A quote from Winston Churchill: “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.”
To start 2023, as with most years, we had challenging obstacles. The themes of the market were rampant inflation, rising interest rates, a war in Ukraine and a possible deep recession. The bond market was coming off its worst performance ever in 2022. Despite seeing “storm clouds on the horizon” as we entered 2023, keeping a significant amount of your portfolio invested paid off as the year unfolded. A lot of the risks present in 2023 seem less significant now.
Our convictions for last year will carry us into 2024. The American economy continues to slow although we think interest rates will remain at these higher levels for a good portion of the year. If a recession appears, we continue to believe it will be relatively mild and short-lived. America’s economy appears to be in better shape than Europe and many other regions including China.
Last year’s positive performance of the S&P 500 Index was led by seven growth-oriented technology companies. Although proper diversification still requires owning these seven companies, we do not want to be over-invested in them. For this reason, we will own a significant amount of value companies. These companies are typically less volatile, can pay higher dividends, and have performed more favorably in slower economic periods historically. For bonds, we will still favor short to intermediate maturities with high credit quality.
As with any upcoming Presidential election, the markets will have an increased amount of volatility. Our main focuses will be consistent diversification and aligning portfolios with each client’s risk tolerance. Elections create short term fear in the markets, so we are just trying to prepare you.
In summary, we feel our markets have done surprisingly well in spite of economic conditions. With that being said, we feel the economy will continue to slow in 2024, add an election year and we may not have quite as stellar of a year in the market compared to 2023. We seem to always have “storm clouds on the horizon” but investors who stay the course have seen many sunny days throughout history. We are here to help navigate your investments and entire financial picture through whatever this year brings.
Thank you for your continued business and confidence.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
The economic forecasts set forth in this material may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.