Data & Insight

Hold, Please

Pesky inflation sticks around.
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Hold, Please
Edward Jones / FactSet

Last week, the "Magnificent 7" stocks, as well as some heavy-hitting retailers,outshined expectations and lifted the S&P 500 to offset earlier losses. Despite headlines of a slowdown, the economy's underpinnings remain strong. Here’s what we’re seeing:

  • Savvy Investing: The enduring bull market and solid economic fundamentals suggest strategic opportunities to reallocate high cash reserves into equities and bonds.
Morningstar / Federal Reserve
  • GDP Deets — While headline GDP grew by only 1.6% in Q1 2024, domestic demand continued to impress, growing at 2.8%. In contrast, durable goods experienced a decline of 1.2%.
Morningstar / Bureau of Economic Analysis

As wallets feel the squeeze, Gallup's latest survey reveals some striking insights about the financial woes top-of-mind for Americans. Here’s what's capturing attention across the nation:

Inflation Domination –  For three consecutive years, inflation has been named the most pressing financial problem by Americans, demonstrating a widespread concern across all demographics.

Housing Costs on the Rise – The cost of owning or renting a home has surged to new highs since the pandemic with 14% of respondents noting concern for the issue.

Persistent Stressors – Other notable worries include excessive debt (8%), escalating healthcare costs (7%), the struggle with low wages (7%), and the fluctuating prices of energy and gas (6%).

Demographic Divergences – Unsurprisingly, inflation hits harder among different age and income groups. A significant 46% of middle and upper-income earners and older Americans report it as their top concern, in contrast to 31% of lower-income groups. Political lines also show variance, with 56% of Republicans versus 26% of Democrats prioritizing inflation.


The Federal Reserve's latest decision comes with subtle cues and a steady hand, reflecting their ongoing efforts to balance economic growth and inflation:

No Change in Sight –  For the sixth straight meeting, the Fed has left interest rates unchanged, sticking closely to their 2% inflation target. This move indicates their ongoing strategy to temper economic slowing while aiming for a healthier balance between employment and inflation rates.

Market Expectations Adjusted –  Initial forecasts hinted at three quarter-point rate cuts by year-end, but now, expectations have cooled to possibly just one cut. This aligns with the Fed’s careful, wait-and-see approach to avoid deepening the economic downturn, especially in vulnerable sectors.

Morningstar / Federal Reserve

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