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April 2024 Market Watch

April 03, 20244 min read

April 3, 2024

Market Returns

Market Health Indicator - Current Score

Market Health Indicator

The Market Health Indicator (MHI) measures market health on a scale of 0 - 100, analyzing various market segments such as economics, technicals, and volatility. Higher scores indicate healthier market conditions.

Markets continued to march higher, closing out a relatively strong first quarter of the year

Helping support sentiment throughout the month of March was some insight from the Fed. Despite lingering inflation and a hotter than expected labor market, Fed members are still leaning toward three rate cuts this year. The messaging eased some concerns that rate cuts could be pushed back amid the recent economic data. 

Small-cap stocks led the way for the second straight month, with the Russell 2000 gaining 3.39%. Larger US indices were also positive, with gains of 3.10%, 2.08%, and 1.17% for the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq 100 respectively. Energy was the top performing sector during the month as oil prices climbed higher, while tech stocks took a breather from the recent rally.

International markets were also positive as companies overseas saw results mostly in line with the US. Developed international stocks increased 3.66% while emerging markets rose a more modest 1.92% for the month. Concerns over China’s growth prospects, coupled with some geopolitical tensions, have remained as headwinds for emerging countries.

The Fed left rates unchanged in its March meeting, as expected. However, interest rates fell slightly as Chairman Jerome Powell noted inflation is gradually coming down to the Fed’s target range. With markets projecting a potential first cut in June, the 10-year treasury yield dipped from 4.25% to 4.20%, helping aggregate US bonds gain 0.92%. Traditional bonds are still slightly negative year-to-date, but investors are hoping rates continue to level off which could create more stability moving forward.

While it’s been a strong start to the year, it’s important to keep the recent gains in perspective. Markets are cyclical, and don’t follow a straight line forward. Even during a bull market, it’s not unreasonable to expect some pullbacks and dips along the way. Market rallies can provide a great opportunity to revisit your portfolio, ensuring you’re properly allocated to most efficiently achieve your long-term goals.

The future of cars is… hybrid?

After a strong push toward going fully electric, many automakers have started to walk back their plans, shifting focus to hybrid vehicles. 

Hybrids, which use both a gas-fueled engine and an electric motor, have quietly jumped into the driver’s seat in recent months. 

US hybrid sales have jumped 50%, outpacing the growth of fully-electric cars. Data also shows that hybrids are selling nearly three times faster than pure EVs, resulting in quicker inventory turnover for dealers. 

One of the main reasons behind this trend is affordability. Hybrids offer a cheaper up-front outlay, with an average cost of $42.5k compared to an average of $60.5k for EVs. 

Combined with a lower bill at the pump compared to traditional gas guzzlers, hybrid options offer an economical solution amid lingering inflation.

What a gas…

Scientists are celebrating what they call a “dream” discovery after a high concentration of helium was found more than 2,000 feet below the surface in Northern Minnesota.

The discovery helped ease concerns of dwindling supply. Current helium reserves have been running low, and it’s not a renewable resource. 

Why is this so important? Beyond using it for balloons and making funny high-pitched voices, helium is used for important functions like MRI machines. 

With a concentration level measured at 12.4%, the deposit is estimated to be 30x the industry standard for commercial helium. 

Now that the helium has been confirmed to be underground, a third party will conduct a study to determine the size of the well and whether it can support a full-service plant.

Fun Facts

  • 99% of Warren Buffett’s wealth has been created after his 50th birthday, benefiting from starting at a young age and decades of compounding.

  • Get your tuxedo t-shirts ready, April 25 is World Penguin Day.

  • The average color of the universe is called “cosmic latte” which is a beige color formed by mixing the light coming from all visible galaxies.

  • Ford unveiled their first Mustang on April 17, 1964, costing $2,368 at the time.

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