THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Stocks retreated in the first trading week of 2024, struggling a bit after a celebratory end to last year as investors second-guessed Fed signals and fretted over lingering inflation concerns.
FACT OF THE WEEK
In competing versions of the story, what Elvis Presley really wanted for his birthday was a rifle or a bicycle—both fairly typical choices for a boy his age growing up on the outskirts of Tupelo, Mississippi. Instead, Elvis’s highly protective mother, Gladys—”She never let me out of her sight,” Elvis would later say—took him to the Tupelo Hardware Store and bought a gift that would change the course of history: a $6.95 guitar. It was January 8, 1946, and Elvis Aaron Presley was 11 years old.
The historical significance of putting a guitar into the hands of a young man who would later help define rock and roll is obvious. For Elvis himself, however, getting that guitar was just one more step in a thorough yet totally unplanned program of childhood musical development that prepared him perfectly to ignite a revolution ten years later.
Music surrounded the young Elvis Presley—music of all the types that would inform his later recordings and performances, from country, bluegrass, blues, and gospel to mainstream pop and even opera. Gladys Presley told stories of Elvis as a toddler jumping out her lap and running down the aisle of the First Assembly of God Church so that he could stand directly in front of the choir, singing along and imitating their movements. The local radio was dominated by country and Western music, which Elvis adored.
Born within five years and 500 miles of one another, future greats such as James Brown, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Sam Cooke were being shaped by this same mix of musical influences, as well as by a culture in which listening to music generally meant participating in it, too. This generation of musicians would give birth to whole new genres and sub-genres of American music—not just rock and roll, but rockabilly, rhythm and blues, soul, and more. With his first guitar in hand, Elvis Presley took a key step toward joining that list of music greats on this day in music history, 1946.
New Year Blues
Stocks got off to a rough first week of the new year, with tech names leading the week’s decline. Several market observers called it the “reverse Goldilocks” effect, where the market decided investors were getting a little too excited over the prospect of a Fed rate cut. Stocks bounced up and down each of the four trading days but ended each one down—except Friday, when the Dow Industrials, Nasdaq Composite, and S&P 500 all ended the day in the green when jobs data helped soften the week’s slide.
All About The Fed
On Wednesday, manufacturing news came in better than expected, lifting markets until the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes were released, revealing that the Fed members had discussed rate cuts for 2024 but in no specific terms. Jobs and services sector news painted a better picture of the economy on Thursday, but as the 10-year Treasury hit 4%, stock prices responded negatively.
FINANCIAL STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind us, it’s a great time to mention that January is Financial Wellness Month. Financial wellness encompasses many things, the most obvious of which is your relationship with money and how secure that money is. In addition, financial health plays a pivotal role in your ability to limit stress, envision a comfortable future, plan for your legacy, and so much more.
Consider observing Financial Wellness Month by:
Reviewing Your Credit Reports. Your credit score depicts your creditworthiness and is a critical component in how companies view you as a loan risk (or not). Read through the report from each of these three companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to make sure they’re accurate and ensure there are no erroneous accounts.
Getting a Handle on Your Spending. Write down all your recurring monthly expenses (both fixed and flexible). Compare that to the income you receive each month. If you have extra monthly income, make sure that money is being thoughtfully applied to the proper areas. Otherwise, adjust if you are not living within your means.
Financial Wellness Month is an opportune time to face our financial situation head-on and prioritize fixing any deficiencies. It also encourages us to put our finances in order as we work towards financial stability. One of the things we love most is being able to help you feel better about your financial health. If you have questions or concerns, call us to set up a meeting.