During this same period of time, we also had a hot inflation number we hadn’t seen since the early ‘80s of 9.1 percent. We also saw the Fed raise rates another .75 percent. 

Market Update: June 2022

How low can it go? That’s the question. I’ve heard from many of you with questions along the lines of when will the market recover, when will the bleeding stop. I’ve also heard others who have called to let me know their 401(k) is a 301(k), that they never should have invested in stocks, this terrible market is due to the current (pick a bad guy):  president / fed chairman / supply chain / Russia / inflation – and that this will never improve. It’s only down from here. 

Market Update: World War 3?

World War Three. There, I said it. People have nightmares about this stuff. People make movies about this stuff. People write fiction and sci-fi about this stuff. People look at the First World War, they look at the Second World War, and say, “No, we’ll never have World War Three because now we have so many nukes between the US and Russia, our mutual destruction would be guaranteed.” 

February 2022 Market Update

Before I start on my comments about what’s been going on, I want you to know that I’ve been working on what to say for the last 30 days. Now that we’re a month into the year, I can add some color to what we’re seeing. 

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