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Our Midyear 2024 Market Update

By Jeff Gilbert 

Here we are, halfway through 2024 already—have you paused to take time for a financial check-in? How’s your money game going? Now is the perfect moment to slow down and notice the economic trends shaping our market and your portfolio. Despite the hurdles of 2023, we’ve spotted some bright spots in key sectors during the first half of this year.

Read on for a closer peek at our midyear market update. Let’s unpack what’s been shifting and get you set up for success in the months ahead.

Markets Are Up

So far in 2024, financial markets have shown steady, positive performance. While the Dow Jones took a dip in May, the S&P 500 extended its bull market gains into the end of the month. 

Around the same time, the Federal Reserve unanimously chose to keep policy rates unchanged for the sixth meeting in a row, and rates have remained steady since the beginning of 2024. That being said, strong inflation numbers from the first quarter suggest that hitting the 2% inflation target might take longer than anticipated. What’s more, the U.S. GDP has shown positive but slower-than-expected growth coming out of the first quarter. 

This combination of stable interest rates, persistent inflation, and soft GDP growth suggests that the market may see some cautious optimism but also volatility as investors figure out their next moves. How these factors will shape the stock market for the remainder of 2024 is still largely uncertain.

Employment Remains Strong

As of May 2024, the U.S. employment scene shows steady progress with an unemployment rate of 3.9%, which translates to about 6.5 million job seekers. In fact, many leading economists have noted that the labor market remains strong and stable, offering inflation-adjusted pay raises to the average worker. Additionally, real hourly earnings, which are wages adjusted for inflation, grew by 0.5% in April 2024 compared to the previous year.

GDP Is Soft

Despite facing numerous challenges, U.S. consumer spending remained strong throughout 2023. However, this momentum has started to fade. In the first quarter of 2024, the economy posted an annualized GDP growth of 1.3%, which was slightly below the forecasted 1.6%. Additionally, consumer spending grew by 2%, falling short of the anticipated 2.5%.

For 2024, real GDP (GDP adjusted to remove the effects of inflation) is projected to slow to 1.5% in 2024. Looking ahead, real GDP growth is expected to average 2.0% annually from 2024 to 2027—slightly below last year’s prediction of 2.5%.

The Federal Reserve, Interest Rates, and Inflation 

The Federal Reserve has raised its key interest rate to the highest level in 16 years to combat high inflation. After a streak of 11 rate hikes between 2022 and July 2023, the Federal Reserve has continued to hit pause for 2024 while reassessing the current economic growth and inflation. Inflation still remains above the Fed’s 2% target, though it remains lower than its peak of 9.1% in 2022. It’s yet to be seen whether interest rates, or inflation, will bounce back higher and hamper the economy for the remainder of 2024. 

Global Economies Face Similar Issues

Global growth is projected to continue growing at 3.2% for the remainder of this year and into 2025, the same pace as 2023. The global growth forecast for the five years from now is the lowest we’ve seen in decades, largely due to the tight policies needed to manage inflation, price instability, and continued geopolitical tensions. Inflation is expected to decline to 5.9% in 2024 and 4.5% in 2025. Despite the cautious outlook, the MSCI All Country World Index is up over 7% so far this year.

Prepare for Your Future Today

With that said, grasping the economic forecast is just the start—tackling the remainder of 2024 calls for a proactive strategy.

Consider your future: Are you saving enough for retirement? How much can you safely withdraw annually from your accounts? Do your investments align with your financial objectives and risk tolerance? While we can’t control the actions of the Federal Reserve, Congress, or inflation, we can take measures to preserve our financial well-being. The key lies in crafting a robust and flexible financial plan.

At Balboa Wealth Partners, we create personalized financial plans that guide you toward success. Our unique approach is designed to help you capitalize on any market situation. To schedule a complimentary call, give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at [email protected].

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With over three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout the entire country. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email [email protected]

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Kingswood Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Kingswood. Neither firm is affiliated.