Uncategorized February 2, 2024

#486: Stocks are Hot. Jobs are Hotter. What’s Next?

By every definition of the word, we’re in a bull market.

The S&P 500 hit record highs for five consecutive days last week, and remained strong throughout this week.

The Dow is above 38,000 for the first time in history.

Unemployment has stayed below 4 percent for 24 months, marking the strongest jobs market in half a century.

And consumer sentiment, which reflects more pessimism than the data warrants, is showing signs of improvement.

The Fed met this week and decided to hold rates steady, as expected, but there are hints that they’ll start dropping interest rates within a few months.

Inflation isn’t yet down to the Fed’s target rate of two percent, but it’s getting closer — with one notable exception. Auto insurance has skyrocketed; across the nation, car insurance is 17 percent higher than last year.

Meanwhile, a shake-up in the real estate industry is creating tumult for the National Association of Realtors, which is facing its first serious challenge in 100 years. The outcome could determine how steeply you’ll have to pay when you sell your home.

Where do we go from here? What’s next for the economy? We tackle these questions in this First Friday podcast episode.


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