The Independent Market Observer

2024 Midyear Outlook: Navigating the Geopolitical Waters

July 2, 2024

Recently, inflation and interest rates have dominated the headlines. And for good reason—they are known market and economic risks. But as we look toward the second half of 2024, investors must also be prepared to navigate the geopolitical risks, whose twists and turns can often lead into uncharted territory.

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Market Thoughts for July 2024 [Video]

July 2, 2024

June was a good month for financial markets. Most stocks were up in the low- to mid-single digits, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs, and bond returns were positive on falling interest rates. International results were more mixed—developed markets pulled back slightly while emerging markets were up. Solid economic growth and slowing inflation supported these positive results, and consumer inflation also started to drop.

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Economic Release Snapshot: Spending Growth Accelerates in May

July 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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What the 2024 Elections Could Mean for Portfolios

June 27, 2024

Many Americans will be tuning in to tonight’s first presidential debate not just for the entertainment but to gauge what policies the candidates lay out and how they could affect their portfolios. But the truth is that nearly half the world’s population will face national elections this year, with several already concluded. It’s important to keep in mind that these elections will impact those portfolios with significant international exposure and those with U.S. exposure. 

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2024 Midyear Outlook: Slower Growth Ahead for U.S. Economy?

June 27, 2024

So far in 2024, the U.S. economy has traveled a winding road. As we began the year, expectations were for turbulence ahead, given stubbornly high inflation and interest rates, restrictive monetary policy from the Fed, and a slowdown in consumer and business spending. Instead, strength in hiring fueled consumer spending despite rising rates. Still, GDP growth slowed to 1.3 percent in the first quarter (from 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023), leading to more uncertainty on where the economy will go in the second half of the year. 

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Economic Release Snapshot: Housing Sector Cools in May

June 24, 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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Is There a Case for International Equities?

June 20, 2024

As the fears about Y2K dissipated and the dot-com boom entered its last few months, the world’s equity investment opportunity set was split roughly 50 percent in the U.S. and 50 percent in the rest of the world. Fast-forward to today, and approximately 64 percent of global market capitalization is in the U.S. This shift has resulted from the U.S. equity market’s outperformance since the end of the great financial crisis more than a decade ago.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: June 2024 [SlideShare]

June 18, 2024

Markets rallied in May, with all three major U.S. equity indices up for the month. The S&P 500 gained 4.96 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 2.58 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite soared 6.98 percent. Equity markets were supported by solid earnings growth and lower interest rates during the month. 

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Economic Release Snapshot: Inflation Cools in May

June 17, 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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Digesting the Fed: Progress Made, But More Work Ahead

June 13, 2024

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) met this week and voted unanimously to hold rates steady for the seventh consecutive meeting, leaving its policy range at 5.25 percent to 5.5 percent. This decision was widely anticipated, with futures markets pricing in a near-zero percent chance of a rate cut in the days and weeks leading up to the meeting.

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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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