Broker Check

Market Recap

April 01, 2024

Stocks posted solid gains for the second half of March. Much attention was focused on the Federal Reserve (the Fed) concluded its most recent meeting on March 20th. While it was widely anticipated that the Fed would maintain interest rates at their current level, attention focused on the projected frequency and timing of potential rate cuts.

The Fed did indeed choose to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate, as expected. In its statement, they indicated that, "The Committee does not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2.0%." During his press conference following the meeting, Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted that an interest rate cut is not on the immediate horizon. As to the increase in prices over the past few months, Powell said that the Committee anticipated that the path of lowering inflation may be bumpy. However, the FOMC is looking at the performance of inflation over time, not just a few months.

Despite a dip, stocks closed out last week higher. The S&P 500 recorded its biggest weekly percentage gain of the year, while the Dow and the Nasdaq hit record highs. Investors gained a bit of encouragement after the Federal Reserve maintained projections for three interest rate cuts by year's end. Stocks got off to a good start last week, led by tech and AI stocks.

Reviewing returns for the second half of March, the markets all posted gains. As of market close on March 28th, the Dow rose 1,092 points (2.82%), the S&P 500 grew 137 points (2.68%) and the NASDAQ gained 406 points (2.48%). “Nasdaq drops 1% Friday as Nvidia tumbles, Dow closes out worst week since October” March 8, 2024 “Stocks Fall As Market Looks To Fed Meeting; Nvidia, Super Micro Drop Ahead of AI Event” March 14, 2024 “S&P 500 fall on inflation concerns, heads for weekly loss: Live updates” March 15, 2024

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