A few days after my Mom passed away in 2016, one of my brothers started a sibling text group. Side note: Most of my1 siblings live in Wisconsin and there are ten of us (yes 10!). With the exception of one reclusive brother, the group continues to keep in contact several times a month with jokes, birthday wishes, commentaries, family happenings and of course – weather updates. In March, our sibling group received several photos of Wisconsin’s latest snowstorm; I, in turn, posted a picture of our daffodils in bloom. I don’t consider myself a photographer, but a few of my siblings mentioned the photo was a winner. Now you have it, the current photo from my sibling text group.
In addition to all things financial, client meetings are often accompanied by chats and about the journey as we progress through our lives. I learn about the latest gardening techniques, updates on book club reading, bountiful hobbies and current projects that transcend from woodworking to sewing and knitting. After the meeting, I always feel inspired by the generosity of people and amazed at all the goodness in this world of people-helping-people. Here at White Raven Financial2, we continue to try to pay it forward.
Our economy in March appeared to be all about banks. Initially the news was high-lighting the stressed banks and what that could mean3 for consumers and the economy. An inspired uplift was then provided by the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and FDIC4 working together to stabilize the situation. The full situation generated questions and comments on bank regulators (are they out-of-sync with the economy?), interest rates (have they gone too high?) and treasury notes (are old notes even with today’s rates?). We will need to stay tuned for the next chapter for full answers. On Monday, March the 4th, Reuters reported that a shadow5 is being cast over our economy with the U.S. Manufacturing Index decreasing to 46.3%; its fifth straight month of contraction. In our reading, we are seeing concerns about economic headwinds and what the Fed’s next move may bring. Although, we did find an optimist on the economy with short seller Jim Chanos. Mr Chanos6 felt that due to casinos having a bumper February, the U.S. recession isn’t imminent – noting that casinos dropped during the dot-com crash and the financial crisis.
Our brethren across the waters also found themselves in a similar bank crisis; with Swiss authorities7 stepping in with a backstop. Russell Investment’s Andrew Pease wrote in his 2023 Global Market Update Q28 that both European and Chinese growth have surprised positively. He further explained that the mild winter in the eurozone economies had helped keep the economy resilient with increased labor demand. Charles Schwab’s Jeffrey Kleintop in his March 27th Markets and Economy9 commented that the banking stress in Europe was modest. He further noted that Europe’s relative strength was strong with potential profit growth when viewing eurozone economic activity.
With all the news about banks, one probably wonders if their bank is “safe”. We know that the FDIC insured limit is $250,000 per account. For those of you that are bit more technical, Investopedia has an article10 on how to analyze a bank’s financial statement and explains what are the risks to banks. Happy Reading!
The major market indices in March brought in spring cheer with their returns. The blue-chip barometer (the DOW)* showed the beginning of green shoots and posted a positive 2.13% for the month. The S&P 500 (SPY)* spouted a bit more and showed some buds to garnish a 3.71% gain. The Nasdaq Composite (COMPTR)* went full bloom with an array of colors at a 6.69% upturn for the month of March. (*After linking, click on Quarterly & Monthly Total Returns, “Monthly” tab). On Tuesday, March 28th, the Dow Jones Indices released the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller12 report. The report showed that home prices 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 Index12, 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 for the composite index.
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 March 31, 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)
- * https://Morningstar.com (index)