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Economic Data Help Markets Stay Resilient

Fed Chairman Powell tried to pour water on the current stock market rally last week by taking a March rate cut off the table in comments following the Fed's first meeting of 2024.

While the Fed's comments were much more dovish in December, last week's hawkish tone caused stocks to drop by 1.6% on Wednesday. However, strong corporate earnings and a better-than-expected jobs report helped equities finish another week in the green. In comments that aired last night on 60 minutes, Powell indicated that the Fed would likely only cut 3 times, starting in May. This stands in contrast to the December "Dot-Plot," which indicated more than 3 cuts. Fed futures show only a 54% probability of a rate cut in May.

With at least 46% of S&P 500 companies having reported 4th quarter earnings, 72% have beat on expectations.

In fact, on a year-over-year basis, earnings growth is up 16%. Last week, the Atlanta Fed increased their projections for 1st quarter GDP from +3.0% to +4.2%. The Jobs Report on Friday surprised the market as 353,000 jobs were added in January, much higher than expected, and December's number was revised higher by 117,000. Powell verified as much in his comments last night stating that the Labor Market remains "very healthy." In fact, while some are touting recent headline job cuts, layoffs overall are lower than this time last year and trending down. Expect volatility to pick up as seasonality suggests a weaker February, especially in an election year.



The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The opinions expressed are those of the author, are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. The decision to review or consider the purchase or sell of any security should not be undertaken without consideration of your personal financial information, investment objectives and risk tolerance with your financial professional.

Forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.

Any market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

Past Performance does not guarantee future results.


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