The Independent Market Observer

How Portfolio Managers Think About Risk

April 11, 2024

One of my core beliefs as a portfolio manager is that we get paid to worry so investors don’t have to. Several weeks ago, Brad wrote about what was worrying investors and whether those issues were worth worrying about. He also acknowledged that there are some real concerns out there as well. I want to build on that idea and provide insight into how portfolio managers think about risks when everything seems to be going exactly as investors had hoped and, except for some short pullbacks measured in hours or days, markets continue to move higher.

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Q1 2024 Earnings Season Kickoff: The Unofficial Start to Spring

April 9, 2024

Living in New England, the weather can be inconsistent—so I never really trust that warm days could be here to stay until the second week of April. Watching the Masters this Thursday and seeing the beautifully manicured greens and blooming azaleas will get me excited for golf season (even if the grass isn’t as green up here and the weather is still in the 40s). But along with the start of spring and golf season, we also get ready to kick off the earnings season.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Hiring Accelerates in March

April 8, 2024

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead.

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Looking Back at the Markets in Q1 and Ahead to Q2 2024

April 4, 2024

March was another positive month for markets, continuing the rally to start the year. Improving corporate fundamentals and a supportive economic backdrop drove solid single-digit returns for U.S. markets during the month. This capped off a strong quarter for U.S. stocks, an encouraging sign that the economic and market momentum from 2023 has carried over into 2024.

While stocks performed well during the month and quarter, fixed income was a bit more mixed. Investment-grade bonds were up in March but ended modestly down for the quarter due to rising interest rates. High-yield bonds, typically less driven by interest rate movements, ended both March and the quarter in positive territory.

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Continued Momentum for the S&P 500?

April 3, 2024

My last blog was titled “A Start to Remember for the Markets”—and it’s a story that continues to play out as we move further into 2024. With March’s closing price, the S&P 500 is now up 10.16 percent on the year. Today, we’ll look at a few different aspects of the S&P 500, including its 2024 Q1 return and its five-month return, as well as the relative strength index. 

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Market Thoughts for April 2024 [Video]

April 2, 2024

U.S. and developed markets set new price records on economic and earnings growth, but fixed income lagged as interest rates rose during the quarter. Income, spending, and business investment stayed positive, but headline and core inflation remained above the Fed’s target levels.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Durable Goods Orders Rebound in February

April 1, 2024

Each week, we break down the latest U.S. economic reports, including what the results mean for the overall health of the economy. Here, you will find how economists’ forecasts compare with actual results, key takeaways to consider, as well as a list of what’s on tap for the week ahead.

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The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.

The MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australia, Far East) Index is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.

One basis point (bp) is equal to 1/100th of 1 percent, or 0.01 percent.

The VIX (CBOE Volatility Index) measures the market’s expectation of 30-day volatility across a wide range of S&P 500 options.

The forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio divides the current share price of the index by its estimated future earnings.

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