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2023 INVESTMENT REVIEW AND 2024 OUTLOOK

Last year, heading into 2023, we cast doubts that a recession was a given and that markets were in for another bad year.  This turned out to be an “out of consensus” point of view that was correct. We also wanted to be in position for a soft landing as we expected a bounce in the markets (and maybe even a big bounce). We used history as a guide and “The stock market track record on recovering is a good one, historically it’s recovered 100% of the time."1

We got the bounce we were looking for during the first half of 2023 which brought much relief after a terrible 2022.  Then investor’s mettle was tested with weakness in September and October.  But the market turned back up sharply in November surrounding positive economic data and an outlook that the Federal Reserve (Fed) was done raising interest rates.  

In December the outlook continued to evolve with talk of the Fed cutting rates next year.  More recent economic data supports both a soft landing for the economy and rate cuts next year as inflation nears the Fed’s target.2 The market got what they were looking for in terms of signals from the Fed, positive economic data, and is pricing in this outlook with a strong rally to end 2023.  A November and December to remember!

Looking into 2024 we will be looking for rate cuts, possibly as early as March but we see as more likely later in the year.  Also watching for signs that the Fed is too restrictive and could bring on a slowdown or recession which probably spurs weakness in the markets.  It is all but certain to that end we will see some bumps in the road and a scare at some point.

But for now this is a goldilocks (just right) moment for stocks and this young bull market.  Whether it lasts weeks, months or years we don’t yet know.

Just like we try not to get too pessimistic when the markets are struggling as in 2022, we don’t get too exuberant when the markets are strong.  Thus, we see much more modest gains for markets in 2024 and if the soft-landing thesis persists it should be a positive year with potential for more upside.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to review your investment accounts.

1https://www.retirement-professionals.com/2022-investment-review

2https://www.cnbc.com/2023/12/22/pce-inflation-november-2023-.html