The First Third
Tornadoes tear through Mississippi, Arkansas, and Illinois. Fighting continues in Sudan, Ukraine, and Syria. Banks are failing. Politicians are attacking each other more mercilessly than ever before. There is upheaval and conflict in our world everywhere we turn. The only calm seems to be in a yoga class…and yes, the stock market so far this year. Even with inflation and rising interest rates, the S&P 500 is up 9.1% for the first third of the year and has shown itself to be able to weather these storms. You can even park your money in US Treasuries here for about 5% and not worry much at all.
The S&P 500 opened April at 4109 and closed at 4169; a modest increase of 1.5%. Year-to-date the DOW is up 3.5% and the NASDAQ has grown 17.1%. A 30-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 6.55%. Housing has softened, domestic manufacturing has slowed, and unemployment has been low, but company layoffs could be the next shoe to drop. The VIX, an index measuring volatility, opened April at 18.70 and fell to 15.78 by month-end. So, less bouncing around and more stability in the markets…at least so far in 2023. The CPI (consumer price index) sits at 6%, down from 9% earlier this year, but well above the long-term Fed target of 2%. Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse, among others, have avoided extinction with the help of regulators and big bank takeovers…calming investors and the overall markets.
The first third of 2023 gave us “Everything, Everywhere All at Once” sweeping most of the Oscar awards. Bonnie Raitt, Harry Styles and Ozzie Osbourne took home Grammys. Jon Rahm from Spain won the Masters. The LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors are set to faceoff in the NBA playoffs this week. Even the IRS jumped into a helpful and winning mode by extending the filing deadline this year from April 15th to October 16th. (If you need your 1099’s, please give us a call or go online to your account. We can also send these directly to your accountant.)
If you have an IRA, you can expect an email correspondence from us shortly. We would like you to update your beneficiaries to be sure that they are current. Please take a few minutes to complete a new designation form or to verify with us that your existing heirs are named properly in the correct order and percentage.
Will April showers bring May flowers? We expect more financial storms and flooding in the months ahead, so keep your umbrellas handy and set funds aside for upcoming expenses and rainy days. More colorful flowers should return…as they usually do.
Mitch Fisher & Ryan Fisher
 JP Morgan Asset Management 5.1.23