As a follow-up to our last monthly newsletter and based on (always highly valued) feedback, (we state for the record that) it is certainly the case that there are many types of pumpkin spice enthusiasts and by no means are all “giddy,” as referenced in our last letter. Rather, it is the U.S. stock market to be reported on, having entered a “correction” in one of the final trading sessions in the month of October.
Spend baby spend! That was the message from the U.S. government to its constituent consumers during the three-year pandemic recovery, with multiple rounds of helicopter stimulus checks and economic relief programs dropped in their laps. And spend they did, creating a hard-to-break habit in the process.
September means back to school for many families, whether it be children or grandchildren at various points in their primary or secondary educations or for some, a time to face the soaring costs of a college education. With even the best laid plans, education costs have continued to skyrocket at higher than anticipated levels over the past several years and can be daunting when their impact on personal budgets is realized.
There have been an inordinate number of reported black bear sightings in Massachusetts this year. While unusual, the rationale seems to be that bears are known to be a hungry lot and, although they live in the woods, will venture to wherever they have a chance of finding an easy food score. If you happen to see one of our recently popular local black bears, the best advice seems to be to leave it to go about its business, as it should eventually move along. Long-term investors would be well served to heed similar advice. Bear market periods are an occasional occurrence that have historically run their course and been dominated by periods of longer-term bull runs.
In an episode of The Twilight Zone that initially aired in the 1960s, Rod Serling narrates the story of an elderly resident at a home for the aged who falls on challenging times and longs for the days when all worries and problems would disappear by participating in a childhood game of “Kick the Can”. In the real world, however, such games merely push difficult situations off and postpone tough decisions. No amount of wishing or believing will solve problematic issues like the U.S. debt ceiling.
April showers may have created a few mud puddles for investors to navigate, but in the end, most should maintain a sunny disposition when reviewing portfolio balances from the end of the month.
The Federal Open Market Committee raised short-term rates by 25 basis points last month in the latest move in their fight against sticky inflation. The magnitude of the eighth hike since March, 2022 was less than previous increases in the current monetary tightening cycle.