Skip to main content

Market Commentary

Stocks go up, stocks go down. Interest rates change, housing trends ebb and flow. How do you keep up with the markets and economy? Vizo Financial offers weekly and monthly market commentaries to keep your credit union apprised of the current economic and market trends. Read the latest now!

March Monthly Market Commentary

Noisy Data Complicates Fed Policy

With a presidential election looming, geopolitical tensions escalating and a central bank considering a major shift in its policy stance, 2024 looks to be an eventful year with a wide range of possible outcomes. So far, the financial markets are taking a “what, me worry?” attitude, as stock prices have hit new records and businesses have had little trouble raising huge amounts of funds in the capital markets. One reason for market complacency, of course, is that unfolding developments and the swirl of uncertainty facing the nation have hardly put a dent in the economy. The job market is still chugging along; incomes are rising amid easing inflation; consumers are grumbling about high prices and interest rates but continue to spend; and household, as well as business, balance sheets are in good shape.

View the full monthly commentary PDF

February Monthly Market Commentary

No Rush to Cut Rates

The era of low rates ended in March 2022 when the Federal Reserve belatedly started the most aggressive rate-hiking campaign in a generation, lifting its policy rate 11 times from near zero to a range of 5.25-5.50 percent in July of 2023, where it has remained. Until a few weeks ago, the central bank has wavered over what to do next – raise again or keep them "higher for longer." The bias towards a more belt-tightening policy was understandable: inflation remained far above the Fed's two percent target and, importantly, the rate hikes seemed to have had little effect on the economy. Indeed, GDP accelerated to an eye-opening 4.9 percent growth rate in the third quarter and the unemployment has remained under four percent for 22 consecutive months – the longest stretch since the 1960s.

View the full monthly commentary PDF

Weekly Market Commentary

April 15, 2024

The inflation dragon reared its head again, unsettling the financial markets and upending expectations of when, or even if, the Fed will lower interest rates this year. Clearly, Fed officials were not happy with the March consumer price report released on Wednesday, which came in hotter than expected for the third month in a row and may well have tipped the scales in favor of fewer rate cuts than the three projected at the March 20 FOMC meeting. Even before the CPI print, several policymakers were sounding a more hawkish tone, reacting to earlier reports depicting a steamier job market than expected. Unlike the second half of last year, sturdy job growth so far this year is not occurring alongside receding inflation.

View the full weekly commentary PDF

April 8, 2024

They did it again. In what’s become a distressingly common occurrence, the Labor Department revealed another upside surprise on the jobs front, revealing that the economy created an eye-opening 303,000 net new jobs in March, far above the consensus forecast of roundly a 200,000 gain. True, revised figures cut 5,000 jobs from the previous estimate for February, but that was more than offset by a 27,000 upward revision to the January payroll increase. One month can be very noisy, but three months of data represent more of a realistic trend. Taking this broader view, the economy generated an average increase of 276,000 payrolls over the past three months, up from 246,000 in January and the strongest for a three-month period in a year. Simply put, the job market is still chugging along, generating far more jobs than the assumed increase in the working age population. In another sign of tightening labor conditions, the unemployment rate slipped back to 3.8 percent after leaping 0.2 percent to 3.9 percent in February. The question is, is the job market too hot to handle, stoking higher inflation and a more vigorous response from the Fed?

View the full weekly commentary PDF

April 1, 2024

Like the Energizer Bunny, the U.S. economy continues to forge ahead, expanding well beyond the expiration date that last year's recession worriers thought would have arrived by now. Not only did a slew of incoming data this week depict more stamina in activity last month than expected, but the economy had more momentum at the end of last year than previously estimated. According to the third, and final, revision of fourth quarter GDP, the economy grew at a 3.4 percent annual rate during the period, up from the previous tally of 3.2 percent. Stronger consumer spending accounted for much of the upward adjustment, but virtually all cylinders in the economy's growth engine were humming towards the end of the year.

View the full weekly commentary PDF

March 25, 2024

The Federal Reserve took center stage this week, as the rate-setting committee met amid a swirl of speculation over the outcome. For sure, there was little suspense regarding an actual move. To no one's surprise, the key policy rate was kept unchanged in the 5.25-5.50 percent range that has been in place since last July. What the markets keenly wanted to know was where the Fed stood regarding future moves. Here too, the committee provided few surprises, which it turns out was just what investors wanted to hear. Stock prices raced to new records and bond yields eased a bit.

View the full weekly commentary PDF

Stay Connected!

Sign up to be notified when new videos are released!

Subscribe Now

Watch Latest FOMC Update

Read full transcript