Broker Check


| April 01, 2024

Stocks were narrowly higher for the week as investors digested mixed economic

news about consumer confidence. All three of the major averages posted gains for

Q1 2024.

Stocks Finish Strong

Markets slipped for the first half of the four-day week as investors took a breather

after the prior week's gain. Conflicting economic news on Monday and Tuesday

contributed to the slide. New home sales in February slipped 0.3 percent over the

prior month but increased by 5.9 percent from the prior year. Durable goods

orders—everything from washing machines to helicopters—rebounded 1.4 percent

in February, beating expectations and recouping some of January’s 6.9 percent

drop. Stocks rallied on Wednesday, including a fresh record close for the Standard

& Poor’s 500. An upward revision to consumer sentiment on Thursday helped the

rally along. 

Doubters & Believers

Getting a straightforward read on consumers this week was challenging. The

Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index

remained essentially unchanged—as it has for the past six months—showing

consumers were generally pessimistic about the future.  But on Thursday, the

University of Michigan's consumer-sentiment survey showed consumer confidence

hit a 2½-year high in March. It suggested that consumers had gained more

confidence that inflation would drop and alleviate some pressure on household


This Week: Key Economic Data

Monday: ISM Manufacturing Index. PMI Manufacturing Final. Construction


Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales. Factory Orders. JOLTS.

Wednesday: ADP Employment Report. EIA Petroleum Status Report. ISM Services


Thursday: Jobless Claims. International Trade in Goods & Services. Fed Balance

Sheet. Natural Gas Report.

Friday: Employment Situation. Consumer Credit.

This Week: Notable Companies Reporting Earnings

Tuesday: Paychex, Inc. (PAYX)

Wednesday: Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI)

Thursday: Conagra Brands (CAG)

Final Thoughts

It’s April.  April has generally been a good month for stocks over time.  Next

Wednesday we’ll get March’s inflation report which will set off the big debate of

when the Fed will cut rates again.  I’m not sure if this is one of those buy the rumor,

sell the news scenarios or not.  Whether stocks will continue to run once the Fed

gets serious about rate cuts or whether the market will change its mind and wonder

what is wrong with the economy.  Only time will tell.  Historically, election years

have ended up with good market results most of the time.  We’ve had a strong run

and I hope it keeps just going and going,  However, the realist in me says everything

must take a breather now and then.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see a pullback over

the summer as the political rhetoric heats up.  This would be normal.

Although, as Randy Travis once crooned, on the other hand…. The economy is

chugging along and unemployment is low.  I’ve always maintained that if people

have jobs they will spend money and drive the economy.  Everyone is expecting the

market to take a rest, so maybe it won’t.  It loves to prove as many people as possible

wrong.  Sure, there is some froth.  I mean, (this is no way political, just a prime

example) former President Trump’s social media company that had only $3 million

in revenue and a loss of $35 million last year is valued at $7.5 billion.  Good for him.

If I could get that kind of valuation on my business, you probably wouldn’t get these

newsletters anymore.  But, if he is reelected he may choose to communicate

exclusively on that platform which most assuredly would drive more revenue

there.  Anyway, politics aside, caveat emptor.  I suppose that’s what makes a market.

Stay tuned.

Make it a great week!