Broker Check

First Quarter 2024 Commentary

Heading into 2024, investors remain hyper-focused on interest rates and inflationary pressures while the Federal Reserve ("the Fed") bears the responsibility of managing both without tipping the economy into a recession. So far, the Fed's efforts have shown promising results. By most measures, the economy is holding up better than expected, easing concerns of an imminent recession. Stocks delivered impressive returns in the first quarter, driven in part by speculation of potential rate cuts this year. Conversely, bonds have lagged due to sticky inflation, which is expected to keep rates higher for longer. 

Against this backdrop, we also face a contentious presidential election this year, which adds another layer of emotions and concerns about the race, the results, and how the markets will react. Historically, election years have seen an average 7.5% return with the stock market performing the best in the third year of a president’s term and second best during the fourth year. 

Given how much the financial markets dislike uncertainty, volatility is anticipated before and after the election as investors digest the results. Despite the lack of enthusiasm, a rematch between the same presidential candidates offers a degree of familiarity and certainty to the markets.

While valid concerns exist, it’s important to remember investment decisions should not be clouded by short-term election cycles. As long-term investors, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead, adapt our plans accordingly, and remain committed to our strategy. Our investment approach emphasizes a diversified portfolio with a targeted blend of stocks and bonds based on your risk tolerance. We’ve built safeguards to help navigate periods of volatility. The risk is primarily concentrated in stocks, while aiming to preserve principal with higher yielding cash and CDs. As a result, the overall total return may be muted, given the inverse correlation within the portfolio. Therefore, it's advisable to gauge stock and bond performance separately against their corresponding benchmarks.

We recognize that market volatility is beyond our control, but we aim to assist you in managing key aspects, such as asset allocation and risk tolerance. By doing so, you can make informed decisions that align with your financial goals. Please let us know if there have been any changes in your financial situation. While uncertainty will  prevail in the markets, we remain committed to providing you with sound financial guidance.

Finally, we are required to update our Investment Advisor Brochure (also known as ADV Part 2A & 2B) every year and offer it to you at no charge. Fortunately, there have been no material changes in our services, fees, or business practices since the last update. Should you wish to review a full copy of our brochure, please let us know. Our team will be happy to email or mail it to you. You can also view it on our website at certifiedplannersinc.com or the SEC’s website at adviserinfo.sec.gov.