The Independent Market Observer

Bear Market or Intermediate Correction?

October 31, 2023

In my last blog post on whether markets might rally by year-end, I detailed a few technical indicators that suggested taking a cautious approach, as well as a reason for potential optimism. Today, I’d like to provide updates on two of those indicators, introduce new data, and wrap up with some thoughts on where we go from here.

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What Mattered This Week? Markets Kept Dropping

October 27, 2023

This week was about the markets, which kept dropping even as the economic news continued to be good. Growth last quarter was well above expectations, at almost 5 percent, and personal spending increased for the sixth month in a row. Despite that good news, markets pulled back again, with the S&P 500 looking like it will slide into a correction, down more than 10 percent from the most recent peak in August.

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Curbed Appeal for Would-Be Homebuyers

October 25, 2023

Being a “forever renter” is an idea many millennials (myself included) have been grappling with in recent years. Buying a home, once considered a milestone on the adulting journey, feels more out of reach than ever for some of us. I know I’m not alone in this feeling, as there are plenty of would-be homebuyers to share in my woes. So, let’s take a look at some of the barriers to homeownership now and whether there is reason to believe circumstances may change in the future or if some of us will be tenants for eternity.

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What Mattered This Week? Interest Rates Jump

October 20, 2023

When I look at what mattered each week, there are often multiple candidates. What usually gets the nod for more discussion is what changed that week. That is certainly the case this week. Lots of things mattered, including the war in Israel, and I don’t want to minimize that ongoing tragedy. But what changed this week—and what mattered most in economic terms—was the sudden jump in interest rates.

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What Mattered This Week: Hamas Invasion of Israel

October 13, 2023

This week, there is one thing that mattered: the Hamas invasion of Israel. As an act of war and an act of evil, it is obviously worth taking note of. This is a tragedy beyond words, and my heart goes out to the victims. But it is also a sign that things have changed in the Middle East.

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Q3 2023 Earnings Preview: Do You Believe in Bad Omens?

October 12, 2023

Breaking a mirror, walking under a ladder, and a black cat crossing your path have all been seen as bad omens. Another one is Friday the 13th, which happens to be when the big banks will kick off earnings season. So, should we fear what’s in store?

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Looking Back at the Markets in Q3 and Ahead to Q4 2023

October 10, 2023

Stock markets dropped for the second month in a row in September, closing out a weak quarter for financial markets. The U.S. indices were down in the mid-single digits, which brought markets to low-single-digit losses for the quarter and took the Dow below its 200-day moving average. International markets also pulled back for the month and quarter by roughly the same amounts. Even fixed income was down, with a substantial increase in interest rates. Financial markets were clearly in a risk-off mode.

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What Mattered This Week? Interest Rates and the Jobs Report

October 6, 2023

There were two stories that mattered this week: interest rates and the jobs report for September. For the week as a whole, rate increases seem to have taken away from markets, as they tanked on an increase in the U.S. 10-year yield from about 4.6 percent to 4.8 percent. Clearly, higher rates meant a recession—and that’s bad for the market, right? But then this morning’s jobs report came in much stronger than expected, with 336,000 new jobs, about twice as many as anticipated. With prior months also being revised up substantially, clearly the economy is doing much better than we thought—even with the higher interest rates—and a recession is still some ways off.

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Will Markets Rally by Year-End?

October 4, 2023

In my last blog post, the topic of discussion was the bumpy ride markets took in August but how historical data indicated a potentially strong finish to the year. Indeed, August was tough, but September was even worse. As a result, many investors have growing concerns about the current state of the markets—a normal reaction, to be sure.

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What Mattered This Week? The Real Economy

September 29, 2023

Last week was all about financial factors, primarily interest rates. But this week was all about the real economy, notably the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike and the pending government shutdown. Indeed, worries about a recession rose on those two risks. And while interest rates ticked up a bit, it was much less than last week and generally within a range. The same applies to financial markets as well.

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