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Tom Hutchinson

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Wow. Just wow. Not only has this market rally continued to forge on, it’s broadened out too. After a 14.5% gain in the first half of this year, the S&P is putting together an impressive July with a better than 3% gain so far.

The latest leg of this rally has been sparked by a better-than-expected June CPI report. Interest rate optimism abounds. Consensus now expects a Fed rate cut before the end of the year and an increased expectation that overall interest rates have peaked and are likely to trend lower for the rest of the year.
This market rally keeps forging on no matter what. Technology cooled off but, no problem, other sectors are picking up the slack.

Interest rates have likely peaked. The chances of a Fed rate cut before the end of the year have increased. And the economy is still solid. Sectors rotate, headlines come and go, but as long as the main ingredients of future lower rates and a still-decent economy prevail, the market should be good.
The market continues to hover near the all-time high. The S&P 500 finished the first half of the year up 14.5%. That’s a not-too-shabby 29% annual pace.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe it is unlikely that the S&P will finish the year up 29%. That means market returns must at least flatten out somewhat going forward. It’s also true that the technology rally has petered out in the last few weeks.
Just when it looked like the rally was petering out, the market is having a great June so far. The S&P is up about 5% in June after making four consecutive record closes last week. The index is now up 14% so far this year, and it’s not even half over.
It’s a new high! April was down. May was up. And June has been an up month so far. Hopefully, June will follow through and be another good month, but I’m still expecting a flatter market for a while.

The market goes back and forth with the interest rate narrative. But I don’t expect a resolution on that issue any time soon, or at least for the rest of the summer. Either the economy has to slow, or the Fed is going to at least leave rates where they are. But investors still insist on expecting rate cuts before the end of the year even though the economy looks strong.
The market has leveled off since the middle of May. I expect more of the same going forward.

The S&P 500 pulled back in early April after a five-month rally as sticky inflation soured the interest rate narrative. The index then recovered to new highs in the middle of May on an improved interest rate outlook. But stocks have since leveled off as the interest rate outlook got stuck in the mud.
The market dodged a bullet. And the rally forges on.

After a 5% dip from the high, stocks started climbing again in mid-April and have regained all the losses. Last week’s inflation report had the potential to derail the recent rally. But it didn’t. And the good times are continuing.
The market has regained its footing. After a 5% pullback in the earlier part of April, the S&P 500 has since regained nearly all that was lost, and the index is within bad breath distance of the high.

Earnings have been good. With 92% of S&P 500 companies having reported, earnings increased an average of 5.4% over last year’s quarter. But it’s better than that. If you take out the report of Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), average earnings growth would be 8.3% for all the other stocks on the index. That’s a healthy gain.
The market has shown some renewed strength over the past several days, particularly among interest rate-sensitive stocks. The Fed met last week, and the market dug this month’s vague insinuations.

The rally sputtered in April after sticky inflation soured the falling interest rate narrative. But last week the Fed Chairman indicated that the next Fed Funds rate move would most likely be a cut and not a raise. Although a hike wasn’t expected, investors like hearing the Fed say it. The statement also combines with recent news of weaker economic growth and a slowing job market.
The market is in a tug-o-war between the bummer that rates are likely to stay higher for longer and excitement about the earnings season and artificial intelligence.

The launch of this earnings season has so far saved the market from a selloff that began at the beginning of April when the interest rate prognosis soured. Sticky inflation and a Fed that appeared to lose its resolve to cut rates this year spoiled a five-month rally. But earnings are reviving the market.
The market has been punishing early AI leaders in April, but the stocks that didn’t benefit immediately from the AI craze have weathered the storm much better, and this AI beneficiary is still being overlooked.
This market has been resilient. But that resilience is being severely tested. The next couple of weeks should tell us the near-term direction of stocks.

The S&P rallied higher for five straight months. That’s long in the tooth for any rally. The market is down so far in April and the story is changing for the worse.
If consistent cash in your pocket isn’t reason enough to own monthly dividend REITs, here are some other attractive features of this type of investment.
While everyone’s been focused on the Fed and AI, we’ve quietly entered a new energy bull market. And these two stocks are great ways to play it.
It’s still a bull market and a rally. But the S&P has been in a sideways funk since the middle of last month.

April has not had news that the market seems to like. There has been stronger-than-expected economic news. The manufacturing numbers were the highest in about two years, and the Fed upgraded its 2024 GDP forecast from 1.4% to 2.4%. But sometimes good news is bad news.
The market looks great. The quarter ended last week with the S&P posting the strongest first-quarter start in five years. All three major market indexes have now risen for five straight months.

The Fed said it still intends to cut the Fed Funds rate three times this year at the March meeting. Meanwhile, inflation remains subdued, and the economy is surprisingly strong. Manufacturing data was much better than expected and the Fed raised its GDP forecast for 2024 from 1.4% to 2.4%.
Instead of worrying about inflation and the Fed, investors would be well-served to bet on this AI stock with plenty of room to run.
It’s another big Fed week in a market that has rallied for more than four months.

The S&P 500 is up 7.28% in the first two and a half months of this year and has rallied over 25% since the low of late October. Stocks have been thriving amid the likely peak in interest rates, expected Fed rate cuts this year, a still-strong economy, and the artificial intelligence (AI) catalyst in the technology sector.

Earnings season is over, and the market’s main focus is on the February inflation numbers that come out this week.

Stocks were able to continue to build on last year’s late rally in January and February. Mixed Fed and interest rate news was overcome by strong earnings, particularly in technology. Signs that artificial intelligence is continuing to drive strong demand and sales lifted the sector and the market.
The good times keep rolling. The S&P 500 continues to make new highs and closed last week up 7.7% YTD. Nine of the 11 S&P sectors are well into positive territory for the year so far.

As usual, the index is being led higher by technology, which is by far the largest sector. Technology stocks are up over 12% YTD. While no other stock sectors are up as much as the overall market, most of them are delivering very respectable returns for the year so far. The only down sectors are Real Estate and Utilities. But even these beleaguered sectors are only down 1.4% and 3.25% respectively YTD.
Despite the Fed’s efforts, the inflation vs. recession quandary isn’t going away; it’ll likely be the next major test for the stock market.
In what has been a basically good market this year, investors just got a dose of bad news. Inflation isn’t going down enough, even with the current high rates. That makes the rate cut “Holy Grail” far less likely anytime soon.

The Fed will have to at least keep interest rates at a very high level to prevent inflation from reigniting. But at some point, the Fed will need to lower interest rates in order to keep the recovery alive. But they can’t, at least to an impactful degree. Historically, inflation tends to come right back when the Fed takes its foot off the gas.
The market looks strong right now. The S&P 500 just made a new all-time high in a young bull market and the index is up 5.38% in just the first five weeks of this year.

Inflation is way down. The Fed is done hiking rates. The economy is still strong. And earnings are solid. That’s a good macroeconomic background for stocks. But how long will this good news last?
Wow! The economy is red hot! Both GDP and Jobs numbers came in much stronger than expected. But good news can also be bad news in the demented view of many Wall Street professionals.

Inflation is way down. The Fed is still unlikely to raise the Fed Funds rate again. The economy is surging despite the highest interest rates in decades. Ultimately, the economy is the most important driver of overall stock market performance. The economy isn’t weakening but strengthening after the recent malaise. And it’s a new bull market.
We are smack dab in the heart of earnings season for this portfolio. With the market sputtering along without much conviction, individual stocks are taking center stage, and earnings are a major part of that.

Quarterly and annual earnings will be reported this week from AbbVie Inc. (ABBV), Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE), American Tower Corporation (AMT), Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC), and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM). The reports could be a hugely important factor in determining the near-term direction of these stocks.
Investors forgot all about defensive stocks in the 2023 market rally, but these two oversold dividend stocks look poised for 2024.
The market surge has leveled off. The expectation debate about peak interest rates, inflation, and recession continues. And now, it’s another earnings season.

The S&P 500 pulled back during the first trading week of the year after a two-month, 15% spike. In the second week, the index gained back everything it lost the first week. He we are again on the cusp of the all-time high set about two years ago.
The new year started with a whimper. Last week’s 1.5% down move ended a streak of nine consecutive up weeks for the S&P 500, the longest streak since 2004.

The streak had to end eventually. And a pullback after a 15% move higher is normal. Bull markets tend to have several 3% and 5% down moves. There may be more downside in the weeks ahead. But we are still in a market that is trending higher.
The final numbers are in. And they’re impressive.

After a bear market in 2022, the market indexes came back sharply in 2023. That’s not unusual. Prior to last year, there had been nine years of negative S&P 500 returns since 1980. Seven of those down years were followed by up years, and four of those seven up years posted returns of 20% or higher. The market doesn’t usually stay beaten down for long.
The rally that began in November is slowing down, but not dying.

Things are still good. Inflation is falling, the Fed is probably done hiking rates, longer-term rates have peaked, and the economy is still strong. But it’s that time of year. The holidays have a way of taking investor focus away from the market. Stocks tend to do whatever they were doing when investors stopped paying attention, which in this case is edging higher ever so slowly.