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Hope you are all doing well.  For the first time in 2024, the S&P 500, the NASDAQ, and the Dow each posted a weekly total return of 2% or more. That uniform progress pushed each index to a record high and marked a shift from the modest declines recorded in the previous two weeks.  This week the ELVIS Act was signed Into Tennessee law to protect musicians from AI deepfakes. As such I have broken down this week’s update using some of the internet’s craziest AI generated songs.

I Want It That Way – AI Darth Vader

The Fed signaled a more accommodative stance and markets want it that way.  The stock market’s modest upward momentum early in the week shifted higher after the Fed policy announcement on Wednesday. The major indexes took off posting their biggest gains of the week. The S&P 500, the NASDAQ, and the Dow had another positive day on Thursday, setting record closing highs. Despite recently mixed progress in curbing inflation. A majority of U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers stuck with their earlier expectations to approve three interest-rate cuts by year end. Chair Jerome Powell said the first potential cut isn’t likely to occur until the Fed gains greater confidence that inflation is sustainably declining toward its 2% target. I think September still remains the likely time frame for the first rate cut.

Baby Got Back – AI Elvis Presley

Japan’s economy of late has had a motor in the back of its Honda.  The economy has improved so much that Japan’s central bank raised interest rates for the first time since 2007. Tuesday’s move lifted rates slightly above zero, marking a reversal of an unorthodox economic stimulus policy that had kept rates just below zero since 2016. Despite the shift, Japan’s rates remain far below those of the world’s other major developed economies.  

Barbie Girl – AI Johnny Cash

While it wasn’t wrapped in plastic the low volatility was fantastic and had the markets ready to go party. Investors’ expectations of short-term U.S. stock market volatility fell to its lowest level in more than six weeks. The VIX fell about 9% for the week; relative to a recent intraday high on March 11, the VIX was down 18%. The lower VIX wasn’t the only thing market’s were celebrating. The slight pullback in historically high mortgage rates led U.S. sales of existing homes in February to their biggest monthly gain in a year, sales jumped 9.5%.

Quick announcement to my Federal Employee clients.  Laurel Wealth Solutions is sponsoring the upcoming Federal Executive Forum, June 12th in Washington D.C..  The link is below. If you are interested in attending, my clients will receive a 20% discount on their registration fee using the discount code LWS20.

Contact Laurel Wealth Solutions if you’d like to speak about your investments or your plan. You can also reach Stephen Caruso directly by clicking the calendar link below and schedule a phone or zoom appointment at any time. Effective May 1st in person appointments outside of the office or normal business hours will carry an additional fee of $75.