Modest gains in major market indices masked sharp volatility amid the uncertainty arising from mixed messages emanating from public officials and revived banking fears.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.18%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 1.39%. The Nasdaq Composite index rose 1.66% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, advanced by 3.29%.1,2,3
But when we step back and ignore the arbitrary time boxes like one week or year to date and instead focus on total return performance (that means dividends are included) since the peak at the beginning of 2022, we see all of the major indexes are still negative, but all are 11-15% up from their low points.
The second chart shows the excellent returns over the last 5 years for US stocks. The S&P & NASDAQ returns translate to over 10% per year for the last 5 years.
A Turbulent Week for Stocks
The stock market was unable to find sustained direction as investors weighed comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Stocks initially rose as banking fears eased following a deal to acquire a troubled Swiss bank. Optimism was further fueled by Yellen, who said the government could intervene to protect depositors if more bank issues materialized.
Enthusiasm faded, however, when Yellen subsequently testified that the Treasury was not working on any blanket insurance for bank deposits and by the Fed’s warning that banking turmoil could shrink lending access — the volatile week ended with sharp intraday price swings, shrugging off revived European banking concerns.
Rate Hike Cycle Ending?
Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting was particularly noteworthy. Fed officials were placed in the difficult position of balancing the banking system's opposing risks of still-high inflation and stressors. The Committee had considered leaving rates unchanged given banking stressors but unanimously voted to raise rates by 0.25%, citing elevated inflation, resilient economic activity, and a strong labor market.4
The official announcement hinted that the Fed might soon be done with raising rates while also stating it was too early to ascertain the degree to which the economy could slow from the current banking strains.5
This Week: Key Economic Data
Tuesday: Consumer Confidence.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Friday: Personal Income and Outlays. Consumer Sentiment.
Source: Econoday, March 24, 2023
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Tuesday: Micron Technology, Inc. (MU), Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA).
Source: Zacks, March 24, 2023
"Self-love is not a destination [...] You’re always bucking against the current to just get back to the thing you were born with, which is a basic level of self-respect and self-love."
– Melissa Viviane “Lizzo” Jefferson
Who Can File Your Taxes?
Many people file their taxes, but others choose to have a third party represent them. The IRS shares information about the different types of third-party authorizations that allow someone to represent you on its site.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov6
Two Delicious Juicing Recipes
Juicing is a fantastic way to add extra fruits and veggies to your diet. Some people might be hesitant to start juicing because they don’t have a juicer at home, but you can also make some delicious juice recipes in a blender. The two recipes featured here come from A Couple Cooks. You can make them with a blender.
Tip adapted from A Couple Cooks7
Name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday.
Last week’s riddle: Five girls took part in a bicycle race. Barbara finished before Vicki but behind Susan. Katarina finished before Sara but behind Vicki. In what order did they finish? Answer: 1-Susan, 2-Barbara, 3-Vicki, 4-Katarina, 5-Sara.
Sunset in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan.
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2023
3. The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2023
4. The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2023
5. The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2023
6. IRS.gov, 2023
7. ACoupleCooks.com, 2023
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Weekly Market Insights: Mixed Message Provokes Volatility
March 27, 2023