This monthly communication, “Financial Bullet Points,” will quickly and easily cover the main financial issues we see affecting the markets without being bogged down with a lot of details.
Written by Bob Barber, Prepared on Jan 27th, 2024
The Bullet Points for February are:
- Inflation. The core personal consumption expenditures price index for December, an influential gauge for the Federal Reserve, increased 0.2% on the month and was up 2.9% on a yearly basis. Including volatile food and energy costs, headline inflation rose 0.2% for the month and held steady at 2.6% annually.
- Interest Rates. As I expected, 10-year Treasury yields stabilized in the 4% range in January after a sharp decline from touching 5% to a little below 4% in the 4th quarter.
- Consumer Spending. The rate of Consumer Spending increased 0.7%, more robust than the 0.5% estimate, but with consumer debt at all-time highs, this may not continue.
- Real Estate. Home inventories continue to rise, with prices falling in some markets like Austin as much as 20% from the peak a few years ago.
- Car Sales. Electric vehicle sales are plummeting, with EV inventories approaching six months in some places.
- GDP. A measure of all the goods and services produced, GDP increased at a 3.3% annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2023. Wall Street expected a 2% gain.
- The Markets. January markets unexpectedly narrowed again to just a handful of tech companies. Don’t be fooled by the cap-weighted S&P 500 reported in the news being lifted by these few stocks; it is not indicative of the overall markets. Instead, look at an equally weighted index more representative of all the sectors. An equally weighted example is the ETF ticker symbol RSP.
- Continuing Education. This month’s programs for Christian Financial Perspectives are:
- 14 Characteristics of Financially Successful Christians (Feb 13th)
- Using 1 Timothy 3 to Find a Financial Advisor (Feb 27th)
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Bob Barber, Founder & Owner
Christian Financial Advisors®
The views expressed represent the opinion of Christian Financial Advisors®. The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. Stated information is derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources that have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While Christian Financial Advisors® believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Investing in equity securities involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. While equities may offer the potential for greater long-term growth than most debt securities, they generally have higher volatility. Past performance is not indicative of future results.