Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Cabot Money Club
Markets have been sideways in the past month, affected by wars, upcoming elections, and analysts see-sawing on the possibility of a Fed rate reduction. The Federal Reserve is meeting this week, and predictions for a rate cut this year are all over the board: none, one, or two.

I expect we’ll have more volatility as we near the fall election cycle.

In the meantime, economic stats look good! Manufacturing continues to climb, jobs are still being added at a rapid pace (272,000 vs. the estimate of 190,000), and the unemployment rate—at 3.9%—remains steady.
Markets have continued to improve, and so have economic statistics. Housing price increases—while slowing somewhat—are still on the rise, with the Case-Shiller Index posting a 7.3% increase in prices for the month.

ADP employment rose to 192,000, higher than the 183,000 expected. Job openings declined just a bit, to 8.5 million from 8.8 million last month. And the unemployment rate edged up from 3.8% to 3.9% in April.
It was more of the same for the markets this past month—some momentum, but ultimately, we ended up in just about the same place.

Investors are a little gun-shy as most were expecting Fed rate cuts to begin in the latter half of the year. But as the inflation beast is proving harder to tame than expected, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has indicated it may take longer before we see a rate cut. Naturally, the markets had an issue with that.

However, they seem to have absorbed that information and gone back to business.

All in all, we are still bullish here at Cabot, but also maintaining our judicious stock-picking stance.

This month, I have an undervalued company that’s also in growth mode for you, recommended by an analyst new to these pages. I’m really excited for you to hear about both!
The markets saw mostly sideways action in the past month—the soothsayers are still debating when the Fed will begin reducing interest rates. Growth stocks held on to their leadership position, although value stocks are beginning to show life in 2024.
The markets have continued their bullish momentum so far in 2024, with growth stocks continuing to lead the way—especially large caps, which are up 32.94% so far this year.

Sector-wise, Communication Services (up 9.74%), Technology (up 5.07%), and Healthcare (up 4.11%) are the winners so far, with Real Estate (down 4.37%), Utilities (-2.91%), and Consumer Discretionary (-0/83%) the losing sectors.

Housing inventory is still tight, with prices remaining a little lofty. The S&P Case-Shiller home price index came in at a 5.4% rise, which was a bit less than the 5.7% forecast, but still higher than the month before.
Welcome to our TOP PICKS issue! For this issue, I asked the Cabot analysts to give me a couple of their top picks for 2024. I hope you will be pleased with the diversity—market-cap and sector-wise—that the analysts have offered.

But first, let’s talk about the market.
Well, I’d call November a pretty good month! The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by around 2,000 points since our last issue. Wall Street seems positively optimistic that the Fed will begin to lower interest rates mid-year, according to a recent CNBC survey. Also, the risk of a recession continues to decline, with Goldman Sachs saying the probability is now around 15%.

Both of those instances may create a very good market in 2024.
The markets had a very good week, and so far, we are also seeing momentum in the first couple of trading days this week. These upward moves have taken the Dow Jones Industrial Average to just about where we started at the beginning of 2023.
Investors weren’t surprised by the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold rates steady, but they also didn’t react by ramping up their stock purchases—too much uncertainty what with the election rhetoric heating up and the turmoil in Congress, after Kevin McCarthy was unceremoniously ousted as Speaker. And now, we have the war in Israel.
We’re still playing the seesaw game in the markets—up, down, up, down, etc. I don’t see any need for excess worry; just a little caution that we buy the right stocks. I’m still very long-term bullish, and why not?

The economy continues to strengthen; 79% of the companies in the S&P 500 Index reported positive earnings surprises for the second quarter, and the third quarter looks even better; home building continues to be strong, although low inventory levels continue to pressure resales. Home prices appear to be stabilizing, and employment remains strong.

The soothsayers seem to think that the Fed will keep rates steady at its next meeting, and the probability of a recession has fallen to 16%. What’s not to like?
The markets traded sideways through most of April. But since then, the choppiness has returned—along with worries about the uncertainty regarding the debt ceiling, the expiration of the immigration-limiting legislation, and ongoing debate about the possibility of a recession.

Yet, economically speaking, the trends are still healthy. Manufacturing has held up, employment continues to rise, and job openings are still underutilized (as you can tell if you’ve been in a restaurant lately!).
In last week’s issue of Cabot Stock of the Month, I introduced you to a new section of the newsletter—ETF Strategies, which combines the portfolios and strategies of the former Cabot ETF Strategist newsletter.

I also created Risk Tolerance classifications: A for Aggressive, M for Moderate, and C for Conservative, for both ETF Strategies and the investments in the Cabot Stock of the Month portfolio.
Clif Droke, Chief Analyst for Cabot’s SX Gold & Metals Advisor, advised me that he had traded out of our latest recommendation, the iPath Series B Bloomberg Tin Subindex Total Return ETN (JJT).