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THE 2024 FEDERAL RESERVE RATE HIKE
Overall inflation across all items rose by just 3.1%, down from the 3.2% that we saw in October. In terms of the categories that saw a price increase, the largest gainer was car insurance, up 19.2% year over year. With the cost of repairs and replacement going higher, auto insurance companies have been raising their premiums by the biggest annual jump in 47 years – and since insurance premiums are generally set every 6-12 months – this just happens to be the month we see it show up in the inflation data.
We also have sporting events up 16.4% from a year ago, Veterinarian services up 9%, Shipping Fares up 8.4%, and rent of primary residence up 6.9%. The good news is that shelter-inflation does seem to be declining, with a drop of 2% year over year.
HOUSING PRICES –
The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that home prices have increased by 5.5% year-over-year. As they explained, “home prices appreciated in almost all 50 states….Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey recorded the highest annual appreciation rates, with the WORST markets coming in for “Hawaii and the District of Columbia, posting negative rates -0.9% and -0.8%.”
However, Goldman Sachs believes that the days of “insane price gains” are over – and, starting soon, “we’ll likely go back to a 2% type of house price appreciation environment, which is roughly around the trend of the last 30 years or so.”
A separate analyst also seconds this, saying that “national home prices will fall 1.7% in 2024, for the first time – in a decade” – although, that doesn’t mean that every area will go down; as they say, “of the 100 large metro areas included in the report, 63 are likely to see prices rise.”
STOCK PRICES – https://www.financialsamurai.com/2024-wall-street-forecasts-for-the-sp-500-stock-market/ (CHECK OUT THE FINANCIAL SAMURAI BLOG)
As of recently, bond and money-market funds saw a RECORD influx as investors cashed in on guaranteed returns – but, this also suggests that there’s a LOT of money sitting on the sidelines that might continue to propel the stock market even higher.
In terms of where stock prices could go from here…the Financial Samurai Blog notes that JP Morgan believes that we’ll actually see the SP500 DECLINE to 4200 in the next year, saying that: “With a step down in economic growth next year, eroding household excess savings and liquidity, and tightening credit, we see the 2024 growth unrealistic… Negative corporate sentiment should be a catalyst for sharply lower estimates early next year.”
However, Wells Fargo is slightly more optimistic, with the SP500 closing out at 4625 – From their perspective, “with VIX low, credit spreads tight, equities rallying, and cost of capital higher, it’s time to downshift. Expect a volatile and ultimately flattish SP in 2024, as valuation limits upside and rate uncertainty elevates downside risk.“
Even further down the list, RBC Capital Markets thinks we’ll see 5000 – and BMO believes we’ll hit 5100, and that “stocks will attain another year of positive returns in 2024, albeit while demonstrating more sanguine, broadly distributed, and fundamentally defined performance relative to the last decade or so. In other words, normal and typical.“
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