The buzzer pierced the air, and the boats were off as the crowd cheered the woman’s 50 and older masters eights race. From my1 recollection, there were five boats in the race. As they moved through the water, you noticed this one boat rowing smoothly, steadily, and quite beautifully – albeit –in last place at the beginning. Slowly, mid-race they pulled into fourth place and then it was up to third. People were chatting excitedly and pointing to that particular boat. You could see the women in that boat were determined, in sync and tuned-in to each other. Their oars dipped in and came out in succession; there were no pauses. Slowly the boat crept close to the number two boat and the crowd’s noise was almost deafening. That boat completed the race in second place. We went over to the finished line to see what all the excitement was about and watch as some young men ran down to the water offering to help lift the boat and bring it up the hill. The ladies were tired, but resolutely shook their heads – they would do it themselves. As the cox counted, the large boat was lifted and up the hill they went. That is when we learned the crew of eight consisted of women over 70 with the average age of 75. The crews they were racing against were full of women in their 50s and early 60s. So, was it grit or was it teamwork that brought them over the line? Whichever you choose, it was a game changer.
That particular race plays over again every once-in-a-while in my mind. One seldom hears about the hours of training, early morning workouts and dedication it takes to achieve something great. Nor does one hear how a group turned into a well-coordinated team. As we all know, sometimes it only takes one team member to be off sync and the race is lost. Here at White Raven Financial2, we feel as we meet and work with each one of our clients, we need to be a team with that particular client. Whether it’s a complex plan or single goal, if we are not in tune with each other, no matter how painstakingly we plan, it may not be the best finish. We want that great finish so we work hard to be in sync, to be on your team.
Not so much in our control, on the other hand, is the current economy which one might describe as vexing. In the midst of continued inflation3 jobless claims retreated. It appears the labor market is showing true grit in keeping our workers employed. In contrast, we learn that the Institute for Supply Management Index (ISM) contracted for a fourth straight month4 in February. Usually, an inverted yield curve5 is often considered a recession warning and the yield curve has been inverted for several months. Forbes staffer, Jonathan Ponciano, noted in a recent blog6 that economists are considering that this may be a ‘fake’ warning. The blog further expanded on their reasoning for the strong economy by citing the strong labor market and consumer spending. Charles Schwab, recent Markets end Economy blog7, wrote about the mixed signals that the economy is giving. They noted that company earnings for this quarter are struggling but they also felt that how the economy will play out could be determined by the impact of rising rates.
As we cross the deep blue sea in our reading (not in our boat), we find that new orders and global output has expanded8. Per the article, overseas companies are reporting reduced recession risks. Alliance Berstein, in their Capital Markets Outlook: 1Q 20239 noted that they felt that 2023 will be a year of transition as central banks induce economic pain to reduce inflation. OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, noted at a recent event10, that he felt that the global economic outlook is improving although inflation challenges still remain.
Moving ahead we find that Bankrate has a chart11 showing the current CD Rates. They noted that high inflation is ‘still’ outpacing CDs but rates are climbing. The rates do look a lot better than what most money markets are paying. Check it out!
And the market in February had a feeling of whipsaw similar to being on rough water; the back-forth did not quit all month. The blue-chip barometer (the DOW)* ended on the downside at a -4.03% decline for the month. The S&P 500 (SPY)* started moving the saw back but still ended with a -2.51% loss. The Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* tried to pull back to positive but alas ended sporting a -1.11% downturn for the month. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, February 28th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller13 report. The report showed that home price gains continued to drop across the U.S. with the 20-city composite from December posting a 2.2% decline from the previous months posting of 6.8%. The December composite Home Price Index13, before seasonal adjustments, noted that month-over-month data had the month of December showing a -0.9% decrease from the prior month of November.
Regards and thank you (as always) for reading,
The Team at White Raven Financial
Advisory services offered through White Raven Financial Services, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Washington.
*Indexes are unmanaged and do not reflect service fees, commissions, or taxes. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Returns for the DOW, S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are the total return (price only) provided by Morningstar as of February 28, 2023. Diversification and asset allocation do not assure or guarantee better performance and cannot eliminate the risk of investment loss.
*The Standard and Poor’s 500 is an unmanaged, capitalization weighted benchmark that tracks broad-based changes in the U.S. stock market. This index of 500 common stocks is comprised of 400 industrial, 20 transportation, 40 utility, and 40 financial companies representing major U.S. industry sectors. The index is calculated on a total return basis with dividends reinvested and is not available for direct investment.
*The Dow Jones Industrial Average covers 30 blue chip U.S. companies selected by the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The Dow represents about 25% of the NYSE market capitalization and less than 2% of NYSE issues.
*The NASDAQ is a market-value weighted index that measures all NASDAQ domestic and foreign common stocks.
- * https://Morningstar.com (index)