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Shop till you drop

Spending never goes out of style

Kate Gleason Picture

A recent spending spree sends a little shock wave through investors as it spooks them a bit. Stocks Hit Turbulence so hold onto your hats, folks, because the market is taking a wild ride! Just when things seemed smooth sailing after a period of strong growth, recent economic data has sent stocks plummeting, both in the US and across Asia. The culprit? Shockingly strong US spending figures. Well, that doesn't make sense, or does it?

Now, you might think strong spending is a good thing, and you wouldn't be wrong. That's how companies reach sales goals, drive revenue, and increase profitability. It indicates a healthy consumer base, which is the backbone of any economy. Money in motion can do some pretty powerful things. But here's the wrinkle: this robust spending has the potential to fuel inflation, the big, bad monster that keeps central bankers up at night. I know we're all tired of hearing the inflation story, but it's still a major component of the market and overall economy.

Here's the breakdown:

  • Spenders Unleashed: US consumers went on a shopping spree, with spending data exceeding expectations. This suggests inflation might be here to stay, or even worsen.

  • Fed Flexing its Muscles: To combat inflation, the Federal Reserve, America's central bank, is likely to raise interest rates. Higher rates make borrowing more expensive, which can cool down the economy and slow down spending (and hopefully, inflation too). Surprised to hear the word "raise" when a ton of market pundits have been calling for 6 - 8 rate decreases planned for this year. I'm not personally in the camp of either happening, but it does put things into perspective. I have been forecasting 2 - 3 mild rate cuts throughout the year.

  • Investor Jitters: This potential interest rate hike has investors spooked. Rising rates can make stocks less attractive compared to other investments like bonds. So, some investors are pulling their money out of the stock market, leading to the recent slump. Now let's not get too outta hand. Rates are certainly NOT going to continue on the tear they've already had. For starters, inflation numbers have been trending in the right direction so the Fed may have found an equal balance of slowing down the economy without bringing it to a complete halt. Spending numbers confirm this.

Hands on the World

The impact of this isn't just felt in the US. Asian markets, heavily reliant on US consumer demand, are also feeling the heat. The worry is that if American consumers tighten their belts, it could hurt exports from Asia.

So, what's next? Investors are closely watching the Federal Reserve's next move. Will they raise rates aggressively to tame inflation, or will they take a more measured approach? Only time will tell, but you know where I stand and why.

In the meantime, this is a good reminder that the market is a complex beast, and even good news can sometimes have unintended consequences. Stay informed, stay diversified, and remember, this too shall pass.

Want to stay ahead of the curve? 

Keep an eye on:

  • Federal Reserve announcements: Their decisions on interest rates will significantly impact the market.

  • Inflation data: Watch for any signs of inflation rising or falling.

  • Consumer spending reports: Are people continuing to spend freely, or are they tightening their purse strings?

Winding Road

By staying informed, you can navigate this market volatility and make informed investment decisions. Just remember, even in turbulent times, there are always opportunities for those who are prepared!

If you haven't checked out my PennyWise Financial Podcast, watch a clip from my latest episode. You'll see topics that cover all sorts of things that tie into financial decisions or goals we plan for every day with our clients.

Scroll down a little past the clip to watch the entire episode. It's available on all major podcast platforms like Apple Podcasts, YouTube Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.

👇Or click below to watch the full Episode

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