Market Commentary 7/21/2023, Market Commentary 7/21/2023

Market Commentary 7/21/2023

Markets Party On As Risk Appetite Grows Amidst Discounting Higher Rates

The investment landscape remains complex, as it has always been. With the constant influx of daily reports and updates, it’s easy to be distracted by market movements and opinions. In the equity markets, big tech companies have led to significant gains for some investors. Conversely,  a more balanced approach has yielded only moderate returns or worse for others. The risk-on trading sentiment seems to be prevailing, even as interest rates rise and the Fed indicates a prolonged period of higher rates.

In the housing market, although new home builders are thriving, existing home sales face challenges in major cities due to limited inventory.  As many banks pull out of the mortgage market and layoffs have become more common, the mortgage world shows it is not immune to its share of challenges. Smaller banks and credit unions step in to fill the gap, providing opportunities for boutique firms like ours to match borrowers with lenders who prioritize community growth, common-sense underwriting, and personalized service.

New Standards On The Horizon: Inflation, Debt, & Consumer Spending

Equities surge and multiple offers continue to be prevalent in the more affordable section of the housing market. We can’t ignore the broader economic concerns of these behaviors becoming almost the standard as they relate to the inflation fight. Unemployment remains ultra-low and the employment pool tight, commodity prices are on the rise, the 2-year Treasury rate is nearing 5%, and consumers continue to spend (even if by way of debt). It is hard to model how the massive Covid-related money spray and multiple Government stimulus programs will affect inflation. However, there is a greater than zero probability that inflation readings show signs of acceleration come the fall. This may be one reason the Fed is expected to raise rates next week and possibly again in September.

While the markets and consumers seem comfortable with the Fed’s rate hikes, we remain cautious. Powell’s warnings about potential pain may not have materialized yet, but we believe it’s essential to monitor the situation closely.

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These are the opinions of the author. For financial advice, please talk to your CPA or financial professional.