Broker Check

Market Recap

April 16, 2024

Stocks faltered for the second straight week as investors dealt with market-moving inflation data and a less-than-impressive start to first-quarter corporate earnings season. Both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Producer Price Index (PPI) rose higher last week. Taken together, increases in the CPI and the PPI support a more cautious approach relative to the Federal Reserve's current monetary policy.

Investors saw the continued strength of the labor market as increasing the chances of a soft landing for the economy, while potentially delaying the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates. March saw 303,000 new jobs added, well above expectations.

Investors paid particular attention to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's comments that the Fed will not lower interest rates unless there is sustained evidence of decreasing inflation. He also mentioned that the Fed has been successful in navigating a soft landing despite the impact of higher rates on the economy. Investors seemed to be tempering expectations of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Most now expect the federal funds target rate will remain at its 23-year high in June.

Reviewing returns for the first half of April, the markets all dropped. As of market close on April 15th, the Dow fell 2072 points (5.21%), the S&P 500 dropped 193 points (3.66%) and the NASDAQ lost 494 points (3.02%).  

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