Weekly Market Report: March 1st, 2023

Markets closed out the month of February with the equity markets in the U.S. (+1%) and developed international (+0.78%) posting solid gains. The impressive run in the U.S. large cap space has enabled the S&P 500 to close higher in 16 of the past 18 weeks, something we haven’t seen in over 50 years. Economic data carried a softening tone last week which allowed bonds to rally. Slightly softer U.S. growth data helped Treasuries rally last week taking 10yr yields back down below 4.2% and the USD slightly down on the week. WTI crude oil closed up 2.5% to $79.97, touching the $80 level briefly for the first time since November.

Market Anecdotes

  • A strong start to 2024 with back to back monthly gains despite the hawkish repricing of Fed policy expectations has been notable with consistently favorable financial conditions, resilient growth, and solid earnings from big technology companies leading the way.
  • Markets have priced roughly half of the rate cuts projected at the beginning of the year and are now relatively in line with the FOMC dot plot with the first cut (54% probability) expected in June.
  • A strong labor market, the healthy consumer, and strong productivity growth have contributed to the constructive outlook while disinflation seems to be losing a little steam.
  • A big rally in Chinese stocks feels more like a policy-driven rebound due to several measures intended to prop up the market while macro data has remained lackluster and industrial metals have yet to catch a bid, suggesting patience may be in order.

Economic Release Highlights

  • The pace of headline (core) PCE inflation declined slightly in January and was in line with forecasts, registering 2.4% (2.8%) YOY and 0.3% (0.4%) MOM. Personal Consumption of 0.2% was in line but Personal Income growth of 1.0% was well above the 0.4% forecast.
  •  U.S. ISM Manufacturing Index slipped from 49.1 to 47.8 in February, missing the consensus forecast of 49.5.
  • January Durable Goods Orders declined 6.1%, slightly more than the -4.5% forecast. Also reported were Ex- Transportation (-0.3% v 0.2%) and Core Capital Goods (0.1% v 0.1%).
  • Consumer Confidence in February (106.7 v 115.0) missed and registered below the consensus range.
  • 4Q U.S. GDP was revised down from 3.3% to 3.2% but Personal Consumption Expenditures were revised up from 2.8% to 3.0%.
  • New Home Sales of 661k registered slightly below the consensus forecast of 685k. Pending Home Sales declined 4.9% versus consensus forecast of 0.8% and a range of -2.5% to 4.6%.
This communication is provided for informational purposes only and is not an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any security or other investment. This communication does not constitute, nor should it be regarded as, investment research or a research report, a securities or investment recommendation, nor does it provide information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision. Additional analysis of your or your client’s specific parameters would be required to make an investment decision. This communication is not based on the investment objectives, strategies, goals, financial circumstances, needs or risk tolerance of any client or portfolio and is not presented as suitable to any other particular client or portfolio.
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